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“Room with a view + monkeys” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Livingstone

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Royal Livingstone
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road, Livingstone, Zambia   |  
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Ranked #3 of 12 hotels in Livingstone
London, England
Top Contributor
149 reviews 149 reviews
79 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
“Room with a view + monkeys”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2011

The Royal Livingstone is situated in lush gardens overlooking the Zambezi River and is divided into two sections with a central restaurant and bar in between. Our room was away from the main area so we had the pleasure of peace and quiet only occasionally interrupted by the chatter of birds and the ever present vervet monkeys who provided many moments of amusement with their antics on the hammocks. We were warned however that they had learned how to operate the sliding doors to the rooms - so to keep them locked at all times. As the RL is set in a national park, zebra, impala and giraffes also roamed the grounds. To reach the Victoria Falls you walk down a concrete path - very accessible. The rooms themselves are lovely - comfortable with a bathroom with his and her vanity units, bathrobes, good quality toiletries etc. Most memorable was the service - we had our own butler (a woman) who was on hand to take away laundry, meet and greet etc. - but all staff were unfailingly cheerful and helpful. Gorgeous!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2011

Royal Livingstone is very overpriced for what it delivers. It is NOT a 5 star hotel, with poor food quality and presentation, shoddy service and inadequate facilities compared to any 5 star hotel I have been to, and versus most 4 star hotels. We stayed at the Royal recently for 4 nights, and paid 8000 USD for 2 rooms B&B. We were expecting superb service at this price and were shocked at how poor value the hotel is. The positive reviews by others are highly suspicious, and certainly from people who have never been to a 5 star hotel in their lives.
Breakfast was very poor - what one would expect from an average 3 star Holiday Inn or Best Western. The 'sushi' was a joke - eight pieces of indeterminate maki rolls that no-one ate while we were there. The rest of the choices were either very limited or weird - nothing what one would experience at a Grand Hyatt or Oriental hotel. Other meals were of mediocre quality and overpriced - one can get better food at half the price in Cape Town at 4 star venues.
The service was particularly shoddy - the first two days the waitrons ignored us at breakfast until I complained to management. The reply to any request by the people standing idly around was - "you have to ask your waiter - I am not here to help you!" - no attempt to even get the supposed waiter to attend to one. Repeatedly at the bar, stoep and sun deck the attitude was to ignore us and hope we go away! I have never experienced this kind of attitude at a 5 star hotel. Even more amazing, the drivers of the golf carts that supposedly can be used for transport would deliberately stop well behind us to make sure they did not have to transport us from one end of the resort to the other!
The rooms are small with 1970s style TVs - barely adequate even for a hotel that is supposedly 5 star. For the rest, only the location near the falls makes this hotel anything above mediocre and poor value.
On top of that, at check-out they tried to charge a 25% premium on the Euro-USD rate compared to current bank exchange rates! For an international group like Sun International to attempt this fraud says everything about their attitude towards clients.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2011

Though only opened in 2001 and more appropriately labelled a resort, the Royal Livingstone is like taking a step back in time to 'gracious colonial living'. From the room butler who practically anticipates your every need (in our case it was Brian) to the wild animals who freely roam the grounds (giraffe, impala, zebra were spotted), your private veranda gives you a view of the mighty Zambezi River with the spray of the Falls in the background. The lounge where you are received and checked in (while enjoying a complimentary hand massage and glass of iced tea) also has games tables (chess, checkers, backgammon); the bar is open 24/7 and gorgeous with all the wood and decor; snacks (and drinks) are served on the veranda; sip a drink on the sundowner deck and watch the sun set over the river; splash in the pool; walk the 15 minutes to the Falls. The guided walk of the Falls is a must (but be sure to take advice on how to dress appropriately - in our case it was like walking through a 20 minute shower; not a problem as Brian had our leather sneakers back to us all dry within about 4 hours). We also went for an elephant back ride through the bush. Wish we had had the time to go walking with the lions and cheetahs at the same place. It was a shame we were only there for 2 nights. The sunset cruise on the Zambezi aboard the African Queen is emminently missable - crowded on two decks with about 200 of your not so closest friends for a 2 hour booze cruise and the view was not better than from our sundowner deck. Dinner on the hotel terrace under the stars was romantic even if a bit overpriced and overly large portions. But hey, you had to do it - would want to miss the opportunity. We would go back in a flash if it were not so far away.
There are two hotels on this property - the Zambezi Sun and the Royal Livingstone. The Zambezi Sun, while closer to the Falls (about a 5 minute walk) is very much family oriented and does not offer direct views of the river/Falls from the rooms. The Royal Livingstone is far more upscale and plush. While still happy to have families, it tends to be quieter than the Zambezi Sun.So if you are looking for the perfect place to honeymoon or a romantic retreat, I cannot think of anyplace better.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Oxford
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2011

We enjoyed a wonderful stay at the colonial-style Royal Livingstone Hotel, run by Sun International. It overlooks the eastern edge of the awesome Vic Falls and this can be seen from the drinks deck, pool and gardens. The sound of the Falls is ever-present but not intrusive. The manager Giulio Togni and his staff including Jeremiah, Marianella, Bruce, Drobosky and Luke looked after us extremely well when there was an unforeseen problem with the water tank above our room. The main restaurant was a first-class fine dining experience and we also heard the afternoon teas were excellent. In the gardens one can see zebra and giraffe grazing. A once-in-a lifetime visit!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lusaka
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2011

My husband, baby and I spent a weekend at the Royal Livingstone for my birthday. In addition to the stunning location right at the falls, the grounds and wildlife are an attractive feature of the hotel. We enjoyed watching the giraffes, zebras and vervet monkeys throughout our stay. The colonial feeling that permeates the hotel is charming, albeit for a short stay. A highlight for my family was the food - high tea (with plates full of delicious pastries and deserts) and the breakfast buffet. The rooms are very clean, comfortable and nicely decorated. The staff is extremely professional, warm and friendly. We look forward to returning again soon.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Johannesburg
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2011

Great hotel, with excellent service and food. The continuous thundering of the falls as you sip cocktails overlooking the mighty Zamezi river is hypnotic. Take a sundowner cruise on the river and you could be lucky enough to see elephant, giraffe and other plains game coming down for a drink. You get a personal butler to look after yourt day to day needs.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2011 via mobile

Right on the Zambezi river with grounds running up to the falls. The management has worked wonders in what is a third world country. Zebra's, giraffe's and naughty monkey's outside your room make it unforgettable. Excellent medical service. Beautiful property and location.

  • Stayed February 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Royal Livingstone

Address: Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road, Livingstone, Zambia
Phone Number:
Location: Zambia > Southern Province > Livingstone
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Livingstone
#3 Romantic Hotel in Livingstone
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Royal Livingstone 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia will appeal to the traveller in search of luxury, extravagance and sheer indulgence. It is set in the lush riverine belt on the banks of the Zambezi River with the dramatic torrent of the Victoria Falls a 10 minute walk away. In the cool lounges and shaded verandas of the Royal Livingstone Hotel, you will encounter the elegance and luxury of an earlier time. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Livingstone Hotel Livingstone
Royal Hotel Livingstone
Livingstone Royal Hotel
Royal Livingstone Zambia
Royal Livingstone Hotel Zambia

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