This place is now called The Palm Beach Resort.
As most of you know Gisenyi is one of the nicest places to spend time away from the hustle and bustle of Kigali. While Gisenyi town has a few decent hotels to choose from, travel just a few kilometers south and you’ll find the peninsula where the really nice lodging can be found. One of these is the Waterfront Resort. Once called Palm Garden, and after that View Palm, the name was changed to Waterfront Resort a few months ago when its new owner Patricia took over. Patricia invited me and few friends to visit and see what we thought of the resort since she started making improvements.
Waterfront sits on a lovely site overlooking the lake that includes a large grassy area with playground equipment for children, an outdoor bar, a sandy beach that is open to both guests and day-trippers alike, and a small dock with a boat that can be rented for lake tours.
For accommodation Waterfront has two options. There are three bungalows that are big and stylishly decorated with a traditional African look. The rooms are very spacious and the beddings are top quality (Soft mattresses! Soft pillows! Soft blankets! Yes, in Rwanda!). The bathrooms are one of the nicest things about the resort. Open air (no roof) showers let the sunlight and cool Kivu air in while you’re surrounded by lovely volcanic stones and plants creeping out of the walls, and let me tell you, you’ll want to stay in the shower until there’s not a single drop of warm water left. These rooms go for $100 a night for up to two guests, and if you need space for a third guest you’ll pay an additional $30. Lucky for us we were given the best bungalow set right on the shore, with our own loungers set right outside of our door. It was the perfect place to watch the sun set and the fishing boats trawl the lake. This attention to detail, along with the colorful, exotic flowers and plants outside of our windows, made for a very pleasant stay.
Waterfront also has seven additional rooms that aren’t quite as nice as the bungalows, but they are in the process of being renovated. These rooms are a bit cheaper than the bungalows at $80 per night for up to two guests (also $30 for a third guest), but the upstairs rooms do have the advantage of having a beautiful view overlooking Lake Kivu. That being said, I’d recommend you try to book the bungalows for the best experience. Regardless of what lodging you choose, a nice breakfast of fruit, eggs, toast and tea or coffee are included.
The resort’s restaurant is lovely as well. It has a raised view of the lake and the interior design perfectly fits in with the local landscape. The menu is not much different than what you’d find at many other similar hotels – brochettes, steaks, chicken, pasta, etc. – but they have added some Indian dishes to the mix as well. Some of the food came out about 20 minutes before the rest and it wasn’t as hot as it could have been, but overall the food and service were quite good. I brought these issues up to the owner and she said she was working with her kitchen staff to improve the restaurant service and it was nice to have the owner nearby to quickly and efficiently take note of and deal with the issues.
Waterfront Resort offer live entertainment in the form of local traditional dancers who perform on Friday and Saturday evenings, so if you stay on those nights be prepared for a show.
Other than a few issues with the food, the service was exceptional throughout our stay. All of the staff seemed ready and eager to attend to us at any time, but without being intrusive. Overall we had a very good experience and I would say that Waterfront Resort is a great place to waste away a few days swimming, reading and forgetting about the office.
Phone: 0789 528 772 / 0788 382 507