After more than two weeks "in the bush," traveling overland and staying at tented camps in Botswana and Namibia, the comfort of the Ilala was the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate before the long flight home. As a history buff, the colonial style and decor, complete with antique rifles and photos of 19th century explorers, was a bonus.
The staff went out of their way to accommodate me and my needs - phoning outside companies to inquire about pick-ups for excursions, airport transfer, etc. The activities director checked on me every time she spotted me in the lounge or on the dining terrace. Granted, much of the extra attention was undoubtedly due to Zimbabwe's current tough situation and lack of tourists (most now lodge across the river in Zambia). There were less than half a dozen rooms occupied when I was there.
Still, the welcome air-conditioned room, fresh, soft sheets, TV (for the first time on my trip) and quiet atmosphere made for a refreshing stay. Room was clean and well-stocked with amenities, including safe, soaps, complimentary water, etc. Free 24-hour Internet access (at a desk in the lobby) was also a much appreciated perk, enabling me to catch up with the outside world.
Food was excellent. In fact, I had the exact same dinner two nights in a row, grilled bream (Zambezi River fish) with scalloped potatoes. One night I had leek and onion soup but deemed it too warm for such a hot dish, opting for the chocolate cake with ice cream the second time. Breakfast was a choice of buffet with usual cold cereal, yogurt, bread, etc. but I chose to have the full English breakfast, basking in the warm sun in sandals and shorts, looking out over the manicured garden with the mist of Victoria Falls in the near distance.
All in all, a first class experience. Highly recommended. Go to Vic Falls, a safe, viable alternative to Livingstone!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ilala Lodge is ideally located only minutes away from the spectacular Victoria Falls. A family run hotel, Ilala Lodge has 56 stylish, well-equipped rooms, providing the ultimate in comfort. The top-rated Palm Restaurant at Ilala Lodge offers delicious al-fresco dining under the starry African skies, whilst listening to the roar of the falls. The staff are attentive and friendly, and ensure your bucket list trip is perfect for you. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ilala Hotel Victoria Falls