Safari Lodge at Leonard Wood Road has been upgraded and some more enhancements are on the works. It needs to. The neighborhood is seeing a boom in lodging and dining infrastructures.
Still, the Lodge remains a unique watering hole, a museum if you like. If you fancy old world gaming dining and lodging experience, this is the place to imagine what that’s like. If you fancy yourself a hunter in your past life, Indiana Jones perhaps, this is the place to reminisce that life.
Entering the Lodge, the guest is at once taken by the display of wild animals and birds. Accordingly, the Lodge’ former owner the late Don Celso Tuason hunted these himself, in Africa and here, back when hunting was the sport.
Moving around the dining area for a place to take a photo of Mr. Elephant (it feels male to me but I have to confirm this), I finally decided on the spot to the right of the central table. Framing my shot by the glass cabinet, I sensed something next to me besides the birds. I looked down and nearly jumped out of my skin.
Well, hello Mrs. Lioness! And what teeth! I was sure, staring at it’s eyes, trained furiously at guests now, that the same pair many stories ago had locked as ferociously with it’s hunter’s, recognizing the battle that could end all it’s battles. Thus it’s unsheathed fangs.
Her kin at the corner by the fireplace is more subdued. Assuming a crouching position it looked less of a threat. Was the hunter lying down among the bush when the feline had approached him? I’d like to know. Meanwhile, those teeth! I don’t know how human skin can survive from a bite.
Their cousin, the leopard, is at the opposite end. I see now. Cruella Deville isn’t mad for spots for nothing.
I like modern dining spaces. But I also like places with history which the Lodge has much of. Dining at the long table, I imagined us in the midst of an exhilarating chase between the hunted and the hunter; the various positions of attack (or defense) assumed by both when face to face. And how it was out there then for the young Tuason.
If the guest needs a breather from the safari experience, there’s the cafe and bar by the entrance. It hosts a live band every night.
Or, a view of greens by the terrace if one prefers a quieter area.