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“The friendliest staff and great proximity to the gorillas” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Gorilla's Nest Hotel

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Gorilla's Nest Hotel
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P.O.box 79, Ruhengeri, Rwanda   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ruhengeri
Top Contributor
139 reviews 139 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
144 helpful votes 144 helpful votes
“The friendliest staff and great proximity to the gorillas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2011

The welcome you get from Vincent and his team is amazing. What a wonderful smile and he is so happy to see you. On arrival (each time you come and go) there are hot refreshing towels and relaxing hot ginger tea.

This is a basic hotel, not fancy, but very clean and quiet.

We stayed for 3 nights and had 3 course meals for each meal. The soups are really fresh (zesty tomato, vegetable, minestrone) and the meatballs were my favourite. They have a good South African wine for the house wine and cold local beers.

The manager mentioned they are planning to upgrade the rooms.

Loved the location only 10mins from the national park - a big plus vs Virunga Lodge which is over an hour away (makes for a super early start).

Brilliant Vincent - loved your hospitatlity ! Thanks again.....

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
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48 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
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English first
Australia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2010

Based on some of the other reviews I wasn't expecting much from Gorilla's Nest, however I was pleasantly surprised. The grounds were lovely and the rooms large. The staff were incredibly nice and friendly. The food was delicious. Lunch was an extensive alacarte menu, while dinner was a set menu with multiple choices for each course. There was a computer in the main area with internet. There was also wifi available in the main area/restaurant and bar which cost us a flat rate of $10US for the three nights we were there. A hot water bottle was delivered to our room each evening. There were also heating panels on the walls (excellent for drying clothes). The switch for these was down the side of the panel, so you can turn these on yourself. Some of the negatives were the poor lighting in the rooms and the shower head. We took head lamps which were useful in the room and also for the walk from the main reception/restaurant which was quite a long way from our room. The lighting in the bar was also pretty bad - energy saving globes. At $300US a night it is overpriced, but so are most things in East Africa. The other options are the Virunga Lodge and Sabinyo Lodge which both cost a lot more. In regard to renovations, it seemed that renovations had started on the very end room in the complex, but had stalled.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2010

My wife and I stayed at Gorilla's Nest for one night. The grounds a beautiful, but the facilities are far below the standard throughout the rest of east Africa. If you have stayed at safari lodges in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, or South Africa, you will be disappointed in Gorilla's Nest. The rooms are lit with fluorescent tubes, and the bathroom has only a tub with handheld spray. Electric heaters on the wall do not do the trick, and when it rained the night we stayed, we were dripped on all night long. Not only was there a leak above our headboard, but there was a leak in the bathroom ceiling creating a puddle of water in the bathroom. The bed was not comfortable, and the room lacked charm entirely. Yes, the rooms are huge, but a huge room with nothing but cold white tile and a couple of wooden chairs does not make for a comfortable environment - and we were wondering why they chose to put cheap plastic chairs and tables on the porches to each room. I realize that this is Rwanda, and the tourism infrastructure isn't developed quite as much as in other parts of Africa, but Gorilla's Nest was surprising.

We wanted to take advantage of the laundry services at the property to wash our muddy clothes from trekking that day, but the equipment was broken. The restaurant's food was acceptable, although despite the all-inclusive nature of the room rate, wine at dinner was NOT included. There is really no place to lounge at this hotel. The room contains no comfortable seating, and so you can either sit upright in a wooden chair, or recline on your bed. In the hotel bar, which is also lit with a fluorescent tube, there are a couple of uncomfortable foam-cushioned sofas that are not very comfortable. We were shocked to find a television blaring soccer when we were in this lounge, and promptly left. When you're in such a beautiful place, you don't really want to have a soccer game screaming at you. The restaurant had been designed for fine dining, and is quite formal in decor.

There is a golf course, but it's overgrown and not maintained - you cannot play on it. Take some solace in the fact that most people don't care about this (I certainly didn't), and would much rather have walked around the property looking at the incredible birdlife than trying to play a round of golf. The hotel owners should convert the golf course to a restored natural environment, and put in walking trails for guests.

Unfortunately, this hotel attempted to pull off a five-star set of facilities but made the wrong assumption that this meant it had to have formal interiors. My favorite hotels in Africa, and those that I have found most luxurious, are those that are rustic, but comfortable in that the decor encourages relaxation and lounging, and where the service is exceptional and attentive. THe service at this hotel was fine, but the decor was really horrible, and sort of ruined our stay there after great anticipation. I really hope that this hotel remodels its rooms and common areas - they need to model themselves after Elsa's Kopje in Meru National Park in Kenya, or Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana, among others. Fluorescent tubes and fancy tiles are a no-no in my book when I'm on safari or a gorilla trek. I want comfortable furniture, good food, an accommodating staff, and a warm environment with natural materials like wood and stone and local textiles. A woodburning fire would also be nice. At $300 per night, it was great to be near the park, but we were disappointed in the quality. We would probably stay here again, but only because we were forced to do so due to its location to the park.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2010

Having read so many negative reviews regarding Gorillas Nest, my daughter and I were pleasantly surprised with all aspects of our 3 night stay. Our room was large and comfortable. The heating panels and hot water bottles provided comfort at night. The bathroom does need an upgrade but the hot water was plentiful. The level of service was outstanding - the staff will try to respond to any request. We had stayed at super luxurious "camps" on this trip and found the level of service at Gorillas Nest to equal or above that at other properties. The food is plentiful with a fair amount of variety. Having any mean served outside surrounded by those gorgeous trees is a real treat.

  • Stayed August 2010
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2010

The two things Gorillas Nest has going for it -- location close to the park headquarters and spectacular grounds -- do not make up for its other shortcomings. True, it is close to the park headquarters, so if you are going gorilla trekking, you don't have to wake up as early in the morning, and can leave at 7 am. The grounds are also 5-star all the way. They are truly beautiful. Also, the staff is wonderful, pleasant, patient, and friendly.

However, the overall comfort of your room will be lacking, at least until the place undergoes the massive renovation that will apparently transform it into a luxury resort with modern/contemporary decor. I saw an artist's rendering of the planned makeover and was quite impressed. It looked like an upscale, modern hotel room in a cosmopolitan city -- for better or for worse!

Anyway, here are the issues we ran into while there:
1) Horribly low lighting in our room - not enough to read by or really do anything comfortably by,
2) Heating panels on the walls were not turned on soon enough in the evening, and weren't on at all during the day - I was chilled to the bone and had a hard time getting warm under the thin blankets even with the hot water bottles. The cold night air streaming in under the door didn't help. Even my husband was cold.
3) Bathroom needs remodeling - this is not a place where you can enjoy a relaxing hot shower after your gorilla trek - the bathroom was very cold, there's hardly any lighting, and only a hand-held shower/tub combo
4) Large and very active moths flew into our room at night - I love insects and am not afraid of them, but these critters were noisy enough to keep us awake
5) Meat dishes at the restaurant are cooked to very, very, very well done. Cooking meat to well done may be common in East Africa, but I am talking hard and dried out. I was literally unable to cut into my chicken leg with the dinner knife provided. On the flip side, they do make a good bisque!

If you decide to stay here, I recommend the following:
1) stay for only 1 night,
2) bring a flashlight
3) pack thermal underwear and woolly socks to wear at night
4) request additional towels and stuff them under your door to keep the insects and draft out
5) don't order the chicken or any of the desserts

At merely a step above camping, this place is just not worth the money.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wassenaar, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2010

The Nest is very close to the starting point of all the Gorilla activities and the other hikes offered. This is the biggest attraction of GN. I think the ownership of the hotel has changed and I hope they will start upgrading the rooms. Plumbing/lamps and towels all need attention. Make sure you bring your own torch light. We had no hot water in our bungalow but most of the other people in our group had so luckily we could shower there. Also found enormous flying bugs in my room.
The food could be better. Location is fantastic. Recommend it only for a very short stay.
Staff was very friendly, efficient and helpful.
Please be aware of the fact there is no working telephone or internet available here....

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, New Zealand
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2010

I stayed here for 4 days with a small group of us who were going gorilla trekking and really enjoyed it. As another reviewer has said it is a series of bungalows surrounded by eucalyptus and other trees so is in very pretty surroundings with views of the mountains. The service is excellent and the staff are very friendly and helpful. The food is reasonably good, however being a strict vegetarian lots of places in Rwanda struggled to give me choices. One seriously good top tip however is to get the hotel to clean your walking boots, costs hardly anything and they are back in a couple of hours ready for the next day's walking and are near spotless. The hotel is also very close to the ORTPN office in the Volcanoes National Park so you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn as you do if you are staying further away.

  • Stayed September 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Gorilla's Nest Hotel

Address: P.O.box 79, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Location: Rwanda > Northern Province > Ruhengeri
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ruhengeri
Number of rooms: 174
Also Known As:
Gorillas Nest Ruhengeri
Hotel Gorillas Nest
Gorilla's Nest Hotel Rwanda/Ruhengeri

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