I must admit: when the van taking me from the airport to the hotel arrived at the Zambezi Sun, my first reaction was "You have GOT to be joking!!!". To my unpracticed eyes, the place looked like it was made to be an imitation of an Aztec (Mexico!) adobe city. This perception was not helped at all during my first evening there, when a Mexican mariachi band played music for all to hear from the stage at the center of the complex.
The hotel is not just a building, but a many-building complex of 2 storey buildings. This short height means that they do not stick up very far above the tree line, and therefore do not detract much from the natural area surrounding them (unlike, say, the famous white hotel at the Foz do Iguaçu in Argentina). All of the sidewalks are well maintained concrete, and the grass is a beautiful green.
We piled my things into a golf cart and headed off to the building that had my room. Upon arrival at the staircase, the driver had to chase several zebras out of the way in order to get through.
I think I probably got the best room in the place. While on the far side of the hotel, it pointed directly at the falls. I could not see the falls, but I could see the mist rising from them and hear them quite clearly. Furthermore, this seemed to be a popular corner of the facility for the local zebra population, which really enjoys the lush green grass provided by the hotel. Also, this location is reasonably close (not the closest room, but not the furthest either) from the entrance gate to the falls).
The location is about 15 minutes from the town of Livingstone itself. While this is good for some things (great access to the falls!) it means you need a taxi to get into town. Consequently, I did not go into town but went through several times.
Unique Quality: By far the most interesting and unique part of the hotel, and by far the most useful for me, is that the hotel has its own gate to the Victoria Falls. Hotel guests may enter and exit Victoria Falls on their own just by signing in and out of the park, WITHOUT PAYING A FEE for each entrance.
This allowed me to have multiple entries into the park. When I saw the sun going down with some really nice cloud formations, I quickly made my way over to the park entrance, and visited for only 20 minutes (closing time is 6:30pm) to get photos of the special light with the falls.
The hotel is in the middle of the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Game Reserve. Wildlife, particularly zebras, baboons and monkeys, regularly visit the grounds. Giraffe and impala have also been known to visit and a pond on the grounds has crocodile. This wildlife can be a good and a bad thing. It is interesting to see them, but they can be troublesome. The zebras kicked one woman during my stay as she got too close to them. Leaving the balcony door your room open means that baboons and moneys will get into the room and cause horrific damage.
The huge grounds offers opportunity to walk considerable distances (ie, get exercise) without leaving the safety of the hotel grounds. Pathways run along the river (watch for dangerous animals!).
A sculpture garden, including a Huge Stone Butt, provides an interesting diversion.
Evening live music would have been more fun with some dancing lessons and a female partner. Maybe one day.....
(That the music was Mexican and not African added a bizarre element)
Probably because of the cost, most of the people staying here seem to be of the "retired luxury" class. I seemed to be the youngest guest in the place.
The day center, accessible by hotel guests and by the general public from a different gate, that is a general departure point and organization spot for various tours and activities, such as rafting trips, air tours, etc. You can walk from the hotel, but to get there from a hotel in town you have to drive or take a taxi.
Directions: From Livingstone, head for Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe, following the railroad tracks. Hotel is on right side of road, just before public entrance to Victoria Falls park. Web site lists parent company of chain of hotels.