By Rudo Nhamoinesu (Ndeipi Magazine)
The Harrison family has created a lush and nurturing place for all to enjoy in the leafy suburb of Ballantyne Park, Harare. After searching for the right place and coming up with this concept, Shirley Harrison and her family embarked on this hospitality journey in 2006. Starting with just two townhouses offering a bed and breakfast stay, they have over the years grown into a lodge offering 17 well-appointed rooms, a conference room, and a rooftop contemporary gym.
From the moment you enter through the gates, you are first struck by the tasteful calming design of the building and landscape, painted with harmonious colours that express the essence of premium quality. The pathway leading to the lodge goes past two beautiful leopard trees, with a flush of ice-burg roses on the side. I was fortunate that these white roses were in full bloom during my stay! The lodge draws inspiration from the natural environment that surrounds it, with a deep commitment to sustainability they have maintained some of the property’s old trees giving it a bit of history.
Walking through the large solid door into the awe-inspiring hallway/reception area, feelings of peace and relaxation are immediately stimulated through the lodge’s décor. The coastal-inspired décor gives you a feeling of being by the beachside. Shirley has taken her love for the ocean and encompassed this in the lodge’s furnishings; creating coastal aesthetics by making use of natural light, a soft colour palette of blues, greens, and greys with a bit of pattern play, sandy textures, and wood furniture. Through this, they have created a breezy environment where one can unwind. A personal touch has also been added to the lodge’s main area by including framed pictures that she has taken of her family’s adventures around the coast, making a great addition.
I found the hospitality and efficiency at Ballantynes Lodge exceptional. From a friendly welcome by their front desk to a smooth check-in process. Members of the team that I came across always had a big smile on their faces, extending a warm hello as they went about their day. This creates such a pleasant environment, it was at that moment that their motto “Arrive as a guest, leave as a friend” slowly began to ring true. As a solo traveller, it was comforting to be able to chat with the team as the evening progressed.
My room was located in an enclosed area, separate from the main lodge offering you seclusion and exclusivity with a private garden and a bench that allows you the opportunity to sit and be alone with your thoughts or read a book or work uninterrupted! Upon entering the room from the garden, my first thoughts were how homey it felt in that instant. With the use of modern design, an open layout, and ample lighting, it makes one feel calmer and more relaxed. I appreciated the attention to detail throughout the room- from the white feather art pieces hanging on the wall, which in my mind symbolize light and love contributing to the modern whimsical feel of the room. The addition of sunblock curtains, soft carpet, and a workstation brought the whole room together. The room has access to strong WI-FI allowing you to download your emails or work if need be.
I found my bed very comfortable with luxurious linen that felt soft against my skin and pillows I believe were bought with the guest’s utmost comfort in mind, as they for me created the feeling of sleeping on clouds. For a lot of people travelling for either business or leisure, the opportunity to lay down after a long day is almost always needed to be done on a bed with a magical touch to it. With a good mattress, quality linen, and plush pillows, Ballantyne’s lodge offers this to you.
I was greatly impressed by the quality and presentation of the food served. The night I stayed, the Chef and his team prepared a two-course meal starting with a sumptuous freshly made carbonara pasta dish that was both creamy and deliciously cheesy topped with crispy bacon and a feta and avocado salad on the side. The best pasta I have had to date! Dessert was apple crumble, in the most delicious custard sauce topped with a meringue and fruit. The food is made from fresh organically sourced ingredients. Ballantynes Lodge is a big supporter of Pomona farmers market and has over the years continued to source fresh produce for the lodge from them ensuring that every guest’s meal is freshly prepared with love.
The Ballantynes Bistro is a new addition to the lodge and is open to the public, with an interesting menu they cater for different pallets across the board. If you would like to book breakfast, lunch or dinner, or a corporate event, the team is ready to assist you with your needs.
The lodge boasts of well-manicured gardens. The statement “Nature Heals” rings true as a stroll around the green garden with flowers in full bloom awakens feelings of happiness and peace. These garden spaces offer such tranquillity and with great birdlife, this is the perfect spot to take out your bird book or app and identify some of the little visitors. The lodge has a crystal blue swimming pool as well for those hot summer days, great photo opportunities.
With such great gardens, this would be the perfect spot for a wedding or tea party, Shirley and her team are happy to assist you with your event planning.
My stay was very fulfilling and felt relaxed at the end. This is a lodge worthwhile visiting and I do hope you consider it!
If you would like to enquire or book, please contact the reservations team
T: +263 77 257 3435
A: 4 Parham Road, Ballantyne Park
Images by Ballantynes Lodge
Originally published in the 119th Ndeipi Magazine