Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The Best Hotels in Rwanda

Visiting Rwanda for work or vacation? You’ll need to find a place to stay that is a joy to get back to after a day of exploring or attending business meetings. 

I’ve compiled a list of the best hotels in Rwanda. Find out what makes each a great destination and what to expect once there. Check it out to get your next hotel destination, depending on your preferences and where in Rwanda you’ll be traveling to. 


Quick Guide: The 6 Best Hotels in Rwanda

Gisenyi and Lake Kivu

Paradis Malahide

Paradis Malahide
  • Peaceful, calming views of Lake Kivu with private access to the beach 
  • Welcoming staff who will periodically check up on you to make sure you are having a pleasant stay 
  • Nice, freshly made food available at the hotel’s restaurant (fresh tilapia especially recommended)

Paradis Malahide’s views are breathtaking – tropical trees and plants in its gardens overlooking Lake Kivu make for a relaxing atmosphere. It also has private beach access where guests can sunbathe by the lake or go for a swim.

The hotel has a restaurant that serves multiple meals, including grilled tilapia, against the backdrop of Lake Kivu. Paradis Malahide is made even better by the attentive staff who will go the extra mile to make you comfortable. 

Mantis Kivu Marina Bay Hotel

Mantis Kivu Marina Bay Hotel
  • Swimming pool overlooking Lake Kivu
  • Two dining areas to choose from, including an indoor and an outdoor area
  • Located only 1 kilometre from Kamembe International Airport

Overlooking Lake Kivu, Mantis Kivu Marina Bay Hotel features a spa/sauna, gym, and a restaurant called La Vue. While it doesn’t have direct access to Lake Kivu, it includes a swimming pool that overlooks the lake, providing an enticing view from the hill where the Mantis Kivu Bay hotel is perched.

Guests can choose between two dining areas at Mantis Kivu Marina Bay Hotel: A relaxed outdoor area by the pool where you can enjoy a cocktail between swims or a more contemporary indoor restaurant for a fine dining experience. 

Mantis Kivu Marina Bay is just 1 kilometre from Kamembe International Airport and is a five-hour drive from Kigali.


Kigali Serena Hotel

Kigali Serena Hotel
  • Conferencing facilities for business people 
  • Located within walking distance from the city centre, making it easily accessible to key locations around the city, like major bank headquarters
  • It has a swimming pool surrounded by lovely gardens

Part of the Serena Hotels chain located across East and Southern Africa and South Asia, Kigali Serena Hotel is found just a five-minute walk from Kigali’s Central Business District. Its ideal location, right at the centre of Kigali, and its amenities, including conference rooms, make it a great place to stay for executives and business people. 

But that’s not to say it is dull. Kigali Serena Hotel features a lush garden surrounding a swimming pool where you can take a dip and relax. Apart from the pool, it also has a spa, a bar area, and a lounge for the days you want to have a drink.

For your meals and drinks, you can choose between the two restaurants on-site; Milima Restaurant, which serves select international meals and authentic Rwandan cuisines, and Sokoni Cafe and Bar, where you can get cocktails and food.

Ubumwe Grand Hotel

Ubumwe Grand Hotel
  • Features a rooftop pool
  • Has sweeping views of Kigali city 
  • Is located in the Kigali city centre

Ubumwe Grand’s location, at the city centre and surrounded by multiple business complexes, makes it especially suited for guests on business trips. To further serve its guests, it features a business centre and multiple meeting rooms complete with meeting planning services on request. Its modern rooms each come with a work desk and high-speed internet for convenience.

When not working, guests can swim in Ubumwe Grand Hotel’s heated infinity swimming pool at the rooftop or work out at their gym. Grab lunch from the Fiesta All Day dining space with a bar and grill or lounge at the terrace over some snacks and drinks. 

Heaven Boutique Hotel

Heaven Boutique Hotel
  • Multiple services are offered for a relaxed stay, including saltwater pools, a spa, a yoga deck, an open-air fitness centre, and a gym
  • Three tiers of rooms to choose from, including a small queen room and a larger villa-style room giving options for different budgets

Located close to the city centre, Heaven Boutique Hotel comprises cosy, clean rooms equipped with AC (and standing fans upon request). It has lovely tropical gardens that add a relaxing feel. Guests whose rooms face the gardens or pool enjoy those views, while other guests enjoy views of Kigali city. 

You can join a yoga class, get a workout done at their gym or go swimming in the solar-heated saltwater pool in the hotel. And, for your meals, choose between Heaven Restaurant, for some African cuisines, and Fusion Restaurant, for a fine dining experience and a range of international cuisines. Heaven Rwanda runs both restaurants and the hotel.

Heaven Boutique Hotel is recommended for new-time visitors to Kigali and residents of Rwanda looking for a staycation spot within the city.

The Nest Rugando

The Nest Rugando
  • Located in a safe residential area that gives it a quiet, serene environment 
  • Is close to gyms, some of the best restaurants in Kigali, and major buildings like the Kigali Convention Centre
  • Most affordable rates, making it a great choice for low-budget traveling

The Nest Rugando has a great breakfast offering that comes with your hotel booking. They serve their guests fresh fruits, muesli and several drink types. Outside of breakfast, their rooms are simple and clean, and they have a well-maintained garden that adds calmness to the hotel.

The Nest Rugando is conveniently located close to some great restaurants like Sole Luna (a 9-minute walk), cafes, and shopping centres including Kigali Heights. You also have multiple areas to visit close by for different activities like yoga at Ituze Centre and tennis at Nyarutarama Sports Centre.

Volcanoes National Park 

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest

One&Only Gorilla's Nest
  • Impeccable service, a fully stocked mini-bar, and knowledgeable staff ready to help you
  • Located at the foot of the Volcanoes National Park, allowing direct access to the gorillas’ trekking trail

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is set amid a forest, with secluded wooden cabins that look like tree houses with a luxurious touch. Every detail at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest has been thought out to give its guests a memorable experience. From the warm, earthy tones used in the spacious, airy rooms to the large bathtubs, the golf carts take you from one place to the other within the resort, to the helipad for those who’d like to arrive via a chopper.

The resort is located at the foothill of the Volcanoes National park. It’s often cold and rainy here, so you can expect to encounter muddy trails when you go Gorilla Trekking. But the staff clean your boots and rain jackets and bring them back to you once dry. 

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Singita Kwitonda Lodge
  • Features panoramic views of the Volcanoes National park
  • Exclusive experience with only eight luxurious suites 
  • Spa and wellness centre for relaxing massages

What screams exclusive more than a hotel with only eight suites in total? Each of the eight luxurious suites features panoramic views of the Volcanoes National Park, an indoor and outdoor fireplace, and a private heated pool for added poshness.

Located at the foothill of the Volcanoes National Park, Singita Kwitonda Lodge offers its guests a variety of tailored experiences, including community visits, gorilla trekking, and cycling. Guests can also get a tour of the Singita Kwitonda vegetable garden. 

Akagera National Park

Mantis Akagera Game Lodge

Mantis Akagera Game Lodge
  • Has conferencing facilities for business executives
  • Features a small pool for kids and a children’s play area 
  • Ideal location right inside Akagera National Park, giving you easier access to the park

Forget rustic cabins, and say hello to a modern, classy space right in Akagera National Park. Located on a hill in the park, Mantis Akagera Game Lodge offers a bird’s eye view of the park and the neighboring Lake Ihema. 

Guests can go on an up to 6-hour-long game drive in the Akagera National Park. The park features over 500 bird species and multiple wild animals, including the famous big five – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffaloes. 

The lodge includes Inzovu restaurant, which serves African meals in a la carte and buffet styles. It also has conferencing facilities for business executives, a swimming pool, and a bar. 

Ruzizi Tented Lodge

Ruzizi Tented Lodge
  • Eco-friendly lodge
  • Close to Akagera National Park
  • Allows guests to exist with nature, being close enough to see hippos, crocodiles, and monkeys

Go glamping (glamorous camping) at Ruzizi Tented Lodge, where the tents are ensuite with a bathroom, changing area, queen-sized bed, and lounge area. The Lodge includes raised walkways between the rooms due to its proximity to Lake Ihema and the marshland on its shores. You can walk to the deck right over the lake to watch crocodiles and hippos swimming by – from a safe distance, of course.

While your nights will be made exciting by the sounds of wild animals and crickets, your days can be spent on a game drive at Akagera National Park. Catch a glimpse of a family of monkeys right within the lodge, and perhaps even get to see a hippo out of the water just a few metres away from you from the deck by the Ihema river.

Ruzizi tented Lodge has a bar, lounge area, and a gift shop with African artifacts and jewellery. It’s an eco-friendly lodge that uses solar energy to power the establishment and is keen on leaving the natural environment as is, building around it.

Akagera Rhino Lodge

Akagera Rhino Lodge
  • A 10-minute drive from Akagera National Park
  • Multiple activities to participate in, including game drives, community and cultural visits, and boat rides

Akagera Rhino Lodge is situated just 10 minutes away from the Akagera National Park. It consists of thatched-roof cottages with large balconies overlooking Lake Ihema and Rwanda’s hilly countryside. 

The massive land on which the lodge is set means some of the cottages are a bit far from the dining area – you might need to walk at least 300 metres to get to your cottage. 

Akagera Rhino Lodge hosts Rhino Restaurant, an open-air dining place serving salads, vegetable dishes, meats, and cheese, and a bar serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Apart from a game drive and bird watching, you can also go for a boat ride at lake Ihema and a community visit to see the long-horned cows and meet local farmers and beekeepers close to Akagera National park.

Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe Nziza Ecolodge

Nyungwe Nziza Ecolodge
  • Offers multiple stay options, including tent rooms, hotel rooms, and camping areas 
  • Features views of the large tea plantations and Nyungwe National Park’s forest

Choose where you’d like to stay between a camping area, tented rooms, and hotel rooms at the Nyungwe Nziza Ecolodge. Located on a hill overlooking Nyungwe forest, the ecolodge also includes views of vast acres of tea plantations. The walk to the rooms is quite steep, so it isn’t recommended for people who might struggle to climb up and down.

You can ask for transportation to the Nyungwe National Park from the lodge (at an extra cost) or drive there. Apart from visiting the park, the lodge also offers tea plantation visits, community tours (carry some loose cash to purchase items like honey on the way), and hiking trips.

Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel

Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel
  • Provides a fireplace and hot water bottles for extra warmth in the evenings
  • Get packed lunch for full-day outdoor activities from the hotel
  • Shuttle services for easier travel to and from the park and other destinations nearby

The Nyungwe National Park area and its surroundings get quite cold most of the year. But Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel’s rooms have beautiful fireplaces and heated water bottles in beds to keep guests warm throughout the night. 

The staff members also go above and beyond to serve the guests, preparing breakfast at 4 a.m. and packing lunch and snacks for those doing early morning outdoor activities. Nyungwe Top View Hills Hotel is close to the National park, making it ideal for when you want to go chimpanzee trekking or hiking along one of the numerous hiking trails. The location is especially popular among hikers.

One&Only Nyungwe House

One&Only Nyungwe House

Impeccable service from the hotel staff

  • Amenities available include a spa and swimming pool
  • Varying private dining experiences on request
  • Multiple activities available, including chimpanzee trekking and a helicopter ride to view Nyungwe National Park

One&Only Nyungwe House is set in the middle of plantations and trees, covering it in greenery that is typical of Rwandan environment. To add to the experience, guests are welcomed by a cultural show of music, drums, and traditional Rwandan dance.

One&Only Nyungwe house features a swimming pool, a relaxing spa, a tea lounge – for local teas, snacks, and other drinks- and a dining area that serves East African Cuisines with fresh, organic produce. For an even more magical dining experience, you can also get set up in one of the multiple dining locations including among the tea plantations or on your room’s terrace. 

Lake Burera and Ruhondo

Ruhondo Beach Resort

Ruhondo Beach Resort
  • Situated right next to Lake Ruhondo
  • Has great direct views of the Virunga mountains on clear days
  • Multiple activities offered – mountain biking, canoeing, and hiking

Getting to Ruhondo Beach Resort includes a drive/car ride and a boat trip. You would drive to the Power station on the edge of the lake, park your vehicle or bike there, and then take a boat to the other side of the lake where the resort is located. While the resort is accessible by road, the boat ride takes a shorter time and is recommended over the road. Call in beforehand to get clear directions, as it’s quite easy to get lost.

Ruhondo Beach Resort sets up a bonfire at night for the guests to gather over. It also features a restaurant popular with cyclists and bikers going to or from Musanze. Do try the fresh tilapia fished from Lake Ruhondo at their restaurant.

Lake Muhazi

UMVA Muhazi

UMVA Muhazi
  • Includes a tennis court
  • Multiple activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, yoga and tennis
  • Vegan meal options also available

Located just an hour and a half drive from Kigali, UMVA Muhazi provides a great escape from the city. Guests can choose between the activities available, including kayaking, paddle boarding, bird watching, and tennis.

The rooms at UMVA Muhazi include a birdhouse for those that like a tiny house concept, bungalows with a lounge area for more space, and pods with two twin beds, perfect for sharing with a friend. And away from the rooms, the dining experience at UMVA Muhazi is curated to encourage interaction in a communal-style dining setup. 

Final Thoughts

Exemplary customer service is one thing you’ll find across all the best hotels in Rwanda. The staff, like many Rwandans, are often kind and eager to help, which adds to the great service. Beyond the service, you’ll also find key features for each hotel on our list that put it above the rest.

Do share your experience at the hotel you’re staying in the comments section below. And, if you’re looking for things to do in Rwanda, feel free to check out the best art galleries in Kigali or go hiking with the help of our guide to hiking in Rwanda. Enjoy your stay!

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