Nestled in thorny bushes in almost undisturbed indigenous vegetation is Gweru's upmarket lodge; The Village Lodge.
The Village Lodge with a theme of an African village is the destination for guests looking for excellent service in the Midlands. It is 5km from Gweru City centre along Gweru – Harare Highway and is located in a serene environment, a stone throw away from the esteemed Regina Mundi High School.
Rated as a comfort lodge at 3 stars, The Village Lodge is remarkable for its exquisite accommodation, its luscious English and Chinese cuisine. It is also noted for its marvellous brick under thatch lodge and spacious environment.
The Village Lodge is the only hotel in the Midlands that offers Chinese cuisine to include Chicken Chow Mein, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Herbed Chicken Stir-fry. One of the unique products at the lodge is the food which is fresh. The vegetables and meat are obtained from the lodge's farm and garden while bread comes from the company's Confectionary.
The Village Lodge has one of the best executive suites in the country called Muzinda. The name strikes a chord with the African Village theme where Muzinda is the place of the King and this executive suite has a meeting room with separate toilets, a large bedroom with King size bed and a jacuzzi.There is a big drum in the corner of the meeting room 'used for calling meetings'.
Muzinda has played host to well known international guests including former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano and 7th Day Adventist leader Ted Wilson who is based in the United States of America.
In addition to Muzinda, The Village Lodge has two other remarkable executive suites in Bonanza and Chiteketeke which is for honey moon. Chitekete (name derived from Zimbabwe's highest selling album by famed musician Leonard Dembo) has a unique bathroom where the honeymoon couple can shower under the stars; this is a special bathroom without a roof. All rooms have their own car parks.
Naturally The Village Lodge is a popular wedding venue because of its space, natural vegetation and lush green lawns and weddings can take place either in the gazebo or by the pool side. The Village Lodge has 46 rooms; three executive suites, 18 deluxe and 25 standard and all the rooms have double beds or queen size beds, showers, tubs or Jacuzzi.
Tom Nyirenda who is the General Manager says the Lodge's focus is on providing excellent service to customers.
"Our focus is on providing excellent service to our customers. We make sure that their stay is comfortable which means even in our recruitment, we go for the best and most experienced and well trained workers," says Nyirenda.
The Village Lodge is popular with free travellers but Government conferences, Non-Governmental Organisations, associations and corporates have become the mainstay of the Lodge bringing it the biggest chunk of its occupancy which currently stands at an average of 62%.
Families also take their time out at The Village Lodge because of its serene environment and for the fresh food.
Nyirenda believes a boom in mineral exploitation in the Midlands Province is a potential source of clientele growth. The Midlands Province is mineral rich but currently the mining industry is down.
"We have enjoyed windfalls from the opening of Unki and Mimosa in Shurugwi and Zvishavane. The Midlands province is rich in minerals and we think a boost in the exploitation of these minerals and the reopening of companies like Zisco, ZIMASCO and Bata will not only bring new local guests but international company executives as well," says Nyirenda.
He adds that The Village Lodge thrives on building strong relationships with clients.
"We have built strong relationships with our clients and we have exclusive products that have allowed us to tap into international markets and guests come here for meetings and conferences. Midlands is a region with big mines and big agriculture
"Having an international airport in Gweru can boost arrivals in the Midlands and increase occupancy. We don't have an airport and currently the Airforce of Zimbabwe airbase is being used," says Nyirenda.
There are also enough sites to visit in Gweru for those who need to relax after a taxing workshop, meeting or for team building.
There is the Antelope Park popular for animals including lions and antelope and there is also White Waters where a number of water games are available.
The Village Lodge was established in 2007 and is the brain child of Enos Size a prominent businessman in Gweru. The lodge started with just six rooms and has grown over the years to 46.
It has had its spin-offs and born out of it are two other outstanding lodges in Gweru which are the Village Escape and the Suburban.
Nyirenda is a hotelier of vast experience having started his career at Mount Soche in Malawi in 1978. Nyirenda, a holder of an HND in Hotel and Catering came back to Zimbabwe at independence and worked for the Sun Hotels for 28 years and has also been with Rainbow Hotels.
His total experience in the industry is 40 years having been to most of Zimbabwe's top hotels in Bulawayo, Mutare, Kariba, Victoria Falls and Hwange including The Kingdom Hotel.
He has been with The Village Lodge for six years.
The other senior managers at The Village Lodge are Sibusiso Musengi who is the lodge manager and Nokutenda Zhou who is the functions and marketing manager.
The Village Lodge is a subsidiary of Size Investments.travel and leisure