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The Victoria Falls Hotel
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Reviews (2,652)
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All reviewsjungle junctionlivingstone roomhigh teagrand old ladystanley terracelivingstone restauranthistoric hotelold world charmcolonial timesstep back in timebygone eragrand dameterrace restaurantpublic roomsrovos railcolonial styledeluxe room
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Reviewed March 18, 2007

Have just returned from the Vic Falls Hotel and could nearly cry at the current state.
On arrival there was a ladder in the reception, a staff member dragging a laundry bag across the foyer and a very dirty gardener walking through.
Heading to the desk we were initially ignored and then someone arrived with a cold towel, followed by a glass of cordial.
After using the towel there was no-one to collect it so we left it on the check-in counter.
The rooms were clean but dated.
There is no iron, you must use the laundry service to press any clothes and you will be charged half the laundry fee.
On the first evening we decided to eat at the hotel, the buffet for $38USD looked good however we felt like a lighter meal.
Finding a table on the terrace was an experience as the old cane chairs have been replaced with sun bleached fold up camp chairs. The menu was presented without prices and when asked for a price list a 5 page print out of all the meals and beverages for the hotel was given to us. While deciphering our menu the price list was taken away a couple of times by the staff who were using this to refer to .
Finally we ordered a chicken burger with egg, chilli, tomato, lettuce and chips as well as a bottle of Savignon Blanc.
The waiter returned with a bottle of RED wine and our chicken burgers were chicken mince (chilli and egg were in the mince) and 1 piece of tomato and 1 piece of lettuce on a stale bread roll.
This was almost laughable for $15USD.
The staff seemed resentful and did not seem to care about any services or meals they were providing. After this experience we dined at another hotel the following evening.
One of my travelling companions has been to this hotel before and described it as the Raffles of Africa, what a terrible shame it has been able to slide into such decline.
Due to the current economic and political climate I would recommend that travellers look to stay in Zambia.
The Royal Livingstone is absolutely beautiful and I had one of the most amazing breakfasts in all my travels.

  • Stayed: March 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
16  Thank brisbanetravelagent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2007

This is an expensive hotel that trades on its British Colonial history - and rightly so, for it has been beautifully maintained with care and attention to retain its originality. If you want the trappings of a modern 'sleep factory' hotel forget VFH. It provides the luxurious atmosphere of a circa 1900 - 1930 5-star hotel and that is its charm. Contrary to one or two TA reviews we found the staff at the VFH extremely friendly and obliging. Don't expect top quality cuisine and there are clearly problems in importing produce and fine wines into Zimbabwe. If you have spent time in South Africa you will be very disappointed at the cost and poor quality of the meals and drinks. That said, the food at the Jungle Junction buffet is of a generally good standard and plentiful. The Terrace menu is rather limited but we found it the most pleasant spot to dine. We stayed in early February and the very formal main Livingstone Restaurant was empty and devoid of atmosphere so we didn't try it. We had a standard room (don't worry about paying extra for a Gorge View room - there is not that much to see other than a distant view of the road/rail border bridge with Zambia. Our room was very clean and well appointed with period furniture and the bathroom classic 20's with full marble and brass fittings. The shower was antiquated (over the bath) but delivered plenty of hot water. Take time to explore every part of the hotel - the corridors are full of history with photographs and memorabilia of the British Empire in Africa and the life of the early settlers.
The swimming pool was located away from the main terrace in a secluded area of its own. It was excellent and spotlessly clean, as were the changing facilities. It was a great place to relax in the sun and lunch in the garden.

We didn't bother to convert any money to Zim currency and worked in US dollars. We resisted tipping for everything on the basis of the high charges levied at the hotel and the staff seemed to accept this.

If you haven't booked a package tour including the visit to the Falls don't worry. A short 10 minute walk via a path at the side of the hotel takes you straight to the Victoria Falls and you can follow the paths without a guide. Go early, either accepting that you (and your camera equipment) will be soaked in rain water and spray, take you own waterproofs or hire a poncho from the vendors outside the VF National Park.

The hawkers en-route, trying to sell African carvings are a mild nuisance but the Tourist Police are very useful in reducing pestering. There is very little else of interest in VF other than the usual tourist attractions of bungee jumping, helicopter rides and so on. We visited an elephant sanctuary / safari park and this was a delightful opportunity to get up close to these wonderful animals and to ride them in their natural habitat.

Stayed: February 2007
8  Thank RoversReview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2007

We are New Zealanders who love AFRICA, and last year spent Easter at the Vic Falls Hotel. The highlight of course - the FALLS themselves, and the evening plane ride with setting sun was extraordinarily beautiful. The Hotel and it's colonial ambience added that X factor. We took a package that included all our meals, in any of the restaurants, evenings included. We invariably ate in the SILVER SERVICE dining room, and enjoyed dancing to a band and excellent food and service. We visited an ELEPHANT PARK where we all climbed aboard our four legged transport and had our hearts in our mouths for an hour or more. WE loved it and the crew videoed our group for posterity. Some of our number went white water rafting - very good I HEARD, others opted for the afternoon teas on verandahs, and Gins in the library. We had a meal and cruise on the Zambezi and had wonderful close up views of the huge and graceful (in the water) hippo population.The only negative is MAKE SURE you take plenty of American dollars, as with rampant inflation, they are the only currency they are interested in- PERIOD. We hope to return in May, we loved it so much.

Stayed: February 2007
4  Thank kkbelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2007

Best hotel to stay in in vic falls because it has character. Some days te hotel has very view guests, other days some more but it is never busy.
Stayed in a DLX gorge view room in main buiding. Rooms are small and a have seen better days but it is still nice.
Staff is very friendly and try to help you any way they can..
Main restaurant is a big old fashioned style room, full of character again but the food is very mediocre and very expensive. All drinks and food ion the hotel are expensive.
Hotel has lovely views over the gorge, you can see the spray of the falls, only 10 minutes walk. Gardens are lovely.
An absolute must is the Shearwater rafting trip over the zambezi. A fun filled day, the guides are great and make the trip extra nice. The film parts of the trip and you can buy the DVD(US$30). It is worth, the money, they allready suffer lack of tourism and everything is a bonus for them. Ther helicopter trip is also great, they give you a good view of the falls. The sunset cruise is nothing special, they also call it the booze cruise but the only real booze the've got is beer.
Bring enough small foreign cash, US$ is still most popular but most times also Euro's and rands are accepted.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank ekholland27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2007

My family (mother, husband, daughter) arrived to the Hotel on the 30th December and left on the 2nd January. We were very excited not only because we have read the good tripadvisors reviews, but also because we have friends who had been there some years ago and adored the Hotel. Unfortunately it seems that we are talking of another Hotel. We didn't enjoy our stay and if one day we come again, we will surely not stay at this Hotel.
We had booked and confirmed two double rooms with gorge view but when we arrived they were not available. On our first dinner at the buffet restaurant, when my husband signed the bill, he wrote Gratuity and added 10 % to the bill. The employee looked at the bill and with bad manners said that my husband shouldnt have done this, as like that the gratuity would be splitted among all the waiters instead of only to him, starting to clean the table with an angry face. Needless to say that the word thank you was not heard. New Years Eve dinner was bad, we ordered two bottles of red wine and both were undrinkable. Before midnight we ordered a bottle of Moet Chandon that also was not in very good conditions, at the price of USD 150!That same night I had stomach pain and dhiarrea. The rest of us was not very well either. On our last night ,at the restaurant near the terrace we ordered steaks. Some time after, the waiter came and say that there was no meat. We looked at him atonished and he stand there completely indiferent. No excuses and no explanations.We felt like we were bothering him with our demands. We didnt consider to call the manager, because that same day at lunch time, after asking several times for tea and cofee, when finally arrived there was sugar but no spoons, that ,again, we asked several times and complaining to the manager he shouted to a waiter Spooooooooon! and went away.
To end the story he only brought a spoon for the four of us!
Of course we didnt ask again otherwise we could be there still today waiting. The manager in the terrace talked happily to other customers and didnt bother to come to our table to see if everything was allright. We met a Portuguese guest that had been there two years ago, who told us that at that time the Hotel was superb. He was there with his wife and kids and, like us, was not happy with the services and the overall poor food quality. After VF we had planned a tour to South Africa and on the plane we met an Italian couple who told us that they had booked VFalls Hotel for three nights but stayed only one night and moved to another Hotel which I dont recall the name that was quite allright.It is obvious that the Hotel actually is not well managed and its a pity because it is beautiful with the charm of a bygone era, with wonderful gardens and an outstanding situation overlooking the spray of the falls and the bridge.
Reading what I have written it is really a very negative review but unfortunately it is all true. And dont tell me that all these things, as the lack of meat, happens because Zimbabwe has serious problems. I could forgive a lot of things if the staff was friendly which unfortunately, with some exceptions as the lady in the reception, was not the case. The most part of waiters were not nice at all, even when we tried to be friendly. We have been in Mozambique - Maputo and Bazaruto -and what a difference! Its a very poor country but with very good level of Hotel services, and professional and friendly staff to whom we could speak and laugh with.
Also, there is no excuse for the poor quality of Victoria Falls Hotel services, as besides being very expensive - an horrible coffee costs USD 7 - is a Five stars Hotel and belongs to the Leading Hotels of the World.

Stayed: January 2007
11  Thank mariasilvestre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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