The en-suite rooms are relatively small but adequately furnished with central heating to combat the chill due to the altitude. Prehistoric cave murals on the walls give the rooms a little character.
The real draw of this hotel is its location – so close to the Crater you can watch the game below with the hotel’s binoculars – its warmth, and its affordability.
Away from the crater rim in the Rift Valley Escarpment – an area known as Karatu – there are a number of small coffee plantations, lodges and guesthouses that offer better value. While they don’t have the stunning views of the accommodation on the Crater rim, they do offer much more character.
The best of these is Gibbs Farm, one of the first guesthouses in northern Tanzania. It started life as a coffee farm in the 1920s, was refurbished as a rustic, luxury inn, and it still affords wonderful views over the nearby coffee plantations. It’s a magical place that’s still a working farm and, if they wish, guests can wake up early to milk the cattle and make bread in the kitchen with local chefs.
The main farmhouse and 20 guest cottages are tastefully decorated, warm and charming but with all the modern amenities. The property has a very colonial feel to it, with wooden beams on the ceiling and polished-stone floors, and there’s usually a resident artist whose work decorates the property. Each has its own private garden or veranda.
The grounds of Gibbs Farm are extensive, comprising a number of different gardens, such as a herb garden, rose garden and medicine garden. There’s also a vegetable garden, ensuring all meals are made from organic, homegrown veg. The gardens are home to an array of tropical birds, which you can see and hear as you wander around.