Hotel check: Sunbird Capital

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Background

Sunbird Malawi is the largest hospitality enterprise in Malawi, with eight hotels and resorts across the country. Sunbird Capital is the group’s flagship property. It is also the go-to lodging for the city’s visiting diplomats and executives.

Where Is It?

It is located 25 kilometres from Lilongwe’s international airport and sits across the road from the city’s brand new conference centre. While another conference hotel is under construction nearby, the Sunbird Capital will, no doubt, be an important base for any convention or social event in town. It is also just down the street from the parliament building and nearby financial institutions.

Rooms

Fresh from a renovation, all accommodations here boast soft carpeting, new beds with cushioned headboards, strong air-conditioning, and plush armchairs. Superior rooms are the entry category and are in the process of gaining new TVs, but the remainder has flat-screen cable TVs. My suite was especially large with a separate boardroom, living area, spacious closet, and large bedroom with two desks. It was similar to the deluxe rooms, which I took a peek at. They boast the same contemporary fabrics and artwork, much of which is produced by local Malawian artists. Especially appreciated is the local coffee and French press, full-length mirror in the dressing area, along with the fresh fruit basket upon arrival. In the bathroom, a rainfall shower head and massive towels are perfect morning ‘pick-me-ups’. French toiletries, bottled water and hairdryers are in all. Most rooms overlook the magnificent gardens, and all have windows that open for fresh air. Several have outdoor terraces, as well. Wireless high-speed Internet is available throughout the hotel, but comes with a surcharge. Executive level rooms (and suites) enjoy access to a small lounge offering a private reception, full business centre, and a café area with all-day coffee, continental breakfast, and evening canapés. Drinks vouchers to the bar are also provided to guests booking these accommodations.

Restaurants & Bars

Dining is a strong point here, and many guests take all of their meals onsite in between meetings. Mimosa is the all-day venue in the central courtyard with indoor and outdoor seating beneath the swaying bougainvillea trees. Most meals are served buffet-style, but the a la carte menu is always an option. It is as thick as a book, with everything from local seafood from Lake Malawi to delicious regional curries with quite the tasty kick. For dinner, the outdoor charcoal oven heats up to provide made-to-order pizzas. Breakfast is included in all rates. Served buffet-style, it features an omelette station, vegetarian area, and lengthy bakery and pastry selection. Tidya is the formal dining room, which opens for dinner and often at lunch. The menu features fine steaks and seafood dishes presented on white table cloths in a romantic dining room. Room service is always an option, and light snacks can be enjoyed by the pool in warmer months.

Meeting & Conference Facilities

The meeting space is expansive, with the interior conference rooms often the site for important announcements or conferences headlined by Malawian President Joyce Banda. The outdoor marquis tent is massive, providing space for social or business functions. Located in the lush gardens, it adds a unique atmosphere to the often staid business meeting. Wireless Internet is available for a fee, but all guests are entitled to a free hour of Internet access in the business centre. Executive level guests are treated to their own computer room for unlimited Internet usage.

Leisure

The outdoor swimming pool is ringed by lounge chairs and umbrellas. For those who prefer to break a sweat, a modern gym features the latest equipment along with the services of a professional trainer. A massage therapist is on staff, which may be just the thing one needs after a game on the hotel’s squash courts.

Verdict

Its recent renovation, convenient business location, and bucolic garden setting, ensure that the Sunbird Capital remains, arguably, the best spot to sleep in town.

Ramsey Qubein

Fact File
Contact
Address:
Chilembwe Road, Lilongwe
Tel: +265 1773388
Email:
capitalres@sunbirdmalawi.com
Web: www.sunbirdmalawi.com

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