Fact: No talk about this hotel is ever complete without express mention of its privileged location – along Kigali’s most prestigious street – the Boulevard de l’Umuganda, in Kacyiru.
Along this street, no other hospitality entity boasts such close proximity to such a wide selection of diplomatic missions, government agencies and ministries, and international NGOs.
In the interest of full disclosure, they are close neighbours to; the US Embassy, the European Union, the UK High Commission, the South African High Commission, the Kenyan High Commission, the Embassy of Burundi and the Embassy of Egypt.
Not so far away are the Netherlands and Japanese embassies, the UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, and International Committee of the Red Cross country offices, among others.
With such diplomatic royalty for neighbours, one can only expect the kind of niche clientele the hotel has cultivated; the diplomatic and business crowd.
Safety and serenity are some of the first thoughts that come to mind once one sets foot into the facility –the feeling that nothing could possibly ever go wrong. Their gardens are beautiful and well-manicured, and dotted with umbrella tables for those that prefer the outdoors.
Walking into the main building, the main attraction is Harry’s, the in-house restaurant and bar –a small, neat and relaxed dining venue where most of the action revolves. Harry’s is a low-roof enclave whose walls are dotted with priceless artistic impressions of famous world cities, in frames.
We visited the hotel for Wednesday lunch, arriving after a heavy downfall. It was nice to watch as the ever helpful wait staff dashed to in-coming cars in the parking yard, armed with umbrellas to shield guests from the rain.
Their lunch buffet goes for Rwf5,000, and is the main draw for the hotel’s core clientele –diplomats and people on business –the reason it’s fronted as a “corporate and business lunch’. It’s a limited edition affair that comes in a more fanciful than grand way –just enough for the hotel’s three-star status.
Running from noon till 3:00 pm, the buffet serves up a few choice options; grilled meats, meats in sauce, four different veggie options, rice and potatoes for starch, and three dessert types –fruit, assorted pastries, and pudding.
I settled for the fruit after my sumptuous lunch –sweet bananas and papaya to be exact. The limited food selection means one won’t be spoilt for choice –therefore no need to pile up on unfamiliar stuff just because it’s a buffet. The chicken nuggets came well-marinated and soft, in that by the end of my meal, though heavy on meats, there were no left-over bones lying about on my plate.
With more than ten years international experience in the kitchen, the Chef, Dev, knows how to spin a surprise on a daily basis, and on the day we visited, it was all about the chicken cordon bleu, at Rwf8,500, and the Nile perch brochette, at Rwf7,000.