I joined my partner on the first night of his stay at White Sands for a work conference and we were both appalled.
After checking in with a rather surly receptionist, we arrived in our room. It was fine - an ok size with a comfortable bed etc. but nothing special (and it smelled a bit funky, like damp in the air conditioning). We were starving, having not eaten in several hours, so decided to order room service to avoid the blaring music from the live band playing near the restaurant. The room phone didn't work, so we walked back across the resort to the reception to order the food and ask that the phone be fixed. It seemed they really didn't believe the phone was working, but they sent someone anyway who agreed there was a problem and promised to return.
More than an hour later there is no sign of the phone man or the food. Eventually the food turns up and we were nothing short of horrified. We had ordered onion rings which I actually laughed at when I opened - small, soggy and sad looking on the plate, with hardly any batter, and at a quantity that made them cost more than 1000 shillings per ring. Next up was the vegetable burger, which was more of a stew on some bread, spilling down the sides. I'm not sure what it was made of, but they'd massacred it with spice but to no avail, it was still disgusting. The chicken schnitzel sandwich wasn't much better, and was a third of the size of the bun it came in. The chips were under-cooked and soggy, the salad one one plate was just shredded lettuce and on the other one slice of tomato and two sliced of cucumber (all wilted), and the entire lot was cold. Unbelievably, we contemplated eating the mess just because we were so hungy, but in the end couldn't.
With no phone, we had to walk back to reception again to complain, by which time we were furious. The duty manager came to look at the meal (again with a distinct air that he didn't believe us) and agreed that the food wasn't good enough. After disappearing to talk to the chef, he agreed that we didn't have to pay for the food, and instead directed us to the restaurant dinner (which didn't start for another hour and which we'd have to pay for). That dinner was better, the buffet was fine, though the vegetable and lentil curry was very salty.
We were informed that there was a problem with the phone line but nothing else happened...
Breafast the next day was ok, and we were greeted by the chef (who happened to be standing there, it wasn't planned) who again didn't seem to believe our story of the night before until we showed pictures. He apologised and said it would be sorted.
Lunch turned into another joke. I turned up at 12, needing to leave at 1pm (a fact I informed the staff of) to get to the airport. Since lunch didn't start until 12.30, I ordered from the bar menu and went for a salad with a side of chips thinking it would be easy and fast. Despite chasing my food, nothing had arrived by 12.55, at which point I had to leave my partner (who was part way through a work lunch) to cancel my order while I headed to the airport hungry. The hotel did eventually agree that we didn't have to pay for that meal either, but that didn't prevent me from having to gobble snacks on the airplane 3 hours later to make up for my missed meal.
The hotel is miles out from the town centre (or from anything really) so you've not got a choice of where to eat of what to do.
We freely admit that this sort of resort complex really isn't to our taste, and we'd never have chosen to stay there if it were a pleasure trip. But that doesn't excuse the poor service and food, particularly given the price.
As it happens I had cut my stay there short - how glad of that I am now!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The real gem of the East Coast of Africa! The White Sands Beach Resort is situated on an idyllic stretch of private beach front, just 25kms North of Dar es Salaam city centre, making it the gateway to a unique East African experience!Immerse yourself in the welcoming culture of Africa whilst you enjoy sincere, heartfelt GUEST service. The seaside accommodation comprises of 118 spacious, well appointed, standard rooms and 28 studio, one or two bedroomed apartments.Satisfy your palate with sumptuous fare from one of our restaurants, quench your thirst with an ice cold drink on the deck of the Pweza Jetty overlooking the warm Indian Ocean, unwind with a relaxing treatment from our White Sands Spa, take a boat trip to one of the nearby uninhabited islands, be adventurous and experience the beauty of the underwater world with a Scuba course from our PADI Dive Centre, have a work-out in our Gym or simply relax at the swimming pool or on the beach. Whether on Holiday, Business or Conferencing, the White Sands Hotel & Beach Resort is proud to provide our GUESTS with everything that they need and more! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- White Sands Hotel And Dar Es Salaam