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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The staff at Heaven - the restaurant and the three hotels including and especially Retreat - are outstanding. Coming back for a second visit reinforced these feelings and impressions and reconfirmed them with the excellence of service and terrific atmosphere I experienced.

I had eaten some great meals there a few months earlier and found the staff to be so welcoming and caring, so genuinely friendly, that I related to Heaven less as a restaurant and a hotel and more as an extended family and a community. It really feels that way and is so personable and warm - you will be welcomed with uncommon sincerity and hospitality and you will feel at home.

Heaven is a great place to set up base in Kigali - whether the hotel or the restaurant - or both! Weekend brunches in particular are distinctive in Kigali for their great value, quality and diversity of food, chilled out atmosphere, and the beauty of being perched in a lush area looking out on Kigali but surrounded by trees and greenery. It's a relaxing atmosphere where you can get plenty of work done, read, meet up with friends, or just find your peace and space to reflect and relax unhurriedly. The brunches are bountiful and have many diverse offerings - plenty of vegetarian options and a great mix of traditional breakfast offerings with hot lunch food too, desserts, different breads, fresh fruits and vegetables, an omelette station, yogurts, smoothies, muffins, cereal, ... and on and on. Food is fresh, of a very high quality, and there are lots of healthy options. Overwhelmingly, the food is both healthy and delicious - an uncommon combination which Heaven achieves with aplomb and across its menu.

I had one experience that really stands out for me as demonstrating what makes Heaven and its staff so special. I was huffing and puffing my way towards Heaven and the city center walking on a nearby street. It was a hot day and even though Rwanda is at an altitude that has a pleasant cooling effect some days can get hot and a bit humid once in a while. So I looked a bit (or perhaps more than a bit!) exhausted by the heat and my walking, and I stopped to lean against a post to catch my breath and drink some water. Someone I didn't immediately recognize called out to me as he walked up the same street. He said he worked in Heaven's kitchen and had seen me eat there and he wanted to know if I was OK. I was touched by this - it was totally beyond the call of an employee, just a very real example of caring and friendliness and the sensibility that customers are part of the Heaven family.

So while there are many reasons to come to Heaven - including great food and atmosphere - it's the people that make Heaven special above all, and it's the people that bring me back and will keep bringing me back again and again.

And the mango smoothies and Saturday/Sunday brunches certainly beckon and add to the inspiration to come back for more!

I can't recommend Heaven enough. Its staff and owners put their heart and soul into it and into welcoming customers and providing warm, quality, genuine service that's Africa and Rwanda at their very best.

Date of stay: March 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank walkingandwandering
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The_Retreat001, Owner at Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thank you so much for taking the time to acknowledge our staff! We really appreciate the fact that you had the full Heaven experience and that our staff took such good care of you. We look forward to welcoming you back.

Warm wishes,
Alissa

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 5 weeks ago

We arrived to this establishment at the end of our safari before we were to leave Rwanda. We were given two large rooms for our family of 4 for two nights. The rooms were very comfortable and clean and the staff was very warm and hospitable, always asking if we needed anything and if everything was alright. Honestly, could not think of anything that should change or be improved, it was a great stay until it was time to checkout.
When we checked-in, accompanied by our safari guide, we were instructed to go to two of the other hotels (Heavens has 3 different hotels) before finally checking into our hotel and room. When we checked-in our guide confirmed with the front desk staff that the transportation to the airport was included and paid for twice! At the time of checkout we were first asked to come settle the bill in the first Hotel in the pouring rain. I asked if they could walk over to the next hotel because we do not have an umbrella and they said they would come in 10 minutes. 25 minutes later after we waited in the lobby they handed us a bill which included the transportation to the the airport. After telling the staff about the conversation we had and confirmed with their staff upon check-in they said we still had to pay because that staff was not there today and usually transportation is not included. They said they would check with the safari company but after close to 40 minutes they came back and said they could not contact them because it was a Sunday. We called our guide and he told us we should not pay because it is included and he confirmed it upon check-in. We handed the phone to the hotel staff so they could discuss the problem.

Everything about this Hotel was great except for the last hour when we had to check out and settle our bill. Settling the bill properly and efficiently without mistakes is so important for the traveler and of course the hotel. When other agencies such as safari companies are involved it might get complicated but we made sure to confirm this upon check-in. Unfortunately it left us with a very sour note on our wonderful stay and experience in Africa.

Date of stay: May 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank ochochan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The_Retreat001, Owner at Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Hi - we are glad that you enjoyed your whole stay up until the last minute. We have shared your final check out experience with the entire team to avoid such disappointments for future guests! Thanks so much for sharing this issue and we can assure you it will be addressed.

Warm wishes,
Alissa

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Reviewed May 11, 2019

I stayed one night hoping to treat myself to some luxury. I had high hopes based on the reviews, but was left feeling unwelcome and disappointed.
First the good: hot shower with ample water pressure; more than amazing weekend breakfast buffet; availability of hair dryer and a small coffee station in the room; beautiful grounds; Saturday morning yoga class very nice (extra charge); filtered water on offer in the rooms, saving on plastic bottles.
The misleading: the rooms in the 'villa' are tiny and the small floor space is filled with unnecessary and bulky furniture. Impossible to move around if you are more than one person. The villa is on an uninspiring compound (basically just a parking lot) separate from the beautiful compound you see in the photos. You have to leave the gate and walk uphill to reach the nice area, which is inconvenient, and if it is raining even worse. Not all facilities are available to guests staying in the villa, in particular the beautiful pool.
The bad: the villa is being remodeled which lead to chemical (glue) smells in my room. I also asked for a room removed from the construction work to ensure a quiet environment, but was put immediately next to the works despite the fact the place was empty, I saw maybe 3 other guests. One restaurant was closed for a private event. The other was serving both menus, which allowed me to see that the same items are priced differently on both menus. The food I ordered was not good; the beef skewers were both cold and overcooked (approaching a leathery texture). To heat them up they were cooked even further, leading to them becoming inedible. Manager came and apologised and offered a free drink, which I was promptly presented a bill for the next day. I was asked for quite exorbitant additional payments for so many things: I asked for a late checkout of a few hours, which was offered at almost 85% of the full room rate I paid. Later I received a phone call to say that we could negotiate a lower rate for the late checkout, which I kindly declined. When asking for a quiet room I was told I could have one for a 30 USD surcharge. When I sat at the nice pool while waiting for my massage I was informed that I could only sit there for a 15 USD surcharge as I was staying in the cheap part of the hotel; another manager later told me they sent me away as the pool area was being renovated and it would be more comfortable elsewhere, which was so clearly b.s. that I wasn't even sure how to respond. Asking about a taxi for a short ride I was quoted about 4 times the going rate. Before even asking how my massage was I was asked how I will pay for it.
I understand it's a business, but this approach made me feel more than unwelcome at every corner, and definitely did not give me the relaxing retreat-like vibe I was so hoping to get. Shame, as clearly other guests have enjoyed this property a lot. If you have the cash to stay at their Retreat section, I am sure this place is Heaven indeed as it has all the facilities to be quite amazing. If not, there are other hotels in Kigali at half the price or less which will offer the same type of rooms and cleanliness you will find at the villa.

Date of stay: May 2019
Trip type: Traveled solo
Thank MazzaSantiago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The_Retreat001, Owner at Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Hi - thanks for this detailed review. We are deeply disappointed that our team didn't deliver the service level that we try to deliver to all of our guests. We have made massive improvements to the Villa compound area since your stay including private gardens and expanded decks which will immensely improve that experience. We are a training facility and at times our trainees may not have all the savoir-faire that you expected. We hope that you will provide us with a chance to make it up to you on your next visit!

Warm wishes,
Alissa

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Reviewed April 29, 2019

We were in a room with the shower, toilet, sink and bed all in one open space, Okay for one person, but absolutely uncomfortable and awkward with two people! It was also right next to the open office, which was very noisy. We could hear everything that went on there loud and clear! Breakfast was bad as well.

Date of stay: April 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank asdfasdfsad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heaven_Restaurant, Owner at Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 11, 2019

Hi - we are sorry that you didn't feel that we lived up to your expectations. Had we known that you didn't like our contemporary room, we would have gladly provided another. We are also surprised to hear that you didn't enjoy breakfast and would welcome a direct email to find out what happened as that is generally a highlight for our customers.

Best wishes,
Alissa

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2019

I had a wonderful stay at Heaven. The garden and surroundings are absolutely beautiful. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The food and fresh fruit are delicious. I would definitely recommend staying here!

Date of stay: March 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled on business
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Traveler1357975
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heaven_Restaurant, Owner at Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 28, 2019

We are happy that you loved your stay and the food! Come back again soon.

Warm wishes,
Alissa

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