Palm Garden Resort Hotel is the prettiest place to stay in gisenyi, far better ambiance than Serena. The views are wonderful, especially from the 'kivu' room. Vedaste, the very gracious manager is lovely, and has bicycles and boats to rent, and vehicles with driver too.
He also has options for camping in tents with inflatable mattresses and nice bedding.
My favorite feature of this hotel is that you can swim about 1 km out to a little island, have a beautiful little rest out there, swim back, and the staff will be waiting with a towel and a cup of tea (or a beer) for you!
I recommend staying here then visiting the Serena hotel
for the afternoon if you want the 'beach' experience.
The Resort is about 7 km from the bustling border town of Goma and was a bit further afield than we had originally thought - but it was worth the drive to get to a peaceful, beautiful spot on Lake Kivu where we could really kick back and relax for a few days. T
he food is great - breakfast is a plate of fresh local fruit, good coffee and eggs as you like them. We would eat under the palm-shade by the water, rain or shine, and it was a lovely way to start the day.
The staff are very friendly and attentive. The rooms are big and clean, with comfortable beds and beautiful views.
The bathrooms are nice although the low slung showerhead/tub scenario in my room got a bit messy! But the swimming outside is great - on a clear day you can see volcanoes in the distance.
Our bungalow bed was very comfortable. The outside bathroom was connected to the room.
The shower was amazing! standing on pebbles in your flip flops with flowers and plants growing close.
The great common area was very impressive. Decorated very well with comfortable couches and
N.B. this isnt the kind of hotel that has AC or room service, and there are precarious staircases with uneven steps that would be hard for elderly/physically challenged. However, its charming and quiet.