For over 100 years Meikles has been acclaimed as Zimbabwe’s premier luxury five-star hotel, its gracious charm and silver-service style reflected in our membership of Leading Hotels of the World. Situated in the heart of the capital city Harare, Meikles is a legendary meeting place for international business executives, dignitaries, leisure travellers and celebrities.
The hotel was built overlooking Cecil Square, the city’s epi-centre and where the first British settlers raised the Union Jack. In 1980 as a new African nation was born the Zimbabwe flag replaced this and the beautiful park and gardens that the hotel overlooks became known as Africa Unity Square.
This special location, along with the unwavering style of the establishment over almost a century, has resulted in it being the neutral territory of choice for some of the most important political meetings in the country’s history. The first parliament of the Colony of Southern Rhodesia met here in 1924. Since then leading African nationalists, Royalty, presidents and distinguished guests and celebrities from various nations around the world have met and stayed here.
Today the hotel is somewhat different from its original design. Although the traditional high ceilings of the colonial era buildings are no longer a feature, the unwavering ethos of Meikles’ committed service excellence has endured. There is a famous saying (“Meet You at Meikles”) that was adopted by locals and borne out of their desire to be a part of a place that is synonymous with distinction in Zimbabwe.
Structurally it is interesting that during the planning phase of the North Wing’s complete remodelling and refurbishment in September 2013 special attention was given to the findings of international research that investigated evolving trends, habits and expectations of typical five-star hotel clientele. Studies by both the Japanese and British, for example, showed that people were getting taller with succeeding generations. Meikles paid critical attention to these details and created larger rooms, furniture, beds, baths and showers.
Two beloved Lions, symbolic of strength and stability, now flank a cupola on the restructured North Wing of the hotel. They were intricately sculpted from stone in 1912 in Italy by Euletto Jotto and originally stood above the west front of the old hotel building, which was opened in 1915 and later demolished in 1972. Legend has it that whenever a virgin walks past the lions let out a roar. Two replica pairs of the lions now also occupy the main portico that faces east and the western entrance to the foyer facing the city.