2 Friends Beach Hotel: Come as a guest, leave as a friend
It is said that “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What, you too? I thought I was the only one”. – CS Lewis. Step into 2 Friends Beach Hotel, a small resident-only boutique hotel now rated as the best hotel in Entebbe. Nestled on the beach front of Lake Victoria, with a stunning lake view in one of Entebbe’s pristine locations on Plot 3, Nambi Road, matter-of-factly, 2 Friends Beach Hotel is rated as the number 1 hotel in Entebbe on Trip Advisor.
On a calm evening, with the sun going down, I arrived at 2 Friends Beach Hotel. On entering the gates to your left is the parking lot for the hotel, to your right is a grass thatched big hut that houses the bar, while right ahead is the storied hotel supplemented by a small, private swimming pool and a beautiful landscaped small compound that’s evenly spaced with exotic flowers like roses and a few trees. Having made a booking the previous day for a lake view room, I was welcomed by the manager Conrad, who offered me a glass of fresh cocktail juice and showed me to my room. Room 15 it was. “We were expecting you to check in at 12:30PM.” he said. The only regret I had at that time was that I had not come early enough to take in all the beauty of this small hotel. Hint: If you can, when you book a room, arrive as early as possible to take in all the beauty of this small boutique hotel and the beautiful view of the lake.
Opened in August 2013, the hotel has 16 rooms and can accommodate 32 people at one time with extra beds for kids/families. Most of the rooms are spacious and the décor in all the rooms is absolutely beautiful with stunning modern art paintings by Swedish-Icelandic painter Elinros Henriksdotter. All the furniture in the rooms is exotic, has character and is all handcrafted out of African solid timber by the Proprietor Donny Gardarsson. Each room comes with its own character and feel to it, with innovative lighting, a flat screen TV with a satellite decoder, a fan/conditioner, a closet, a sofa, with the executive rooms supplemented with a beautiful lake view. What’s most impressive about 2 Friends Beach Hotel’s rooms is the fact that everything is set to detail, extremely clean and each room smells fresh. Every room has a mosquito net, a small fridge, bottled mineral water, tea/coffee & sugar plus an electric kettle for those who would love to make themselves a quick cup plus a reading table.Donny Gardarsson the Proprietor of the hotel is a very sincere, hardworking and honest man. During the night over my stay at the hotel, he came over to my room around 10PM to check on me, I suggested we sit on the patio as I waited for my dinner (Glazed Pork Spare Ribs served with French Fries & Coleslaw Salad). We had a lengthy chat which kept being interrupted by Donny’s little Jack Russell (Dog). I asked Donny the secret behind 2 Friends Beach Hotel’s quick succession up the ladder of being considered the best hotel in the Entebbe area. Sipping on his glass of wine, he stared towards the lake and said:
“You know Martin, I always tell my staff: Guys! We are a boutique hotel. We don’t have all these fancy health facilities like a gym or a big swimming pool like these other ‘big’ hotels, so the service we offer our clients has to be of the highest standard and as detailed to the client as possible”
Leading the pack
The service given is one of the hotel’s strongest points. From the proprietor, Donny, to the manager, Conrad, who make every guest at the hotel feel welcome, to the staff who are willing to go out of their way to give the guests an unforgettable experience at the hotel. Donny narrated to me an incidence where one of the staff members, Vanessa, took a guest to a local hair dresser and waited there with her for over 5 hours as the guest had her hair braided.
This is mainly International Cuisine but 2 Friends Beach Hotel being a resident’s only hotel, the food menu is strictly restricted to guests staying over at the hotel. “We are trying to get one thing right and are not in the business of doing everything at the same time. But very soon we shall open up a beach bar and that will be open to the public.” said Donny. Booking a room at 2 Friends Beach Hotel entitles you to an impressive English breakfast buffet which can be ordered up to mid-morning. Prices for meals start from as low as 22,000 UGX for a Creamy Mushroom Soup served with Bread, to 35,000UGX for BBQ Grilled Pork Spare Ribs served with Chips and Coleslaw Salad which comes highly recommended, but if you partake of fish then you should ask for their special Fish in Banana leaves served with either rice or French fries. They serve large enough portions to share between two people and the food is sumptuous. They have two choices for dessert; Fruit salad with ice cream (14,000UGX) or Apple Crumble Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream (15,000 UGX). Drinks and beverages cost as low as 3,000 UGX for bottled mineral water to 14,000 UGX for a milkshake. A glass of White Wine costs 12,000 UGX; Red Wine costs 14,000 UGX while beers cost 6,000 UGX.
The hotel being a resident only place gives guests a private ambiance but they will shortly open up a beach bar & restaurant which will offer different options for revelers who want to spend some quality, undivided time at the beach. The setting at the beach is unique and more of a lounge setting with a wooden upper deck area that’s laden with bean bag style comfortable seats which overlooks the lake and provides beautiful sunsets on a sunny day.
The hotel has two kayaks for those who want to explore the lake ($10 for 2 hours) plus they also have bicycles for those that want to ride to the Zoo or to the Botanical Gardens which are all a few minutes ride away.
The rates start at $95 per person bed and breakfast upwards with a generous discount offer for resident Ugandans or expats that have lived in Uganda for a while. Same applies to UN Officials and NGO employees. The fee is inclusive of one free airport drop/pickup.
Although they do allow walk-in’s, they encourage making your booking in advance and paying a deposit on it. For those that would rather pay online using their credit card (Visa/MasterCard/ PayPal/American Express, etc), you can pay for your booking via their website.
As I was about to leave, Donny thanked me for my stay over at the hotel and proposed that we should meet for lunch in Kampala. “That would be great!” I said. “Perhaps that new Greek place you talked about?” he said. I had come as a guest and I was leaving as a friend, a true testament to their tag line.
If you are looking for a homey, cozy, personal experience at a Hotel in Entebbe or for your stay in Uganda, then 2 Friends Beach Hotel should be on the top of your list.
As you are about to reach Entebbe Town, branch down on your left side when you see a big signpost of My Choice Super Market as you go down to Entebbe Sailing Club, follow the road until you see the 2 Friends Beach Hotel sign post on your right.
From Entebbe/ Airport (5 Mins)
Drive until you reach the Nakumatt Shopping Mall (Victoria Shopping Mall), branch down on your right towards Anderita Beach until you see the sign post for 2 Friends Beach Hotel on your left.
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