Come 2009, the craggy shoreline of Lake Kivu will be sporting a new hotel. While the establishment of a new hotel is generally a significant event, the bold design of Kivu Lake Hotel draws attention to itself. The structure is dominated by a long deck-like structure that extends into a pier on the lake. This structure is flanked on both sides by buildings that curve away from the centre so that viewed from the top, the whole hotel resembles a bow and arrow jutting into the lake.

The German designers of Spacial Solutions GmbH claim that the innovative design was an attempt to capture the still-elusive combination of business and relaxation all in one. That remains to be seen, as the realms of business and relaxation are often subjective, the guest at the hotel will have to find out if this is true in 2009. 

While the human appreciation of business and relaxation may be subjective, the hotel has been designed to include objective facilities to make both possible. For the staid traveller, who has no intention of taking in the haunting beauty of the lake and is only in the area due to a seminar or meeting, the hotel provides 4 meeting rooms and a large conference hall with a capacity of over 300. All situated on the dominant ‘deck’. The staid traveller will just have to put up with the great view of the lake.

For the more traditional visitor to The Rwanda Kivu Lake Hotel, the usual mix of impersonal luxury and relaxing activities will be available. Domestic tourism in Rwanda is growing but is still far from where it should be. However, for the more adventurous who actually travel the country, more likely than not they tend to end up on the shores of Lake Kivu. This far, the more northerly town of Gisenyi, also on Lake Kivu, has been attracting most of the visitors to the lake. Kibuye was the favourite of those who preferred to remain off the beaten track.

This is about to change. The Lake Kivu Hotel aims to attain 65% of its revenues by filling its 4 luxury suites and 76 standard guest rooms. If they succeed, Kibuye town is going to receive quite a number of visitors. Those who are keeping away from the beaten track will just have to find a new spot. This is good news for the town itself. The beauty of Kibuye town, it is said, only extends 100 metres from the shore of Lake Kivu. Truth be told the town centre could do well with an injection of traveller revenues. The area has a lot of potential in tourist terms that is just not being properly exploited.

The Lake Kivu Hotel aims to take advantage of Kibuye’s natural beauty while at the same time luring some of the seminars and conferences away from Kigali. They just might succeed in this endeavour. Where would you rather present your annual report, in a hot and noisy location in Kigali? Or on a deck with a lake view and a gentle breeze wafting through the window? Quite a few would choose the second. If these people are able to back their choice with the requisite resources, the Kivu Lake Hotel will do well when it opens.

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