Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Night Away in Kampala

Kevin and I are weekend warriors and are constantly thinking of where we can get away for the weekend.  Recently a special occasion had us scratching our heads for a place to escape to.  Unfortunately time was not on our side and limited our options.  We realized that after 10 years of living in Kampala we had never spent a night in the city, so the idea arose to be a tourist in our own town for a night.  The idea seemed strange since we are usually trying to escape the madness for something more peaceful and relaxing; to find a place that will transport us far far away from city life.  However we decided to give the idea a try and chose to spend our night away at the Protea Hotel on Elgon Terrace in Kololo.  We had no idea how far away this one night would take us.

We checked in at midday and from the moment we arrived, we indulged in the luxury, pampering service and hospitality that the hotel offers.  After being shown our upgraded room we rode the glass elevator down to the ground level and entered the central courtyard around which the hotel is built.  Within the courtyard is the bar and the restaurant called Chapter One.

We walk through the courtyard to the restaurant and are seated at an outdoor table.  We order drinks which come icy cold and begin to peruse the menu.  It’s not long before we melt into our surroundings.  No indication of the hustle and bustle going on outside beyond the walls can be felt now.  We completely relax in this oasis next to tropical plants and fish ponds, we listen to the water splashing out of the fountains and watch the resident guinea fowl weave through the garden delighting us with the conversations they are having amongst themselves.  Soft music plays in the background while we savour every morsel of the food that we have ordered.

After lunch we find seclusion in our room and stumble across a movie starting on the large flat screen TV.  We get comfortable on the bed, adjust the air conditioning for our comfort and relax.  Ah, this really is the life, we could get used to this!

After sunset we return to the restaurant for dinner and find the atmosphere has transformed for the evening.  The guinea fowl are nowhere to be seen, presumably sleeping somewhere between the fauna.  The frogs have taken over the evening shift setting the mood with their chorus that sounds like hundreds of little chimes.  The area is softly lit with lanterns lining the pathways through the garden and once again, the food does not disappoint.  Kevin ordered a brandy steak which he tells me melted in his mouth.  I ordered a curry with some hesitation thinking that dishes like curries should be reserved for our next visit to an Indian restaurant but my presumption was completely wrong.  The prawn and mango curry was better than I could have imagined and I will definitely return to order that dish again.  We end our meal with Pavlova and fresh fruit.  Years before we had once come to Chapter One for the lunch buffet, which was excellent but had never really thought of it as a dinner option, but we will now.

The large bed absorbs us with its comfort and crisp white linens.  It is with great reluctance that we get out of it in the morning.  The room was so quiet, not a barking dog, a siren or a nightclub could be heard the whole night and it was bliss.  Before checking out we pay our last visit to the restaurant for the buffet breakfast which is included with our stay.  The choices on the buffet are plentiful and we enjoy a delicious breakfast with a few cups of good coffee, the makings for a great start to any day. We marvel at how relaxed we both feel after one night in the heart of Kampala.  We leave the hotel feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.  I will never underestimate the power of a night away in Kampala to ease my tensions, especially amidst such luxury and attention to detail that the Protea Hotel provides.  It's no surprise that the hotel has won the accolade as the winner of the World Luxury Hotel Award for 2010 and 2011.

Bookings and Reservations
Protea Hotel Kampala
+256 (312) 550 000