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“Grand Dame of Hotels”

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The Victoria Falls Hotel
Ranked #7 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 9, 2012

You must stay here more than one night to appreciate this place. I felt like I was walking into a movie set of a 19th century safari story. Unfortunately, I had only one night here, as part of a small Road Scholar group. One needs time just to appreciate this old but well-maintained gem. The property is spread out, and one must do a lot of walking to get from room to restaurants to grounds (not a complaint), I found the staff to be very welcoming. The buffet in the Jungle casual restaurant, away from the main reception area, was excellent and abundant. Dancers and drummers entertained the evening we had dinner. "Vancana"'s review of this property is excellent, and I defer to him/her.

Room Tip: Rooms vary, so it depends on what you want to pay and what is important to you. I was just fine in...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank lorettam55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 9, 2012

The location of the hotel and its grounds are second to none.
Reception rooms, restaurant, bar are all beautifully appointed and very pleasant.
Staff are friendly and helpful.
The rooms however, although comfortable, are in desperate need of a major overhaul to bring them up to current standards of a top level hotel.
Overall we were happy with our stay in the hotel because we spend practically no time (except to sleep) in the room.
The hotel needs a major room investment program to bring the quality of the rooms in line with the rest of its offering and standard of service.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KvG01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Our two night stay at this grand hotel was an ambition fulfilled, and it didn't disappoint! Sure there is a little wear on the edges, but when considering the age of this Edwardian timepiece, and the turmoil the country and its people have endured for years, it's remarkable that such an historic establishment retains its lustre and charm.

The common areas are spacious and beautiful, with antique furniture, photos, and reminders of a faded age at every turn. Do take the time to explore the many corridors and lounge areas to fully absorb the character of this colonial classic.

As in most hotels of this scale and grandeur, the rooms vary in size and quality. We were fortunate enough to stay in a large corner room that overlooked the well manicured back lawns and the bridge over the gorge, which made a lovely sight as we drank our coffee watching the sun rise over the spray from the falls. Taking a quick look in some of the other rooms, I can understand how it would impact some reviews. Our bathroom was older looking in style, but very functional. The room furnishings were period pieces, and the bed was lovely and comfortable.

We had dinner one evening in the Livingstone Room, a wonderfully refined experience with chandeliers, a grand piano, and old fashioned attentive service to complete the ambience as we enjoyed our well prepared meal. Breakfast is good standard buffet fare, and high tea on the terrace was an absolute delight and highly recommended.

The staff were generally helpful and pleasant, and service was sedate, so just relax because that's how it is! If you stay at the Victoria Falls Hotel and expect comparisons with five star hotels around the world, then I don't think you'll relish your visit as much as if you immerse yourself in the history and enjoy it for what it is, a majestic grand old lady in the middle of Africa.

Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Vancana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012 via mobile

We stayed two nights here in October and were very impressed with the welcome, I noticed some people have complained about the staff constantly asking or rather expecting tips but I did not experience this at the hotel, in the town and on the walk down to be falls be wary of the Hasslers, who constantly hassle you for money, I kindly told them to go away.

The location is superb, the room we were in was ok the aircon needed fixing. We took dinner in the Stanley restaurant which was splendid. All in all our stay at the hotel was
a memorable one

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank asmwest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2012

We chose The Victoria Falls hotel for several reasons. First was the location. It sits on probably the most desireable bit of property in the area. The view down toard the falls and the bridge are outstanding and the proximity to the falls cannot be beat. Second, was to experience a bit of the "history" of the place. The hotel is a great example of the classic old hotel. The hallways and sitting rooms are "mini museums" filled with all kinds of relics and photos and momentos.
The hotel itself is quite nice. Considering it is such an old structure our rooms were really quite lovely. There had been a snafu at check in and we were upgraded to a beautiful two room suite as a result. Both rooms opened onto the back lawn leading down to the falls. There were two full bathrooms. The furnishings were period pieces... and there was lots of chintz and so forth. The air conditioning was adequate. We were quite comfortable.
I felt the service was also adequate. I did not feel that the staff was especially "welcoming". I fear the hotel might be "resting on its laurels" and could use some TLC and staff training. But all in all, I would stay there again. That mighty "history" seemed to trump all the negatives.

Room Tip: Make sure you take a copy of your registration request. The first room they took us to was NOT the...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank GranBeba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

We had planned to stay here for two nights and this had been booked and confirmed 12 months in advance of our arrival. On check-in at 1.30pm we were told that there was a slight "problem" with our booking and that we only had accommodation for the second night of our stay apparently because the hotel was overbooked. Alternative accommodation had been arranged for us and we were transferred by smelly taxi to Safari Club (10 min drive out of town). We were very disappointed as we had been looking forward to staying at this historic hotel with close proximity to the falls. I suppose it is easier to offload couples rather than group bookings and we were not the only couples affected that day.

To their credit - the alternative accommodation booked for us, Safari Club, was excellent and we decided to stay there for both nights rather than return for the second night to the Vic Falls hotel (we were given the option of staying either one or two nights at Safari Club). Please read the review and consider staying at Safari Club instead.

There was a follow up phone call to see if we were ok and settled into our alternative accommodation, plus the offer to make tour or dinner bookings for us (already done by Safari Club). A handwritten note from the deputy manager arrived in our room, apologising and also an offer of high tea or dinner the next day. This was a nice touch but, given that we only had one full day for sightseeing, we did not take them up on the offer.

I can perhaps understand the theory of why hotels overbook, but it is really poor form. We were not a late arrival and we were left disappointed. If you have your heart set on staying here, bear this in mind....

Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
1  Thank tassiefoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

Victoria Falls Hotel is a hotel in the great tradition of the past when hotels were large and grand and surrounded by park like land. We loved our time at Victoria Falls Hotel.

Our room was lovely and quite roomy. The bathroom had both a shower and a lovely big tub. Lunch on the terrace was very good. The food was tasty and the scenery - looking out toward the bridge, across the lawns added to the sense of luxury. Breakfasts were served in a different area and were excellent. There was a wide selection of fruits, cereals, pastries, cheeses and hot foods. Eggs and omelettes were cooked to order. High Tea on the terrace was a treat in many ways - fun and entertaining and delicious. Try the Tanganda tea. We wish that this tea was exported.

At all times staff at the hotel were exceptional. They were attentive, friendly and helpful. An earlier posting mentions staff looking for tips - completely the opposite of our experience.

We walked to the falls one morning and would recommend that anyone wanting to spend some relaxing time at the falls consider going early (we went at 7:00). The park was very quiet at this time and we had the viewpoints and walks to ourselves. Later in the morning as the tours and groups arrived, it became quite busy and we would never have had the time to take photos and to appreciate this stunning world wonder had we arrived mid morning.

Another not to be missed place is the craft market in the town of Victoria Falls. The fairly large craft market has a very wide selection of goods. Individual sellers set up in rather basic structures are more than ready to bargain. There is a real sense of a deep need and a lack of tourists. Don't forget to stop by the 2 buildings where the women are set up.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JarsBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Victoria Falls Hotel

Address: 1 Mallet Drive, Victoria Falls PO Box 10, Zimbabwe
Phone Number:
Location: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Victoria Falls
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Victoria Falls
#3 Romantic Hotel in Victoria Falls
#4 Business Hotel in Victoria Falls
#6 Luxury Hotel in Victoria Falls
#6 Family Hotel in Victoria Falls
Price Range: $322 - $481 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Victoria Falls Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 161
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
For more than a century, The Victoria Falls Hotel has been the address of choice for Royal Families, statesmen, celebrities and discerning travellers as it occupies a fine location from which to explore the magical wonders of untamed Africa. From the thundering Victoria Falls at its threshold, to the big 5 that roam freely less than 5kms away, the “Grande Dame” provides an experience like no other. Less than a ten minute walk away from the Victoria Falls Rainforest, this is one hotel that can truly claim to be unique.The Victoria Falls Hotel’s grand Edwardian architecture evokes the spirit of a bygone era. The courtyard and entrance completed in 1915, with flowering shrubs, palms and stately mango trees picturesquely reflected in the water lily ponds. The chic elegance of the marble floored reception area sets the tone for the style and sophistication synonymous with The Victoria Falls Hotel. Many a guest has marveled at the magnificent views seen from The Victoria Falls Hotel and the experience begins with the sun rising beneath the mist of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Combining old-fashioned, traditional elegance with warm and welcoming decor, the main lounge provides a perfect backdrop for relaxing with friends, whilst the Bulawayo Room offers serenity and seclusion in surroundings of exceptional comfort and luxury. There’s a well-appointed curio shop specializing in colonial memorabilia. The Palm Lounge, bright and cool, is a quiet and secluded corner in which to relax, read or write. Throughout its many corridors and alcoves, the hotel’s long and fascinating history is depicted through photographs, posters and artistic impressions, reflecting the past glories of the empire. The quaint Chapel, built in 1929, has been the venue of many weddings and The Victoria Falls Hotel remains a favourite destination for honeymooners from around the world. Echoing its glorious past, The Victoria Falls Hotel’s traditional rooms and suites are truly a 5 star experience. Style and sophistication are trademarks of the hotel’s executive suites, which are luxuriously appointed with decor being warm, inviting and rich with tradition. Deluxe guest rooms are spacious, well-appointed and furnished in traditional Edwardian style with an "out of Africa" feel. All rooms are air-conditioned with every modern amenity including digital satellite television, direct dial telephone and a personal safe. Cast-iron, roll-top bath tubs in the stables wing rooms and suites turn the bathroom into a haven of sumptuous relaxation. All three restaurants have ideal locations, making dining around the hotel a memorable experience. Lavish buffets at the casual Jungle Junction restaurant are but one of the many choices for breakfast and dinner. Stanley’s Terrace is an excellent option for light meals throughout the day and is an absolute must for the infamous High Tea served every afternoon, with spectacular views of The Victoria Falls Bridge and the Falls themselves. Later, enjoy the hotel’s legendary cocktails or a gin and tonic in Stanley’s Bar while listening to the roar of the mighty Falls. Evening dining at the open-air jungle Junction restaurant offers an unforgettable experience with a fusion of flavours of Africa. Entertainment from ethnic groups epitomises the spirit of Africa; Jungle Junction is the ideal venue for incentive groups. Enjoy dinner and dancing in the elegant, Edwardian Livingstone Room, with classic a la carte and table d’hote menus. Whilst the Livingstone Room reflects the century old hotel’s style of grandeur and opulence, the dress code has been slightly relaxed for the convenience of the guest and it is no longer essential for gentlemen to wear jacket and tie for dinner. A fine selection of wines and liqueurs are available to complement the chef’s wonderfully innovative creations. Cool off and enjoy the splendour of the glorious colonial swimming pool set amongst the beautiful landscaped gardens, overlooking the famous Victoria Falls Bridge with the Batoka Gorge below. Massage treatments are available in the airy gazebos located around the poolside or in the tranquility of the hotel’s gardens. The Pullman Suite and the Centenary Room are well-appointed with exquisite antique furnishing, adding a new dimension of sophistication to conferencing. Suitable for meetings of between 8 and 40 people, conference packages (including spouses’ programs) are available. The Victoria Falls are approximately 1,690 metres wide with an estimated 550 million litres of water per minute cascading over a 111 metre chasm. It must be highlighted that Zimbabwe has 16 out of the 19 prime viewing spots and is where you will find the "untamed" Victoria Falls Rainforest with its many winding pathways and trails. In 1855 David Livingstone, arguably the first European to see the awesome Falls, remarked "scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight." The Victoria Falls have been declared a World Heritage Site and enjoy special conservation status. ... more   less 
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