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“we "loved" the hotel and staff”

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The Victoria Falls Hotel
Ranked #6 of 16 Hotels in Victoria Falls
Certificate of Excellence
LONG BEACH
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“we "loved" the hotel and staff”
Reviewed May 30, 2007

We recently returned from Vic Falls Hotel (mid May 2007) and can guarantee you that anyone that says it's not awesome is not telling the truth. The place was fantastic. Service was great. Staff was fabulous catering to our every wish. Of course Zimbabwe is in a total
state of ruins but the hotel still shines. Of course it's nice to understand and perhaps tip when it's obvious you're of some kind of elite status. All in all it was one of our favorite lifetime experiences and that includes alot of traveling! We loved it. The falls were beyond words and the walk to the falls involved passing through sellers (but the hotel provides accompanienment) and there were many wild animals along the short walk which can be scary but also magnificent and exciting. Anyone who doesn't cherish every moment spent at this hotel simply should not be traveling! Go, go, go. We made a promise to do it again in 5 years at a very special time.

Stayed May 2007
Helpful?
4 Thank shorty56150
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Boston
Level Contributor
236 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2007

Victoria Falls Hotel is a beautiful old hotel with service handled in a fine classical manner long lost at many hotels. The views of the Zambezi River and the mist from the falls are beautiful. The lawns are carefully maintained and the service at the restaurants is very good. The hallways have wonderful old photographs and interesting sitting areas everywhere.

Our room was in good condition, very comfortable and overlooked a yard with baboons, mongoose and warthogs.

We had read a number of negative reports including slow service, poor upkeep and fear of the political situation in Zambabwe. However, we were pleasantly surprised on all accounts. We were in a "luxury" room in the Stables wing, a section that was the most recently renovated and that may account for the good condition of our room. If I have one complaint, it's the hotel's style of cooking meats that are well done, but the graveys make the meat decent and the rest of the meals were very good. The staff ranges from decent to very friendly and accomodating.

We also heard that there is nothing else to do but see the falls, but we went on a sunset cruise that was very nice, had a walking safari, watched people on the flying fox, hiked a short way up the Zambezi and saw elephants at the hotels back gate.

Overall, it was a very pleasant experience.

  • Liked — exotic old world enviroment, friendly staff, views
  • Disliked — overcooked dinners
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank barely alive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2007

We spent the first 3 days of our honeymoon in the Victoria falls hotel. The week before we left we read some reviews on trip advisor giving really bad reviews of the hotel and the country. We were so worried about going to the Vic Falls hotel and Zimbabwe that we tried to change our honeymoon to go to the Zambia side of the falls. But after assurances from the tour operator that everything was safe etc we decided to go to the hotel. So gald we did. The hotel itself is gorgeous. We stayed in the Bokota suite (a complimentary upgrade mainly due to the fact that we had sent the bad reviews we'd read along with our concerns to the tour operator who in turn forwarded them to the hotel) which was fantastic. There some obvious problems with the country at the moment but that didn't stop everyone we dealt with being friendly and helpful. I would definetely recommend the Vic falls hotel and it was one of the highlights of our honeymoon. True, you aren't advised to go out walking round the town at night but at no time in Vic falls did I ever feel unsafe.
The hotel itself is expensive for most stuff but the casino complex next door offers a wide variety of resturants and are much more reasonable.
Also the view of the falls from the Zimbabwe side I think is more impressive.

Stayed April 2007
Helpful?
5 Thank Frankicarbone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Ontario
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed May 20, 2007

The appearance of this hotel is stunning. On the outside the grounds have been maintained impeccabley. The flowers are stunning, the landscaping, the main foyer, the lobby, they all give an impression of luxury and old colonialism.
However that is where the good review stops.
On our arrival, the bell boy dropped my luggage cointaining glass. You could hear it break. He then picked it up and set it in the same unstable place that it fell from. Not a good start. We waited a hour to check in. When it came time to get to our room, the bell boy had disappeared with our key and the staff had to search for him. Half an hour later we finally got into our room. I had asked for a double and got twin beds. The look of the room was nice. The bathroom was the same as any four star, it did not fit in with the hotel and it was a little shabby. The room safe was broken. It took them half a day to decide they could not replace it. However they did find another solution. There is a flyer on the desk saying not to "tempt the staff" into stealing and lock away your valuables. It is a shame that the first impression of the people there is of thieves.
Overall we found the front desk staff very unhelpful. We had problems communicating with North America. Their answer was a shrug and a reply of "what do you want us to do about it." The food was merely adequate. The same as any family restaurant at home.
A sever warning!!!! Bring plenty of US cash. They will accept nothing else, not even their own currency, and this hotel overcharges on everything. It cost $2,00 a sheet of paper to print up an email. (When their internet was working, and it's slow). We asked the rate for a taxi from the hotel to the airport, we were told thirty dollars. We went out on our own into town and managed to get it for $20.00. We heard another couple bargain for $5.00, and the driver took the amount.
GIven it is a world class hotel in an impoverished country, some of the difficutlies can be forgiven, i.e. communications with home. However the attitude was apathetic at best. Most of the time nobody made eye contact because then they would have to help.
My advice, find another hotel. You'll pay less and have a better experience.

  • Liked — The proximity to Victoria Falls
  • Disliked — Overall experience
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank cookiedox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
currently Cape Town
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2007

Spent 3 days (28th April -1st May 2007) at the VFH and it was better than I had been expecting. Zimbabwe is in a bad way and the whole town of Vic Falls has a real run down appearance. However the VFH is superbly located overlooking the gorge leading to the falls. The Falls were pretty full at this time so that there was always a great view of the mists rising ( sit on the right side of the plane as you fly into VF airport and you can easily see it from some distance away). When you arrive get off the plane pronto and get in the left hand side queue if you need a visa which is $55 for single entry and $70 for doulble entry.
Hotel was full of history and very elegant in an old fashioned way. Afternoon tea on the terrace is OK at $26/£13 for 2. (Forget Zim $ they will only let non Zimbabweans use hard currency and they prefer dollars. We took US $ in small denominations and had no problems at all.) Breakfast at the Jungle Junction was a pretty good buffet with beautiful views and a great choice of breakfast items. The evening buffet at the same location was interesting and cost $35 each. Service at the hotel was good -we could not get a helicopter flight over the Falls from the Zimbabwe side as they were fully booked so we took one from the Zambia side. This was an interesting trip as we had to cross the border and a representaive from the helicopter company picked us up at the VFH and expedited our border crossings.
You can walk to the Falls directly from the VFH the only problem was the 2 or 3 hawkers desperately trying to sell carvings.Entry into the Falls cost $20 and it is a good walk along the edge of the Falls to the bridge over the gorge.
As a bonus the weather was absolutely fabulous at this time of year -cloudless skies every day and temperatures around 30 celsius- beautiful. The Zimbabwean people are lovely , very friendly and keen to talk - they are having such a desperate time and need the tourists.
We also played golf at Elephant Hills Hotel. We were the only people on the course and were forced to take caddies ( who were very helpful) as they were included in the price ($30 to residents of the VFH and there is a shuttle bus between hotels as they belong to the same group). Plenty of wild life on the course which wasn't in too bad shape.
Another thing to do is go to the VF Safari Lodge which has a great view over the bush and a watering hole. Go at sunset for a drink.We saw water buffalo and elephants coming to the water hole. Sunset cruises on the Zambesi River are often included in the packages and they are ok for a pleasant evening, snacks and drinks, great views of the sunset and sightings of hippos.
Finally no evidence of mosquitoes even though we did take the tablets!!

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — prices changed every day
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank mackeminafrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
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.

  • Liked — the location and architecture
  • Disliked — service, food and general attitude
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
16 Thank brisbanetravelagent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Level Contributor
33 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
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
Helpful?
8 Thank RoversReview
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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