Minister Prisca Mupfumira had announced their rolling onto the market at a glitzy and pomp filled media launch in the city just a few hours before she had been reappointed as the minister in charge of tourism in Government yet again.
She had toured them and they were only just 50 percent done yet many saw that what were previously ordinary apartments had indeed been transformed into world class lodgings.
The temptation for any travel writer was to judge them at the aesthetic face value and score them at a doubtless ‘‘A’’ for their beauty. I resisted. Instead, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And that of the hotel room is in the lived experience.
And so last weekend, surreptitiously unbeknown to the staff, I played mystery guest to have a first-hand taste at the hospitality there.
It is without question that the apartments have been remarkably improved as a facility from the days of old. The ambiance itself in Harare’s night-life speaks of a facility that has gentrified its end of the infamous avenues and stands out like a facility in any metropolis in the Western Hemisphere. Sheer class!
Staff and reception
The reception and hospitality was admirable. A gentleman named Prince was at hand to make sure I got to the rooms and had a taste of the amenities. While his name may have been that of quite the royal, his personalised service would leave one feeling like the top regal; with service that leaves one feeling like a king. The room was so filled with glamour and beauty, confirming their affirmation that they would pull all the stops to make it look glamorous.
The only thing that seemed not to be in the room to complete the silver screen perfection the rooms offer was Marilyn Monroe lying sprawled on the bed waiting to give to a full body massage.
But then again who wants their abs (which I barely have) toned and rubbed by a ghost? Either way, no other hotel offers Marilyn on a bed as part of their package so that was hoping up a bit of a stretch!
With art nouveau nuances and delightful yellow tones, the apartments, for medium and long-term stay, are nerve calming as they are delightful. So too are the grey tones that give the feeling of rest, something much-needed for an establishment one retreats to after a busy day in the heart of a busy and cut-throat world that is the Harare business planet.
Services and meals
The argument has always been, why go to a Cresta Hotel if it isn’t for the food? And that argument still stands. The group is known as a haven for foodies, something that they still are head, shoulders and heel, yes heels still ahead of their competition.
The paddy taking orders in the kitchen/room service was at pains to make sure that the ‘‘black sadza’’; “rezviyo”, which I had initially asked for and opted out of choosing instead spaghetti and cheese which was ready-made, would be made for me.
One does not want to be fussy and have the chef start cooking from scratch. Who could convince her? So eventually she had her way and it was black sadza in the end that made it to my room. It was as perfect as a Cresta meal.
And Darlington, who brought the meal home (as the room eventually ended up feeling like) was as courteous as and Eton freshman. The polite lady at reception also made sure the stay was perfect, attending to all fussiness with slick smooth ease.
The big disappointment
But not everything was perfect and perhaps I will remember equally the least fond memory I had of the Hotel that the tourism minister said would be the next best thing for the travelling businessman to Harare.
But what could spoil what seemingly comes across as a perfect stay at the new apartment hotel. Surely everything sounds like it was fine and dandy?
Two nights after my stay I had to check the date and the biggest disappointment then dawned upon me. The worst thing about Cresta Oasis Apartments is; you have to check out! It had been so cosy I never wanted to leave!