Reviews of Ilala Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Adequate night at Ilala Lodge
Because we missed our flight to Victoria Falls we only spent one night here which was a blessing. Had to queue for over an hour for immigration as we didn't have a visa like everyone else who arrived on our plane. We would definitely recommend getting visas in advance of the trip. Toilets at airport dirty and lacking in soap and towels. Unwelcoming staff except for one female receptionist who had an impossible name to remember and dried our shoes for us after they were soaked at the Falls!
Internet absolutely useless - difficult to connect and only lasted a few minutes.
Dated hotel which needs money spent on it. Room like rooms were 30 years ago. Bathroom dated. No mosquito nets around beds. Had two single beds so not ideal for honeymooners!
Food adequate but rather spartan breakfast with tinned fruits. Not a lot of choice in the Continental breakfast. Swimming pool was cloudy and needed "shocking" so I was reluctant to use it.
Bar was really pleasant and airy. We had cocktails at The Victoria Falls Hotel and wished we had stayed there!
Wilderness Safaris organised our tour of the Falls which was very good albeit an expensive $60 each for 2 hours walking and a one minute bus ride. (Abiot was the guide)
When we asked for a late check-out the next day at 12.30 we were told that the latest was 11.30 - eventually we managed to negotiate 12 midday! We were a little peeved as we had only stayed one night anyway so they could have let our room the night before as they had adequate notice from Expert Africa. We returned to our room at 11.50 and were locked out. This was the last straw and this ranks as the worst hotel on our holiday.
Surrounding area is not very nice to walk around as you are accosted by locals and one man even tried to bargain for my husband's M and S deck shoes! Wilderness Safari drivers very good and pleasant.
Expert Africa comments
We received a prompt reply on these comments from one of Ilalas managers, Martin. He was very disappointed to read them, offered his apologies and explained a few things.
With regards to the internet, internet speeds in Africa are seldom as fast as in Europe or the US. Ilala Lodge are very aware of this; they have the fastest link that they can get, but its still slow. They will upgrade as soon as they can; currently theyre hoping this will be in Aug 2013.
With regard to the hotel looking a bit dated, thats probably fair. Like many hotels and lodges in Zimbabwe, Ilala Lodges dcor has dropped behind the curve. However, now things are changing there and Martin commented, We look at all our linen and towels every year and replace where needed. We have completed the installation of flat screen LCD TV units in all our rooms at the end of February 2013 and, although the air conditioning unit in their room was installed in 2007, we are half way through replacing all of these units, and will have the rest finished by August. [Ed: Aug 2013!]
Readers should remember though that Ilala is very affordable in comparison to other properties in the area, and the hotel is decorated in a colonial style, which some may feel adds to a feeling that it is dated.
Ilala doesnt have mosquito nets in the rooms. Martin explains that: We spray the rooms on a quarterly basis, have plug in mosquito repellent, offer mosquito repellant spray and insect spray in all the rooms. We also encourage the use of the air conditioning units as this discourages mosquitoes as well.
Martin was surprised to read these comments on tinned fruit, as they only ever serve fresh fruit at breakfast. He says that they We offer only fresh fruits. We offer 3 types of fresh cold meats, 3 types of croissants, 3 types of muffins, various seeds/nuts and dried fruits and a cheese and biscuit platter. We also offer 8 hot egg-based options on the a la carte menu.
About late check-outs, Martin was sorry they didnt do better on this. He explained that they try to arrange these for guests where they can but because Ilala is often very full, it can be difficult. In this case, he explained that: The key system is also defaulted, as a security measure, to expire at 11.30am but our team should have realised this and renewed their card I will address this with our reception., and he apologized for this.
We are extremely sorry to hear that these guests did not like Ilala, but are pleased that they enjoyed the rest of their trip with us.
Ilala Lodge review
We arrived in Ilala Lodge after being in 3 camps in Botswana and it was quite different.
The comfort,design and location of the Lodge is wonderful but the staff a bit less personable than we found in safari camps. This is quite understandable as it is a hotel in a tourist town and has to cater for many different tastes.
The breakfasts were magnificent and the dinners at the restaurant were tasty but slightly fussy and over designed.
We paid a handsome sum to go microlighting over the Victoria Falls from the Zambia side. It was worth digging deep in our pockets as to see the falls this way is possibly a once in a lifetime experience.
We liked Victoria Falls town but fear for it's future. The tourist police are very helpful and do their best to stop tourists being hassled by local people selling anything and everything they can to you. The Elephant Walk shopping centre in town is nice (no hassling) and has a great friendly little cafe where one can escape from the heat and eat some nice food such as Warthog ciabatta! It's quite fun to watch the wildlife including baboons, warthogs and mongoose wandering around town.
Great staff, awesome rooms, great view, AWESOME burgers!
Close to the falls and the bridge.
[Ed: see below for comments on their first stay here at the start of this trip.]
Great start and finish hotel!
Ilala Lodge was close to the Falls and the Bridge to access the things we wanted to see. Great service and lovely staff, we loved just chilling out in the pool or drinking at the bar.
It was a great place to start and finish.
Expert Africa comments
We were delighted that these travellers enjoyed Ilala Lodge so much - if you'd like to read more about their stay here then take a look at their blog.
Ilala Lodge - great location for Vic Falls
Great location, walking distance to Victoria Falls.Read more about the whole trip
Ilala Lodge review
The facilities were great.
Staff was excellent. The hotel was conveniently located to what we wanted to see and within easy walking distance to the falls.
We enjoyed our stay there.
great base for Vic Falls
Good recommendation. Excellent location. Actually nicer atmosphere than Vic Falls Hotel which, when we visited for a drink was crammed with bus parties.
Menu also good for two nights dinner
Ian and Michelle - Ilala Lodge Oct 11
Ilala lodge is a wonderful hotel in Victoria Falls, and is just a very short walk from the falls themselves.
The hotel is well maintained and very comfortable. Our main-floor room had a door we could open onto the lawn, where we saw some local animals wandering around, notable warthogs and a family of Banded Mongoose.
Our sole complaint was that the dinner did not meet expectations, largely due to a waiter who must have been new and could not seem to get the order right - but in fairness I should point out that the couple at the table next to us was effusive in their praise of the food and called out the chef to give their complements.
Relaxed feel close and close to the Falls
A very informal Lodge and easy to relax. Nice pool.
Good food in the Palm restaurant both dinner and breakfast.
We experienced difficulty trying to pay by either travellers cheques or credit card. Cash is obviously wanted in Zimbabwe. We eventually managed to sort out the payment machine by getting the battery charged, much to the relief of guests behind us in the queue!
We needed to change rooms, due to lack of cleanliness in the bathrooms, on the first night (our anniversary). The room renovations that were toted was nothing more than a new television set. The management team did address the room problems, but our anniversary celebration was a bust,
Walking around Victoria Falls and having to ward off the local vendors was a horrible experience. The vendors hounded us immediately as we left the hotel property. Apparently, 'No' is not understood. It is a huge problem, that many visitors complained about.
We did enjoy the food and drink at the Victoria Falls Hotel, and would recommend this location for any future travelers.