Sometimes the most productive
thing you can do
is to rest well


Welcome to Russell’s Retreat, a boutique luxury guesthouse located in Limbe, within close proximity of Blantyre, Malawi (15- 20min).

Located in tranquil surroundings with beautiful mountain views, Russell’s Retreat aims to be more than just a place to stay – but a place that offers retreat and respite after a long days’ work. A home away from home, and a unique experience with a personal touch, where you can rest assured that your needs will be met, your expectations will be exceeded, and your heart, soul & body will be restored.

An oasis of true luxury in a country where you would least expect it.

Your Hostess

Meet Gay Russell, your hostess – a truly remarkable individual inviting you into the comfort of her home.

(Important sidenote: A few of us, who have been regular guests and now good friends teamed up to produce the site for Gay. The following words and sentiments are ours, and those of guests, as she would never say this about herself! )

Gay is the owner and hostess of Russell’s Retreat. As a Malawian resident/citizen of many years she has a deep passion for the country and its people. She is a wonderful storyteller and as one of the first professional female pilots in Africa, with a career spanning 46 years, she is always happy to share her experiences with her guests. Her stories weave themselves across continents, through decades and around interesting characters that will leave you returning for more.

But, very importantly – she only does this when guests ask her to join them. Some people prefer to be left alone and Gay is very sensitive to this and very happy to be quietly in the background, supervising in the kitchen and preparing meals of your choice.

True to Malawi’s reputation as “the warm heart of Africa”, she seeks to provide each of her guests with a unique experience, giving them a home away from home, while tending to their every need.


Russell’s Retreat is known for mainly hosting socially motivated guests – NGO workers, charity workers, medics as well as holiday makers.  Over the years, many innovative projects have been established in her home and she seeks to make it a place of community and connection for like-minded individuals.


Russell’s Retreat has 3 rooms in the main house and 4 additional rooms in a second house, whereby a total of 14 people can be accommodated.

Willow Suite

A luxury room with a king-size bed, a writing desk and two comfortable chairs. It sleeps 2 guests, private en-suite bathroom with bath and separate shower, tea & coffee station with a minifridge.

Jacaranda Suite

This is a luxury suite/unit separate from the main house but with easy access. It comprises a large bedroom, king-size double bed, private bathroom with bath and separate shower; large lounge; American kitchen; delightful khonde (verandah) area; second kitchen (in the event those staying long-term would like to employ a maid to do cooking and laundry in a separate area. This is often/currently rented out on a long lease.

Verandah view
Jacaranda Khonde
Willow Suite
Fire Lounge
Verandah view
Mimosa Room
Jacaranda Lounge
Sun Lounge

Bamboo Suite

A separate self-contained one-bedroom unit with lounge/kitchenette; a double bed; private en-suite bathroom with large walk-in shower. It has its own beautiful private patio with stunning views over the Mpingwe valley.

Mimosa Room

A smaller room in the main house with either two single beds or a single bed and desk. It has its own private en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower.

In addition to the above Gay has the use of the double-storey house next door (a short walk with no walls or fences) for overflow of guests. This house comprises four double rooms, two lounges, kitchen, dining-room and a swimming pool. It is very popular where larger groups are involved, and the dining room can be very useful for meetings/conferences etc. But all meals are served at Russell’s Retreat and when large groups come to stay Gay manages to re-arrange her furniture and set up dining space and comfortable seating for 14 or 16 persons.

For bookings click here to book via Airbnb

Or contact Gay direct at:


The dinner table at Russell’s Retreat is a place of connection, and great conversation.

Ravioli with sage cream, marinade fillet of beef, avocado prawn salad, lemon tart with strawberry topping;
brandy tipsy with ice-cream and fresh strawberries. All pastas and pastries are home-made. Prepare to dine in style!

Gay prepares beautiful homemade meals for guests. She caters to all dietary requirements, preparing fresh meals based on the availability of seasonal ingredients and always searches for top-quality products.

Complimentary continental breakfast is included in room rates.

Cooked breakfast can be ordered the night before ($5 per person)

Packed lunches can be ordered ($5 per person) if you are planning a day out

A three-course dinner is available at $20, with the option of a smaller meal at a lower price.

Group dinners can be arranged for larger groups of 14 – 16 people for special events.


In a country where electricity, water and internet services can be very unreliable, Gay prides herself on providing reliable service, with every precaution taken to ensure continual service. She has a large back-up generator, two inverters and her own bore-hole with a generous storage capacity

Airport shuttles to and from Blantyre.

Taxi services to the Blantyre Central business district, ¬just a quick 15 – 20 minutes away.

Tourist guidance and organisational support is willingly provided.

Free internet with a powerful backup generator and inverters. Gay even subscribes to three internet suppliers, if one should fail to provide adequate service.

DSTV with full bouquet of channels

Air-conditioning or fans in all rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities in all rooms, except Mimosa

Hair dryers in all rooms

High quality hand wash, hand lotion & shampoo conditioner supplied in bathrooms

Laundry services available at minimal charge

Breathtaking views and beautiful lush gardens filled with tropical plans and beautiful manicured lawns.

Staff members providing excellent service reflecting their kind and generous spirits, with an intuitive response to the needs of guests. Austin and Raffic are seasoned individuals who will tend to your every need.

Contact Us