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Ilala Lodge
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Reviewed June 5, 2013

We spent nearly a full week staying at this beautiful resort in the heart of Victoria Falls. The first three days were planned and gave us a wonderful chance to relax and explore the Falls and the town. Our remaining stay was unplanned - and came about after a disastrous experience and terrible customer service at the hands of Jenman Safaris. Thankfully, the team at Ilala - ably led by Martin Vaughan - were able to assist us so that we could continue on our holiday in Zimbabwe.

Ilala is an exquisite resort - the rooms are quiet, luxurious and maintained beautifully by staff several times each day. The bar overlooks a wonderfully manicured garden, with the roar of the Falls just minutes away. In fact, when we undertook a helicopter flight over the Falls (also recommended!), we realised just how close the hotel was to the Falls entrance! Despite its incredibly convenient location (two minutes walk to the outdoor market, two minutes walk to the lovely Elephant Walk Mall), you are enveloped by a sense of calm and serenity at Ilala - thanks in large part to the very hard work of Martin and his incredibly friendly team at the Front Desk reception area.

While the service at the bar could be slow (we normally had to go up and request drinks rather than table service), the food at each meal more than compensated! The kitchen team are probably the best I have encountered in all of Zimbabwe - the food is absolutely world class. Despite having numerous eating options on our doorstep, we chose to eat at the Ilala restaurant - the food was simply too good to leave!

Becky in the Reservations Office is incredibly helpful - one of the loveliest staff members we dealt with during our stay! She confirmed several tours that our Jenman tour company had not finalised properly - and she also organised the most extraordinary sunset cruise for us. While it was slightly more expensive than the others ($80 per person), it is the best cruise on the Zambezi I have ever been on! The beautiful timber boat is gorgeously outfitted and the small size meant it could go to place on the river the larger boats simply could not. We are grateful to Becky for putting us on to this little wonder!

Thanks to Martin and the team for a wonderful, peaceful and relaxing time in the heart of a busy town!

Siobhan, Andy and Kitty Marren
Sydney, Australia.

Room Tip: The rooms with a balcony are much nicer - the ones downstairs mean that you can't take advantage of sitting outside relaxing!
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Siobhan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 28, 2013

Thank you very much for your positive feedback on Ilala hotel. We greatly appreciate your comments. We are happy you fond your stay with us luxurious and we hope to have you return again in the near future.

Kind regards
Ilala team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2013

We spent three nights here and loved it. We were on the ground floor, which has a large lawn that eventually leads to the reserve. We expected to see the warthogs, but were thrilled to see a hippo grazing during the night barely 10 yards from our patio door. The rooms are spacious and functional but not luxurious. They included toiletries with insect repellent that we never used. We appreciated the bottled water and coffee maker as well. The bathroom is also large with a separate shower and bathtub. Doing laundry here is quite inexpensive. which is nice because we were so limited in weight for upcoming safaris. The restaurant was good and we especially liked the ostrich steak for dinner. Portions were quite large and mains were $20-$24 and a glass of wine was $6. We didn't think these prices were high, although some other reviewers did.The location is excellent--close to the falls, banks, craft markets and shops. Both the restaurant and rooms face the reserve with the spray of the falls visible from certain areas.
We highly recommend this place for anyone going to the Falls. Make sure to do the elephant riding safari as well.

Room Tip: I read that some folks like the upper floors for the view, but we were on the ground floor which is where we saw the hippo on our lawn. I think that was a better view personally.!
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank lemur_chica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 28, 2013

Thank you for reviewing our hotel. It is our pleasure to receive comments from our guests. We are glad you had an awesome time with us and we are looking forward to seeing you again in the near future.

kind regards
Ilala team

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Reviewed June 2, 2013

We only stayed in Victoria Falls for 3 days-we decided to include it on our trip to South Africa on Safari-and it ended up being the highlight!

Even before arriving at Ilala, the service was excellent. I sent the lodge a message to let them know it was our honeymoon, and when we checked in we were greeted with a bottle of sparkling wine, flowers on our bed and a candle lit bath had been run for us.

Our room was wonderful, we stayed in a Deluxe Suit and it was very clean, well appointed and with great views on the mist from the falls. We got up early every morning and watched the sun rise from the mist which was spectacular.

Breakfast was good. There was a wide variety of buffet items, as well as a menu for hot breakfasts-all included in the price. The Palm Restaurant was great. The food was of a very high quality, and we felt it was reasonably priced for the quality and ambience. All the staff were friendly, helpful and extremely polite.

We used the tour office to books some activities, and this process was very smooth. Again, the staff were helpful, knowledgeable and helped us put together an itinerary to make the most of our time. We were also able to charge the activities back to our room which was useful.

The lodge is a short walk from the falls, no longer than 10 minutes, and we saw baboons, warthogs and elephants on our way. We also explored the town and the markets behind the lodge so it was very conveniently situated. There was a Barclays bank just outside and a supermarket a short walk away.

We booked to do the sundowner river cruise on the Ra-Ikane and this was a wonderful evening and I would highly recommend it. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Helicopter ride over the falls and the Lion Encounter-both can be booked through the lodge.

All in all, Ilala Lodge was a fabulous place to stay, I can't say enough good things about our experience and our stay and I would go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Amy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 8, 2013

Thank you very much for taking your time to review Ilala hotel and for staying with us. We are grateful and glad you had an amazing time with us. We appreciate your comments and await for your return again in the near future.

kind regards
ilala team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

To anyone who has doubts about visiting Zimbabwe or staying at this hotel, rest assured we cannot speak highly enough of this lodge. the staff were very friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The setting is superb and you get the true feel for the area. It has character and run rings around the bigger resorts near by. It is only a short walk down to the falls and to the bridge over to Zambia. Make sure you go to the markets just behind the lodge it has a huge variety of local crafts, like nothing else I saw in either Botswana or South Africa. Strongly recommend this hotel and will return one day

Room Tip: Rooms on the upper floors offer the better views and have a lovely balcony
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank wanderers37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 7, 2013

Thank you for your positive comment on Ilala hotel. We appreciate your views and comments. We very excited that you found your stay with us faultless and we are happy to welcome you back in the near future.

kind regards
Ilala Team

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Reviewed May 25, 2013

You go to Victoria Falls for one reason only, to see the magnificent Victoria Falls, but staying in this hotel for two nights made our visit that more enjoyable. Stepping into this hotel, it is very easy to forget that you are in an impoverished third world country. The whole complex is well maintained with nice lawns and gardens and with a relaxing ambiance to it. However, you will soon learn that you will be paying first world prices in the hotel, which is a shock after visiting South Africa where things are cheap compared to the western world. Our other reminder of its third world status was the fact that the hotel (and the town) were suffering from power cuts with the hotel relying on its own generator for power. We were told that this was only temporary whilst maintenance to the power grid was undertaken, but during our visit, from 6.00 am until 6.00 pm, we had a noisy generator running just below our room.
Meals are served in the dining room or if you wish, you can eat outside. We had dinner at the hotel one night of our stay and the meal was excellent. A buffet breakfast is available daily, which is average and you can order hot breakfast dishes from the menu.
There is a lovely outside bar and lounge area overlooking the hotel's pool where you can sit and watch warthog or monkeys wandering the hotel's grounds.
Our room was quite large, air conditioned, with tea/coffee making facilities and in-room safe standard. Double doors lead to the terrace where you can sit and relax. The bathroom contains both bathtub and shower. The sound of the falls, which are relatively close, is very evident at night.
The staff at the hotel are very courteous and friendly. Free Wi Fi is available in public areas. You will need to obtain a password from reception.
Zimabwe has abandoned its own currency and now uses the US dollar for its main currency but also the SA Rand can be used. It is very difficult to get change from anyone (including the hotel), particularly low value notes. A Bank is located just outside the main gates of the hotel with an ATM that dispenses US currency (but only $50 notes).

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Aussie-Traveller3121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IlalaVictoriaFalls, Guest Relations Manager at Ilala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 7, 2013

Thank you very much for your positive review of Ilala Lodge hotel. It is our pleasure to receive wonderful comments from our guests. We however apologize for any inconvenience caused during your stay with us and hope it did not spoil or negatively impact your holiday. We will be very happy to have you return again in the future.

Kind regards
Ilala team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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