Hotel Insider: Legendary Lodge, Arusha

The best hotel to stay in Arusha (Tanzania’s ‘safari capital’) pre- or post-safari.

The Legendary Lodge in Arusha. Courtesy The Legendary Lodge
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The welcome

After a short ride from the airport through busy, downtown Arusha, the Legendary Lodge is an oasis of calm surrounded by coffee plantations and mature botanical gardens. Bush-style welcome drinks await outside the central villa with cooling face flannels, smiling faces, and many hands to whisk your bags to your villa.

The neighbourhood

The Legendary is an oasis of calm surrounded by coffee plantations and mature botanical gardens. Courtesy Legendary Lodge

Although not far from busy downtown Arusha, the prevailing atmosphere is of an old-style colonial estate surrounded by well-tended gardens, the sound of bird-song and striking views over nearby Mount Meru, the second-highest mountain in Tanzania after Kilimanjaro. Local activities include a tour of the coffee plantation and a (well-worthwhile) visit to the nearby Cultural Heritage Museum with its collections of tribal art and artefacts, sculptures and antiques.

The scene

The Legendary Lodge has spa treatments including massages. Courtesy Legendary Lodge

Once you’re out in the bush on safari, there’s not much time to enjoy creature comforts, which is why Legendary Lodge is such a great place to relax and catch up on sleep and personal organisation before or after a long international flight pre- or post-safari.

The room

The bedroom inside the Legendary Lodge. Courtesy Legendary Lodge

There are ten garden rooms (half-sections of villas) in the grounds, which create a home-from-home atmosphere, and which come with their own private terrace (ours had a direct view of Mount Meru) and a huge bedroom/sitting room with a four-poster bed. All have air conditioning, satellite TV and mini-bar, as well as a large bathroom/shower area. The decor is colonial in style. It’s chic, with a retro feel, comfortable leather sofas, high ceilings and wooden beams. A work desk is provided with free Wi-Fi. There are also two family houses with several bedrooms. All meals can be served in the room and the sound of cicadas at night whets the appetite for the African bush.

The service

Staff are friendly and always on hand or at the end of a telephone from the room. My wife had a medical emergency while we were staying, which was handled with great sensitivity and efficiency, so she was able to receive the rehydrating fluids required at a day-care centre without having to spend a night in hospital. The lodge’s own private nurse provided all the necessary advice and information, while arrangements and transfers to a clinic were all arranged with the minimum of fuss. Post-emergency, my wife spoke very highly of the massage and spa treatment at the end of our stay.

The food

Unless served in your room, meals are taken on the terrace of the main building overlooking the lawns and the garden. Fresh fruit dishes are a speciality for breakfast with a full-English, as well as continental options. The three-course dinners come with excellent fish and meat dishes (head chef Max’s chicken curry is highly recommended). All produce is locally sourced and sea-food is fresh every morning.


Inside the Legendary Lodge. Courtesy Legendary Lodge

The peace and calm of the gardens and the Lodge’s old-school charm.


I hate myself for saying it, but … I hate having chairs pushed in under me when I sit down.

The verdict

A tropical oasis in the city that is often used as an overnight dormitory on the way to and from the bush, but is worth so much more.  

The bottom Line

Rates at Legendary Lodge start from £286 (Dh1,379) per person. The stay was organised by The Luxury Safari Company.


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