The Manor at Ngorongoro was a beautiful neo-colonial place full of old world charm.
There were 20 suites in the compound, together with a reception house and a large central hall.
There were two suites to each mini-manor, with entrances to the suites at opposite ends for maximum privacy.
The suite was essentially a massive room divided by an open fireplace, with a king-size bed on the raised half of the room.
I loved the small touches of cookies in a jar and a good selection of Tanzanian tea that we could help ourselves with.
What we appreciated even more was the bottle of sparkling wine set in an ice bucket, plus a decanter of sherry all waiting for us to enjoy.
The couches in front of the fireplace beckoned! (It was a good thing we didn’t ask for the fire to be lit till the next morning, because we city noobs didn’t realise that despite the chimney, the smoke filled up the whole room so much the smell clung to our clothes.
We ended up opening the
window, which kind of defeated the purpose of warming us up in the nippy
The bathroom was massive, with the usual luxuries like a big rain shower and more pamperingly, a hot bath strewn with rose petals, already drawn for us by the thoughtful staff.
I liked how they
provided plenty of fluffy towels on standby. The only problem for people like
us who are used to equatorial warmth was that the room got cold really quickly
as evening set in and there wasn’t a heater in the room. (The fireplace doesn’t
We had a semi-private patio overlooking the Shangri-la coffee estate, owned by the same group. It was lovely watching the sunset from here, with the green coffee bushes and fertile red earth forming a lovely backdrop.
The grounds are beautiful with herb garden (basil, chives, tarragon and spring onions) and the pretty flowers along the paths.
There were also stables, with a couple of placid horses and a friendly stablemaster.
Too bad we were there for only one night, otherwise we’d definitely have taken
the chance to go riding in the coffee plantation. (Extra charges for
horseriding of course.)
We went past the little swimming pool, which looked lovely, but it was far too chilly to be worth breaking out the swimwear for. There wasn’t even anyone lounging in the sun, the weather was that cool.
Before dinner, we sat in the drawing room enjoying a Serengeti beer and various yummy small bites while leafing through beautiful picture books of safari and African culture.
(We were of course
delighted that the place was full board, including the alcohol.)
We then proceeded to the dining room and were presented with a leather-bound menu to choose from.
The food was decent enough, English colonial style French food. It was lovely to have a posh meal in an actual building after almost a week in tents and temporary structures.
I liked the freshly-picked garden-grown vegetables in the salad and the tasty duck. Too bad the beef here was really tough.
It had great flavour because it’s probably
free range and vaguely organic, but too much jaw exercise!
Breakfast was in a separate room off the dining room. It was a light-filled area from the glass windows, a welcome change from the dark wood panelling in the dining room.
We were served surprisingly
mediocre coffee from their own plantation and helped ourselves to a cold buffet
spread. The hot food, like the delicious eggs Benedict, were made to order.
We were definitely sad that we only stayed one night here: alas we were due to move elsewhere to be closer to the crater floor. But The Manor gave us a lovely farewell gift. Our lunch box was quite different from the usual grilled chicken, boiled egg and dry bread.
As I said, I have been in more expensive and luxurious hotels in more glamourous and exotic places, but for reasons I am trying to understand myself, I will remember my day and evening at Manor at Ngorongoro the rest of my life. I will recommend this hotel to everyone