Kerzner International welcomed His Excellency Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda for the official opening of One&Only Gorilla’s Nest in Rwanda on Thursday, 27 February 2020.
Offering an exclusive front-row seat to one of the world’s most popular mountain gorilla sanctuary, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest began welcoming guests on 1 November 2019. Cushioned in the foothills of the breath-taking Virunga volcano range, guests can explore where few have been before in one of the world’s most exceptional natural locations. One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is the ultimate ultra-luxury resort in Kinigi, northwest of Rwanda and just five minutes from Volcanoes National Park. The park is home to the highest number of mountain gorillas, five dormant volcanoes and is categorised as a rainforest because its montane ecosystem.
As part of the brand’s strategic expansion, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is the second One&Only resort in Rwanda, following the opening of One&Only Nyungwe House in 2018. Guests have been awe-inspired by both resorts, celebrating the best of what Rwanda has to offer, setting new standards for excellence in the country. Kerzner International, the leading international developer and operator of ultra-luxury resorts and residences, has plans to continue to grow and develop the One&Only brand globally.
The celebration began with guests being welcomed by traditional Rwandan drummers as they entered through the large wooden gates along the local volcanic stone pathway, revealing the dramatic Eucalyptus forest ahead. A signature rose welcome drink from the resort’s rose garden was enjoyed until HE Paul Kagame and HE Al Shaibani officially unveiled the resort’s plaque. An exploration of the resort followed until guests discovered Nest, the resort’s restaurant. Formal remarks were given by the Honourable Clare Akamanzi, CEO, Rwanda Development Board, expressing the importance of luxury conservation travel in Rwanda and the continued efforts of the eco-system of the travel industry working together in Rwanda.
Guests enjoyed a special plant-based menu by celebrity guest chef, Matthew Kenney and the One&Only Gorilla’s Nest culinary team, celebrating the country’s abundant produce from the resort’s gardens.
The afternoon concluded with remarks from Michael Wale, CEO of Kerzner International, “Our ambition is to become part of the soul of any destination we enter. We are thrilled to be introducing our second One&Only in Rwanda. The One&Only Team, led by Craig Storkey, Area Manager have been providing something completely complementary for our discerning guests to discover at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest and One&Only Nyungwe House, delivered with our renowned personalized experience. Rwanda is the perfect location for One&Only and we are proud to be part of the destination, working together with the Rwandan Government to ensure the long-term sustainability of the experience.”
Beautifully designed private sanctuaries seamlessly blend with the location and offer an intimate collection of 21 jungle-chic havens. Featuring 10 Forest King Lodges, four Two-Bedroom Forest Lodges, five Virunga Suites, one Ingagi and Silverback Suite, each space is designed to frame nature, surrounded by Eucalyptus trees and strategically positioned on stilts. Private decks and in-room fireplaces provide guests the opportunity to live amongst the endless landscape, inviting the outside in, and allowing for a truly unforgettable African experience. Suites offer spacious living and dining areas, as well as a true natural experience with outdoor bathtubs high amongst the trees, offering ultimate privacy. Each lodge design is modern with an African contemporary feel, showcasing the hues of the surrounding vistas, and colours of the earth and natural, local volcanic rock, with touches of black and white Rwandan imigongo patterns.
Guests can enjoy meals in the main restaurant, Nest, offering dining both indoor and out, as well as offer a private dining area for up to 22 guests. Executive Chef Bryan English and his team focus on local and organic ingredients, making use of the abundant produce from local farmers as well as his own Chef’s Garden. Similar to One&Only Nyungwe House, the culinary team develop new menus daily with a focus on Rwandan and African influences, based on guests’ preferences and dietary needs. Private outdoor dining experiences, barbeques and picnics are also an option for guests, as well as at the Pool Bar throughout the day.
The One&Only Spa, in partnership with South African brand, Terres d’Afrique, offers guests holistic treatments using plant-based African ingredients and provides two treatment suites in a private building. Guests have the opportunity to select treatments tailored to a specific area of the body. Three signature treatments, only found at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, pay homage to the location, taking inspiration from the local community and surroundings. Guests will also have access to Club One, offering a relaxation room, an open-air heated pool and plunge pool, as well as the Fitness Centre with steam room and sauna, and the Pool Bar offering healthy options with fruit juices evolving into evening cocktails.
In tribute to the destination, guests have access to the activities in the National Park, but a diverse range of on-resort activities can be booked at the dedicated Experience Centre. Each activity caters to the physical strength of each guest with the Experience Team who will tailor-make each itinerary based on guests’ preferences. Activities that guests can enjoy include Coffee Tasting with the resort’s barista and local coffee expert. Musanze (Kinigi) is a well-known coffee farming area in Rwanda and guests will get the opportunity to taste a variety of coffee beans sourced from a female-run cooperative coffee farm. Guests can also enjoy yoga on one of the outdoor decks, learn photography at the Studio, or cycle to a nearby community where they can learn about the Rwandan culture and history, the art of basket weaving and enjoy the traditional dance and music performances to name a few.
Located just two and a half hours from Kigali International Airport, guests can appreciate the scenic drive through rolling hills of the countryside and fascinating towns or be able to take a breath-taking 25-minute flight in a helicopter departing from the airport and landing at the resort’s private helipad.
One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is the second One&Only in Rwanda, joining One&Only Nyungwe House which opened in October 2018. For more information or reservations, please visit:oneandonlygorillasnest.com