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“Excellent hotel near border with Congo, refect to end a trip and to relax” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

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Lake Kivu Serena Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   P.O. Box 7469, Gisenyi 00100, Rwanda   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Gisenyi
Brussels, Belgium
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Excellent hotel near border with Congo, refect to end a trip and to relax”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

Ater a roundtrip in lovely Rwanda this was a very nice place to end! As travelling in a wheelchair, we received a friendly e-mail from the staff regarding the size of the bathroom (even with picture), so we were not sure the room would match; Also there was lost of people checking in at the same time and we came (unexpectedly) 1 day to early, but the staff were very friendly and very helpfull! The bathroom just fitted, so we were all happy.;.)) . rooms are small but ok.
The hotel is small, but nice. Restaurant upstairs but we got everything served (with the smile!) on the terrase at the pool. Very nice views on the lake. The atmosfere is very quiet, just nice to read a book or have a swim. food was very good and reasonabely priced.
We made a boattrip (from Hotel Malahide- 40$ for 1 hour ) to the hot springs, nice.
In the evening there was a buffet (only on friday?), very good local food and a very nice dancing group(!) made a perfect end of our trip!
Should come again to the Serena!
Beiing home now and hearing from the 'war and the rebels' just only 1-2 kms away is very strange...but we did not feel unsafe at all!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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140 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Tilbury, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

Spent a couple of days at the Lake Kivu Serena as a couple of days away from Kigali. I was a great trouble free place to relax and enjoy peace and quiet. As we went during the week it was really quiet which was great for us, I'm told it can get a bit busy at weekends.

From the moment we arrived to the moment we left the staff couldn't do enough for us, they were always helpful and friendly with big smiles. The place is starting to become dated but is still an exceptional quality when compared to the rest of Rwanda, the TV in the room was a bit old and the bed frame had seen better days. The food was good although there was some confusion over my wife's dinner order one evening but it was soon rectified. The breakfast is the best hotel breakfast I've had in Rwanda, proper full English. There is free wifi internet for residents which I could pick up all over the building and pool area but I never tried it on the beach.

Would I go again - certainly but unfortunately I don't think I'll have the time before I leave Rwanda.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Surin, Thailand
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

I was a Peace Corps volunteer that spent 2 years in Rwanda/ I stayed here one night as a treat. It is expensive but very nice. There evening buffets are amazing, each night is a theme I recommend finding out which day they do the Mongolian bbq! Also there Sunday morning brunch is amazing and comes with complimentary champagne. The pool is nice. The beach is great also. The lake is beautiful and great for a swim. There are chairs along the beach and towels provided. If you just want to hang out for the day you can pay 3,000 francs (about $6) to get the private beach space with chair and towel. The beds are comfortable. The showers are hot. The rooms have nice robes. And every room has a balcony with a lake view. If going during the off season (non summer months) they usually have a discount so be sure to ask about that. Keep in mind this is a newly developing country and all hotels have bad service. This is something across Rwanda.

  • Stayed March 2012, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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netherlands
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012

We stay here for only one night but the receptionpeople are very friendly and also the people in the restaurant are friendly.
The room and bed are good with a old sign of interior.
But everything is working very well. The restaurant is serving good food.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Queens, NY
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

We previously stayed atSerena Kigali which was beautiful and great...so we had some idea of the standard of Serena.

Im very sorry to say that the hotel did not live up to its name.
We onlystayed there one night while travelling.

The grounds outside are absolutely beautiful...private beach, gardens,and the room had a really nice little balcony overlooking the gardens where you can see lotsof birds and the water.

Unfortunately, there were big problems with the room and the food. First, we each ordered a pasta dish...which tasted good, but there was a big roach in the food! :( We mentioned it to the waiter and they offered us a new meal but of course we lost our appetite. They seemed genuinely apologetic and said its not something that happend...ok if that was te only issue we could have gotten over it. But....

Our room had roaches!! UGH..babies, adults, walking around the carpet, underneath the things in the bathroom....really gross. Again the general manager said he willlook into it and apoloized. HE offered us a meal ina different serena,etc.We didnt want/need anything...we jus wanted them to know the conditions. Room did not feel clean at all. We were very disappointed. We rarely have complaints about places we stay but this was just not good :(

They did serve me a birthday cake at breakfast which was nice and delicious

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Great location, on the lake with a beautiful private beach, with lovely white beach sand and sun lounges to enjoy the afternoon sunset from. We had a huge storm over the lake the one night, so it was amazing to watch the lightning strikes over the water, very magical.

The hotel is very comfortable, nicely laid out, with all rooms having a lake view (just check). We stayed on the first floor and had a small balcony from where you could sit and enjoy the beautiful views. The rooms are nice, but are just starting to age a little, but a nice size which is great. Bed not the most comfortable. We spent 3 nights here. The food in the restaurant (in the evening - we never had breakfast) was very good and most enjoyable. However do get there early if you want to eat quickly, especially if you have an early start in the morning, as it can take a while.

Staff where all very friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: Double check that it has a lake view, nice to be on the 1st or second floor.
See more room tips
Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012 via mobile

The rooms are small and the food was cold, overpriced and not acceptable for a hotel of this standard. The receptionist was rude and dismissive when we complained that we had been forced to eat in the bar and suffer the very poor buffet. For the price this is appalling. I would not recommend this hotel.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Address: P.O. Box 7469, Gisenyi 00100, Rwanda
Location: Rwanda > Western Province > Gisenyi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Gisenyi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Lake Kivu Serena Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 72
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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