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“Super Stay On This Fabulous Tea Estate”
Review of Huntingdon House

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Huntingdon House
Ranked #1 of 2 Thyolo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 October 2013

We stayed three nights and loved the place. We were lucky enough to stay in the Chapel, but were reliably informed that all rooms are good.

I am a long-established drinker of Malawian premium teas, especially the white teas, through Nothing But Tea. Still, I didn't realise when we booked here that we were staying at the very tea estate that produces the tea I have been drinking for years; Satemwa. If you are unable to visit the estate, I strongly recommend that you at least buy and try some of the Satemwa premium tea.

The walks around the gardens and the estate are magnificent. We also enjoyed the tea tasting (naturally). The coffee here (Satemwa also produce some of that) is also very good. Huntingdon is a great place from which to explore Mulanje mountain - we enjoyed a very special day exploring town and mountain. Real trekkers can spend a few days up the mountain.

The staff are delightful, stewarded by the slightly eccentric but delightful Anette, a former trans-African biker-chick (I kid you not), now married into the estate's Kay family, although husband Alex hid away at the tea factory. Indeed, eccentricity is part of the deal here and you are likely to meet the family patriarch, Chip, who is a cross between unreconstructed colonial relic and enlightened self-interest guru. This tea estate was the first in Africa to achieve Fairtrade certification and with good reason when you learn of all their community programmes and good employment practices.

The food at Huntingdon was mostly excellent and always very good.

Overall, lasting impression is of a truly rare and beautiful place, managed with care and love - a delightful few days which we recommend highly.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank IanLHarris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HuntingdonHouse000, Manager at Huntingdon House, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2013

Hi IanLHarris,

Thank you for your most wonderful review which was a highly enjoyable read! The family will be most delighted for the mention. It is great to hear that you know your tea, could enjoy the Satemwa tea gardens firsthand and had a visit to the Tea Factory – hopefully you found new speciality and rare teas to enjoy back home with your friends and family. We wish you a speedy return.

Kindest Regards,

Huntingdon House Management

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66 - 72 of 106 reviews

Reviewed 23 October 2013

We came to stay in Huntingdon House for my birthday..the place really is magical, the rooms are huge, beautifully furnished, with massive beds, amazing bathroom and spotless. Every girls dream come true. The staff goes out of their way to make your stay special, give you all the privacy as well as excellent service. The only down side of the place is its management. We were given no information on our arrival about the way things worked there. We found it pretty hard to understand what is for lunch / dinner, if there is a choice or what in general can we eat / drink. To see the cocktail menu took about 3 hours since we first asked for it...the dinner menu we never found out until the food was served to us. The manager was never there to help and the stuff was a little confused..clearly the communication between the management and its stuff is very limited if any...In the end there were things on our bill charged to us which we didnt have (which is OK and can happen) but the way we were treated when pointed this out was just extremely unpleasant and rude. Our stay was very special but only thanks to the fact that Huntingdon House itself is a very beautiful place to be. It could have been better if the managers were more pleasant to deal with and if we were explained how thing work on our arrival.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank ostrak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HuntingdonHouse000, Manager at Huntingdon House, responded to this reviewResponded 24 October 2013

Hi ostrak,

Many thanks for your review of Huntingdon House, we appreciate all feedback and use it to for improvement.

When you made the telephonic booking, I clarified that you were currently resident in Africa and qualified for the African Residents Rate for your overnight stay. I met you upon arrival and after wishing you a happy birthday and providing a tour of the house, I discussed inclusions in the accommodation package you were booked on. If there was miscommunication at this point I do apologise. I also explained at that point that we do not have a choice of Menu, we offer a Set Menu and I clarified whether you had any dietary requirements we were to be aware of. I then personally made you cocktails whilst you waited for lunch, served approximately 45mins later. We apologise profusely for these two cocktails appearing twice on your bill, as I as away at the time the Assistant Manager phoned me and I quickly resolved the issue with her. We take your comments that Management was “extremely unpleasant and rude” very seriously and this will be dealt with as such.

We thank you for choosing Huntingdon House as the venue for your birthday and we do hope you will return so that we may improve your guest experience.

With Kindest Regards,


Huntingdon House Management.

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Reviewed 21 October 2013

As we are a family of four, we decided to stay in the Chawami bungalow as the House itself doesn't have family rooms.

The bungalow is situated inmidst a beautiful garden and you feel as you're travelling back in time as all furniture and equipment ist 50s style. Yes, at some places the wall color peels and the furniture show a sign of usage, but nevertheless, it is a stunning setting and we enjoyed our stay very much.

We also enjoyed a fabulous lunch and amazing afternoon tea at the Huntingdon House itself which is also a fantastic place. The plantations are beautiful and strolling around the paths is a nice way to spend a nice afternoon with the family.

At all, I can highly recommend the estate if you really want a time out of your usual daily business.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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Thank eilan2805
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2013

We had a very relaxing 2 days here mid safari. It is in such a beautiful setting and the house is amazing. We had the Chapel room which was vast! All the rooms looked lovely,the gardens and tea plantation are very lush and pretty, we enjoyed walking, the tea tasting, the birds and just sitting reading under a shady tree.
The staff are very sweet and really look after you, the food is quite delicious and we felt very spoilt. Could happily have stayed longer!

Room Tip: All lovely
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank lilacrose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

Had a lovely stay at Huntingdon House - the rooms are exquisite and exclusively decorated. The large dining rooms and fireplace have a wonderful and warm feeling. The kids loved the open spaces and discovering the large garden. The view from the picnic site up the hill were amazing. the whole feel of the place was great.
The Thyolo flies were a bit annoying and very itchy if they bite, so would have liked to have been better prepared beforehand - repellant spray was provided to ward off them.

The meals were lovely for adults, but felt that more attention was required to cater for children's meals.

Room Tip: All the rooms are lovely!
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Tatenda46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2013

We arrived before lunch, just in time for tasting an exquiste cuisine. Going for a walk makes you feel like you are back in the previous century. Staff is very nice and professional. Rooms are very big and beautiful. The place is fantastic for relaxing and walking around. It was a pity we booked only for one night as an extra day would have allowed us to see a bit more around.

Room Tip: The Nursery Room is not only very beautiful but also very quite
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank pappagalliparlanti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2013

We arrived at this picturesque landscape on our travels through Malawi in the early evening which gave a stunning view. Unfortunately, the few rooms were booked out when we made reservations and so opted for the alternative option, the bungalow. Initially rather excited about the prospect of having our own accommodation within this beautiful tea estate, we were quite disappointed with the state of the place itself. The whole thing needed re-decorating as there were cobwebs, peeling paint, chipped seats but the staff who looked after it were very helpful and friendly. Despite this, when at Huntingdon House for breakfast, lunch or dinner the food was exceptional and the staff always made a huge effort providing a private and unique dining experience within the colonial setting. A croquet pitch was conveniently placed just outside the dining area for lunchtime enjoyment and the tea tasting which is available was also interesting and made for a fun morning's activity.

Room Tip: opt to stay in the house itself
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank hannahrose44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HuntingdonHouse000, Manager at Huntingdon House, responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2013

Dear hannahrose44,

Although this page specifically serves to rate guest experience at Huntingdon House, we appreciate your feedback on Chawani Bungalow and are extremely sorry you do not enjoy your time there.

We do hope you will return so we may improve your guest experience.

Kindest Regards,

Huntingdon House Management

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Additional Information about Huntingdon House

Address: Satemwa Tea Estate | PO Box 6, Thyolo, Malawi
Region: Malawi > Southern Region > Thyolo
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Thyolo
Hotel Class:5 star — Huntingdon House 5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arguably the most scenically beautiful region of Malawi, The Thyolo district forms the heart of Malawi's tea producing region with rolling hills of immaculately cultivated, emerald green plantations and some of the oldest estates in the country. With magnificent views of Mount Mulanje and the Lower Shire valley to the west, Satemwa enjoys a temperate climate of the Shire Highlands and relaxed ambiance of a by-gone era. Visitors to this corner of Malawi cannot but help to be caught up in the colonial magic of the area and diverse scenery which ranges from tropical evergreen forests to riverine thickets and rolling hills. Huntingdon House was built in the 1920's and the estate has been in the Cathcart Kay family for generations with members of the family still running the tea and coffee production of the estate. The grand old colonial style house has been tastefully restored as a joint venture between the Satemwa Tea Estate and the Ulendo Travel Group. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Huntingdon House Malawi/Thyolo

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