The location of the hotel is the opposite of convenient--with no traffic (a rarity in Dar) the hotel is a 45 minute drive from the airport. You could easily double that number when there is traffic. Also, the hotel should be considered a self-contained unit--if you walk off the grounds to the road you will find yourself in a very rough area nowhere near the city, so you will need to hire a car to visit the city center. However, the hotel and its grounds are truly beautiful. The landscaping is amazing--established trees and other plantings, potted flowers and plants in the hallways, dining areas, and lobby. The buildings (and the hotel is really a complex of buildings) is decorated in what a plaque on the wall calls "Swahili/Arabic," and it's a sight to see. There are many photos on the hotel's website, so I won't try to describe the decor, but it somehow manages to feel both exciting and relaxing at the same time. The main lobby is filled, surprisingly, with uncomfortable French provincial furniture, set up in small groupings. During my 5-day stay at the hotel, almost no one sat there. Because the entire lobby is open to the outside, there are lots of birds, especially noisy crows, that fly around the lobby and restaurant. Semi-feral cats also wander around the grounds and buildings.
Hotel staff are extremely friendly and helpful, which can translate to multiple visits to your room to give you extra towels, toiletries, and advice on the use of the air conditioner. Desk staff speak English well; the rest of the staff less ably, but their politeness makes up for any language problems.
The hotel has only two floors of rooms and every room has a water view (the entire outward-facing wall is glass to enhance the view) and a balcony. Luxury rooms are close to the lobby and have large terraces with patio furniture. Beds are large, with very firm mattresses, and mosquito netting, which I advise using. The chambermaids make beds that you can really bounce a coin on. A desk and a small table with two chairs round out the furnishings. Electrical outlets are in short supply--bring a power strip if you have lots of electrical devices to plug in. Wi-Fi access is not included in the price of the room, and although the signal is strong, the speed is virtually useless for anything except checking emails, and even that is a slow process. Small bathmats are used as area rugs throughout the room, and it was fairly obvious that they weren't very clean. The floor itself is ceramic tile, and there are natural stone accents in the bath.
There is a separate WC and a bathroom with a full bath. Water pressure is very low, and you may need to run the shower for 5 minutes or more before the water becomes warm. I was at the hotel for a conference, and several of the participants mentioned that they had to be moved to new rooms because the water wasn't working at all. My sink faucet lacked an aerator, which emphasized the low pressure.
Overall, the hotel needs a general sprucing up--new paint, crack repair, new plumbing fixtures, etc., but given the complexity of the architecture, repairs are probably done on a piecemeal basis. In other words, expect one or more minor problems with your room that you will have to live with during your stay.
The hotel is essentially right on the beach, and the beach is breathtaking--clear, blue water, traditional fishing boats sailing past. The hotel provides tables with thatch umbrellas, as well as lounge chairs, at waterside, and there is a bar/restaurant with live music right on the beach. The hotel has a nice pool with the appearance of a bar, although I didn't see a bartender there during my stay. The hotel also has a water park adjoining the resort grounds, and although the park has a filled pool that local children seemed to use, I never saw water moving down the slides or coming out of the many fountains in the park.
There is a "spa" and a fitness center, but my guess is that you must reserve spa services well in advance, since I never saw staff in the spa. The fitness center is fairly well equipped, with free weights and machines, for weights and aerobics. The equipment is 10 years old at least, but it all worked. However, the center doesn't supply either towels or water, so bring your own. The fitness center seems to be used largely by the hotel staff, who don't seem very interested in giving the paying guests priority access to the equipment. The center wasn't air conditioned and was unpleasantly stuffy, and everything needs a good cleaning--it's grubby.
Food for all three meals is served buffet style, and there is a fairly broad selection of meats, starches, and fresh and cooked vegetables. There was generally one fish dish with each meal. Curries are quite good, but many of the dishes are spicy hot, so be warned. There is a chef preparing omelets at breakfast. Desserts consist of fresh fruit, mostly watermelon and pineapple, and a selection of cakes, but the cakes were pretty forgettable, although elaborately decorated. Coffee is instant only. Overall food variety from day to day is not good, however, and by the end of the week, you get pretty tired of the choices. The glass doors of the restaurant are opened to allow the breezes to blow through the building, but that also allows insects in. I advise the use of repellent, especially after dark, to avoid lots of bites while you're eating.
The hotel is a truly unique place, and although some of its glory has faded, if you want a beautiful location and the feeling of getting away from everything, this could be your dream vacation spot.
All the rooms have water views. Pay for a luxury room if you want the larger terrace and proximity t...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.