The Retreat is an experiential hotel, food and tour operation based in the affluent hills of Kigali – and it’s unlike anywhere else in the city. Built by American expats who came to Rwanda for work and stayed, this property is truly unique and a luxurious. I stayed recently at The Retreat for three nights upon my arrival to Kigali. I arrived late at night and was taken to the hotel where a doctor immediately swabbed my nose for COVID-19, and then was shown to my beautiful room with back patio where I was to remain until my results returned. The front desk manager showed me the room service menu and told me to feel free to order whatever I liked, and it would be safely brought to my suite.
I loved my room. The stunning yet simple design was flawless, with the use of local fabrics and materials as well as the large bathrooms with huge showers. My favorite area was the outdoor patio where I enjoyed most meals in privacy in my robe provided by The Retreat, which was made from a local fabric. The food here is remarkable, so I had plenty to try and experience in my room before my negative test result returned. I curled-up for 24 hours, got some work done and delved-in to my itinerary which was spread over the next six days.
The Retreat takes COVID-19 very seriously, so all staff members are in masks and guests are expected to do the same when traversing the property. The entire hotel offers an intimate selection of large rooms, private pool villas ideal for families and, of course, the famed Heaven Restaurant which offers some of the most incredible food in the city. I was lucky-enough to take part in helping cook the food one day, and what an experience that was.
The Retreat also offers Heaven Tours, which can help make your time in Rwanda special. From well-curated art shopping trips around Kigali to the Genocide museum, or trips to see the famed Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park; Heaven Tours can handle it all. They come from a very high-end approach, so it’s the perfect pick for discerning travelers.
The Retreat feels like a true home away from home while you’re in Kigali. Not only is it comfortable and the staff friendly and accommodating, but the vibe is relaxed and chill – a frequent spot for meetings chosen by local designers and political officials. In fact, I met with Doctor Julius Nziza, the head veterinarian at Gorilla Doctors, the organization started by gorilla researcher Dian Fossey who dedicated her life to Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas and their conservation. Doctor Nziza met with me to discuss the current state of health of Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas and the COVID-19 pandemic.
I had been to Kigali before, so I was able to truly enjoy my time at The Retreat in a relaxing way. The hotel will let you take part in cooking classes, cocktail making classes and more. I love this concept and truly allows the traveler and guest to understand the culture and beauty of Rwanda in a very different way.
When Kigali heats-up, The Retreat offers a beautiful pool to take a dip in.
Over my three days at The Retreat I fell in love with it. I felt very immersed in the Kigali scene and able to access things I might not otherwise be able to. When you merge extreme comfort with phenomenal food and good design – you can’t go wrong. Quite simply, I wouldn’t stay anywhere else in Kigali.