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The Victoria Falls Hotel
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Reviews (2,623)
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1,611
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2,025 - 2,030 of 2,625 reviews
Reviewed 21 May 2007

The appearance of this hotel is stunning. On the outside the grounds have been maintained impeccabley. The flowers are stunning, the landscaping, the main foyer, the lobby, they all give an impression of luxury and old colonialism.
However that is where the good review stops.
On our arrival, the bell boy dropped my luggage cointaining glass. You could hear it break. He then picked it up and set it in the same unstable place that it fell from. Not a good start. We waited a hour to check in. When it came time to get to our room, the bell boy had disappeared with our key and the staff had to search for him. Half an hour later we finally got into our room. I had asked for a double and got twin beds. The look of the room was nice. The bathroom was the same as any four star, it did not fit in with the hotel and it was a little shabby. The room safe was broken. It took them half a day to decide they could not replace it. However they did find another solution. There is a flyer on the desk saying not to "tempt the staff" into stealing and lock away your valuables. It is a shame that the first impression of the people there is of thieves.
Overall we found the front desk staff very unhelpful. We had problems communicating with North America. Their answer was a shrug and a reply of "what do you want us to do about it." The food was merely adequate. The same as any family restaurant at home.
A sever warning!!!! Bring plenty of US cash. They will accept nothing else, not even their own currency, and this hotel overcharges on everything. It cost $2,00 a sheet of paper to print up an email. (When their internet was working, and it's slow). We asked the rate for a taxi from the hotel to the airport, we were told thirty dollars. We went out on our own into town and managed to get it for $20.00. We heard another couple bargain for $5.00, and the driver took the amount.
GIven it is a world class hotel in an impoverished country, some of the difficutlies can be forgiven, i.e. communications with home. However the attitude was apathetic at best. Most of the time nobody made eye contact because then they would have to help.
My advice, find another hotel. You'll pay less and have a better experience.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank cookiedox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2007

Spent 3 days (28th April -1st May 2007) at the VFH and it was better than I had been expecting. Zimbabwe is in a bad way and the whole town of Vic Falls has a real run down appearance. However the VFH is superbly located overlooking the gorge leading to the falls. The Falls were pretty full at this time so that there was always a great view of the mists rising ( sit on the right side of the plane as you fly into VF airport and you can easily see it from some distance away). When you arrive get off the plane pronto and get in the left hand side queue if you need a visa which is $55 for single entry and $70 for doulble entry.
Hotel was full of history and very elegant in an old fashioned way. Afternoon tea on the terrace is OK at $26/£13 for 2. (Forget Zim $ they will only let non Zimbabweans use hard currency and they prefer dollars. We took US $ in small denominations and had no problems at all.) Breakfast at the Jungle Junction was a pretty good buffet with beautiful views and a great choice of breakfast items. The evening buffet at the same location was interesting and cost $35 each. Service at the hotel was good -we could not get a helicopter flight over the Falls from the Zimbabwe side as they were fully booked so we took one from the Zambia side. This was an interesting trip as we had to cross the border and a representaive from the helicopter company picked us up at the VFH and expedited our border crossings.
You can walk to the Falls directly from the VFH the only problem was the 2 or 3 hawkers desperately trying to sell carvings.Entry into the Falls cost $20 and it is a good walk along the edge of the Falls to the bridge over the gorge.
As a bonus the weather was absolutely fabulous at this time of year -cloudless skies every day and temperatures around 30 celsius- beautiful. The Zimbabwean people are lovely , very friendly and keen to talk - they are having such a desperate time and need the tourists.
We also played golf at Elephant Hills Hotel. We were the only people on the course and were forced to take caddies ( who were very helpful) as they were included in the price ($30 to residents of the VFH and there is a shuttle bus between hotels as they belong to the same group). Plenty of wild life on the course which wasn't in too bad shape.
Another thing to do is go to the VF Safari Lodge which has a great view over the bush and a watering hole. Go at sunset for a drink.We saw water buffalo and elephants coming to the water hole. Sunset cruises on the Zambesi River are often included in the packages and they are ok for a pleasant evening, snacks and drinks, great views of the sunset and sightings of hippos.
Finally no evidence of mosquitoes even though we did take the tablets!!

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank mackeminafrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2007

Have just returned from the Vic Falls Hotel and could nearly cry at the current state.
On arrival there was a ladder in the reception, a staff member dragging a laundry bag across the foyer and a very dirty gardener walking through.
Heading to the desk we were initially ignored and then someone arrived with a cold towel, followed by a glass of cordial.
After using the towel there was no-one to collect it so we left it on the check-in counter.
The rooms were clean but dated.
There is no iron, you must use the laundry service to press any clothes and you will be charged half the laundry fee.
On the first evening we decided to eat at the hotel, the buffet for $38USD looked good however we felt like a lighter meal.
Finding a table on the terrace was an experience as the old cane chairs have been replaced with sun bleached fold up camp chairs. The menu was presented without prices and when asked for a price list a 5 page print out of all the meals and beverages for the hotel was given to us. While deciphering our menu the price list was taken away a couple of times by the staff who were using this to refer to .
Finally we ordered a chicken burger with egg, chilli, tomato, lettuce and chips as well as a bottle of Savignon Blanc.
The waiter returned with a bottle of RED wine and our chicken burgers were chicken mince (chilli and egg were in the mince) and 1 piece of tomato and 1 piece of lettuce on a stale bread roll.
This was almost laughable for $15USD.
The staff seemed resentful and did not seem to care about any services or meals they were providing. After this experience we dined at another hotel the following evening.
One of my travelling companions has been to this hotel before and described it as the Raffles of Africa, what a terrible shame it has been able to slide into such decline.
Due to the current economic and political climate I would recommend that travellers look to stay in Zambia.
The Royal Livingstone is absolutely beautiful and I had one of the most amazing breakfasts in all my travels.

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled with friends
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16  Thank brisbanetravelagent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2007

This is an expensive hotel that trades on its British Colonial history - and rightly so, for it has been beautifully maintained with care and attention to retain its originality. If you want the trappings of a modern 'sleep factory' hotel forget VFH. It provides the luxurious atmosphere of a circa 1900 - 1930 5-star hotel and that is its charm. Contrary to one or two TA reviews we found the staff at the VFH extremely friendly and obliging. Don't expect top quality cuisine and there are clearly problems in importing produce and fine wines into Zimbabwe. If you have spent time in South Africa you will be very disappointed at the cost and poor quality of the meals and drinks. That said, the food at the Jungle Junction buffet is of a generally good standard and plentiful. The Terrace menu is rather limited but we found it the most pleasant spot to dine. We stayed in early February and the very formal main Livingstone Restaurant was empty and devoid of atmosphere so we didn't try it. We had a standard room (don't worry about paying extra for a Gorge View room - there is not that much to see other than a distant view of the road/rail border bridge with Zambia. Our room was very clean and well appointed with period furniture and the bathroom classic 20's with full marble and brass fittings. The shower was antiquated (over the bath) but delivered plenty of hot water. Take time to explore every part of the hotel - the corridors are full of history with photographs and memorabilia of the British Empire in Africa and the life of the early settlers.
The swimming pool was located away from the main terrace in a secluded area of its own. It was excellent and spotlessly clean, as were the changing facilities. It was a great place to relax in the sun and lunch in the garden.

We didn't bother to convert any money to Zim currency and worked in US dollars. We resisted tipping for everything on the basis of the high charges levied at the hotel and the staff seemed to accept this.

If you haven't booked a package tour including the visit to the Falls don't worry. A short 10 minute walk via a path at the side of the hotel takes you straight to the Victoria Falls and you can follow the paths without a guide. Go early, either accepting that you (and your camera equipment) will be soaked in rain water and spray, take you own waterproofs or hire a poncho from the vendors outside the VF National Park.

The hawkers en-route, trying to sell African carvings are a mild nuisance but the Tourist Police are very useful in reducing pestering. There is very little else of interest in VF other than the usual tourist attractions of bungee jumping, helicopter rides and so on. We visited an elephant sanctuary / safari park and this was a delightful opportunity to get up close to these wonderful animals and to ride them in their natural habitat.

Stayed: February 2007
8  Thank RoversReview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2007

We are New Zealanders who love AFRICA, and last year spent Easter at the Vic Falls Hotel. The highlight of course - the FALLS themselves, and the evening plane ride with setting sun was extraordinarily beautiful. The Hotel and it's colonial ambience added that X factor. We took a package that included all our meals, in any of the restaurants, evenings included. We invariably ate in the SILVER SERVICE dining room, and enjoyed dancing to a band and excellent food and service. We visited an ELEPHANT PARK where we all climbed aboard our four legged transport and had our hearts in our mouths for an hour or more. WE loved it and the crew videoed our group for posterity. Some of our number went white water rafting - very good I HEARD, others opted for the afternoon teas on verandahs, and Gins in the library. We had a meal and cruise on the Zambezi and had wonderful close up views of the huge and graceful (in the water) hippo population.The only negative is MAKE SURE you take plenty of American dollars, as with rampant inflation, they are the only currency they are interested in- PERIOD. We hope to return in May, we loved it so much.

Stayed: February 2007
4  Thank kkbelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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