On an enchanting boulevard in the heart of Kigali, Rwanda, in a secure location just a five-minute walk from the CBD, lies Kigali Serena Hotel. The 5-star-resort is a great place to start or end a gorilla safari.
Guests are welcomed into a gleaming granite atrium, adorned with lovely Rwandan artworks. The property features 148 sophisticated rooms, including 25 spacious suites, that come with air conditioning, Wi-Fi connectivity, a satellite television, and a lovely ensuite bathroom.
The hotel offers a wonderful selection of dining options, from the Milima Restaurant that overlooks the courtyard swimming pool to the Sokoni Restaurant that has become a popular meeting place for both locals and travelers alike.
The Kigali Serena Hotel provides a private and peaceful retreat like no other for discerning international diplomats and executives.
How to get there
The Kigali Serena hotel is 8 miles (12 km) from Kigali International Airport. I recommend you to pre-book your transfer from the airport to the hotel, either via the hotel or your tour operator.
Best time to visit
The short dry season from December to February and the long dry season months from June to September offer the easiest hiking conditions for gorilla or chimp trekking and the lowest malaria risk.
The dry season does not necessarily means sunny season as there is often a light cloud cover, helping to moderate the temperatures.
The Kigali Serena Hotel offers everything from standard rooms to presidential suites. All rooms are equipped with TV, and some have a seating area for relaxation. A kettle is also available in the room. Bathrobes and slippers are available.
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.
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.
Whilst visiting Kigali, I recommend an afternoon or a full day to visit the Genocide Memorial and Museum. It is a fascinating, if sobering, insight into the country’s history. City tours are also available – speak to us about the options on offer.
Other good places to visit are the Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial, the Caplaki Craft Village and the Niyo Arts Gallery.
On my last visit to the Kigali Serena hotel in January 2019, I was really impressed. The hotel is clean and comfortable and I 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 my experiences elsewhere in Rwanda) and the food was very good.
The rooms are the largest in the city and it offers all the amenities you would expect from a 5-star hotel. It is not a destination hotel though, but rather a good place to start or end your holiday in Rwanda.