Staying at Lake Victoria Serena Resort and Spa, on the shores of beautiful Lake Victoria, feels like you’re in rural Uganda rather than a few miles from the capital city of Kampala. It’s set on a huge property overlooking the lake reached by dirt roads past banana trees and green hills, and at night it’s so quiet all you can hear is crickets chirruping.
The resort is styled like a Tuscan village with arches, colonnades, terracotta roofs, a palette of greens, dusky pink and apricot – complete with a clock tower, fountains, terraced gardens, manicured lawns and a sparkling marble lobby. It all feels somewhat out of place on tropical, equatorial central Africa but what it lacks in congruity it makes up for with its tranquil setting, efficient, friendly staff and a wide array of services and amenities.
Rooms are spread out on the property, so even though there are 124 rooms you feel like there’s a privacy of a much smaller hotel. They’re spacious and modern, with four-poster beds, contemporary (although bland) furnishings, satellite TV, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and balconies or terraces with views of the mist-shrouded lake beyond. The Serena hotel chain has particularly good spas, and the Lake Victoria hotel is no exception. There’s a steam room, sauna and cold plunge pool, as well as a large well-equipped gym.
There aren’t any restaurants around the resort, but luckily eating options are varied. Buffet breakfasts (which are particularly good, with a great selection of local fruits, pastries and cooked dishes) and lunches are on offer at the Citadel, which has all-day American brunches on Sundays and barbeque dinners on Saturdays. The a la carte menu features Italian food such as pizza and bruschetta alongside Indian curries, burgers, sandwiches and salads. For more informal dining, there’s the Lake View Pool Terrace café, with a snack and cocktail menu and umbrella-shaded tables next to the outdoor swimming pool, and the Courtyard Lounge, which offers pastries and ice cream.
Just about whatever time you arrive at Entebbe International Airport, Uganda’s main international airport, you’ll spend hours stuck in traffic to get to Kampala. The Lake Victoria Serena Resort is half way between the airport and the city, which cuts down traffic time considerably. If you don’t need to stay in the city itself but don’t want to be as far out as Entebbe, this is a perfect in-between option.