Rainbow Towers (formerly Sheraton), Harare Zimbabwe: review and video

Below is a review I posted on TripAdvisor and video of the leading hotel in Harare that I stayed at in 2005 that I posted at the time on YouTube.

It is one of the most watched videos I have ever posted Close to 12000 as of posting this). It gets a wide range of comments from the hostile to the complimentary. The hostile are mostly from people from Zimbabwe who feel that there are more important things to discuss about the country and its issues than not liking the hotel (which I have done in a podcast that I do not mention), to saying that I have no taste and the hotel is top notch.

I thought I would post the review and video here on my blog…

This hotel has recently been renamed the RAINBOW TOWERS, and is no longer a Sheraton run property as they have pulled out of the country. I am not sure if this was their call or they were pushed out or just left as they made no money.

If you are mad enough to visit Zimbabwe, which is spiraling into a complete mess and economically is now pretty much a wreck (inflation is over 1000% and prices go up every day!), then this is the only hotel to stay in Harare – as it is in the same area as the ruling party headquarters and a flagship where many ministers and government agencies hold their meetings then it does not suffer from the regular water and electricity cuts that the rest of the city has (where most days you have no water or electricity for many hours a day – and some people for days).

The hotel was built just after independence when Mugabe came to power, and I think it opened in the early to mid 1980s and has not really been updated since then so the decor and rooms is very mid-80s and a bit like being stuck in a time capsule. The rooms are a good size and very clean but the beds are lumpy and pillows as well as they are probably still the originals.The staff at the hotel are all friendly and chatty and helpful (helped also by the fact that there are so few guests). The BA crew stay here (3 flights a week) and being white we kept being asked if we were part of the BA crew as there are not many visitors to Harare anymore and even less people from Europe.

There used to be quite a few restaurants but now is a large buffet which is very good and I am sure they must lose a fortune on as it is a big spread for so few people and then a Japanese style restaurant. The prices in local currency for eating in the hotel are very high but in foreign (which you have to pay) are reasonable.

They have a great pool area, and a small gym which is terrible as most equipment (again probably the original) does not work.

Video of the room:
Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X12q2FuPSq4
Or watch below

Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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