Hotel Review: Huntingdon House, Malawi


This converted plantation offers colonial luxury in the heart of Malawi’s Shiree Highlands. Huntingdon House, which was home of the Cathcart Kay family, tea planters for almost a hundred years stands at the foot of Thyolo Mountain amid manicured gardens, lawns, established trees, flowering shrubs, and a pond filled with water lilies, with the Satemwa Tea Estate and the surrounding hills as the backdrop.

Who For?

Huntingdon House will appeal to honeymooners and those curious about this un-spoilt corner of Malawi


Huntingdon House: room

(c) Maximum Exposure

Huntingdon House and its associated Chawani Bungalow, have been sensitively renovated and comprises five suites in the main house. Each room tells a story and is named after its original function in the house, for example Mother’s Room, Planter’s Suite, or The Chapel, a popular choice for honeymooners thanks to its private dining area on the patio. They all have king-size beds with luxurious furnishings and private bathrooms with claw-footed baths. The bungalow offers a relaxed, family-friendly retreat surrounded by lush, protected, sub-tropical rainforest.


Huntingdon House: leisurely walk

(c) Maximum Exposure

Surrounded as it is by the rolling hills of the tea estate, walking on the property and visiting the tea factory and tea and coffee fields is a delight. The extensive gardens and patios of the house offer cool, shady places to sit and watch a wide variety of bird-life. Croquet and badminton may be set up for those keen for a little gentle exercise. There is also a swimming pool in the grounds of the bungalow, and mountain biking and walking trails are nearby.

Food and Drink

Huntingdon House: afternoon tea served on the lawn under the shade of the trees

Afternoon tea served on the lawn under the shade of the trees (c) Maximum Exposure

Malawi isn’t famed for its cuisine, but here the imaginative staff use local ingredients in all sorts of fascinating new ways: take the tasty green tea-infused dumplings, for example. It’s quite magical dining alone by candlelight in the courtyard, or with other guests on a long table on the veranda.

What’s Nearby

Tea plantation

Tea plantation (c) Maximum Exposure

The tea factory is a short walk away, where there is an informative film and a tea tasting. The village where up to 2,000 employees of the estate live is on the way. Close enough for a day trip is Mount Mulanje, almost 3,000m tall and an ideal destination for walking and mountaineering. The city of Blantyre is close by, and safari lodges and Lake Malawi may be reached in about three hours.


Wi-Fi is available, although due to the remoteness of the property, it can be intermittent.

Room Rates

Rates start at US$175 per person, full board.

Value for Money

Excellent value for money for an utterly luxurious and individual hotel.

Getting There

Blantyre is approximately 40 minutes by car. International flights fly to Lilongwe, with internal flights to Blantyre.

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