I've recently returned from a trip to Zimbabwe where, among other things, we visited the Great Zimbabwe ruins. Since Masvingo, the nearest city, is a bit off the beaten track this involved an overnight stay and we picked this hotel, mainly on account of its location since it's the closest place to the site.
The hotel was nearly full, but mainly due to a couple of conferences rather than being full of tourists. It may pay to call ahead, but we had trouble getting hold of the hotel for whatever reason and the South African-based internet booking site was a waste of time - I'm still waiting for a reply three weeks after sending my request.
The hotel itself was a fairly typical Zimbabwean chain hotel (it's run by the African Sun group), which is to say it's nice without being flash and the staff do their best to help despite glitches with power and other system failings beyond their control.
We took a Deluxe room - 20 dollars dearer than the bog-standard room - and consider the extra money worth spending. The room was large and airy, although I wouldn't have minded a shower over the bath and a fridge would have been nice on a 40 degree day. The standard rooms were quite a bit smaller from what I could see.
The gardens are lovely and there are some nice evening views, while the food is, again, fairly typical of a standard Zimbabwean hotel; there's plenty of it and it's tasty enough even if there is not much variety and it may be a little uninspired. Still, you go hungry only because you choose to.
One really doesn't stay here for the hotel; the main attraction is just over the back fence (about 700m to the entrance to the Great Zimbabwe complex via a direct road). Perhaps the prices are a bit high, even by Western standards, for what you get, but again they fall in line with most similar places around the country.
A word of warning: although the hotel accepts credit cards, we had every kind of trouble getting the link to the processing site - no fault of the staff, who tried for hours to get things sorted - and in the end I used cash, so it would pay to have the necessary in your pocket just in case. For whatever reason, they didn't have the old paper slips and a zip-zap machine, which is a failing that should be rectified. The alternative may be a trip into Masvingo, 30-odd kilometres away, to the ATMs (which may or may not have money in them).
The bed was comfortable, the room pleasant, the staff helpful and the monkeys (of which there were many running around the grounds) only minor pests but you still have to lock the room up properly. Apart from the few (minor) irritations listed above, I have no complaints and must admit to having a pleasant night there - everything got sorted out in the end and we got away with no hassles in the morning.
Any recommendation for the hotel assumes I'm writing for a foreign visitor travelling to the Great Zimbabwe complex; this hotel seems to be the pick of what's available in the Masvingo area and you can't beat the location. There's probably no other reason a tourist would be in Masvingo for any protracted time, after all.
By the way - a side trip down to Lake Kyle and the dam is worth the extra couple of hours in the morning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Great Zimbabwe Hotel has a range of activities and facilities to cater for the whole family. From the modest restaurant to the comfortable bar this hotel carries the affectionate atmosphere of the countryside. For entertainment the hotel has a range of outdoor activities such as swimming and volleyball. The premises is also located only 700 meters from the Great Zimbabwe Monuments where guests can take part in informative guided tours. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Great Zimbabwe Hotel Masvingo