Victoria Falls Hotel
(141 rooms) Mallet Drive, PO Box 10, Victoria Falls; tel: (+263 13 44751, 44761, 44203/5; fax: 42354 or 44443; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opened in 1905, with its back facing the train station, the Victoria Falls Hotel has a stunning position overlooking the second cataract and the railway bridge. It has been completely refurbished and has a new wing built a few years back. The almost Edwardian ambience of the town's oldest and most famous hotel retains a strong colonial hint – as close to Singapore's old Raffles Hotel as you can find in Africa. In the 1950s Laurens van der Post wrote in The Lost World of the Kalahari:... this hotel in the bush on one of the great rivers of the world has been like a second home to me. I have known it since boyhood and seen it grow into one of the most remarkable establishments in Africa. Before many a long expedition I have spent the night there, and enjoyed celebrating the successful end of many another with a hot bath, dinner jacket, and civilised dinner.
It remains the most prestigious place to stay south of the river, and the Livingstone Room restaurant is easily the most stylish venue in town for dinner. A stroll through the magnificent gardens and manicured grounds brings you to the elegant swimming pool where you will find sun loungers, changing rooms and a snack bar, which serves delicious poolside lunches and snacks to the sounds of a live marimba band. Behind this are two tennis courts, a sculpture gallery and their Jungle Junction restaurant. If you cannot afford to stay here, it is worth dressing up in your finest and at least having lunch or traditional afternoon tea to enjoy the attentive service and the distant view of the bridge and Falls. The Victoria Falls Hotel is either absolutely charming, or far too colonial, depending upon your taste.