All opinions are my own. This review is based on two separate stays at the hotel for Peace Corps Conferences. My thoughts and opinions are not reflective of the US government, the Peace Corps, or the Government of Botswana. Thanks to Sheev Dave for providing me with pictures.
I had the lovely opportunity to stay at Phakalane Hotel on two occasions while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
The hotel is located just outside of the Gaborone City Center in Phakalane. Minutes from the airport, and in a gated community, driving up to the hotel was like transitioning universes. It’s lush green landscaping was stunning against the dry desert background of Botswana. While serving as a volunteer, it was hard to not resent how much resources went into keeping the property green. While many parts of town, and the country were suffering water shortages, the hotels (especially the fancy hotels) rarely experienced the same water shortages.
Just outside one of the conference rooms was a lovely pavilion that overlooked a pond. While standing in the relieving shade and looking out over the water, it was hard to believe I was still in Botswana. I could have been anywhere in the United States. The green golf fields spilled out behind us, bespeckled by white gold carts.
Checking into my room was easy breezy. The front desk agents were very friendly and spoke english very well. Standing near the front desk was some inviting iced water and iced guava juice. After two hours of travel in 100 degree heat, it was a lovely offer and I definitely had my fill of the iced water.
The Rooms at Phakalane Golf Estates Hotel
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, my experience at the hotel was probably a little different than most. Most people on vacation are relaxed, and excited to experience what’s around them.
I was more interested in running water.
The water pressure in the stunning recently remodeled rooms was perfect. Getting over my guilt of using the water was a struggle but it had been months since my last real shower. I hadn’t feel clean in too long.
The room came with a decent sized flat screen, lots of places to charge my various electronics, and different charger styles. That was a particular bonus because I forgot my converter on one trip.
I remember walking into the room, unsure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The beds were backed up against a wall with a wallpaper tapestry of a forest scene. It was like peaceful and beautiful and I was completely enchanted by it.
The oversized tub in the bathroom begged for a long soak, and there were these… cupboard doors that you could move aside for a nice view of the television… or the rest of the room. From the bathroom, if that wasn’t clear.
My first stay there, my room was located on the bottom floor and had the loveliest porch to walk out to and watch the sun rise over the course.
Food at Phakalane Golf Estates Hotel
They have two restaurants for visitors to choose from, but as we were part of a large conference, our meals were all catered.
The food was buffet style since they were feeding so many of us. The first time I stayed here I indulged on large salads, curries, and traditional Tswana foods like morogo (spinach/rape that’s been sauteed), beef, chicken, and paletche (which is kind of like thickened corn meal).
There were always cakes and special little tarts for dessert and a full tray of fruit at every meal. They also served a lovely tea with biscuits, fruit, coffee and juice.
During my second visit I had developed a host of food issues (couldn’t eat gluten) and the staff tried their best to accommodate us. When you have food sensitivities, your anxiety about food is incredibly high. I was still early in my experience and wasn’t really sure what I should be doing to protect myself and took my cues from other volunteers who came into their service with their food sensitivities. If they couldn’t eat, or didn’t trust, then I also couldn’t eat or couldn’t trust.
Lunch usually went fine, but when we ate inside for dinner at night, each meal was themed for our conference and sometimes they didn’t have a alternative to the main course. For instance, one night the meal was the traditional American meal of hamburgers and fries, and when the gluten free people were served, we received fries.
And that was it.
No vegetables, no paletche, no, fruit or meat without a bun. Just the fries. And when we asked for an alternative they told us there was nothing they could do.
During the four dinners we had during that second experience, this happened three times.
At breakfast and lunch they accommodated us perfectly though. It was interested to experience this once as someone who didn’t have a food sensitivity, and once as someone who did. I really believe that if we weren’t not part of a group of 50+ volunteers and staff, they would have accommodated us just fine. Most Tswana food is naturally gluten free, as long it doesn’t use the pre-made spice mixes.
Things to do at Phakalane Golf Estates Hotel
My stays at the Phakalane Hotel were both times as a volunteer so my activities were limited to what was on our daily agenda. They have beautiful conferences spaces that are well air conditioned, and with beautiful views of the golf courses, and surrounding areas.
I told my friends almost every day how much I wish I golfed. It was a beautiful course and has been played by some of the biggest names in the game. There is lots of memorabilia of tournaments and celebrity golfers who have played a round on the walls of the main conference lobby.
There were several pools on the property and unfortunately during both of my stays I was unprepared to swim in them. Plus, one time it was winter and the pool was much too cold to experience.
How to book a stay at Phakalane Golf Estates Hotel
If you’re visiting Gaborone, Botswana I would totally recommend this hotel. It’s beautiful, the staff is incredibly well trained in customer service (which is not something you can say about many other places in Botswana), and is a great place to just relax.
Visit the website directly to book your stay at http://www.phakalanehotel.com/home/