THIS BOUTIQUE hotel sits on the premises of the Kwetu Film Institute, a training facility for aspiring movie actors and film-makers, and organizers of the Rwanda Film Festival, in Gaculiro’s 2020 Estate.
Indeed, as you walk in, one of the first sights to behold is that of a vintage Canon video camera that hangs elegantly off a soft board in the reception area.
We were later informed that it was the first camera to be owned by Eric Kabera, he of the Hillywood fame and the brains behind Kwetu Film Institute.
For the three years the hotel has been up, its owners have steered away from fronting it as a hotel in the classical sense of the word, projecting it instead as a film, television and media school.
Actually, most of the rooms on the ground floor are taken up by classrooms, complete with school-issue desks and chalkboards. While sipping your coffee or eating a sandwich at the Hillywood café, one can actually monitor the entire goings-on in a film-making class, thanks to the see-through slide glass doors.
Sitting here actually gives off the feeling of being trapped in a large luxurious space that has got a residential unit.
This place is the unofficial media center of Kigali, where on any given day, one can count on bumping into the artistic and media types, ranging from aspiring and established movie makers, fashion models, journalists and other media practitioners …you name it.
On a Thursday evening when we visited, we spotted Eric Kabera at the lounge, and on that particular day, he seemed to be in ushering mode, saying “welcome to Kwetu. Kwetu is your home” to in-coming hotel guests.
Not only does it house the Kwetu Film Institute, it also hosts the Institute of War and Pace Reporting, on the ground floor, and plans are in advanced stages to establish the Rwanda Media Project, another media school here. The second floor houses the residential suites, with room rates ranging from Rwf50,000 to 95,000. The rooms are categorized as; Standard Single, Standard Double, Junior Suite Single, Junior Suite Double, Executive Suite Single, and Executive Suite Double.
They have a small movie screening room on the first floor, so the next time you visit, do not shy away from asking permission to access it for a private screening.
Kwetu Residence Inn is the kind of place that attracts a motley crew of natives, Asians, Europeans, Americans, the middle class, the newly rich, intellectual, and the savvy of mind.