Rwanda’s most famous hotel, Hotel des Milles Collines, has reclaimed its luxury hotel heritage while honoring its past and importance in the history of the country. As a focal point during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Milles Collines sheltered over 1,200 people and, with the help of its then general manager Paul Rusesabagina, kept them from being killed by the opposing militia. Built in the 1970s by Belgium’s Sabena Airlines, now Brussels Airlines, the hotel has seen many incarnations – including the current as managed by internationally recognized luxury hotel group, Kempinski. Today, the hotel is the best in Kigali and offers its guests a hospitable and comfortable stay in Rwanda’s thriving capital.
Hotel des Milles Collines sits quietly behind a gate – in the Central Business District area of Kigali. With stunning views across the hills of the city, you are at the heart of everything in town – yet, tucked away in an oasis of calm. The hotel has 112 rooms and suites, many with balconies and views. The rooms are comfortable and appointed with cozy beds and large marble bathrooms. Cable television and Wi-Fi are also available, making your evenings in-room enjoyable.
My favorite part of this hotel is its pool area and outdoor restaurant, Le Terrasse. Here, you can indulge in the beautiful breakfast – which comes with the most magical buffet stocked with European, American and Rwandan delicacies. The yards of counter space overflow with pastry, tropical fruit, fresh pressed juices, homemade yogurts, meat and cheeses. The menu offers eggs and African rice dishes if you’re in the mood for something more substantial. I love early mornings here overlooking the city and sparkling pool.
The Milles Collines also offers a fine dining establishment, Le Panorama, a business center, meeting rooms and other conveniences for business and leisure travelers. As a recent guest, I couldn’t help but think about all those who were housed here, those that were saved here in the 1990s. The hotel has hosted everyone from heads of state to refugees – and it has survived in the best and worst of times. Strolling through the property you can’t help but appreciate the staff’s dedication to the modern-day definition of service and the legacy of service that exists from the past. I paused many times in reflection and in wishing that the walls around me would talk. If they could, oh the stories they might tell.