The Retreat by Heaven
What We Love
- All 11 rooms feature celebrate Rwanda with locally made art, photography, and furniture
- Easy access to Heaven, one of Kigali's best restaurants
What To Know
- The hotel operates entirely on solar power
- The on-site team can arrange immersive activities and excursions, such as urban bush dinners and cooking classes
- Free WiFi
Eco-chic luxury boutique in a leafy, residential area of Kigali
A wave of stylish new safari lodges continue to up the luxury quotient of one of Africa’s most prized safari experiences—a gorilla trek through the rainforests of Rwanda. Guests must fly into the capital of Kigali first, however, where the only sensible lodging option for decades was the four-star Hôtel des Mille Collines. Finally, jet-setters have a new place to stay: The Retreat at Heaven, the city’s first-ever luxury boutique hotel, built by American expats Alissa and Josh Ruxin (who also happen to run acclaimed international restaurant Heaven right next door). Each of the 11 rooms has been stylishly designed with stacked stone walls, peaked roofs, teak furniture, indoor and outdoor showers, and private decks. There’s also an open-air gym and saltwater pool along with a spa, a small farm-to-table restaurant, and a team dedicated to arranging whatever cultural immersion you desire, be it a craft workshop or on-site dance performance.
In the Area
The Retreat is located on a leafy residential street in Kiyovu, close to Kigali’s business district, and is right next door to Heaven Boutique Hotel and Heaven Restaurant—two of the couple’s other businesses. The setting is perfect for anyone wanting a quiet escape while still being close to the city’s major sights. The main town is just a short walk up the hill (where you’ll find banks, restaurants, and grocers), but taxis are plentiful and the hotel is happy to arrange pick-up.
How to Get There
The Retreat was just that, a much needed retreat into a calm, beautiful space for rest and relaxation. I stayed two nights and wish I had booked a few more to take advantage of the comfort of it. Full breakdown below:
SPACE / DESIGN
The Retreat is American dreamt, Italian designed and Rwandan built. It really is a breath-taking space and meticulously thought through. I love how everything is open and invites the light. The decor includes Rwandan art and textiles. It felt super special.
The pool is so inviting and while the sun kept hiding from me, I did make it out to the lounge chairs and got a dip in. The gym is impressive for a “hotel” gym, and it had all of the machines I needed to keep my routine going while I was away. You can also buy a day/week/month pass to the gym/pool if you are staying longer term and not a guest at the hotel. There are also fitness classes available, along with spa services. The Retreat also has Bespoke Experiences that you can book tailored to what you would like to see and experience during your visit. I had booked everything in advance so I didn’t get to go on one, but I would have loved to go on a gorilla tour, meet with a tailor and volunteer as well. Did I mention that there is an outdoor shower in your back patio?
The breakfast buffet and a la carte options were delicious. I love shakshuka so I ordered it, and it was a lovely combination of African spices and flavors which was special. They also had their own take on eggs benedict. I ordered french toast as well, but it came out as cooked bread, no toppings or flavors at all. I wasn’t sure if that was on purpose to give me the freedom to “build” my own french toast, but there was no direction/guidance. I also had dinner at Fusion and the shaved salad was good, the sweet potato tortelli was extremely al dente but good, the mushroom risotto was al dente as well, but the star of the evening was the baked eggplant involtini. If you like eggplant, this is the way to go.
I was told that the property runs on 100% solar power, which is very impressive. There are filtered water bottles in your room (glass so that its reusable) and they recommend reusing towels to save water. Overall, I very much appreciate the priority they put on the environment and leaving it up to the guest/s to decide how much we contribute as well.
The full property is made up of The Retreat, which is the newest and most elevated, Heaven Boutique Hotel and Villas, if you are looking for something more in your budget. While you’re there, check out the gift shop and Heaven Restaurant.
If you are looking for an intimate, boutique experience during your stay in Kigali/Rwanda, The Retreat is your best bet.
hotel not bad but with this price i expected amazing services as well a super clean room.
quality of food okay but tasteless steak .
i had trusted trip advisor reviews, however dont reflect the fact.
i ask to reconsider the prices and improve quality
Great hotel, with a good range of price options. Friendly and helpful staff and good location within Kigali. Top notch property with everything you need onsite. They also can arrange trips to see the gorillas and other sites in Rwanda. It would be difficult to arrange the trips without help. Frank was an excellent guide!
Amazing experience staying at The Retreat. I was only there for one night, and in the end regretted I didn't stay longer. The hotel was beautiful and very comfortable. The restaurant was also amazing. I had arrived late at night from the airport, and the restaurant was technically closed. Nonetheless, the staff went out of their way to stay late and make sure I was fed. I'll definitely be booking here again next time I'm in Kigali. The price of the rooms is definitely higher than some of the other options in the city, but in general Kigali is an inexpensive city so I didn't find it to be too pricey at all.
We stayed only one night at The Retreat in May and regretted staying so briefly. Our travel took us to Volcanoes National Park, so we had limited time in Kigali, but we were so happy we chose to stay at The Retreat. It is a stunning property with lush plants and flowers near the outdoor pool. And our room (#8) was immaculate and large; it had a private terrace, indoor and outdoor showers, lovely Kenyan toiletries, and a very comfortable bed (which was most welcome after a long trip). We really enjoyed the breakfast buffet as well as the menu items, and had dinner at the fusion restaurant there. Our meals were excellent due in part, one of the owners told me, to Mario Batali’s help developing the menu. We highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Kigali; the sister property, Heaven, is nice, but not nearly as luxurious and beautiful as The Retreat.