(The Kigali Serena Hotel courtyard with gardens and swimming pool Simply the Best)
The Kigali Serena was the first to receive the coveted 5 star rating for any Kigali business and city hotel, following an exhaustive and extensive grading and classification exercise conducted by the Rwanda Development Boards Tourism and Conservation Department. The award ceremony, in fact held at the Kigali Serena Conference Centre, also awarded the Lake Kivu Serena, a lake side resort only recently visited by this correspondent, a 4 star rating, giving the Rwandan properties of Serena top honours in their respective categories.
(The Lake Kivu Serena, a lake side resort with a private beach the perfect place to start or end the Congo Nile Trail between Gisenyi and Kamembe)
Also receiving a 5 star rating was the Nyungwe Forest Lodge, another property visited and written about here and on TripAdvisor during the year 2011, and again fully deserved. This lodge is located in the midst of a tea plantation right at the edge of the Nyungwe Forest National Park, the proverbial enchanted forest in the humble opinion of this author.
(Nyungwe Forest Lodge, owned by Dubai World as fine a property as they come)
Other hotels in Kigali received four stars, notably the Mille des Collines, a long time crowd favourite with arguably the best and largest croissants in Kigali for breakfast, while Hotels Lemigo and Manor too scooped four stars each. Eight hotels and resorts were awarded the still very respectable 3 star status while a further 16 establishments attained a 2 star rating. Only one property, the Gorilla Hotel in Ruhengeri / Musanze, got a 1 star rating.
The awards were handed over by the Rwandan Minister for East African Community Affairs, the Hon. Mrs. Monique Mukaruliza in the presence of the RDB Chief Executive John Gara and Ms. Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation within the Rwanda Development Board and the plaque for the Serena properties were received by Mr. Charles Muia, Country Manager for Serena Hotels and General Manager for the Kigali Serena.