- Reviews: 15
Hotel Ubumwe: Option in Gisenyi
Very nice and inexpensive Hotel in the lower part of Gisenyi, about 200m from the waterfront.
Beautiful terrace to have breakfast, decent rooms, nice and helpful staff
- Reviews: 2527
Hotel Muhabura, Ruhengeri: Rooms are OK, but poor restaurant and rude staff
I am conscious of the fact that I pride myself on seldom writing negative reviews - yet two out of the four hotels I'm reviewing in Rwanda deserve more criticism than praise. And, because I'm feeling sensitive on this issue, I should clarify that I am an 'old Africa hand' over a 25 year period, and am therefore not superimposing unrealistic first world standards onto the developing world.
Let's start with the positive. The rooms at Hotel Muhabura are clean, secure and in good repair, so absolutely fine for budget travellers such as ourselves. The gardens are also home to a good variety of bird species - particularly sunbirds - and it's well worth taking a few minutes to prowl around with your camera.
The problem with this hotel is the restaurant, which needs to be taken by the scruff of the neck and given a good shake out of its disinterested complacency. Even by the extremely slow standards of service that are endemic in the Great Lakes region, the 'speed' (deliberate inverted commas) of service is unacceptable and it shouldn't take over an hour to deliver the starters ('entree' to Americans) of an order to table on a quiet evening.
Slow + rude is a REALLY bad combination. After 45 minutes, I politely raised my concern with a surly waiter, who clearly took umbrage at being questioned by a customer (and a female) and whose response was ... let's try to be polite ... less than service focused. In plain speak: hostile, dismissive and absolutely disinterested. However, to be fair to him, although he's accountable for his rudeness, he can't be held responsible for slow food preparation in the kitchen, which seems to proceed at a glacial pace.
The ultimate insult was that the food wasn't worth waiting for.
I understand the constraints of hotels in out of the way places, but Ruhengeri is fast becoming a significant tourist destination, and rude service is unacceptable. Much to the horrified astonishment of the waiter in question, I raised my issue with his management, who were responsive in a 'damage control' sort of manner because they were trying to avoid a scene. However, I was left with no confidence that the root cause of my problem - which is ultimately poor managerial supervision - has (or will be) addressed.
Sooner or later, the management of establishments like this will realise that they will only continue to exist as there is a tourist trade to support them, and that they continue to treat customers with contempt at their peril. A very poor show.
- Reviews: 286
Relay's Gorilla's Hotel - Ruhengeri Province: Musanze - entrance to Volcanoes National Park
A nice hotel - nothing exciting but good value and it is close to everything you need in town. It was opposite one of the only working ATM's when I was there.
The rooms were exceptionally clean and staff were very friendly. There's a bar and restaurant, wireless internet is available in all rooms.
Accomodation is not cheap in this town as it is the entrance to Volcanoes National Park so almost anyone coming to see the gorill's stays here. This hotel was a respite (for me) from camping in the rain and I liked it.
- Reviews: 12
Le Garni du Centre: Homely, peaceful,cosy...very cosy
I stayed at Le Garni du Centre for two weeks and I was not disappointed. The service is good...the place is very private and actually not many Rwandese know about it. It`s a stone`s throw from town. Very secure.
Lovely rooms very clean and neat! If you want to come down to Rwanda to relax look no further my friend..this is the place for you. If you`re looking for noise, excitement,thrill etc dont bother!!
I particularly loved the homeliness of the place. The pool is small but usable! Great garden!
- Reviews: 2527
Stipp Hotel Kiyovu: Good hotel, with a funky disco lit pool!
We stayed in the Stipp hotel for our final night in Rwanda.
In truth, it's a bit more upmarket than we'd usually choose for ourselves, but as we were at the end of a wonderful but exhausting tour, we didn't raise any objection when the tour operator suggested this.
It's a very pleasant hotel, located in the upmarket suburb of Kiyovu. As we were travelling with our kids, we had booked two double rooms, although it turned out that one of the rooms (23?) was enormous and contained a double bed and two single beds, so if you're travelling as a family, it's worth asking if this is available.
The Stipp Hotel is what you'd expect of an international standard hotel: whilst it is not outstandingly wonderful in any aspect, everything is efficient and functional. The only caution that I would raise is that in the wing where we stayed on the first floor , there wasn't a lift, which could be an issue for those with impaired mobility - if you are in this category, then be sure to raise it at the time of booking.
The restaurant was good for lunch and supper, but the breakfast was a bit dull.
One attraction worth looking for are the pair of crowned crane that wander freely in the grounds.
The only truly memorable part of the hotel is the pool, which was bracing (code for 'flipping freezing') even in the late afternoon. It has a waterfall and a pool bar (you know, the ones you see in 70s Bond movies where you sit on seats submerged below the water) and once the sun set, we did a double take when the disco lighting of the pool area was revealed. The colour of the lights change slowly, and it was a revelation to see this surprisingly funky side of an otherwise sedate hotel revealed!
- Reviews: 2527
Gisakura Guest House: The only budget accommodation in Nyungwe
I have to preface this review by stating that the Gisakura Guest House is very basic, and probably a step below the sort of accommodation that we'd usually consider staying in. Having said that, at the time of our visit in March 2013, it was the only budget accommodation available in Nyungwe, and given the eyewatering rates at the other establishments, we decided to lower our standards for a couple of nights.
This turned out to be an excellent decision, and our stay was pleasant. The rooms are spartan and the bathroom facilities are shared, but it's clean, secure and well located and the money we saved was much better spent on chimp trekking!
The food is - well - basic. Rwandan food tends to be blandly unspectacular at the best of times (unless you decide to spice it up with a dose of akabanga, and what is served is simple, filling fuel. I suspect that one of the reasons for the simplicity of the fare is that the guest house doesn't have refrigeration facilities, so everything has to be prepared from scratch from locally available ingredients.
Accommodation is on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis, and your choice is to either eat it or leave it, as there are no other restaurant facilities within the surrounding area. If you're leaving early to go hiking to chimp trekking, then they'll prepare you a perfectly acceptable packed lunch.
The best thing about the guest house is its location. The little garden was literally buzzing with birdlife - particularly sunbirds, which I've never seen in such profusion elsewhere. It is also directly oppose the Gisakura guest offices which are one of the departure points for chimp trekking - and given that these set off at 05:00 in the morning, this is a major advantage!
- Reviews: 4
My favourite place is the...
My favourite place is the Kibuye guest house, by Lake Kivu.
Right on the Lake, with its own diving board into the water. It's a bit pricey, but there is a cheaper gaff round the corner and you can use the Guest Houses'facilities. Has a bar which if it was any closer to the water's edge would, well, be very wet I guess !
- Reviews: 2527
Akagera Safari Lodge: Well located, but has seen better days
We were originally scheduled to stay here, but because we adjusted our itinerary en route, we cancelled our booking. However, as fate might have it, we then experienced a 17 hour delay in our return flight, and so had time to visit Akagera on a day trip.
I seldom write negative reviews, but in hindsight, I'm very glad that we didn't stay here. Although it's part of the usually reliable Serena group, it had the air of a neglected hotel in desperate need of a facelift. One wing appeared to have been burned out in a fire and the free standing accommodation structures were boarded up and clearly hadn't been in use for some time. Oddly, there are also half finished structures in the vicinity of the pool which give it the atmosphere of an abandoned building site.
It's a pity, as the location is good, and it commands a lovely view out over the lake into Tanzania. The pool area is pleasant and well maintained (even if the service is slow even by Great Lakes standards) and with a substantial injection of cash and enthusiasm, it might again become a nice place to stay.
At present, it seems to subsist on the local conference venue trade, which is seldom a good omen.
To my knowledge, at the time of our visit (March 2013), there were no other accommodation options in Akagera, so if you want to overnight in the park, you are either stuck with this hotel, or a drive in from another location. If you do decide to stay here, make sure that you don't pay top dollar on the basis of its self proclaimed 'safari lodge' status - it's simply not worth it.
- Reviews: 358
Milles Collines: Hotel with a history
when I was visiting in May 2009, some renovation was going on, but it should be finished now. The hotel has a distinct 70´s feeling about it, but the location is quite central and offers nice views to the hillsides and into the neighborhoods down in the valley. Rooms have wireless internet which is charged extra, and there is a nice garden where you can have a beer in the evening or enjoy your lunch or dinner. The pool was closed by the time I was there but again, that might have changed by now.
The architecture might not be overwhelming, and some of the interiors look rather outdated, but then, this place has a history, depicted in the movie "Hotel Rwanda" or in the book "A sunday at the pool in Kigali". Not that the hotel makes many reference to its history during the genocide these days - which may also be due to the fact that the hotel manager is now persona non grata in Rwanda and many people claim he only safes affluent people who could pay for it, while thousands others were butchered. Still, it is a dramatic history the hotel has been through and there are still one or two of the staff who were there during 1994 .
- Reviews: 123
Novotel Hotel in Kigali: Rwanda
The Novotel rooms are spacious with a nice marble bathtub, a safe in the room, reliable laundry service, etc. On Sunday afternoons, the pool area fills with expats on their day off. After many busy days, we ordered Sunday's lunch by the pool and spent the whole day soaking in the sun, drinking Coca Cola, and processing the many sights and sounds of Rwanda.
We hated to leave this comfortable spot!
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