Rileys Hotel

Rileys Hotel: Our full report

51 rooms, 2 chalets
Traveller's rating
Good (73%) From 8 reviews
All year

The Riley's Hotel was founded in 1910 by Harry Riley. By that time it was only an extra rondavel right next to his own; only suitable for one guest and very poorly equipped. Later on, he expanded his little 'hotel' by joining the two huts together and creating a simple dining room in between. It can be said that this was Maun's first hotel! That is the reason why the Riley's is often more seen as an institution rather than just a hotel.

In his book 'The Lost World of the Kalahari', Laurens van der Post described Riley's in the 1950s as a:'... remarkable little hotel which he [Harry Riley] had founded for the odd, intrepid traveller who had been determined enough to cross the desert, as well as for the score or so of Europeans patient and courageous enough to make Maun the unique outpost of life that it is today.'

The Riley's Hotel is nowadays part of the Cresta Hotel Chain and consists of 51 spacious rooms. Each has a plain, tiled en-suite bathroom with a shower over the tub, a direct dial telephone, a radio, a colour TV showing local stations, a writing desk and tea/coffee making facilities. More than half of the rooms have air-conditioning.

Rileys Hotel has a restaurant that seats up to 80 guests and offers continental and full English buffet breakfast and an à la carte menu for lunch and dinner. On Sundays it also offers a Braai lunch. You can either have a drink inside the wood-panelled bar or outside at the pool bar, which also serves light snacks, afternoon teas, coffees and cocktails. Just next to the veranda is a small outdoor swimming pool.

There is also a conference facility, garden terrace, gift shop, swimming pool, spacious natural gardens and a volleyball court. Airport transfers can be organised, on request.

A sandy area next to the hotel is designated as a (rather bare) campsite.

Riley's has a very central location, on the south-eastern side of the main street, about 3km from the Maun's airport.

Our view

We view Riley's Hotel as a relatively reliable, if generally uninspiring, hotel that's very conveniently positioned at the heart of Maun. It's lost much of the character that its history might imply – but it's still a useful place if you need to overnight in Maun, and haven't got the time to reach the rather more interesting Royal Tree Lodge.


Location: Maun, Botswana

Ideal length of stay: Usually used as a one-night stop-over

Key personnel

Owner: Property Chain, Cresta Hospitality Holdings

Food & drink

Food quality: Continental and full English buffet breakfast, à la carte menu for lunch and dinner braai lunch and dinner on Sundays

Further dining info: Room service; Mini Bar on request, Tea/Coffee


Attitude towards children: Child friendly

Special activities & services: Baby sitter on request

Equipment: Children's play area


Communications: Direct in room dial telephone, secretarial services

TV & radio: Rooms have televisions

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Doctor on call

Dangerous animals: Low Risk


Laundry facilities: Same day laundry service

Money: Credit card facilities, safety deposit boxes at reception, foreign exchange desk

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