Reviews of Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Up in the clouds!
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel: the rooms - which are all separate mini-cottages with balconies - were generous and quite well lit, and the location was superb, with panoramic views on all sides.
The electricity went out a few times (there is a backup generator) and occasionally the service was a little slow, but the staff were unfailingly helpful and friendly. In fact, it often felt like a family-run establishment, and we would gladly have lingered longer on the sunny terrace to take in the clouds, lake and forests stretching away to the distance. We'd definitely stay here again.
Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel review
We did however have major problem/disappointment with Nyungye Top View Hotel
1. The hotel was truly awful. We arrived on Saturday and during the night the power went off at first intermittently and then for good so we were without power (and therefore water which needed to be pumped) for 36 hours. (Restored on Monday afternoon) . The mains had failed and so did their generator. There were no torches or kerosene lamps in the whole place as far as we could tell. When the (kind) staff tried to serve us dinner by the weak light of their mobile phones, we insisted on lending them our head torch. After no electricity (and no fridge) they were still offering us meat or fish to eat although on my enquiry, they agreed it was not a good idea as they had no way to keep it cool during the outage.(We became vegetarian) The manager was nowhere to be found ; the staff tried very hard to be helpful and eg arrived with a jerry can of cold water on Monday morning so we could wash.
We understand that power can be a problem in Africa but to be so totally unprepared was astounding.
Beyond the water/ power problem, the hotel was unfinished; and totally lacking in aesthetic appeal. Eg large pieces of furniture were placed in the bedrooms to block out the natural light and views from the potentially nice bedrooms_ (although there were beautiful objects on the shelves of the sitting room). Altogether there was no sign of real management or care in the delivery of the service ; the staff wanted to help but were powerless to do anything except apologise.
2. We spent each day's 'chimp' experience in the chimp sanctuary ( the Cyamudongo Forest) which is just 4 sq kms and not part of the Nyungye National Park. This was fine for one day but we would have loved to walk in the Nyungye National park and have the opportunity of looking for/at birds. Apart from our initial drive through the park we never saw it or experienced it at all. This was not what your itinerary lead us to expect.
Really pleasant staff in a great location.
At first this place seemed lacking in atmosphere but that was because we were virtually the only guests there (and on one night it was just us). We were there in January. Having said that, this is a Rwandan owned enterprise that has been recently built on a hilltop with fantastic views in all directions. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful - particularly in the restaurant.
It was a personalised service from the waiter and chef. We saw them cope admirably when the governor and a group of ministers and their entourage arrived for lunch. The food was very good (if not always exactly what an English person would expect from the description on the menu). The rooms have a very pleasant sitting area (with fire) and a balcony.
The bedrooms could have done with a few hooks/hanging space to hang things up. It is very well located for chimp and colubus monkey treks. In inclement weather there is little to do in the hotel itself. We hope this hotel (and Nyungwe) get more visitors - they deserve them.
Charming but idiosyncratic
This was a charming hotel. The staff were very attentive and service was excellent. The food was excellent and there was plenty of it. The menu is a limited set menu but the main course offered a meat dish, a fish dish or a vegetarian dish.
The view was great.
It does get cold so we appreciated the fire being lit and the 3 hot water bottles in our bed.
The rooms do look a bit in need of repair - for example there were chipped tiles in the bathroom, but this certainly didn't spoil our stay.
Strangely the things that could be improved are very simple - put an extra chair on the balcony, at present there is only one even though two people are sharing the room. Similarly, two bottles of water are provided but only one glass.
The dressing table with the mirror is nowhere near a socket so using a hair dryer / straighteners isn't easy. (There are actually lots of sockets in the room, I think we counted 6)
A torch is definately needed because there aren't any light switches by the bed so trying to negotiate crossing the room and battling with the mosquito net could be a challenge.
It would be nice if there was a little shop on site where local handicrafts, postcards, etc were sold.
Everywhere was really clean and the bed was very comfortable