Sunday 20 October 2013

The Livingstone Room of the Victoria Falls Hotel

The interest on this matter started when Gordon Hall sent in news of the Rooms achievement in 2013

John Moore supplied further information regarding the origin and early days of the Livingstone and ORAFs has now combined the two articles and will be recorded on the Our Rhodesian Heritage that it maintains.

John Moore (RhArmy) Writes:-

Below is a photograph of the Livingstone Room at the Victoria Falls Hotel in 1912 . The Livingstone Room was a converted railway shed!

The Victoria Falls was a stopover for the Solent Flying Boat Service between England and South Africa, with passengers staying overnight at the Victoria Falls Hotel.

Times moves on and in 2013 we establish what happened to Livingstone Room appears.

Received from Gordon Hall (Air Rhodesia)

The Livingstone Room at The Victoria Falls Hotel (above) has been named one of the world’s top hotel restaurants by a respected international cuisine and dining website, the only Zimbabwean eatery to make the list and one of only five venues on the African continent to be listed.

The Daily Meal is a widely read website and blog that highlights cuisine, dining and related issues and last year started a 101 Hotel Restaurants of the World list to recognise and reward “establishments that have proven to stand out as excellent destinations for a memorable meal … with impressive dishes.”

In this year’s list the top-rated restaurant is a small venue called ‘e’ and is situated in The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, USA. The Livingstone Room appears at number seven on the list, a remarkable showing with the nearest African restaurant being a Moroccan one listed at 32. A South African restaurant appears at 39.

The Livingstone Room earlier this year featured among the awards nominees and winners in the Zimbabwe On A Plate restaurant competition for 2013 and has also featured in awards listings for dining venues and wine lists over the years.

The restaurant is one of Zimbabwe’s longest-running dining venues, having been opened long before the Second World War as the hotel’s only dining room, but today open each night for dinner and for special events, hosting not only guests staying in the hotel but diners from elsewhere. The venue has been refurbished in the past few months and will also soon have a spectacular new entrance portico leading in from the hotel’s colourful courtyard.

The Victoria Falls Hotel is one of Africa’s best-known hospitality establishments, having opened in 1904 and hosting tens of thousands of visitors to the Victoria Falls during the past 11 decades. It is today operated by a partnership of leading hospitality groups Meikles Hotels and African Sun and remains one of the most historic and important hotels on the continent.

“We are delighted with this listing in the top 101 restaurants of the world, coming as it does from a respected source,” said Karl Snater, managing director of Meikles Hotels.

“The recent refurbishment of the hotel, which included work on The Livingstone Room, was designed to further enhance the venue’s attractiveness, and has been matched by on-going efforts to continuously improve service standards and to ensure that the cuisine featured on the menu is of world-class standard. In this regard, we pay tribute in particular to the work being undertaken by our development chef, Mike Ovens, who has brought a wealth of international experience and innovation to the food and beverage operations of the hotel in general and The Livingstone Room in particular.”

The Livingstone Room is named after Dr David Livingstone, the famed missionary-explorer, who was in 1855 the first known westerner to see the Victoria Falls, which he named in honour of Queen Victoria. Features of the venue include high ceilings, an art deco finish, a salon for private dining, occasional dinner-dance music from a local dance band and a menu and wine list that has won acclaim from a large number of guests and food writers.

Thanks to John and Gordon for sharing the photographs and memories with ORAFs.

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