The Serena Hotel had very nice gardens, pool, and rooms. Mainly ex-pats stay here with the occasional tourist. We arrived in Gisenyi later one night, jumped on a Boda-Boda and inquired about a room that night. We stayed in a double occupancy room. The room was very comfortable, with air conditioning, a TV with plenty of channels, and a very nice washroom. The BEST part is that they took credit cards, MasterCard only and there was a 5% charge added to your bill.
We did have to ask for more toilet paper, they seem to have forgotten to replenish it, and did have to ask for an extra towel. The grounds were great, private beach with plenty of lounge chairs, and you can order drinks and food. The best thing is the lake is safe to swim in. They do have a pool, and a gym, but we did not use them.
The second night the lights went out. The generator kicked in, but the A/C unit did not. It was really surprising that they did not have mosquito netting, it was warm and we wanted to sleep with the windows open because there was no A/C, but when we asked for mosquito netting they gave us bug spray. For what we paid, 180USD/night, this was unacceptable. Yes I know it is Eastern Africa, but for that price? We did have to move rooms one night, one side of the bed seemed to have had perfume spilled. It is a very westernized hotel, but they still need to work on things here and there.
The hotel has a restaurant. Breakfast is great. Lunches and dinners all seem to be buffets, they do have a menu, but you might as well go for the buffet. Drinks, including water, are pricier than you would find outside the hotel. The food was good, plenty of variety. The waiters were really nice, especially when you acknowledge them and smile, seems that most people do not.
And finally, not that this bothered us, but the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) border is down the street, about 1 mile. We were surprised when we were told how close it was, but I did not worry one bit during our stay. There was not much to see of the town, so we stayed at our hotel the whole time and had a great time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is located in the resort Rwandan town of Gisenyi, on the shores of Lake Kivu, the sixth largest lake in Africa. The hotel is ideally situated on a sandy palm lined beach, with the nearby Virunga Volcanoes providing a spectacular backdrop on one side and a panoramic view of the lake on the other. ... more less
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