Named for famous explorer Sir David Livingstone, The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara sits on the banks of Africa’s Zambezi River. Inside and out, the property is about as close to paradise on earth as one can get, presuming you’re the kind of person who likes to watch nearby zebras grazing as you sip on a gin and tonic. Along similar lines are the breathtaking views of Victoria Falls, a glorious waterfall that ranks among the world’s Seven Natural Wonders. Throw in premium service and a design that blends African and European influences to perfection, and you end up with a veritable oasis on every conceivable front. For those who love the wonders of nature and pleasures of hospitality in equal measure, consider this luxurious hotel your next must-visit destination.
Known to locals as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (aka “The Smoke that Thunders”), Victoria Falls is far more than just Zambia’s most famous attraction. In fact, it’s one of the most iconic landmarks on the planet. Here, torrents of water descend over a wide basalt cliff, misting the local terrain and casting perennial rainbows across the air. From atop the cliff, one has views of not just the surrounding rainforest, but furthermore the Eastern Cataract, Main Falls, Boiling Pot, and Batoka Gorge. Not only is Victoria Falls visible from the hotel, but it’s just a ten-minute walk away. Guests even have their own private entrance.
Within close range of the hotel is an additional spectrum of unforgettable sights and activities. That includes Maramba Village, where time stands still in the form of museums, galleries, historical homes, blacksmiths, woodcarvers, mask makers and more. Meanwhile. those seeking the safari experience won’t have to look far, as 30% of Zambia’s land consists of national parks. Accordingly, one can hop in a 4×4 and explore a range of epic landscapes, spotting lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos, and leopards along the way.
As if all that weren’t enough, there’s tons of beauty and wildlife to be discovered right on the hotel grounds. Sip tea and munch on scones just a few hundred yards from the Zambezi River, as zebras, impalas, and giraffes graze on the nearby grounds, and monkeys hang from tree branches. We weren’t kidding when we said this place was paradise on earth.
Matching the pure majesty of all that outdoor splendor are a bevy of luxurious rooms, each of which incorporates African tribal elements and colonial furnishings within a broader Victorian theme. Located throughout the hotel’s 17 riverbank residences are 169 comfortable rooms and four spacious suites. On hand in each room are repellent devices and insect spray, so that one might get close to nature, but not too close for comfort. Also featured are plenty of modern amenities, including air conditioning, WiFi, a minibar, and satellite TV.
When it comes to dining, The Royal Livingstone Hotel truly goes above and beyond. For 24-hour service, visit The Royal Livingstone Lounge, where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time by way of antique decoratives, ambient lighting, plush furniture, artifacts, and travel books. It’s as if the spirit of Sir David Livingstone–who once explored the very land on which the hotel rests–has come alive (in the non-scariest way possible).
Over at The Royal Livingstone Dining Room, the atmosphere is intimate by design, though a heritage vibe persists. Against a backdrop of ambient lighting and romantic piano music, dinner guests indulge on a variety of a la carte dishes, including both European classics and local Zambian favourites. Expect main courses such as Roast Breast Quail with quail confit, garden peas risotto and poultry jus, or Venison Casserole with dark chocolate and nshima dumplings.
Of course, no trip to the hotel is complete without a culinary journey aboard The Royal Livingstone Express. As the restored steam locomotive travels through the Zambezi River Valley and over the Victoria Falls Bridge, guests enjoy impeccable service and six courses of delectable cuisine. Outside the window, exotic wildlife and all sorts of unforgettable views pass by in a majestic slideshow.
Does the sound of drinking tea, cocktails or sparkling wine within an old-world setting strike your fancy? If so, then The Travellers Bar is calling your name. Meanwhile, The Sundeck is just as memorable. Up here, you can slink into a plush chair and sip on a boozy beverage while taking in the greatest sunset you may very well ever witness.
As if aiming squarely for the hearts of Aussies, The Royal Livingstone now hosts an exclusive new Gin Bar. Respectively hailing from France, Scotland, England, and South Africa are 16 exquisite gins, which can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, with a healthy splash of Fever Tree tonic, or in a craft cocktail. Making a great thing that much greater are the adjoining views of grazing wildlife or Victoria Falls. And we thought Australia had cool gin bars–this one might top them all.
Anantara (i.e. The Royal Livingstone’s parent company) is synonymous with some of the world’s best hotel spas, and the one here is no exception. Named as the Best Safari Spa in Zambia, it offers local African therapies and European treatments alike. Most of the rejuvenation goes down inside a riverside gazebo, though poolside massages are also available. Like every other experience on the property, this one comes heightened by the kind of views you might normally dream of. Bliss lives here.