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“Chilled out retreat in the heart of Blantyre”
Review of Doogles Lodge

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Doogles Lodge
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Chilled out retreat in the heart of Blantyre”
Reviewed October 17, 2013

A ten minute walk from Blantyre’s small bus station, and directly next to the big one, Dougles is frequented by locals, tourists and long term volunteers. Its self-contained bar, restruarunt, pool and lounge makes it a good stop-over when exploring Malawi. There is nothing much to do in the City itself but makes for an interesting stroll during the day when you can visit the markets and the main street. Prices for food and drink are fairly international but still good value. On a Thursday night it is advisable to book ahead as the place pack out with the addition of a live band playing pop hits and reggae til 4am.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank carys m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
53 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed September 21, 2013

Stayed here for a while, mostly because I was hospitalized at the nearby private hospital. Camping is good value, and you get free guavas from the tree. The rooms are much more expensive, and not very bright. Some of the staff was nice and even asked how I was doing, the rest would hardly nad in your direction, let alone answer questions.
Location, behind the bus station, is ok for buses, but a bit of a walk to the center of town.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank gil_fruchter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2013

I stayed at Doogles for two nights in July and found it a rather average experience. The location is fine as it's close to the bus station, but the rooms were average and the staff quite unhelpful. It was winter and our chalet had no windows so it was freezing. When we asked the receptionist to call a taxi for us she claimed "we don't call taxis'. When promoted further she said they didn't have any air time, which I found hard to believe. It wasn't a massive deal, but ordering taxis is normally pretty standard for hostels and guest houses so we were quite surprised by her indifference. They have a bar attached to the hostel and I got the feeling that the bar takes away some of the hospitality that should be directed to the guests. The receptionists/bar staff are often unhelpful and this probably because they're distracted working at the bar.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tessaclaire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2013

From the reviews already noted I was expecting the worst and was more than pleasantly surprised. The staff are endlessly friendly and helpful the dorm rooms were spacious and in room lockers were provided. I stayed over the weekend (Friday and Saturday night) and found that any noise from the bar was not excessive. The food was sliglty overpriced for what it was, but the location of the lodge was such that there was other options available. A good place to meet other people (locals and other travellers). Personally I found that the security was more than adequate.

I definitely enjoyed my stay here and would recommend to other travellers.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank GoneFishing81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
76 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2013

OK but I had a good look around considering casping or taking a room, had a beer and a bite to eat and then went elsewhere to stay and eat. Pool was not clean. The location was convenient for those arriving by the minibus for but not for security as non-residents can pass through all areas. Rooms clean enough. but not for security as non-residents pass through all areas. Rooms clean enough.

Room Tip: Location good for convenience but not for security as non-residents pass through all areas. Rooms c...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Michael S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed June 12, 2013

We camped at Doogles in December 2012 just before Christmas for one night. We weren't sure if we could camp there as we couldn't really see anywhere to setup but we asked at reception and were shown the area up the back reserved for camping. It's nothing special but for the cost and our purposes it was fine (we had a 4X4 with tents on the roof plus one ground tent).

We were quite tired from our trip (African borders...what fun!) so we decided to eat at the bar. Overall the food wasn't anything super flash but it was cheap and the service was amongst the quickest we found in Malawi. During this time we experienced power outages during our meal but there wasn't much that could be done about that by the staff as it was load shedding plus it didn't go on for to long.

The bar was quite the place to be scene by locals and this always meant there was a vibrant atmosphere especially during the big EPL games. As we progressed on our trip several Malawian's asked if we had been to Doogles whilst in Blantyre, such is it's reputation!

The showers and toilets all seemed cleaned, definitely not the worst in Africa that's for sure. The internet was ok in terms of speed and very cheap. Myself and my fellow travel companion's all want to go back to this place as we only spent the one night there, definitely would recommend for other campers!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank djkillerlamb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed May 7, 2013

My husband and I came via bus from South Africa, and it was eight hours later than expected so by the time we arrived it was nearly 11pm. We took local advice and went to Doogles. It was close to the bus station, so it wasn't an expensive taxi ride. They had rooms available that were decently priced and clean.

We hadn't eaten since the day before, and they wouldn't even open the kitchen so we could get some buttered bread or a package of crisps, which was a bit disappointing. They aren't big on bending their rules or being overly accommodating to travelers, despite being a lodge.

The bar was still open, and there were a number of people hanging out, both local and international. The music was good, the drinks were cold, and it was a decent atmosphere. If it had been warmer, the pool would have been great too.

We stayed in a private room, so I can't speak to the safety of the dorm rooms. However, our room was located on one of the ends near the parking lot, and we didn't feel entirely safe. The door to our room was a bit flimsy, but it locked well enough. However, the people staying and drinking at the lodge were wandering around, and were pretty loud at night. The bathroom shower was a little rudimentary, as was the door to the bathroom. It wasn't luxury, but it was decent enough.

They had a good selection of food, good advice for touring Malawi and for getting around, and good internet. The price was okay, the service was okay, and the location was good. It was fun, if just slightly dodgy. But we liked it enough we stayed a second day to give ourselves a break, and enjoyed being in a decent sized bed.

Overall, not bad.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Emily M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Doogles Lodge

Property: Doogles Lodge
Address: Wenela Bus Station, Blantyre, Malawi
Location: Malawi > Southern Region > Blantyre
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 28 Specialty Lodging in Blantyre
Number of rooms: 60

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