The Retreat by Heaven

Boutique, Luxury, Centrally Located

heaven, rwanda


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At a Glance

The Retreat by Heaven is owned and operated by author and philanthropist Josh Ruxin and his wife Alissa. It pairs chic, natural design and authentic experiences with a deep connection to the Rwandan community.

Indagare Loves

  • Contemporary room design that complements the surrounding natural landscape
  • The opportunities to make meaningful connections with the local community through workshops and gourmet dining experiences
  • Amenities like a wellness center, spa and farm-to-table restaurant, as well as access to the original Heaven restaurant
  • The gift shop at The Retreat, which was curated by Alissa Ruxin to showcase local Rwandan artisans


Kigali’s first luxury boutique hotel/resort was founded by the American couple, Josh and Alissa Ruxin, who brought fine international dining to the city when they opened their now famous Heaven restaurant, which sits just down the street. The couple, who moved to Rwanda to work on anti-poverty programs and fell in love with the country and its people, consider themselves accidental restaurateur/hoteliers but have seen their enterprise expand from the original restaurant to a small inn and now the luxury Retreat. (Josh chronicled their early years in Rwanda in his charming memoir A Thousand Hills to Heaven, which is a must-read for Rwanda travelers.)

The Retreat, located in a leafy residential area near the President’s home, has just 12 chic, contemporary guest rooms, each with indoor and outdoor terraces. The Italian architect who designed the sprawling property incorporated stacked stone walls, peaked wooden roofs and landscaped garden areas with outdoor showers. A large, well-equipped fitness center overlooks a salt-water, solar-powered swimming pool and the main building, which houses a farm-to-table, Fusion restaurant and small spa. In addition to easy access to Heaven, which is a popular gathering spot for locals and expats, guests of the Retreat can have the team arrange for urban bush dinners, traditional dance performances, cooking classes and drumming and crafts workshops.

The Retreat recently unveiled eight pool villas taking the luxury of The Retreat to the next level. Each villa has 1-bedroom and comes equipped with a heated plunge pool and outdoor shower. Two of the villas can be adjoined for families, and all couches in the villas can be turned into sofa beds. This is the perfect choice for guests seeking the highest level of luxury, privacy and extra space. The villas were designed by the same team of Singita Kwitonda in Volcanoes.

Who Should Stay

Travelers who seek to connect with the community in a meaningful way while also enjoying fine dining and comfortable design.

Read more about the Ruxins in The People We Meet…Rwanda.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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