Kigali Serena Hotel, Rwanda

The Kigali Serena Hotel, as seen from the south side of the swimming pool.


It is said that you only have one chance to make a first impression…that being said, this was a return visit to this establishment for me but the first time that my wife has stayed at the Kigali Serena Hotel…and she was certainly impressed. Even the 3.5-hour drive from the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel back to this sister property could not dampen her enthusiasm as she stepped into the high-vaulted foyer/reception area. The reflection of the crane in the glass frontage of the hotel is from a construction site across the road.

If you suffer from vertigo, then do not stand in the foyer and look up. It is most impressive to walk in through a regular sized doorway to be greeted by this spectacle.

The elegant flower arrangements in the foyer seem to echo the overall feel of this wonderful hotel, style and grace. Their subtle aroma puts arriving guests in a relaxed mood as they wait to be checked in. The staff at the front desk were a pleasure to deal with as was Hillary Kosen, the Front Office Manager. Nothing was too much effort for him and his staff and without us being aware, he had even laid on massages at the Spa for us.

One of two decor pieces that separate the security area from seating where arriving/departing guests can relax before collecting or returning room cards. Proactive security is very important in all buildings and there are working scanners at hotels and shopping malls.

“The long and winding road” by the Beatles or Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long walk to freedom” were both on my mind walking from the elevator to our suite.

It is HUGE! We were humbled by the lengths that the staff of the Kigali Serena had gone to in order to make our one-night stay a memorable one in every sense of the word. A fruit platter and a complimentary bottle of wine on the table made us feel right at home. There is just so much space, as well as a large balcony that I feel that I might not get to use all of it. The desk and wi-fi connectivity were immediately put to good use as was the shower. The spacious ensuite bathroom had a full-length bathtub as well as a shower.

The view over the pool area from our balcony. If you consider the pool to be the central hub of the hotel, then you will find the dining room, Spa and the informal cafe-style restaurant surrounding it.

Who could resist these cool waters after a hot day of ‘touristy’ type stuff? It soothes aching muscles and the sound of the running water has a calming effect.

The main dining area where all meals are served. Here the waiters and management are very attentive and if you drop anything it will be replaced almost before it hits the floor…as I discovered when I dropped my napkin.

A special themed dinner was being presented on the night that we were there. A traditional Mongolian barbecue. The chefs had a whole routine worked out for impressing the diners. The main protein ingredients of the stir fry were chicken, beef, prawn or fish. I mentioned that I liked goat meat, and, quick as a flash( in the pan) the chef produced a plateful for me to add to my dish. Aside from the stir fry, there was also a choice of salads as well as a range of desserts. Check out the video on my YouTube channel:

And THIS was most unexpected. A belated anniversary dessert, served by singing staff members. Most unexpected and just one of the unique selling points of this hotel chain, attention to detail! Most of the staff were aware that we were celebrating and went out of their way to come to our table to congratulate us. (12 years!)  This gesture was most thoughtful and it was truly appreciated by both my wife and me.

Not a sunset to end off this posting, but the swimming pool by night as seen from our balcony. Our final night in both Kigali and Rwanda…It was a most memorable trip for many reasons and the people we met and the experiences we enjoyed will remain with us long after our flight touches down back in Johannesburg.

This was a return visit to the Kigali Serena Hotel and I was not disappointed and my wife was certainly impressed.

I sat down to chat with Daniel Sambai, the General Manager of this hotel. This is what he shared with me:


While in Rwanda Travel and Things utilized the services of Martin Muyenzi and his tour company. I can highly recommend his attention to detail and the fact that his drivers were either on time or early for all pick-ups and drop-offs. Given the traffic congestion that this city experiences, that is no mean feat.

Travel and Things flew to Rwanda on RwandAir. The airline flies to a variety of African as well as international destinations and the routes can be found on their website.

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