City Valley Motel: Rich food, cheap rooms

This medium range facility is located in the heart of Nyabugogo, on the approach to the main taxi park when coming from the Kigali Metropolitan Police side. 

This medium range facility is located in the heart of Nyabugogo, on the approach to the main taxi park when coming from the Kigali Metropolitan Police side. 

It is a home-grown, or rather Nyabugogo-grown enterprise in that the owner, a prominent beer distributor, opened it a stone’s throw away from his beer depot in apparent reaction to the acute food shortage in the area then. 

 

Persistent inquiries for a decent meal from office and warehouse workers in the area eventually pushed Faustin Kashugera to start the City Valley Motel, in 2000. 

 

And true to the circumstances under which it was established, the motel has maintained a certain local, home-grown feel with its unsophisticated comforts. Any talk of the City Valley Motel is never complete without mention of its flagship attraction, the food. 

 

It is mostly local African food, and is cooked oil-free. The beef, goat, chicken and fish you will encounter at the buffet come boiled. And that’s not all: all these meats have to be semi-grilled over charcoal stoves, just to get rid of that extra fat, before being boiled. 

The buffet, which runs from 11:00am to 3:00pm serves strictly boiled dishes, accompanied with the usual local selection of yam, cassava, sweet and Irish potatoes, maize meal, rice, and pasta. Should you find yourself here and in need of a bite after the buffet has closed, worry not. Between 6:00pm and midnight, they serve all kinds of food on order, and while the day time buffet goes for a cool Rwf3,000, this late option comes at the slightly cheaper price of Rwf2,500. More than a bargain, considering that not many food establishments in Kigali can push their buffet to the midnight hour. 

You will have your buffet from the gigantic 300-seater hall, well decorated with ceremonial ribbons that lend it a carnival-like feel. Come Saturdays, however, and private events like weddings come to take over the hall, relegating the buffet to the huge white tents in the ceremonial gardens further down. On Sundays, the buffet stays closed, although one can still go ahead and pre-arrange one for large private groups. 

However, should you wish for fried stuff at any time of the day, all you have to do is place your order with the chef. 

Perhaps one thing that is surprising about the City Valley Motel is the composition of its clientele, which boasts a steady influx of the tourist/backpacker types. And apart from the free wi-fi around the hotel’s premises, it’s hard to think of anything else that pulls in this particular lot than the organic food. 

The rooms, 24 in total, are priced rather modestly, if not cheaply, (Rwf 20,000; 18,000; 15,000; 12.000; and 10,000). 

The snack bar comes well-stocked on the usual array of local and imported liquors and beers, with Heineken at Rwf 1,500, a big Primus at 1000, and Fanta at 500.

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