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Kigali Serena Hotel

Kigali Serena Hotel: Our full report

Kigali Serena Hotel, formerly known as Kigali InterContinental Hotel, is a large, upmarket hotel with plenty ...

... of modern facilities. Located in Rwanda’s busy capital city, it is just 10km from Kigali International Airport.

The Kigali Serena has a brilliant location and it is a great option for travellers who need to stay in the capital overnight, either at the beginning or the end of their trip. Serena has brought up the standard of this hotel to offer high levels of service: it’s certainly comparable to any good city hotel in the Western world.

The main areas of the Kigali Serena give a very good first impression. The atrium extends right up to the top floor, where light floods in through a huge skylight. The well-staffed main reception desk overlooks a polished stone floor and several sofas provide a comfortable area to wait. A small souvenir shop sells reasonably priced trinkets, next to a small business reception area.

The Kigali Serena has 148 rooms in total, broken down into several categories; Standard, Deluxe, Superior, Prime and Suites. The design complements Rwandan culture, with plenty of tasteful African touches, local art and splashes of colour in what may otherwise have been a bland interior.

All rooms have 24-hour room service, air con, WiFi, phones, minibars, safes, tea- and coffee-making facilities and hairdryers.

The Standard, Deluxe and Superior rooms vary slightly in size and location, but all have either a king-size bed, or twin double beds, and a bath as well as a large shower.

As some of the Standard rooms are on the smaller side, we’d recommend going for the more spacious Deluxe rooms, with balconies overlooking the pool area, for that bit of extra comfort.

The Prime rooms face the pool and have an extra seating area as well as a flat-screen TV.

There are also much larger Suites, with extra seating and working areas, and interconnecting rooms are available for families.

The Serena has a couple of restaurants, along with a lounge where afternoon tea is served.

Overlooking the large swimming pool and tropical gardens, the Milima Restaurant serves a varied and oft-replenished buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Sokoni Restaurant, is poolside, and has a more casual vibe with a bit more of a buzz to it. Food is served here throughout the day, and there are also themed dinners, cocktails and live music.

The centrally located Lounge is the perfect place to enjoy a pre- or post-dinner drink while listing to the resident pianist on the grand piano, or to enjoy a selection of fresh cakes with an afternoon coffee.

Right in the middle of the hotel is the Serena’s swimming pool, with the rooms towering up in a V-shape around it. It's a great size, with a children’s area, and plenty of comfortable sunloungers, plus seating both inside and out. Ambient lighting at night gives the entire hotel a very relaxed and tropical atmosphere. A pool guard is in attendance until 9.30pm.

Just off from the pool is the Maisha Health Club, well equipped with a spa, steam room and Jacuzzi, a gym with TVs, exercise classes such as yoga, salsa and spinning, and a Moroccan-style spa using Elemis products. On our last visit in May 2017, a half-hour massage cost U$60.

Whilst visiting Kigali, we’d recommend an afternoon, or a full day if time allows, to visit the Genocide Memorial and Museum. It’s a fascinating, if sobering, insight into the country’s history. City tours are also available - speak to us about the options on offer.


Our view

Overall, on our last visit to the Kigali Serena in May 2017, we were really impressed. The hotel was clean and comfortable and we felt it had a much more relaxed feel than some of the other international hotels in the city. The service was friendly and relatively efficient (compared to our experiences elsewhere in Rwanda) and the food was good. This is our favourite option for a night or two in Kigali.

Lyndsey Marris

Lyndsey Marris

Country manager: Rwanda

Geographics

Location
Kigali, Rwanda
Ideal length of stay
Stay here for an overnight stop or for one or two nights to explore Kigali.
Directions
The hotel is about 10km from Kigali airport.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Bed & Breakfast
Food quality
On our last visit in May 2017, we thought the food was very good, particularly when compare with the general standard across Rwanda.

Breakfast was a buffet with a large selection of cereals, cheese and meat platters, fresh fruit and juices, and the option of a hot breakfast cooked in front of you.

Lunch could be taken in any one of the restaurants, with the Milima offering a particularly good-value buffet.

Dinner is generally à la carte, though we understand the Milima offers themed buffets several nights of the week. We ate in the Sokoni, which is more relaxed than the Milima, and enjoyed a spicy Indian dhal with chapatis and pilau rice, and a vegetarian pasta bake. We were impressed with the options on the menu, from local dishes through to a range of European meals.

On our last visit, an evening meal in the Sokoni cost US $15–25, while a buffet dinner in Milima would have set us back US $30-35.

Children

Attitude towards children
The hotel welcomes children.
Property’s age restrictions
None.
Special activities & services
Babysitting services are available, although guests should be aware that babysitters may not be trained to UK standards.
Equipment
The hotel can provide cots and highchairs.
Generally recommended for children
We think this is a good option for families as it has plenty of facilities.
Notes
Though there is a pool guard in attendance, the pool area is not separate from the adjacent walkways, so young children should be supervised in these areas.

Communications

Communications
There is free WiFi throughout and internet terminals are available for an extra charge.
TV & radio
There are TVs in all the rooms.
Water supply
Mains
Water supply notes
All rooms are plumbed with hot and cold showers and flush toilets.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
There is a nurse based at the hotel for minor illness or injuries. For more serious issues, the hotel has contacts with a doctor who will come and visit.
Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Security measures
There is a security gate as you enter the hotel, and guards patrol the property 24-7.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in the corridors and staff are trained in their use.

Activities

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
There is a 24-hour laundry service at an extra cost.
Money
There are safes in all the rooms. The hotel offers a foreign exchange service.
Accepted payment on location
The hotel accepts all major credit cards. Cash payments may be made in US dollars, British pounds, euros and Rwandan francs.

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