If you are looking for a secret hideaway to escape from the rat race then look no further than the beautiful Leopard Rock Hotel, tucked away in the foothills of the Bvumba Mountains (Drizzle Mountains in the local dialect) of Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands.

The hotel first opened its doors in 1946 and could originally accommodate up to 40 guests, but is much larger now. Since then the hotel has hosted numerous A-list celebrities the first of which was Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in 1953. She fell in love with the stunning surroundings and the Queen Mother wrote: “There is nowhere more beautiful in Africa”. I am not sure that I agree with this sentiment entirely, but the views and the scenery are pretty spectacular. Princess Diana also visited, with her boys, on her visit to Zimbabwe in 1993 and there are some fabulous photographs on the walls outside the bar.

 

Leopard Rock Gardens
Leopard Rock Gardens

 

On arrival, we were greeted before we even got to the door by reception staff and welcomed with a refreshing fruit juice. The check-in was efficient and we were given all the information we required for our stay. We were then shown to an executive suite.

The first thing that I noticed was the amazing view. We were just above treetop height so nothing blocked the beautiful panorama. Even though the weather was not marvellous the sunset seen from out sitting room area a little later was breathtaking. I have to point out that this shot is not adjusted in any way. This is exactly as it was! Isn’t it a stunning sky?

 

Sunset from our suite
Sunset from our suite

 

Leopard Rock Hotel Executive Suite

The suite had a living room area with a guest toilet. There was a Nespresso machine and coffee pods as well as a kettle for tea and instant coffee. There were complimentary soft drinks in the fridge as well as fresh milk. A nice surprise was a decorated plate on the table with chocolately brownie morsels as a welcome and some fruit and nuts.

 

Welcome selection
Welcome selection

 

The bedroom was spacious with a king size bed and gorgeous crisp good quality linen. There is also a small dressing table/desk with an occasional lamp. The cupboards were huge with large shelves, fluffy bathrobes and tons of space.

Another detail that I loved was that the curtains had blackout lining so the room was really dark for a great nights sleep.

There is no television in the rooms, but quite honestly I did not look for one or even miss it. It was a pleasure not to have the intrusion.

The bathroom has a shower over the bath rather than a standalone shower, but it worked well. There is nothing that I hate more than a luxurious hotel that skimps on the smaller things. This was not the case here and the toiletries were a premium brand well known in South Africa. Another thing that drives me crazy is poor quality, thin towels. These towels were thick and absorbent and there were more than enough of them available.

There is also good wi-fi throughout the property.

 

Toiletries in the bathroom at Leopard Rock
Toiletries in the bathroom

 

Dining Options

The first night we had dinner at the La Roche Restaurant. This is an ideal space for weddings and large functions.

My favourite space was The Conservatory. It is an elegant far more intimate venue. Breakfast was also served here on Sunday.

You can also lunch on the terrace or at the Clubhouse if you are at the golf course.

All our meals were delicious. The food is not the trendiest around, but it is well prepared, nicely presented and the portions are generous.

I must make special mention of the wine list. It has been carefully thought out and there is a huge choice of both South African and international wines. I checked if they were all available and the waiter assured me that only a few of them were “sold out”.

I also need to commend the staff, who went out of their way to make our meals special with outstanding service.

The Conservatory at Leopard Rock Hotel
The Conservatory

 

The Bar

Be sure to have a cocktail at Napoleon’s.  I had the signature Pink Leopard cocktail. It had gin, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, and yes, you are not seeing things, something called Sour Monkey, that is most definitely not made from monkeys!  The barman happily gave me a taste of the Sour Monkey before I ordered my drink. As I am not a fan of overly sweet things this was perfect for me as we enjoyed out cocktails in front of the fire before dinner.

 

A Pink Leopard Cocktail at Leopard Rock
A Pink Leopard Cocktail

The décor

While some may say the décor is somewhat dated I disagree. It is very much in keeping with the theme of the hotel. It is understated, timeless and elegant. You would not suggest that an English Country estate’s décor is dated and Leopard Rock feels a bit like a stately home so to my mind the décor works.

 

The Golf Course

There is no doubt that this is a challenging golf course. My husband was in raptures over some of the holes. I was once again blown away by the views.

The course is 6164m and a par 71 and was designed by Peter Matkovich. Many of the holes are lined with dense forest or trees, so be prepared to lose more than a couple of balls on your round, unless you hit perfectly straight shots every time.

This course was named as one of Africa’s top 10 by CNN travel.

Even if you are not a golfer it is worth hiring a cart for a couple of hours to enjoy the scenic beauty and the wildlife on the course. We saw some buck, baboons and Samango monkeys that I had never seen before.

 

Sunbird Hole at Leopard Rock Golf Course
Sunbird Hole at Leopard Rock Golf Course

 

The Game Park

There are a host of activities to choose from. You can go for a walk with a guide or view the game from horseback. Some of the species in the park are impala, zebra, kudu, eland, nyala, giraffe, bushbuck, wildebeest, rare Samango Monkeys and blue duikers. It is also a bird lovers paradise.

For a more sophisticated approach make the most of the game viewing deck while you enjoy sundowners and canapés.

 

Zebra at Leopard Rock
Zebra at Leopard Rock

 

Other Activities

Leopard Rock Hotel also has a large swimming pool, tennis courts, squash courts and a children’s play area.

If you want to enjoy the Eastern Highlands in style then Leopard Rock has to be your number one choice. Enjoy a more leisurely pace and the outdoors and still be cosseted in luxury with everything you need to make your stay memorable.

 

My stay was sponsored by Leopard Rock Hotel, but as ever, all opinions expressed here unbiased and an honest reflection of my stay.

 

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Leopard Rock Hotel
Leopard Rock Luxury Stay

 

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Oh wow, what it would be like to stay in the same rooms as the likes of royalty! The Leopard Rock Hotel sounds wonderful, and I would love to have the opportunity to go looking for game on horseback. I like that there’s no TV in the room too – really allows you to soak up the atmosphere and be in the moment to enjoy the holiday 🙂

    • You can stay in the Royal Rooms without any problem. There is such a lot of history it is really interesting to wander around the hotel looking at the old photos and reading the stories of the past. No TV works for me!

  2. Whoa the place where the Queens too stayed!!! I am envious. The suite interiors is mind blowing. And you have great lot of activities too. Probably the first hotel I am reading which has no TV. Better that way though.

  3. Wow I don’t think I’ve ever stayed where the Queen has!! It is certainly beautiful, I love how green everything is in the gardens! You’re right about TVs in the room, when there are sunsets like that you really don’t want to sit staring at a TV the whole time! I’d much rather spend my time on the viewing deck – with a drink and canapes if that’s how they do it!

    • That’s exactly how they do it! I can watch TV at home, but I really can’t enjoy the bush, the sunsets or the same spectacular views, so I am happy to forgo the television.

  4. Africa, my Africa! Zimbabwe is beautiful. Leopard Rock Hotel’s location in the foothills of the Bvumba Mountains looks perfect for a relaxing break. I see what you mean by the decor. It’s still very much English Colonial isn’t it?

  5. I’m always amazed at the level of service and amenities at these luxury hotels in the bush in Africa — and this one seems no different. The free WiFi throughout the hotel is definitely a treat! And it seems like a beautiful area — those sunsets look amazing.

  6. I love hotels with history. The fact that its doors have been open since 1946 speaks to its dedication to providing guests with a great stay. The grounds do look pretty and I could definitely imagine myself enjoying a cocktail watching a sunset like that. I love seeing wildlife when I travel so taking a golf cart out on the course or seeing them around the hotel would be quite the thrill!

  7. It was a stunning sky. It is good that you had nothing blocking it. I also liked the welcome plate they left you. Some little brownies sounds real good. It looks like a really nice hotel.

  8. Wow – this is so lovely! I’ll be in Zimbabwe later this year and I’ll try to check it out. Afterall, if it’s good enough for the Queen…..

    And I definitely want to try some of the sour monkey drink!

  9. The Leopard Rock Hotel in Zimbabwe certainly looks like a great spot. After all, if it is good enough for the Queen then I should be ok!! I love that it is in the middle of a game park. Bet the views were great at sunrise and sunset. I always like when there are real blackout curtains, although who knows what might be peeking in your window in a game park!

    • I am sure that the best culprits to peek through the windows are the monkeys. I love the blackout curtains as well. It just means that I do not wake up with the sunrise as normal.:-)

  10. Leopard Rock certainly does look fantastic! I love the gorgeous rooms and the grounds! My husband would love playing a round of golf on their course too! I would love to get out on the Game Park. It’s really incredible-sounding!

    • It is a great all-round destination and there is more than enough to keep you busy for a couple of days. Your husband would love the course! It is not only challenging, but it has some spectacular views as well.

  11. I love a good hotel bar so my first stop will be a Napoleon’s. The cocktail looks devine. Nice to be so close to nature, looks like a beautiful property.

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