“Luxury” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of Rwanda, but that’s exactly what you’ll experience when you stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. This hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of some of the best restaurants and cafes in Kigali and within a 10-15 minute drive from many landmarks like the airport, city centre, and various neighborhoods that are worth checking out. It is also well equipped with a state-of-the-art gym, spa, outdoor pool, and even tennis court so that you can stay healthy and fit while you travel. From its central location to the colorfully lit dome of the convention centre, Radisson Blu is more than just a hotel: it is a recognized Kigali landmark that every local is aware of. So if you came across this post while browsing through Kigali, Rwanda hotels, do yourself a favor: stop browsing and book your stay at Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre today.
Smooth Check-in Process With the Most Delicious Welcome Drink
We arrived at Radisson Blu around 8:30pm and were immediately greeted at the door. An attendant led us inside to the spacious and elegant lobby and reception area. While we were checking in, the staff brought us mini avocado ginger smoothies that were absolutely delicious. The subtle ginger kick was just the refresher we needed after a long day of travel. These smoothies were so refreshing, in fact, that I didn’t even have a chance to snap a photo of it until my mom and I had managed to devour nearly all of it within a matter of seconds. You can imagine our excitement, then, when we discovered these smoothies at breakfast the next morning and ended up with far too many of these empty glasses on our breakfast table.
The entire check in process took about 10 minutes. Everything from our rooms to the wifi to the accounting was explained perfectly to us. We were shown to the elevators and headed up to our room.
The Most Secure Hotel I Have Ever Experienced
The hotel is set up in sort of a circular shape, and each side of the hotel had its own color scheme. Guests are only able to access the hallways with the same color scheme as the room they’re staying in. Since our room was located in the corridor with the red walls, we were only able to access the red hallways. While we appreciated this security feature, it was also a bit inconvenient at times to have to walk back down to the lobby, around to the other side of the hotel, and then go back upstairs to avoid walking through the differently colored hallways on the upper floors.
I should also mention that each time you re-enter the property, whether in your own vehicle or someone else’s, you will be required to get out of your car and pass through a metal detector while security searches through your car to make sure you’re not bringing anything unsafe or illegal onto the premises. While this procedure was a bit of a surprise to us at first, we soon realized that this added layer of security is customary at most landmarks and public buildings in Kigali. Judging by the level of diligence that security takes in Rwanda to ensure the public remains safe, it is no surprise that Rwanda is consistently ranked one of the safest countries in Africa.
Spacious and Modern Rooms With Unlimited Complimentary Bottled Water
Our room at Radisson Blu was spacious, modern, and comfortable. We had two twin size beds in our room that were pushed together to make one large bed. Since my mom and I both agreed we were over sharing a bed by the time I started grade school, we pushed the two beds as far apart as we could (which was not very far because the nightstands were secured to the wall) to give each of us some personal space. Our room attendant, however, didn’t seem to sense our same need for personal space and diligently pushed the beds back together for us every day.
When we first arrived in our room, we were pleasantly surprised to find a decadent display of fresh fruit, desserts, and cheeses laid out on the desk for us, which we were not shy about diving into. We also very much enjoyed the multiple bottles of complimentary water that had been set out for us and regularly replenished throughout our stay. We never once ran out of water, and there always seemed to be staff in the hallway to ask for more water should we run out. There was also a coffee and tea station inside the room, which came in handy for my mom toward the beginning of our trip as she fought through jet lag to enjoy as much of our time in Rwanda as we could.
Our en-suite private bathroom in our room was equally as spacious as our sleeping area. There was a large vanity area with two sinks, which gave my mom and me plenty of space to lay out our toiletries for the entirety of our stay. Since I like to travel light and rarely travel with shampoo or conditioner, I was happy to see that Radisson Blu provided both shampoo and conditioner – and in abundance. Although the shower took a little longer than normal to warm up, once it did, the dual shower heads made for a very comfortable shower.
One of my favorite memories from my stay at Radisson Blu was waking up early each morning and taking my laptop out onto the balcony to get some work done before starting my day. The hotel grounds were generally quiet and serene, but they were especially peaceful in the mornings. Our balcony looked out over the tennis court and large patches of the greenest grass that would instantly put you in a calm and relaxed mood.
Still Dreaming of Breakfast
The biggest danger of staying too long at Radisson Blu is gaining weight from all the delicious food on site. Each morning before my mom and I headed out for the day, we would head downstairs to the dining area to enjoy Radisson Blu’s complimentary breakfast buffet – and by enjoy, I mean gorge ourselves. There were more food options than I could have ever asked for, including both local African cuisine as well as western breakfast items like omelettes, croissants, and cured meats. I made sure to load my plate with local favorites like chapati and samosas every morning, which undoubtedly contributed to my clothes feeling a bit tighter by the end of the trip, but also to a whole lot of happiness.
The breakfast buffet area doubled as a dining room for dinner, when the decadent food options pictured above were replaced with an equally delicious dinner buffet. Although the food was delicious, the dinner buffet was a bit overpriced in my opinion, and I would rather indulge in the restaurant/bar upstairs on the main floor, or at the restaurant in the convention center in the adjacent building. With all the amazing food options on site, I’m surprised I even made it off Radisson Blu grounds to explore other restaurants in the city.
Relax and Stay Fit With the Spa, Fitness Center, and Pool
Everyone travels for different reasons, but one common denominator amongst all vacationers is that we want to relax. That’s why the Amani Spa at Radisson Blu is such a welcome sight to guests. The expansive menu of treatments at this luxury spa is sure to include the perfect remedy for any of your travel related pains or aches and make you feel like you just stepped off your own bed rather than a 10 hour flight.
Already feeling relaxed and ready to go? Then head on back to the fitness center located inside the spa area to burn off some of the calories you consumed at breakfast. I know I had to do this a few times. Believe me, I’m all about indulging on vacation, but I didn’t want to return home unrecognizable to family and friends.
One of the most beautiful areas at Radisson Blu Kigali is the outdoor pool in the hotel’s inner courtyard. Surrounding the pool on all sides are lounge chairs, tables, and outdoor seating areas attached to the main dining room and the upstairs restaurant/bar. Whether you like to cool off in the pool on a hot summer’s day, swim laps for exercise, or sit outside and work from your laptop, you’re sure to enjoy this area. This was my favorite spot at Radisson Blu to relax and work.
In case you get unlucky with the weather, or it’s just too cold or too hot outside for your tastes, you can also relax at one of the indoor lounge areas located throughout the hotel. In addition to the spacious hotel lobby filled with numerous comfortable and stylish couches and a big screen TV, there are also couches located in more intimate settings in the smaller common spaces throughout the hotel. Since there is free wifi in all areas of the hotel, it’s easy to bring your laptop to one of these lounge areas to get some work done or relax.
Comfortable and Convenient Airport Transfers
Consistent with everything else at Radisson Blu, the airport transfers provided through the hotel were high class and comfortable. My mom and I were picked up in a large van with large, leather seats and even a TV screen inside. Our driver was professional and drove smoothly, making for a relaxing ride in an otherwise chaotic traffic setting. Airport transfers through the hotel are quite a bit more expensive than hailing a cab outside, but if you need a ride to or from the airport and want to ensure a smooth and easy transfer, I would highly recommend booking your airport transfer through the hotel.
Even though our airport transfer turned out to be a smooth and enjoyable ride, we did encounter a few hiccups with booking our transfer. Prior to arriving at Radisson Blu, I had received a rate for the airport transfer in my email communications with the hotel. However, when I went to pay for the transfer on the morning of our departure, I received a different rate. Further, despite reserving our transfer the night prior to our departure, the hotel staff did not seem to have any record of our booking on the day of our departure, thus delaying our departure by nearly 30 minutes. None of this turned out to be a big deal but definitely something we felt could have been better managed by the hotel.
Overall, our stay at Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre was very positive, and we could not have asked for more. If you’re searching for hotels in Kigali, Rwanda, do yourself a favor and consider staying at Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre. We certainly will be returning to Radisson Blu next time we’re in Rwanda.
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A big thank you to Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda for making our stay possible. As always, all opinions are 100% our own.
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Hi, I’m Diana, the big sister in the sister duo. I left my job as an attorney in March 2017 to pursue the work-from-anywhere/travel-everywhere life aka The Dream. I blog about off the beaten trail travel destinations, adventure travel, immersing in local cultures, and publish plenty of travel guides for all you who are too lazy to plan your own trips. I’ve traveled to 53 countries to date, and some of my recent adventures include hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, visiting a child I’ve sponsored for over 10 years in Rwanda, and exploring the Middle East.