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“Last minute booking but no regrets, very pleased.”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Virunga Hotel

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Virunga Hotel
Ranked #3 of 17 Ruhengeri B&B and Inns
Tilbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
141 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Last minute booking but no regrets, very pleased.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2010

I had arranged a one month business trip to Rwanda from the middle of June 2010 to the middle of July 2010. I was expecting to stay in Kigali, with days to go the venue was changed to Ruhengeri. A quick search on this site showed the Virunga to appear to be the best. My contact in Kigali made the booking for me and due to the length of stay - and the fact I needed two rooms, one for colleagues who joined me for shorter periods - negotiated a favourable price.

Here goes I thought, provincial Rwanda for a month, how would I cope.

Was I surprised. The hotel is exceptional value. The room was clean and more than adequate. One thing that really surprised me, the bedding was changed every day, what does that say about a hotel's standards. Talking about the bed, it was really comfortable, every night was a good nights sleep, however, be prepared to be woken at 5am. The town comes to life at 5am, I did get use to it but because the hotel is in the town centre it can't escape the noise. Please remember, it's not the hotels fault.

The shower was always hot and powerful, no shortage of water.

Breakfast every day was fine, it's only laid out when there are enough guests to justify it, otherwise it is prepared fresh just for you. Lunch and dinner is the same menu which is OK and contains more than just goat and beef. All meals a freshly prepared but as previous reviewers have said, be prepared to wait but I never waited an hour. Having spnt a month in town I used a few places for dinner but kept coming back to the Virunga. I believe this hotel has the best restaurant in town.

The staff are excellent, nothing is to much trouble, they are all really friendly. When you are away for a month you need friendly staff to make the stay more bearable. The staff here were really great.

The bar is well stocked with a large selection of beers from across the region, not just Rwanda.

The laundry service was great, the place is secure with 24/7 security and the gate to the complex is shut overnight.

The main street is a 10 second walk away through the back gate.

The views to the volcanoes can be stunning but they are often obscured by mist and cloud.

The only downside is the internet connection. The free internet access is not adequate for the amount of usage. I know internet in Africa needs improving but the main problem rests with the hotel. I don't think the wireless networks provides enough bandwidth for those who want to use it, because the internet is free the locals come into the bar with their laptops and log on. Frustrating for the guests, particularly for those on business who need access to the internet.

If it wasn't for the poor internet access I would have given this hotel a top rating. Apart from the internet it is excellent.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank Simon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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44 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
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English first
Scotland
Level Contributor
59 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 June 2010

Obviously not many people stay in Ruhengeri itself, preferring the lodges closer to the park, as this hotel was very quiet and there were hardly any muzungu visible walking around town. The town is not wildly exciting but OK to wander around and its about 30 minute drive to the park headquarters.

The hotel looked quite new and was spotlessly clean - I imagine the best hotel in Ruhengeri. The room had a balcony with views of the volcanoes, a reliable hot water shower, TV, phone and fridge. The staff, especially Olivier very nice and attentive. Like everywhere in Rwanda & Uganda any lunch or dinner order will take an hour at least and they did not have lots of things on the menu (presumably because they were so quiet).

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank joaozinho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
18 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 May 2010

Before travelling to Rwanda, I researched hotels in Ruhengeri and the price at the famous lodges was shocking - like, USD$500 per person per night.

We were only staying in the area for one night, the night before our gorilla trek, and to pay such a high rate seemed like a colossal waste of money. So I took a gamble and booked a room at Virunga Hotel through their website, reconfirmed by email.

I was surprisingly pleased with the accommodation. The hotel is not atmospheric, scenic, or fancy - so don't expect that - but it was a clean, newish business hotel in the town for the reasonable rate of USD$80 for a double room . Our room was simple but tidy, clean, comfortable and new-feeling, not old and grungy. There was a TV and free WiFi, although the signal was low in the room and it worked best in the restaurant/bar downstairs.

The best thing about the place was the service. The young man at the front desk, Olivier, without being asked put us in a room near the back of the hotel in case there was noise (our room was dead quiet, but there might have been street noise if we were in a room overlooking the road).

We had a problem with our gorilla trek booking -- there had been a mix-up; in the end after a lot of stress it turned out fine -- and a genuinely concerned Olivier went out of his way to assist us and take care of us. He even accompanied us to the park office in the morning to make sure that we were OK.

The hotel manager was frequently around, asking if everything was all right.

It took only 15 minutes to travel from the hotel to the national park office, where you must go in the morning before beginning the trek, to be divided into groups. You will then require a 4x4 vehicle to travel to the location where you will start the trek. We were able to rent a good vehicle/driver through the Virunga Hotel - I can't remember the cost but it was reasonable.

The only problem was the free breakfast, included in the room rate. It was slow to prepare and wasn't ready in time, and so we only had bread to eat before our four-hour trek. I would recommend leaving a lot of time for breakfast, or asking the night before if they can prepare something quickly.

But otherwise I would highly recommend staying at Virunga Hotel if you are looking for a cheaper, just fine alternative to the expensive lodges in the area.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank wrongwaysmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn-Phoenicia NY
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2010

this is an under-the-radar hotel with exceptional service in the heart of ruhengeri. we stayed for a few days while gorilla & monkey trekking and visiting friends in ruhengeri. they were more than accomodating in terms of early breakfast (pre-gorilla trekking). breakfast was made to order.

they have a nice little bar with free wifi (good connection) and an adjacent great restaurant. they had no problem when we ordered food not on the menu. everything was made to order. it's a good business hotel that goes out of its way to accomodate tourists.

the rooms are very clean, spacious and have comfortable beds. shower consistently had hot water and good water pressure.

the staff are great people and were were very sad to say goodbye to them.

i thoroughly recommend this hotel. my only modest complaint is that the terrace can get a bit noisey at night, but it's no big deal.

also the police training academy is quite close and you can hear their early morning/late night trainings and chanting. it's actually very cool!

i'm not sure why this hotel isn't recommended more for gorilla trekking because it's location and value are really great.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jackie-Do
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 December 2009

My husband and I stayed at Virunga Hotel on November 15th, 2009, before going to the Volcanoes National Park to see the mountain gorillas. This hotel is not to be confused with Virunga Lodge, which is a lot further out of town. Virunga Hotel is about a 5 minute walk from the bus station in Ruhengeri. It is right in town but not on the main road. We arrived at the hotel at about 4 pm after a 2 hour bus ride from Kigali. Not only is the hotel immaculate, which we were not used to in Rwanda, but they also provide a welcome drink when you arrive. We ordered African tea, and it was by far the best African tea I had on the whole trip. We didn't take pictures of this place, but the rooms are very large with either full or queen size beds, a television, a stand-up shower, toilet, phone, patio, and bottled water. We got up very early for our gorilla hike and had a breakfast of omelet and fresh fruit, which were both also very tasty. Another nice perk was that after the gorilla hike, the hotel allowed us to come back and use our room to shower (we were really muddy from the hike) and change before our next bus ride to Gisenyi. This was definitely the nicest hotel we stayed in during our stay in Rwanda.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Slobina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Virunga Hotel

Property: Virunga Hotel
Address: Ruhengeri Street, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Region: Rwanda > Northern Province > Musanze District > Ruhengeri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Ruhengeri
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 25
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Virunga Hotel Rwanda/Ruhengeri

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