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Rest and Recuperation at Speke Resort Munyonyo

A few months ago, a few friends and I took time off to go and enjoy one of the most celebrated hotels the Pearl of Africa has to offer, Speke Resort Munyonyo. They have this $180 full board weekend offer for two where you can enjoy all their facilities. These facilities include two swimming pools, horse riding, boat cruises, several dining areas with different cuisines, a number of bars, gym, sauna, boat rides… By all measurements, I think this is a good deal.

Straight after checking in, the royal treatment began with us being chauffeured to our rooms in their golf carts. And they were available to us the entire weekend. All you had to do was call reception from the room and ask them to dispatch a Batmobile, as I ended up calling them because there is so much joy in referencing your entire life in super hero movie terms, and they’d come, fetch you and whisk you wherever you where headed . It’s a pity the drivers were very professional and they refused to let me drive one of them despite all my sweet talking.

The rooms we stayed in were standard issue hotel rooms with the usual amenities and then some, because it’s Speke Resort standards, so I won’t dwell on them. Besides, I was privileged to stay in one of their more spacious ones previously during a conference so this was a bit of a downgrade from my ‘usual’ standards. Lol, I have even developed airs.

After checking in, we attacked one of the restaurants for supper. I’m more of a glutton than a foodie so I won’t try to lie to you that I know the ingredients that the chef used in his food or whether it was well done. What I can assure you is I tasted almost everything and my sturdy stomach with its army of worms was very satisfied with my offerings that weekend. Maybe the other thing I will say about the food is how surprisingly affordable it was. It being Speke Resort, I thought the prices would be the kind that put your wallet in rehab but they are actually at par with most of the nicer restaurants in Kampala. Here is a slideshow of some of the food pictures I took from the weekend.

When they say you can enjoy all the facilities on the premises, they are not playing games. I won’t lie I have eaten my fair share of life in this Uganda of ours but I was glad there were still a couple of things I hadn’t yet done that I got to do that weekend, horse riding being one of these things. Speke Resort has a world-class horse section (the learned people call it an Equestrian Centre) with a fine collection of majestic beasts. I summarized my experience in the Instagram post below and one of the squadmates, Charlotte did a more detailed blog on that here so check it out in case you want to tick that off your bucket list.

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There's that movie called 'Sheena Queen of the Jungle' from back in the early 90's which was on our allowed list of movies for our age. We were in primary. It's story is kinda like Tarzan but what made it special was the fact that Princess Bagaya acted in the movie. That woman was/is a force! Anyway, one of the scenes that stayed with me was that of a grown woman Sheena riding a zebra by the lakeside while the sun set. As a young boy, it aroused unfamiliar yet good feelings within. But more importantly, it gave me a desire to ride a zebra. After finding out the reality of actually riding a zebra was slim, I settled on a horse. Somehow, I haven't managed to ride one till this significant age that I currently hold. Today, I got one while at @spekeresort. It's all well that ends well. And it was exhilarating. I felt like a Roman Emperor leading his men into battle to conquer and expand the empire. I mean, look at that squad photo!! Aaarrrggghh! That's me making the manliest man cry. I think I just ditched my plans for acquiring a vehicle. I'm getting myself a horse. Mbu traffic? Me and Kitibwa (yeah, I already named my future stallion) will just leap on your car roofs and gallop away. I mean, good night even!! FYI, the Speke guys have a monthly pony camp for kids. Deets should be on their website and I advise you take your kids there so they don't end up with the adult maalo I'm currently demonstrating. OK, bye.

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Now, because I was fresh off a tiring week where I’d finished organizing some public event, my main focus that weekend was rest and recuperation. I was on a mission to rejuvenate my body and soul and to do this, I wanted to take full advantage of the wellness facilities the resort boasts of. These include the sauna, steam, gym, spa, and two swimming pools, one Olympic size and the other an infinity pool.

I have a bias against gyms and usually prefer outdoor means of getting fit like sports, walks, jogging, dancing, self-defense or swimming… I, therefore, didn’t utilize the gym much. Speaking of outdoor fitness, the wide gardens, spaces, and environs of the resort are perfect if you want to take a jog. There are well-demarcated pathways and the gardening crew does a good job of maintaining the place so it is always picturesque. A joggers paradise. I’m not much of a jogger but I did take a stroll around the grounds in the morning and it left my mind and soul at peace.

Still, I had to finish my money so I did go on one of the running mills for testing one two. You know how people on social media can be posting their gym pictures during and after working out? My intention was to similarly also pose ko but I didn’t have proper gym clothes so I abandoned that plan coz if you are going to fake it, you’d better make sure it looks legit. I did manage to take a few swings at the boxing sack and had I had more time, I feel like I would have come from that place ready to take on Golola Moses of Uganda.

After this ‘workout’ I now had massage, steam and sauna to attempt which were all going to be first time experiences for me. So many virginities to break but, hey, if you are going to have a first cut, what better place than in 5-star facilities. After consulting with the attendants, I was advised that if I wanted to do them all in one go, I should get steam myself first, get a massage next and then enter the sauna while the massage oils were still on my body. That made sense. It sounded like I was legit being cooked. Boil to soften, tenderize with oils and then roast. Kumbe this what all those people that look like a meal on social media do. I am in class now.

I entered the steam room and kicked off the cooking. That was straightforward enough. Get in, get scalded by steam, sweat all your sins and impurities out and then exit feeling born again. It was a spiritual experience, for me anyway.

Next, I made a beeline to Eco Spa to get some hands laid on me. It’s important to note that since the Eco Spa resort is outsourced to a different management, it’s the only facility that isn’t included in the weekend package deal and has to be paid for separately. I had a chat with the staff in there about the different options and ended up going with the Swedish massage. I was led to a room and left alone for a moment to undress. The lady that was handling me came back and instructed me to lie on the massage table. The experience was fantastic and I gave them PhD massage ratings. My biggest worry was that I would get too relaxed, lose muscular control and end up farting for the masseuse. Thankfully, my body cooperated and I didn’t pollute the air.

My only issue with this experience was the realization that sometimes it’s not a good idea to upgrade one’s lifestyle if you are not sure you’ll be able to sustain it. You’ll be there desiring more of that good life and your pocket mscheews back. Eish, the pain. Before that experience, the massages I was used to were from those ladies in saloons that massage the scalp after you’ve chopped your hair. Sometimes their hands go beyond your head and caress your chest and shoulders. Because I didn’t know better, this was good enough for me. I’d even mastered how to close my eyes to avoid the awkward moments when your eyes lock with those of the masseuse in the mirror.

I went to chop my hair at my local barbers the weekend after and when the lady came to do her thing, the tragedy of my new reality hit me. As she was applying massage oil to my scalp, I felt repulsed because I still have good memories of the scented oils the professionals used on me. The rest of the massage basically followed this script of comparison and because of how badly it performed, I ended up being more stressed than relaxed at the end of it. Woi, I’m finished. The good stuff is not cheap and my fix from before is not good enough anymore. What is life?

There’s hope though. The E-Spa management told me they have gift cards in case you want to show somebody that you care about their wellbeing and want to house them a trip to a PhD massage parlor. You pay them the dime, they give you the voucher, you spray it with perfume, wrap it and deliver this gift of love. The recipient then takes the voucher to the spa and the people there do their PhD massage magic and give them a taste of heaven. I can’t believe I just wrote a how-to for vouchers.

When they were done with me in the massage room, I proceeded to the sauna to get my roast on. It’s more or less a dry version of the steaming section but the feeling of the massage oils sinking into and dripping down my skin was totally refreshing. I roasted myself real good before finally heading out to take a shower. Rejuvenation complete.

The plan was to take a dive in the Olympic size swimming pool after and do some laps but I was feeling too fresh and decided to postpone this. Also, my swimming lessons ended prematurely after I’d only learnt how to make it from one end to another without drowning so I never got to the floating part. With an Olympic size swimming pool, I wasn’t ready to get stuck in the middle without the ability to float. Besides, the best part of that pool for me is the poolside bar where you can grab a drink while still submerged in the water. The sensible option for me was the infinity pool which is open to guests only and has a sweeping view of Lake Victoria. It is a thing of beauty. Sadly, I also didn’t get time to take a dip in this because we run out of time. The activities were too many which really is a good problem to have. I’ll be back though. That’s for sure.

And that really sums up the Speke Resort experience; there are plenty of activities to go around for everyone. Have you been lately? What was your experience like?


Written by Byagaba Roland

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