Hotel: Rainbow Towers Hotel & Conference Centre

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Background

Formerly the Sheraton Harare Hotel & International Conference Centre, this hotel opened in November 1985. The Rainbow Tourism Group took over the property in March 2006. RTG started life as the Zimbabwe Tourist Development Corporation in the early 1980s, before changing to its current name in the 1990s.There are eight hotels in the group – six in Zimbabwe and one each in Zambia and Mozambique. Rainbow Towers is the group’s flagship hotel.

Where is it?

This Harare landmark is set in landscape gardens and situated just under three kilometres from the city centre. It is in close proximity to Queen Victoria Museum, the National Museum, Harare Gardens, National Art Gallery and African Unity Square.

Room Facilities

The hotel has 304 en-suite rooms across 17 floors – 170 Standard rooms, 64 Standard Twin rooms, and 70 Towers rooms and suites. A Presidential suite is located on the top floor. Non-smoking rooms are available on request. Tea and coffee stations are complimentary in each room, and my suite, which was partially refurbished (bedroom and bathroom), had a comfortable queen-size bed, a choice of five pillow types (ask at reception), flatscreen TV, large work station, air-conditioning, and bathroom with separate bath, large shower and complimentary toiletries. The hotel was undergoing refurbishment when I visited in October, and the intention is to reserve floors 15 and above for executives with their own check-in, lounge and breakfast area – there will also be new air-conditioning units in the refurbished rooms. The refurb is a long-term project, starting with rooms, and including the carpets, bathrooms, showers, beds, the conference centre and public areas.

Restaurants & Bars

The dining options that stood out for me were Kombahari and Teppan Yaki (Japanese, Halaal and Chinese food) – it’s basically one venue with two distinct choices. The former offers a traditional African ‘sit around the pot grill’, which is food cooked in front of you by the chef. ‘Afro-Asian’ is how I’d describe the food I had, which was good without being outstanding. Kombahari also offers other ‘international’ dishes. For the not so hungry, the La Patiserrie Bistro in the lobby on the ground floor offers a variety of sweet and savoury pastries throughout the day. This area is also popular for informal meetings. Otherwise, there’s the Harvest Garden restaurant, which offers all-day buffet-style food. This restaurant has a view of the pool area and garden. Just above the Bistro is the main bar, called Gazebo, whilst the Aviators Arms is a public bar that also provides a smoking area.

Business & Meeting Facilities

The hotel has Zimbabwe’s biggest conference centre, in terms of capacity, and can host events from the smallest in size through to an event for 4,500 delegates in the auditorium. A 2,000m2 exhibition centre is available, whilst outside the entrance to the expo centre is an area that can be used for outdoor exhibition-type events, such as vehicle launches etc. In total, the hotel has 19 smaller conference venues – catering for all types of events – and there are numerous breakaway options for larger groups. The lobby areas of both floors of the main conference area are large enough for tea and coffee stations. Most importantly, there is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. There’s also a business centre available for basic requirements. Outside, there is ample secure parking available, whilst the hotel also offers airport transfers.

Leisure Facilities

In-house facilities include a hair salon, gym, sauna, swimming pool, casino and tennis court. The closest golf course is Royal Harare, which is about five kilometres away.

Verdict

I was impressed with the service, but the hotel could definitely do with some sprucing up, so the refurb should make a big difference. I’m looking forward to seeing that completed, and once that is done, Rainbow Towers should take up its place on the list of Harare’s premier business travel hotels.

Pierre Grobler

Contact
Address:
1 Pennefather Avenue, Samora Machel Avenue West
Tel:
+263 4 772 587
Email:
reservations@rainbowtowers.co.zw
Web: www.therainbowtowers.com