best bed: Kwitonda Lodge, Singita, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Sitting on 178 acres, Kwitonda Lodge is the Singita group’s first property in Rwanda. It was named after a legendary silver back gorilla, renowned for his gentleness. Singita means ‘place of miracles’; Kwitonda lives up to this ideal. It is both luxuriously and sustainably built using locally sourced materials including the grey volcanic stone which I found particularly elegant. The Lodge has a calming Zen vibe that brings an instant feeling of peace. I relaxed the moment I walked through the door. Comfort is paramount; the best divine. The staff add to this sense of well-being. They are knowledgeable and kind; friendly and informed. Only open since 2019, Kwitonda has already made huge strides in reforestation and conservation efforts which are the ethos of all Singita properties. (The first opened in 1993, there are now 15). They strive for ‘low impact, high yield’ tourism. The lodge is located on the edge of the park. It is the only property where you can launch a private excursion to see the gorillas right from your villa door. This unique bucket list adventure does not come cheap… the government mandates a $15k usd fee for private groups (vs the $1,500 standard per person permit cost). None of this goes to the hotel but they do throw in a number of extras for all their guests like the great pack of necessities which includes bug repellant, Kleenex, bandana and bags so you do not leave anything behind in the forest if nature calls. They also prepare a delish post trek snack… hunger is so not an issue here. While seeing gorillas and golden monkeys is the main reason visitors come to this corner of Rwanda, I really enjoyed the time I had hanging out in my pool watching the sunset behind the three volcanoes that made up my view. And the buffalos and jackal that walked in the distance. Elephants are also occasionally spotted. This is truly a dream come true destination.
Number of Rooms: 8 villas (one has two bedrooms)
Sweet Suite: All the rooms are the same, all are perfection. The bathrooms are a dream, bigger than my first apartment, with outdoor showers, deep tubs and a massage table. The rest of the villa is no less fabulous, with floor to ceiling windows and views of the volcanoes, fireplaces, an indoor living room, an outdoor veranda and a private heated plunge pool.
(There is also a four bedroomed villa called Kataza House that is perfect for larger groups or those requiring even more privacy…it comes with its own staff, a private theatre and a gym)
Favorite Thing: The Deli Fridge, wonderful, healthy if you choose, interesting snacks that are available whenever you want… not because you will ever be hungry but because they illustrate just how thoughtful every detail of the Lodge is. And they are truly yummy. My favorite was the cheese option… morsels of brie, camembert and cheddar and incredible seed crackers.
Near By: Gorilla Trekking, Golden Monkey Trekking, village tours, hiking, walking
Amenities: Gear Room, Conservation Room, on-site nursery & garden, free laundry, deli bar, in-room Negroni Bar, gorilla trekking, outdoor showers, fireplaces, massage table in room, private heated plunge pool, wine cellar, free Wi-Fi
Kwitonda Lodge is a Virtuoso Property which offer special amenities if you book through a Virtuoso Advisor like me!!