One&Only Nyungwe House Celebrates Rwanda Through Design and Art

One&Only Nyungwe House, located in southwest Rwanda on a working tea plantation, alongside the lush forest of the Nyungwe National Park, embraces local art, craftsmanship and motifs throughout the design of the ultra-luxury One&Only Resort celebrating the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. Taking inspiration from the vast vegetation and wildlife of the surrounds, the resort’s aesthetic pays homage to the country, its traditions and all its natural beauty, while the architecture maximises the spectacular scenery and mountain vistas at every opportunity.

Through the vibrant tea plantation, Rwandan drummers welcome guests with the rhythmic drum beat. The verdant natural surroundings are showcased by large, floor-to-ceiling windows in the Reception of the main lodge as they frame the tea plantation and the forest beyond, whilst illuminating fireplaces welcome guests in the adjacent Tea Lounge after a day’s adventure. The traditional Rwandan colours of black, white and red can be seen throughout the main lodge as well as in the guest rooms and suites, celebrating the hues typically used in the age-old Rwandan art form of Imigongo. As time has passed, this art form has evolved and the introduction of greens and other warm shades can now be seen. Used throughout the resort, Imigongo images are geometric in design, often with zig-zag or spiral patterns, done in the traditional method of using wooden boards left to dry in the sun. Colour is created through use of natural soils and organic material and reflects the colours of the earth in Rwanda.

In addition to Imigongo influences, the resort’s colour palette takes a cue from Umutara. Originally a region of Rwanda, now known as the Eastern Province, Umutara is a design aesthetic showcasing the warmer, ‘savannah’ shades that are representative of the semi-dry landscapes of this region. The Dining Room of the main lodge, where guests meet to enjoy the cuisine prepared by Chef Treasure, the resort’s Executive Chef and the Culinary Team, perfectly showcases these designs. In addition, the new Imigongo-inspired bar where guests can discover tea-infused gin and tonics or the new locally-inspired cocktails, including the Nyungwe Cocktail that includes tea from the tea plantation, gin, apple juice, and finished with a dash of South African sparkling wine. In a nod to the surrounding tea plantation, one of the chandeliers in the Tea Lounge is made of tea strainers and the lamps are made of dried tea plant stems, with the new woven baskets that can be seen in the main lodge from Gahaya Links, a facility in Kigali that was created to train women in the art of weaving in order to make a living for themselves. Guests can also enjoy playing board games, like Chess or Monopoly, or play guitar in front of the burning fire whilst sipping hot tea or red wine.

The resort’s 22 guest rooms and suites are situated in separate wooden clusters, spread around the tea plantation and surrounding the Main Lodge. The 19 Nyungwe Rooms have a warm interior, brought to life through the rich timbers used throughout and the vibrant colours that reflect Rwandan traditions. Imigongo influences reign, with black and white patterned throw cushions and specially designed wallpaper behind the king-sized four-poster beds. Flecks of burnt orange, warm browns and red can also been seen on the thick spiral-patterned rug, chairs, as well as the pieces of art on the walls. The resort has sourced ‘plateaus’ (hand-woven plates) that hang on the walls from Indego Africa, a local cooperative that works with women from Rwanda and Ghana to create the beautiful and colourful sweetgrass plates. These incredibly talented women use an age-old weaving technique, and each plate can take up to 70 hours to make, including hand-dying each one, to once again reflect the colours of their country.

The 14 king and five double queen guest rooms offer an average size of 52m², and have expansive balconies with a jungle view, a perfect place for guests to watch L’Hoest’s Monkeys playing in the trees, or simply listen to the sounds of nature beyond. En suite bathrooms offer twin vanities, expansive showers and large baths where guests can enjoy views through to the forest outdoors. Amenities developed by Africology, the South African eco-friendly brand include bath salts flavoured with Marula, Rooibos and Aloe Vera and citronella insect repellents.

Three Forest Suites, at 131m², each offer two sumptuous bedrooms, one with a king-sized bed and the second offering two queen beds. Both bedrooms offer en suite bathrooms with jungle views and their own private decks. The timeless design of the suites perfectly showcases Umutara with warmer tones of light browns, ambers, creams as well as Imigongo, especially in the living room and dining area. Plateaus line the wall in the living room and a magnificent 2metre x 800cm art piece by Emmanuel Nkuranga and Tutu Semutwa also adorns the wall in the dining room. These paintings are from the Inema Art Centre of Rwanda that provides an area for 10 local artists to display and sell their various art pieces. The chandelier hanging above the dining room table has been designed to reflect the fan-like leaves seen in Nyungwe Forest.

Located next to the resort’s spectacular infinity pool and Fitness Centre, the One&Only Spa tells the Rwandan story from arrival. A huge rug at the entrance offers a contemporary twist on Imigongo design, and the white ceilings also showcase zig-zag patterns, with the grey wall inspired by natural ash which is used in creating the Imigongo panels and is lined with beautiful natural-coloured plates. Sourced locally from Azizi Life, these woven plates are created from dyed natural sisal fibres and Rwandan grass. Azizi Life supports and partners with hundreds of Rwandan artisans which ensures the local community continues to develop skills and support their families. One&Only Spa has partnered with Africology, a luxury natural body and skincare brand from South Africa, and offers guests a range of treatments as well as products available for purchase. Built on the slopes of the forest, the Spa ensures guests feel totally immersed in nature. In the Reception, a fireplace warms the space, and guests can enjoy the expansive wooden deck overlooking the forest, the perfect place to relax before or after a treatment.

For guests looking to take a piece of Rwanda home with them, they can visit the Go Kigali Boutique at the resort. The boutique carries an evolving selection of contemporary Made in Rwanda and Africa products from more than 50 designers: 60% are women-owned businesses and 30% use recycled or sustainable materials. Guests can choose from jewellery, men’s, women’s and children’s clothes and home décor, as well as accessories celebrating Rwanda.

One&Only Nyungwe House began welcoming guests on 1 October 2018. Rates for 2018 start from US$595 for single occupancy in a Nyungwe King Room and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, non-alcoholic beverages and 2 complimentary activities per person, per day. For more information or reservations, please visit: oneandonlyresorts.com

Firepit Pool - One&Only Nyungwe House