Whether you are looking for a beautiful, comfortable and reasonably affordable place to stay, or are looking for a romantic place to take your sweetheart for dinner, Cassia Lodge is tough to beat.
I lead trips to Uganda, and have had the good fortune of having two of those groups stay at Cassia Lodge. Seriously – I have run through a LOT of hotels in Kampala and have repeatedly been disappointed by how disorganized and spotty the service is. At Cassia, the service was consistently impeccable, and the rooms are always clean and nicely maintained (although they don’t all have a/c).
For the quality, the price of $115 single/$135 double (including breakfast) is far better than what you will pay in many of the grungier “upscale” hotels in downtown Kampala. It is a bit off the beaten path, which is either good or bad depending on your tastes and your schedule.
The restaurant serves a good variety of high-quality dishes and has inside or outside seating, both with spectacular views of the lake. The grilled tilapia with pili pili sauce is my favorite, at 23,000 shillings. Some meat and seafood dishes push into the 30,000 – 50,000 shilling range ($15 – $25), but I have yet to come across a dish that wasn’t well-cooked and creatively spiced.
It is also a great place to spend a day sitting by the pool. They charge 10,000 Ush ($5) for adults and 5,000 Ush ($2.50) for kids to swim for the day. The pool is a little short for serious lap swimmers, but the water is clean and refreshing, and once again, you have that view. It starts to get a bit crowded by 1 or 2, so if you do want to do some laps, its best to come by 10 or 11 am.
The only real downside is that the menu by the pool is the same as the dinner menu at the restaurant. Maybe it’s just me, but I would be much more likely to order lunch by the pool if I could get a light sandwich for 8,000 shillings rather than being forced to choose a big, rich meal for three or four times that amount. Even the kid’s fish-and-chips is 12,000 ($6). Until they come up with a pool menu, though, they don’t seem to have a problem with people bringing their own food to the pool.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this hotel is that they seem to treat their Ugandan staff very well, which is not something that can be said about a lot of other hotels in this country. This is a hotel that makes you feel welcome, and achieves international standards for comfort and service.
Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala