When you make the trip to Uganda from the United States (or from the west in general), you should be aware that it will be a little rough at times. While roads, hotels, tourism, and quality of life has improved immensely over the past 10 years, there will still be times where you may feel very far from home (you are, so get over it). We absolutely recommend that you get the full experience… so visit a village, meet the amazing people, and get out of your comfort zone. Take a trip out to Murchison Falls and look for lions, elephants, hippos, and hyenas. At some point, though, you are going to want a comfortable bed, some air conditioning, and some really good food. Whether it’s at the beginning or end of your trip, we would highly recommend refreshing yourself at a Serena Hotel, East Africa’s leading hotel chain. We recently had the opportunity to start our trip at the Serena Kampala, and finish up at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa.
After long flights from Los Angeles to New York to Johannesburg to Kampala, the comfort of the Serena Kampala was most welcome. The hotel is part of the Leading Hotels of the World collection and is a 5-star, stylish gem in the heart of Kampala.
With all flying we had just completed, lets just begin with the bed. This cloud of a bed was so wonderful it made us forget the oh-so-common thought of “We miss our bed at home”. There is an ample supply of pillows to meet your particular needs, and there was a strong AC in our room which allowed us to indulge in the coziness of all the covers. Prior to dozing off, we pampered ourselves with some wine and room service (because why not?)
The next morning, we started with a delicious breakfast and then walked it off by exploring the beautiful hotel grounds. The architecture there is inspired by the lakes and rivers of Uganda, which is manifested in extensive water gardens around the hotel. Do yourself a favor and take a good chunk of time to relax in the gardens or by the pool… it is a rejuvenating experience.
If you go out and explore Kampala, make time to start your evening at the Mist Bar for an amazing cocktail. We recommend you continue the party at the Pearl of Africa, their fine-dining experience where you can sit outside and hear peaceful fountains, or sit in their central dining room and be serenaded by their resident pianist. The sounds, along with the scrumptious cuisine, ensures you will have a fantastic evening.
After this magical day at the Serena Kampala, we headed to Gulu where we spent time in villages and we even went on a safari. A week later we were in need of some rejuvenation. The Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa came to our rescue…
When you arrive at the Lake Victoria Serena, you really feel like you’re in a different world. While it’s only about 20 minutes from Kampala, you feel like you have been transported to a Mediterranean seaside village. The hotel is styled after an Italian palace, with beautiful pastel colored villas, a magnificent pool, and lush, terraced rose gardens.
The Lake Victoria Serena is a beautiful place to get married. Not only do you have the stunningly manicured hotel grounds, but the event areas and villas all have panoramic views of the marina and Lake Victoria. We have our fingers crossed that some of our Ugandan friends will get married here and we will have an opportunity to go back.
We only had about 15 hours at this hotel, and it was wonderful. We spent the late afternoon by the pool, and had some appetizers at the Lake View Pool Terrace. Our last meal in Uganda was at the Asian Fusion restaurant, and it was a good one. If we had more time here, we would have definitely spent an evening at Kigo, the cocktail bar, and Bobby would have most likely hit the links at their 9-hole championship golf course.
Sadly, we had a really early flight so we were not able to stay out too late. Consistent with the Serena Kampala, the bed was a dream. We were so thankful to get good rest the night before 30+ hours of travel. Thank you Lake Victoria Serena!
All in all, we highly recommend Uganda and the Serena brand. As we said in the beginning, embrace the culture and rough it a little. Spend 10 days in villages and on safari. Get dirty. It will make those last 2 blissful nights at a Serena property so special. Trust us :)