Hotel check: Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, Kigali

Kigali, Rwanda

1282

BACKGROUND: The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group operates 27 Radisson Blu properties in Africa, with plenty more in the pipeline, as one of the most aggressive international hotel groups in terms of African development. The Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, Kigali is one of its newer properties, having opened in the second half of 2016. There is also a Park Inn by Radisson in Kigali, which opened this year.

WHERE IS IT? The hotel is five kilometres from both the airport and the CBD, and just a few kilometres from Kigali’s government and corporate offices. My taxi trip from the airport took about 10 minutes at around 08h00 in the morning.

ROOM FACILITIES: The hotel has 292 rooms and suites with private balconies and views of either the city or inner courtyard and pool. Guests can choose from 209 standard rooms, four wheelchair-accessible rooms, 68 business class rooms, five junior suites, five presidential suites and one diplomatic suite. All rooms are kitted out with free wi-fi, individual climate control and complimentary access to the gym, swimming pool, and sauna and steam rooms. Interactive flat-screen satellite televisions and mini-bars are also in all rooms. I was accommodated in a business class room, which at 38m2 was slightly larger than the standard room on offer, although not by much. It came with access to the business class lounge, where there was complimentary breakfast, snacks and drinks throughout the day. My room also featured a Nespresso coffee machine and I had a complimentary newspaper delivered in the morning. Otherwise, I would describe it as ‘contemporary’ in design, with a comfortable king-size bed as the centrepiece, in close proximity to a work desk angled into the one corner. The en-suite bathroom was ‘hidden’ behind the wall accommodating the cupboard space and TV, and featured a double vanity, toilet and large walk-in rain shower with good pressure.

RESTAURANTS & BARS: There are two main dining options, in the form of The Larder and Filini Restaurant. The Larder is an all-day dining restaurant offering local and international food, courtesy of an a la carte menu and themed buffets in a rather appealing setting on the ground floor, where guests can opt for either indoor seating or alfresco dining overlooking the swimming pool. Here I enjoyed what the hotel calls its ‘Super Breakfast Buffet’, which is a pretty extensive offering of hot and cold breakfast choices, including scrambled eggs, toast, cereals, fruit and juices. I opted for the ‘continental’ option of croissants, cheese and cold meats, along with delicious Rwandan coffee and an interesting-tasting avocado smoothie. I only had one night in the hotel and unfortunately didn’t get the chance to sample Filini, which is an Italian restaurant. With work to do, I opted for room service and the enormous cheese burger off that menu. Aside from the patty being a little dry, it was pretty tasty and came with heaps of cheese, a nice sauce and great chips – all washed down with one of the local beers from the mini- bar! The hotel also has a classy-looking bar on the ground floor, leading out onto the pool area and the Piazza Bar overlooking Kigali.

BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: The Kigali Convention Centre is adjacent to the hotel and has a net floor area of 32,200m2. Its meeting rooms are all fully equipped with the latest technology and AV equipment. There are 18 versatile meeting spaces in total, including a state-of-the-art auditorium that can hold up to 2,600 guests. There’s also a business centre with photocopy and fax services, complimentary parking for 650 cars, and free wi-fi.

LEISURE FACILITIES: The hotel covers the basics with an impressive gym, swimming pool and spa offering, but if you’re looking to get out and experience what Kigali and Rwanda has to offer from a leisure point of view, start with the Kigali Genocide Memorial, which is about 10 minutes’ drive in a taxi from the hotel.

VERDICT: A quality business travel offering, particularly if you’re attending an event at the KCC.

Dylan Rogers

CONTACT

A: Kimihurura Roundabout, Kigali

T: +250 252 252 252

E: info.kigali@radissonblu.com

W: radissonblu.com