By Gilbert Mwijuke
Hotel Kontiki is not just one of those new additions to Hoima town’s thriving hospitality sector. After spending a few nights here during my recent visit to the town, this is what I can say, unequivocally, about this place: it’s the town’s most inviting establishment – an icon that will be venerated for many years to come.
Located just about three kilometres from the town centre along the Hoima-Kampala highway, Hotel Kontiki is set in a tranquil, jungle-like environment that offers guests serenity and serendipity in a world where there is seemingly no shortage of mental turmoil.
Relaxation and rejuvenation are the feelings you get as soon as you step into the entrance of this gargantuan four-star property that sits on a 35-acre piece of land – especially when you are coming from a city like Kampala, Uganda’s capital, where pandemonium is the new normal.
In addition to Hotel Kontiki’s unwinding ambience, I was welcomed by exceptionally friendly staff – from the guards at the gate to the desk clerk and waiters inside – which made me instantly feel comfortable and at home. And once I checked into my room, it was clear to me that I was in for a pleasant stay.
If you’re planning to visit Hoima in the coming weeks or months, this is a place to know – a place that is increasingly becoming a favourite abode for a growing flock of tourists and the businessfolk looking to explore the region’s attractions and business opportunities.
And with the recent discovery of oil deposits in the region – coupled with the construction of the new Hoima International Airport – the number of visitors to this western corner of Uganda can only grow.
Okay, before I digress further, here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know about Hotel Kontiki before you visit…
Hotel Kontiki room style
Priced between $50-90 per night (Bed & Breakfast), Hotel Kontiki’s 36 thoughtfully designed rooms capture the hotel’s personality with signature elements that showcase a unique character.
The hotel describes its deluxe grass-thatched cottages as “decorated in pristine style, complemented by elegant fabrics and state-of-the-art technology that fits seamlessly into the whole experience.”
Designed to suit the needs of today’s independent and discerning traveller, Hotel Kontiki features contemporary and stylish single and double rooms, as well as family suites that can accommodate up to six people.
All the rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as free Wi-Fi, LCD TV, air conditioning, an en-suite bathroom with a shower, a dining table, private workspace, a closet and a spacious balcony.
The executive rooms aside, there are cheaper options for budget travellers, too. The hotel’s spacious gardens make it a perfect place for camping, which costs as low as $11 per person per night (breakfast is included but you’ll have to come with your tent).
The hotel also features a fitness centre, sauna, spa, spacious gardens, tennis/basketball courts, a swimming pool (including a dedicated children’s pool) and “our very spacious children’s park has lots of games” for those who just want to spend a family day out with the children.
Culinary experience at Hotel Kontiki
The culinary experience at Hotel Kontiki is a delightful indulgence offering both variety and authenticity.
The hotel houses two dining venues, including the popular Gabbie’s Restaurant and Bar, which is open 24/7 and offers an extensive menu with popular local and international cuisine. Favourites include grilled or poached tilapia and the outstanding classics pasta menu.
Gabbie’s also serves up spinach soup, clear chicken soup, mushroom soup, salads and a variety of wines and cocktails, making it the ideal stop to grab something on the go.
At Gabbie’s, you can also relax over coffee or tea accompanied by delicious pastries and light snacks. Alternatively, you can lounge by the pool and enjoy poolside favourites at the poolside bar or simply take a dip and cool off.
Conferences and parties
With conference and banquet space across two event rooms equipped with the latest technology, Hotel Kontiki is an ideal venue for board meetings, business or social events and weddings.
One of the hotel’s conference rooms features modern furniture, spacious podium, an in-built public address system and a projector with a modern screen. According to management, it’s large enough and can sit up to 300 guests or more while the gardens can accommodate more than 6,000 guests.
Leisure activities and nearby attractions
Hotel Kontiki is not only centrally located just about two hours away from both Murchison Falls National Park and Kibale National Park, but the hotel is also a short drive away from the city centre and the Karuziika Palace of the Bunyoro Kingdom, which houses a range of culturally rich tourist attractions.
The hotel is also just steps away from the Mparo Tombs, which house the remains of the legendary King Kabelega (June 18, 1853 – April 6, 1923) of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom while Budongo Forest Reserve (popular for chimpanzee trekking and birdwatching) and Lake Albert’s Kabwoya Game Reserve, are just a few kilometres away.
In short, Hotel Kontiki sits at the heart of a town that is surrounded by a combination of wildlife safari destinations, natural forests and cultural and historic offerings – and its location provides easy access back to Kampala and Entebbe International Airport.