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THE URBAN: NDOLA’S TRANQUIL ESCAPE

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AS SOON AS YOU TURN FROM THE BUSY MAIN ROAD TOWARDS THE URBAN HOTEL NDOLA, YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOU’RE LEAVING THE CITY BEHIND AND ENTERING INTO A DEN OF TRANQUILITY.

The hotel is situated on the edge of Ndola’s oldet golf club, the perfect location that mixes the best of urban life and relaxation. Visitors are sure to find this experience a quiet retreat within the city.

Despite the name “Urban” it is clear from the outset that there is something distinct and almost colonial and charming about the hotel with its wooden beams, long drop ceiling fans and muted décor.

The Urban Hotel is a member of The Urban Hotel Group, a brand that is all about innovation, sophistication and international standards of hospitality. 

There are plenty of friendly, jovial staff to greet you (Wi-Fi code in hand) on your arrival and you are immediately drawn in by how much there is to see. The reception area triples as a lounge, dining area and workspace. Glass doors beyond the reception and dining area open to a garden, pool and poolside bar that evoke the feeling of spilling onto the Golf Course.

The Hotel itself has a rustic sort of feel, its clearly modern and decidedly minimalist but manages to retain character through clever placement of stunning and thought-provoking, Afro-futuristic art.  The rooms and general areas have a muted, simple elegance. Furnishings in the rooms are sparse but functional with all the amenities that any seasoned business traveller will be accustomed to; beautifully scented little tubes of cosmetics, air conditioning and a TV.

Rooms range from $120 to $150 in price, which includes a buffet style breakfast with options varying from pancakes and fresh fruit to made to order omelettes as well as coffee on tap; an exciting prospect for anyone who needs that jumpstart in the morning. An Airport shuttle service can also be provided with prior notice at no extra cost to guests.

The Metropolitan Restaurant serves a suitable variety of meals; starters, entrée’s, wraps, sandwiches and desserts including vegetarian options as well, and of course, Nshima. The food is well priced, aesthetically pleasing and tasty. The menu includes a small but impressive selection of South African wines for those with a more adventurous streak. Special mention must be made of the obligatory, ambient jazz that never rises above a level that would destroy the otherwise intimate feel of the restaurant.

Lights dim down in the evening and the restaurant is date night certified with dinner by candlelight. It’s easy to imagine a relaxing evening of live music or karaoke, as happens at The Urban from time to time. Check local listings, as they say.

The bar, called The Office Patio Bar, takes advantage of the pristine garden, blending seamlessly into its surroundings, completely exposed to the elements with simple Afro-centric fittings. Fans of murder mystery will have a field day picking cocktails with names such as, “The Congo Killer”, “Murder in Maputo”, “Ndola Necklace”, and the ominous “Legend”; fodder for the overactive imagination.

The Urban Hotel certainly provides a serene environment for the modern day phenomena of an office away from the office, whether you’re an individual looking to make use of the daily rate Wi-Fi or a group that requires use of the 30 person capacity boardroom. The “Smart Bar”, or reception cum business center to you and I, provides 24 hour services such as copying and the use of computers. Communal seating areas provide outlets for personal computers and other electrical appliances with no questions asked throughout the day ,“as long as you buy yourself a couple of drinks or food”. 

Wondering what to do while at The Urban? Well, at present, the hotel is very commuter centric, it is close to both Ndola Square, which has a good selection of independent shops including a salon that provides Spa treatments, and Kafubu Mall which has more recognizable chain stores and a couple of options for a night out beyond the Hotel. The nearly 100 year old Ndola Golf Club welcomes both members and non-members and is quite literally just a stone’s throw away.

While the word “Urban” will conjure up images of busy, noisy city streets, the reality is that this hotel provides a welcome retreat from boisterous city life. The name is seemingly something more like a statement of intent. This is what urban Africa could be like; contemporary with a traditional twist and always open for business.

The website,

www.theurbanhotelgroup.com is an excellent source of additional information. For bookings contact

res@theurbanhotelgroup.com

or telephone +260 963 881 742.

RASHMI SHARMA ALL ABOUT THE JEWELS

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