“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
Zimbabwe, a land-locked country of varied majestic beauty, is a surprise waiting to be discovered, in all its four corners. Lying in the west of Zimbabwe is a city called Victoria Falls, which also shares the name with the awe-inspiring waterfall. You will often hear of it being referred to as “the smoke that thunders” and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The iconic Victoria Falls Hotel is the oldest hotel in the city of Victoria Falls, dating back to the early 1900s. This Edwardian Gothic style five star hotel beautifully overbears the traveller from all walks of life, with warmth and courteousness. Its lush and manicured lawns pair gorgeously well with the classical look, dotted with contemporary grandeur and completed with nuances of present day luxury. This noble venue has had its fair share of hosting various guests, important dignitaries and even celebrities.
This enchanting limited edition gem, with a fire of elegance, has a breath taking view of the Victoria Falls Bridge, which connects Zimbabwe and Zambia, and the “smoke” formed by the spray from the thundering falls. The hotel’s retro charm, married with modernity, spells every travel lover and wine lover’s dream of wine, view and ambience. It comes as no surprise, over a century ago, the hotel earning the firm title of “The Grand old Dame”.
It’s not just about the outdoors and indoors, but the hotel’s opulence extends to its timeless lavish and dazzling history of service and achievements throughout its existence. The Victoria Falls Hotel shows off numerous accolades, which allow it to stand out from the rest with, on the top of their list, its gourmet dining, headed by Executive Chef Paul Muranda and a celebrated award winning wine list. A few of its awards have included The Zimbabwe on a plate; Wine list of the year (Zimbabwe) and it has now joined the elite Diners International Platinum rated wine list for a number of years. And by the way, it is the only hotel in the country that boasts such a status.
For the food lover, wine lover, or both, the renowned 7-course degustation menu, carefully paired with wine for each course, is a definite for the “to do” list. It is served in the internationally award-winning Livingstone Dining Room, which, by the way, wait for it, is “one of the oldest dining rooms in Africa and rated amongst the top 50 hotel dining restaurants in the world.” The boasted dining experience has wine taking centre stage, with over 90 carefully hand picked wines to add to the ultimate experience, for the guests who would like to take their wine experience even further.
When you have a lust for travel and often find yourself visiting a destination more than once in a year, worry not, as The Victoria Falls hotel has events that take place throughout the year. Wine tastings can be arranged for groups of up to ten in the newly renovated hotel’s underground cellar, where they can expect to be enchanted with a wine tasting experience, or, if preferred, small groups of food and wine pairings. A wine and golf weekend is traditionally held in July of each year and for the golfer, this is a great time to get up close and personal with the hotel’s experience.
With something for everyone, Victoria Falls Hotel will leave you speechless this year. I love the intimacy and spellbinding moments of this hotel and it has, for years, been one of my favourites when I visit Victoria Falls. I can never get enough of it, the vibe, the restfulness, the serenity; you have to experience it to tell the story. It definitely gives you moments that leave you stunned, moments that will take your breath away as you sit on the Stanley’s Terrace, sipping a glass of wine and watching and hearing the “smoke” thundering, and enjoying a clear view of the bridge. Be your own storyteller of your travels. Until your next travelling moment, it’s a breath taking cheer to a travelling sip.
This article was first submitted for Time Out in Africa