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“a former gem, in need of a renovation”

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Marasa Umubano Hotel
Ranked #44 of 49 Hotels in Kigali
Reviewed 1 April 2014

I stayed at this hotel over a decade ago, when it was the Novotel, and felt new. There are a few really great things about the hotel - the central location in Kigali, the garden in the back (with a great pool and tennis courts), the views of the city, and the conference/catering/front desk staff who are very eager to please the customer. On the down side, the rooms are showing their age, with tattered carpets, dim bathrooms, and generally needing a coat of paint. The reception area and restaurant need a breath of life too, and the restaurant staff, while pleasant enough, were listless and inattentive. The food was OK, with a largely repetitive and unimaginative menu, though the food was fresh and tasty. The free airport shuttle is definitely a a nice feature, which I took advantage of. The property was listed as for sale during my visit, and the conversation among friends in Kigali was that a new investor is likely to restore this hotel to its former glory. Let's hope so - this is a former beauty that could be great again some day. But there is now a lot more competition in Kigali with a lot of great hotels being built every month.

Room Tip: I prefer the rooms facing the garden at the back. And the bird wildlife at breakfast was quite somet...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
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Thank olivetreecanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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54 - 60 of 115 reviews

Reviewed 18 March 2014

Good hotel. Excellent complete breakfast whith delicious fresh fruit. Nice garden. Rooms are spacious, complete, everything is working. Some good restaurants in the neighbourhood. Try the restaurant oposite ofthe peteol station.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
1  Thank fwlp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014

Third time I've stayed in this Hotel.It never changes,maybe that's it's charm! It does need upgrading but it's always a comfortable and friendly with decent security.It has a good size swimming pool in beautiful garden setting,along with Tennis and Volleyball courts,great for relaxing,even if it is busy at weekends.Rooms are basic but clean and comfortable,beds great for a good nights rest,with clean and fresh linen.Excellent Wifi,but note if your on Orange network phone,it will not work here,there's no network.Restraunt good and buffet breakfast is very good too.Money Exchange available at Reception desk.There is a wonderful patisserie Nd shops in the Foyer,well worth A visit! Hope to revisit here again.My room was 311 on the rear overlooking the pool,with nice balcony.
One note tripadvisor has this hotel named as Umobano,it's actually the, Umubano!

Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
2  Thank Jan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2014

Came to the hotel after a couple of days in the rural area of Rwanda. The place was clean and quiet and the people at the reception were very friendly. Stayed for one night. Since my flight home was at the next evening they offered my to stay and have the key until 3pm of the next day, with no extra charge.There were some maintenance problems in the room, but they took care of it as soon as I had notify the front desk.

Room Tip: Do not miss the Genocide Museum. It is only 5 minutes drive from the hotel. Ask for a room with a v...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
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Thank Anatmo54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2014

I stayed here for a conference for work. On the positive side, the food was good and buffets were a great value (breakfast is included). The environment is nice , large pool In a colorful garden next to which a small band plays old time African and other music in the restaurant in the evenings..it's quaint. However, the rooms are in need of upgrade! There was poor ventilation- I could smell smoke in my room all the time and I hate cigarettes. Although there was a fan, it was much too warm to sleep comfortably without air con. Climate change may force the upgrade in this respect,

  • Stayed: January 2014
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Thank Lisa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2014 via mobile

I stayed here for work. Great swimming pool and tennis courts. I also thought the bakery in the lobby was delicious. Our room didn't have air conditioning but we used our mosquito nets and kept the balcony door open. Friendly staff and nice restaurant and breakfast buffet. Overall a pleasant stay.

Stayed: January 2014, travelled on business
Thank Sarah C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2013

Stayed here for a week in early November 2013 on a work trip.

The good:
- Relatively stable (you do need to reconnect a lot) but slow (50kb/s maximum) WiFi with good reception in the room (I was staying at the 4th floor)
- Location: 10 minutes from the airport, another 10-15 minutes to the city centre. In the direct vicinity there are a number of offices, ministries and embassies, so chances are you're walking distance from where you need to be most of the time. I did at least.
- The buffets are OK, although a bit more choice would be nice as after a few days the same food gets boring - there is no a la carte menu, just one buffet restaurant
- It has a lot of sports facilities (fitness, tennis court), although they need some maintenance. The pool didn't look very inviting though.

The bad:
- Complete lack of atmosphere, where the Serenas and Sheratons of this world (of course a different category of hotel) have pleasant lobby/bar areas where one can take meetings or get some work done, the equivalent at the Umubano looks pretty sad in comparison.
- Maintenance of my room was 20 years behind. My room (apparently a 2-room suite) looked very outdated, with most of the lights not working (only the bedside light worked, so I had to navigate through the dark every evening before I reached the bed), and only one power socket out of the 10 which actually worked, and unfortunately that one was at the other end of the suite - 10 metres from the bed, a bit annoying if you want to use your phone as a alarm clock and want to charge at night or want to work on your laptop at night in bed but are low on battery. Bathroom was cramped and the lukewarm water supply was coming through in a trickle at best. Despite me staying there for a full week, nothing was done for fixing the lights or the power sockets.
- The rooms are very hot and musty, even though Kigali is not a hot place at night, so something must be off with the general air circulation in the building. The rooms have fans, but as in my room none of the power sockets around the bed worked, neither did the fans which were placed in the room. The obvious solution was to open the windows, letting in the mosquitos and the noise from the street (my room was at the front of the hotel) - the net over the bed didn't look very appealing or clean unfortunately.
- Overall service is pretty mediocre and slow. To give an example: usually TV's are not an issue for at all, but now this was just added on top: I was happy to find there was a sports channel, so I could watch some Champions League football mid-week to put my mind of work. However, apparently the reception desk controls all the channels throughout the hotel, so halfway during the first period of the match (I was watching Barcelona-AC Milan), the reception decided they wanted to see Arsenal instead so the channel was changed. Calling up to the reception didn't help changing it back, as apparently another guest had requested to see Arsenal so tough luck for me, I had better find a sports bar somewhere.

All in all, at a rack rate of almost 250US$ per night WITHOUT breakfast, what you get is very much below expectation. Obviously, you can get the room a lot cheaper than that, but still I wouldn't recommend staying here unless you have a very compelling reason. For this hotel to be able to compete with the other accommodation choices in Kigali in the future, they need to do a major reconstruction soon.

Room Tip: Apparently the pool side is less noisy, however those seemed to be all taken.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled on business
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3  Thank VincentUG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Marasa Umubano Hotel

Address: KG 7 Ave, Kigali 30004, Rwanda (Formerly LAICO Umubano Hotel)
Region: Rwanda > Kigali Province > Kigali
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #44 of 49 Hotels in Kigali
Price Range: £70 - £217 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Marasa Umubano Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 100
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Marasa Umubano Hotel is a 4 star hotel located 5 km from the centre of Kigali atop one of the many hills that make up the city. For business travellers we offer the convenience of four meeting rooms, Free WiFi internet and a business centre. The hotel also features a bar and restaurant, various leisure facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, fitness, aerobics, sauna and tennis court. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Novotel Kigali
Laico Umubano Kigali

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