Review: The Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The Victoria Falls Hotel is one of Africa’s most famous hotels. Originally built to accompany the Cairo to Cape Town Railway, the hotel was initially the home to construction workers of the railway. The property has hosted guests since 1904 and has dazzled guests with its views, and proximity to Victoria Falls, providing a luxury experience to all guests who are fortunate enough to stay.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates via Emirates First Class, South African Airways Business Class and Qatar Airlines Business Class
- American Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Los Angeles
- American Airlines AAdmirals Club: Los Angeles
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Los Angeles
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Los Angeles – Doha
- The Westin Hotel and Spa, Doha, Qatar
- Souq Wahif, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Doha – Johannesburg
- The Slow Lounge, O.R. Tambo Domestic, Johannesburg, South Africa
- British Airways Club Class: Johannesburg – Cape Town
- The Westin Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
- Winelands of Paarl, South Africa
- Shark Diving at Gaansbai, South Africa
- The Hermanus Coastal Walk, Hermanus, South Africa
- Returning to Stellenbosch & Franschoek, South Africa
- A Repeat Visit to the Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
- Air Namibia: Cape Town – Windhoek
- Overland Travel: Driving to the Desert; Windhoek – Sesriem
- The Sossus Dune Lodge, Sesriem, Namibia
- The Majestic Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Sesriem – Walvis Bay, Namibia
- The Pelican Point Lodge, Walvis Bay, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Walvis Bay – Spittskope – Windhoek, Namibia
- The Hilton Windhoek, Namibia
- Air Namibia Windhoek – Maun – Victoria Falls
- The Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Stopping Hippopotamus on a Zambezi River Cruise, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Feeling the Smoke that Thunders, a day at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- British Airways Club Business Class: Victoria Falls – Johannesburg
- The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class: Johannesburg – Mauritius
- The St Regis Mauritius, Le Morne, Mauritius
- Emirates First Class: Mauritius – Dubai
- The Grosvenor House, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- The Heat of the Desert at Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class Lounge Terminal “B” Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class: Dubai – Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines Board Room Lounge, Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Seattle
- Delta Sky Club Lounge Seattle South Terminal
- Delta Airlines First Class: Seattle – Vancouver
Review: The Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
“The Victoria Falls Hotel provides traditional and time tested luxury accommodations in palatial surroundings, a mere steps from the Victoria Falls; a must stay for any travellers seeking the traditional African holiday experience”
Booking The Victoria Falls Hotel:
I had last been to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe almost 19 years ago. At the time, they were even using the old Zim Dollars, along with a side of US currency on that last visit. As some may know, the Zim dollar had a one hundred trillion dollar note before it was delisted. The town has changed quite a lot since then, as has our income level.
On our stay this time, and to celebrate MrsWT73’s first visit, we opted for the convenience and elegance of The Victoria Falls Hotel. This is the arguably the nicest property to stay at while in town and a substantial upgrade from the Cresta Sprayview Lodge where I had stayed last time. For this stay, I found a better rate on Expedia than I did on the hotel website (by about $150 USD over two nights) and just booked with Expedia.
In terms of getting to the hotel, a private or shared van transfer was offered. We ended up arranging a shared van transfer through the hotel. Being the only flight arriving at that time, we were pretty much assured of being the only passengers on the van after we got off our Air Namibia Windhoek – Victoria Falls flight. We had the short 20 kilometer drive into town.
Arriving to the Victoria Falls Hotel:
The Victoria Falls Hotel has been in operation since 1904 and is one of the grand old colonial railway hotels on the Cape Town to Cairo railway. The railway was partially built but never finished. On arrival to the hotel, we were given a refreshing towel and welcome drink at check in.
On our arrival at noon, our room was not available, but they worked hard to get us a room by 2 PM. In the mean time, we walked the ground of the property. The grounds here are absolutely spectacular and the overall space is un-rivaled in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.
The hotel offered peek a poo views of the railway bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The bridge covered the Zambezi River, spanning both countries.
Food and Beverage:
While we were waiting for our room to become available, we went out to pass the time by having lunch on the patio known as Stanley’s Terrace. A lovely and refreshing gin and tonic for me along with sandwiches and a small salad. A glass of South African white for MrsWT73 and a sandwich for her.
Around the Hotel:
After lunch, we headed though the lobby to find out our room assignment. The indoor lobby bar was similar to that of a regal hunting lodge. It had décor that was unique, yet completely with the period and look and feel of the hotel.
The formal dining room “The Livingstone Room”, also looked quite classy.
The Room: A Standard Room
Our assigned room #68, was a small but well appointed room. It contained bottled water, a nice bathroom, in room safes, slippers, chocolates on the bed during turn down service, fly screens over the bed an all the elegance one would expect from a regal hotel.
The room featured a small desk, along with a small storage space or closet for shirts or other suitcase storage.
There was a small bathroom, consistent with the era with a single vanity sink.
We enjoyed a solid two night stay in this room and had no complaints. While it was a smaller room, it wasn’t as small as I would have expected from a property that has been in existence since 1904.
Around the Property:
The property had a nice terrace, with a view of the Victoria Falls Bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The property also had a pleasant pool (by African standards). It was a little colonial styled, much like our past room at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. While it looked inviting, we ended up only enjoying some sun by the pool on occasion, and not actually a proper swimming dip. Still, it was among the nicest pools in Afrca that I’ve had the opportunity to spend time at.
There was also an outdoor dining area, that we didn’t get the opportunity to enjoy for dinner.
There were also several monkeys and warthogs roaming around the property at odd times. This was a great way of getting exposure to African wildlife without actually being on a proper safari.
Food and Beverage:
Breakfast at Jungle Junction:
During our stay, we had a full breakfast courtesy of the hotel at the Jungle Junction restaurant. The Jungle Junction is a partially covered outdoor setting that is situated by the pool. There was sparking Cap Classique, omelette stations and every type of food imaginable. The staff had to keep the monkeys away from the food areas by using cap guns that made loud noises at times.
The breakfast offering was more than expected and certainly allowed me to fill up for the day.
The Bottom Line on The Victoria Falls Hotel:
The Victoria Falls Hotel was a very comfortable place to stay. With it’s large estate grounds, we were really happy to have a well situated and relaxing place to call home. The hotel is well featured and with its nice gin and tonics’ on the Stanley Terrace, we had easily found the British outpost of years past was replicated immaculately.