Famed as ‘The Grand Dame of Africa’, the Victoria Falls Hotel has featured on the bucket-list of travellers since 1917 when it was re-built from a simple timber lodging with 16 rooms, a dining room and bar into a modern, palatial hotel surrounded by impressive lawns and lush gardens.
The hotel has welcomed countless celebrities, dignitaries and royals over its lifetime, including King George VI and family in 1947, and is almost as famous as the Victoria Falls themselves. Looking to treat yourselves? Step inside the prestigious Victoria Falls Hotel…
Related article: The magic of an African Photo Safari
An opulent five-star hotel it may be, this grand old dame not only has class and style, but she also has character, and it shines most brightly through the people that work here. From the doorman’s effusive greeting on arrival to the ever-smiling and courteous staff in all of Victoria Falls Hotel’s restaurants and bars, this is a place to feel welcomed and cosseted.
Being a guest in this elegant hotel, resplendent in priceless antiques and Edwardian-style furnishings, and wandering its myriad hallways filled with artworks steeped in Colonial history is a real ‘pinch me’ moment.
Room for Two
The 161 rooms and suites are lavish and beautiful, echoing the style of the hotel’s public areas with the traditional elegance of a bygone era. Complemented by modern-day functionalities such as free WiFi, air-conditioning, satellite TV, mini-bar and electric safe large enough to fit a laptop, the hotel makes it easy to slip into relaxation-mode.
Our Deluxe Suite overlooked lush gardens on one side and the Batoka Gorge of the Zambezi River on the other, giving us a fantastic early-morning view of the sun rising over the omnipresent mist hovering above the falls. Luxuriously furnished with a king-sized, four-poster bed, plush, studded sofa and chaise, and glossy timber furniture, it made us feel truly spoiled – especially when soaking in the free-standing bath enjoying a glass of bubbles!
With an emphasis on perfectly prepared, good clean food, friendly attentive service and a unique atmosphere, the hotel’s restaurants offers a memorable dining experience. The thatched-roof Jungle Junction overlooking the gorge is an outdoor-style restaurant serving up sumptuous buffet breakfast and dinner. Nightly entertainment of singing and dancing from various local ethnic groups ensures guests enjoy a unique African experience.
For a nostalgic step back in time, opt for the famous High Tea on Stanley’s Terrace (feature image), an institution served daily from 3pm (they also serve lunch). The delightful setting of wicker chairs, cream umbrellas and flowering urns and pots, and the million-dollar view of the Victoria Falls bridge as seen across the lush lawns and gardens of the hotel is a priceless memory to take with you.
It may be a bit of an indulgence, but to make your stay here truly memorable, book a table at the Livingstone Room, the benchmark for fine dining in Africa. Voted in 2013 amongst the top ten most excellent hotel restaurants in the world by The Daily Meal – a popular website covering global food and drink topics – it’s worth splurging.
A few hours after our arrival we were on board a luxury steam train, the Bushtracks Express, heading for sundowners on the bridge. Boarding at the station steps from the hotel we travelled through the countryside, spotting local wildlife from the viewing deck while the elegantly attired staff served up lashings of fun along with the drinks and canapés.
On arrival at the bridge, we’re treated a beautiful Instagram moment when the setting sun bathes everything in its golden glow – the raging water shimmering and sparkling as it crashes over 100 metres into the gorge below – #awesome!
Couples Will Love
It’s hard to resist a sunset cruise on the Zambezi, cruising along the wide waterway toward the falls, witnessing herds of elephants crossing the shallows and crocodiles imitating logs of wood in the hope of enticing dinner their way.
Related article: Up in the air in Africa