The Marriott Protea Hotel Livingstone near Victoria Falls in Zambia is located outside of Livingstone town, on the road leading to the famous waterfall. The hotel is an open two-story compound between the road and the train tracks. This may sound loud, but road traffic and the few daily trains really add no noise.
Check-in was friendly and the agent had no trouble finding my reservation made with points and gave us keys right away. The front desk staff were knowledgeable and affable – a rarity with most Protea hotels. There seemed to be just 15 to 20 more guests the whole two-night stay we had. It was somewhat low season at the falls (it actually gets too much water) but that was still surprising.
This hotel’s grounds are beautiful and reflect the theme of Victoria Falls with lots of running water – think Bali hotels. However, this also means a lot of standing water and even more mosquitoes than usual. The public areas of the hotel are all outdoors and had plenty of the little beasts in this malaria-prone zone.
I liked the room, which was bright and had a decent amount of space, and the color scheme fit the area. The bed was excellent; as with most Protea hotels, it had the right amount of firmness and softness. Plus the bathroom had an innovative, little, round shower.
The AC, however, barely worked, and even on the low fan setting the fan yelled at you. There was no way to sleep without high-quality ear plugs. The internet worked but was always just 0.5 Mbit, so opening up any website took 10-15 minutes. Beyond basic emails and texting, there was nothing you could do with such slow internet.
The front desk had extended a free breakfast to us. The quality of the items was pretty bad, so you wouldn’t want to eat it unless you were really hungry. I had brought my own protein powder, chia seeds and green tea and felt that was a much better breakfast.
A taxi from the hotel to Victoria Falls is just $7 one-way and we had no trouble organizing it with a local taxi driver who had left us his number. The ride to the airport is about the same (though the ride is shorter, the airport has a $2 entrance fee).
The Protea Hotel Livingstone is a decent option near to Victoria Falls; it isn’t exactly luxurious, but it works well.
Regular rates for the hotel are $180 per night, but using 7,500 Marriott Rewards points is the much better deal.