The Victoria Falls Hotel was built in 1904 and the building exudes a certain elegance found only in a few hotels of the world. This graceful hotel is certainly a fine example of British colonial architecture; the Edwardian-style hotel has been recently refurbished to combine the traditional with the conveniences of the modern era.
The grounds are beautifully maintained and the service is almost faultless. One can only imagine what the hotel was like in an era of discovery, wealth and colonialism.
The hotel is situated only a short walk away from the Victoria Falls National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is a member of the Luxury Leading Hotels of the World group. The “Mosi-O-Tunya” or the “Smoke that Thunders” (Victoria Falls) can be seen and heard from the lawns of this beautiful property.
The hotel offers 161 rooms, comprising 37 standard room, 48 deluxe rooms, 58 traditional rooms, and a mix of 17 suites of different sizes. The Royal Suite has seen royal, presidents, and some famous movie stars. Along the hotel’s hallways, one sees various photographs and artistic renditions of the hotel many “illustrious” visitors, to include a couple of British royals. This hotel’s architecture will give you a glimpse of Zimbabwe’s (Rhodesian) colonial era
Aside from its verdant lawns, the hotel offers a medium size swimming pool, two all-weather tennis courts, a library, an E-lounge, a reading room, a chapel, and golfers staying at this hotel can use the golf course at their sister hotel, the Elephant Hills Resort.
Our room was a standard room, a comfortable double room with a queen size bed. The bed is a traditional wood-frame bed, with mosquito netting over it. The room, while not large, is comfortable and offers today’s modern amenities, such as a TV with several satellite channels, and an electronic safe box. The room is furnished with traditional furniture, and as my husband aptly noted, the hotel’s colonial appearance and flavor ought to be appreciated, as there are not many places like this one left around.
The ensuite bathroom is very large, and while it is not very modern, it offers all the necessary comforts: a toilet with an overhead tank and drawcord, a very long bathtub and a large marble sink. The bathtub has an overhead shower, and the pipes are made of copper and they are on the exterior, a fine example of old-fashioned, copper fixtures.
Service and Dining
Possibly, this is the nicest service we’ve experienced in a long time. The staff is obsequious to the point of annoyance. There isn’t a thing the staff can’t do to please you.
Breakfast was included in the room rate. Breakfast is served in the Jungle Junction terrace, with views of the Victoria Falls Bridge, the bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia. This restaurant has been in service since the hotel opened its doors in 1904. The full-English breakfast is great, and while not overly extensive in choices to eat, what is offered is very good quality.
We also enjoyed two dinners at this hotel, and the food and service were very nice, although a bit pricey.
Why Stay at this Hotel?
First, if you like colonial African architecture, this place will give you tiny glimpse into a window of the past. Second, the proximity to Victoria Falls is excellent, as is the train station where you could see the beautiful Rovos Rail luxury train pull into the Vic Falls Station, located only a few feet away. The small town of Victoria Falls is only a couple of walking minutes away.
While the hotel rooms are not very modern in the sense of today’s hotels, the rooms are very comfortable in a traditional way.
Vic Falls, as the locals call it, is known as the “adrenaline capital of Africa” and through the hotel’s activities desk, or your own private bookings, you are only minutes away from all kinds of fun and exciting activities. For those who are tight on time and still wish to view some game, only five kilometers away is a national park and the hotel can arrange for a professional ranger who can take you on a walk or drive in search of elephants, zebras, giraffes, etc.
This is a beautiful hotel and I would recommend it to those who appreciate historical buildings. However, if you prefer a shiny, modern hotel, then this place is not for you.