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“Very Disappointing” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Ole - Sereni Hotel, Nairobi

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Ole - Sereni Hotel, Nairobi
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Mombasa Road, Nairobi 00500, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #23 of 119 Hotels in Nairobi
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Very Disappointing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2011

My daughter and I stayed at the Ole Sereni Hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya, from 10/29/11 until 11/01/11 as part of the last few days of our vacation.

The interior decor of the hotel is absolutely beautiful and exotic. Quite pleasing to the eye. However, our accommodations left something to be desired. Our room was rather small, especially the bathroom. The towels were an awful grey color and were very old. For some reason or another, the staff failed to supply us with wash cloths. We usually had hand towels and bath towels but had to call housekeeping and ask for wash cloths. I found this situation to be exceptionally awkward as I have always thought the wash cloth was also a normal part of the towel supply for a hotel room. On one occasion, while at this hotel, we returned to our room in the evening to see we had neither wash cloths nor hand towels. I got on the phone and called housekeeping to request the missing items. We were told the hand towels "were in the dryer" and that as soon as they finished drying, someone would deliver them along with some wash cloths, to our room. I found this situation to be totally ridiculous for what was supposed to be a 5-star establishment.

The mattresses on our beds were so hard the beds felt like cement slabs. The beds are beyond being uncomfortable -- they are absolutely awful.

We were advised to keep our room window closed at night in order to prevent mosquitos from getting in. The only problem with this scenario is that the window in our room, overlooking the wild animal park, was a window that could not be tightly closed. There was a tiny gap and it was just the perfect size for mosquitos to come into. They visited us practically every night and both my daughter and myself suffered several mosquito bites. The staff was aware of the mosquito problem so management must have also been aware. Yet, there are no mosquito nets in any of the rooms. We have stayed in several hotels and lodges in Kenya and every single established was equipped with mosquito netting. The Ole Sereni has chosen to ignore the need for something as simple as mosquito netting for the prevention of mosquito attacks on their guests.

Directly beneath our room, an outdoor restaurant was situated. The restaurant offers an unobscured view of the wild animal park. Nice touch. Not so nice was the fact that the restaurant with the "pool bar", hosts various clientele each night who drink and converse on the patio accompanied by music, loud music, lasting into the early hours of the morning. If we were night owls, which we are not, we could appreciate the early morning revelry but since we choose to sleep at night, being kept awake by the noise beneath our window was not something we appreciated. My daughter suggested we might ask to be moved to a different room but I dismissed the suggestion. That was a mistake.

Room service and the deliverance of requested meals was prompt and very nicely taken care of. My daughter and I were grateful for the free Wi-fi service which allowed us to communicate with friends in the USA.

There was an employee at the registration desk that was not cordial or even half way nice to us. I don't remember her name. I wish I had made a notation of it. She seemed to have some sort of problem with my daughter and I being African-Americans and when she addressed me or responded to my questions, she was rather curt and hardly looked me in the eye. As I stated before, I have no idea what her problem was. We have visited several places in Kenya both last year and this year and my daughter and I have always been welcomed and well received. At the Ole Sereni, we were stared at and occasionally frowned at by employees in the restaurant where the breakfast buffet was served. I have no idea why the personnel at this hotel acted in negative manners. On the other hand, there were other employees who were very nice and went out of their way to make our stay pleasant.

In summation, I do not think we will be returning to this establishment in the future. The negative aspects (mosquito bites, dingy towels, lack of proper towels, hard mattresses, noise beneath our window every night, unprofessional staff) out weigh the good aspects of this establishment.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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611 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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derby
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2011

We stayed here after bike riding 400k through the rift valley on a charity ride.
It was the perfect end to a perfect week.
A couple of girls go the maasai suite. It was awesome!! Great view over the park. Sunken jacuzzi bath. 2 toilets. Flat screen. Super king size bed!
Our room was gorgeous too. A king size. Clean . Well appointed.
Service was a bit poor.we stayed in some dodgy hotels but the service was way better and drinks etc were a lot cheaper but we had a fantastic night sat on the veranda in the warm night air.
If I were to pick Nairobi and a honeymoon spot I'd be more than chuffed here!!

  • Stayed November 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Wilmington, North Carolina
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2011

After what we thought was our final night in Nairobi at the fabulous Norfolk Hotel, our flight home was cancelled (our treatment by Brussels Airways is another horror story), and the airline put us up at the Ole Sereni. The only thing I am thankful for is that we did not have to pay to stay at this hotel. Yes, the grounds are interesting, and you can view giraffe and zebra at a distance, and the public areas of the hotel are quite attractive and imposing, even. But the room we had was dreadful. The very least the hotel should do is put down some kind of decent carpet. The hideous brown linoleum was the ugliest thing I've seen since the warthogs of the Maasai Mara. Someone told us that this building used to be the US Embassy -- I can believe this, because the room looked like it might have been an office, and someone with no decorating skills came in and partitioned off a bathroom, putting the toilet practically inside the shower. The towels were grey,practically see-through, and about the size of a large dinner napkin. As an airport hotelroom, it does have the advantage of being very dark, so if you arrive late, as we did at 4:00 am after being tortured by Brussels Airways, you can sleep late into the day. Even though it was a bright, sunny day, the satellite went out and stayed out for more than an hour. Since our flight wasn't leaving until 10:30 pm, we were there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the hotel, and the food was so-so at best. However, we committed the cardinal sin of having alcohol with our dinner, which was not to be paid for by the airline. Thus, it took more than half an hour for my husband to check out because the two beers had to be split out from the rest of the bill. I would never stay here again.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the back of the hotel look out over the national park. You will still need binoculars...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2011

We had a few hours to spare between arriving back in Nairobi and catching our late night flight back to London.

We were recommended to this hotel as somewhere we could relax and have dinner. The food ws served with the worst of seventies pretensions; large strange shaped plates that were actually difficult to eat off, but we could have got over that if it had actually tasted good.

We both left our dinners, it was that bad, and the staff didn't even ask why. It was also our most expensive meal for the whole time we were in Kenya and we weren't "roughing" it.

I asked at reception if I could use the wi-fi to check in for our flight, and even though we were having dinner there, they would not give us the wi-fi key but sent us to the "business centre" where we had to pay to sit at their clunky computer (I do not expect everywhere in the world to have state of the art computers, especially in Africa, but they wouldn't let us use ours) and check in that way.

Avoid.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bolivia
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2011

Stayed one night at this hotel on my journey to Juba. Staff is very friendly and attentive. The building is new and rooms have good light and are well preserved. Upon arrival, the reservation I made through the website of the hotel and for which I got confirmation was not registered. Fortunately the manager in charge solved the situation and offered me a better room with park view -the "better room" at least I presume was his intention. Advice: never take room 252!!. The window is just upside an outdoor kiosk of the first floor restaurant. There was a group of people drinking and laughing there until 2am, you can imagine my dissappointment! After a 26 hour journey from Bolivia through Brazil and South Africa, just wanted to get some good sleep!! Windows are not sound proof, so you end up listening even what you don't want from people talking just below your window.

Towels are a bit wornout but clean and smelling fresh. Bed was comfortable and the room was clean.

The hotel is quite close to the airport and away from downtown, making it adequate for a overnight stop. The view of the National Park is quite nice, and breakfast buffet is good enough. Considering the prices in Nairobi, is not a bad option.

Room Tip: Stay away from rooms directly over the opean areas of the restaurant. If weather is good, people mig...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Nairobi
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2011

I am a frequent traveler around Africa and usually when I visit Kenya I stay at the Intercontinental hotel, I am also a freak of good scenaries or rather views from my guest rooms, I mentioned to a colleague about this and she told me that she once stayed at ole-sereni and if I did I will love the view of the Kenya National park from the comfort of my room so I have just checked out of the hotel and true to her words the view was beautiful, I would have loved to come back but on principle I guess I will not return to this Hotel, being a people's person I engage a lot the staff who serve me in every hotel that I go to, in most of the hotels that I have stayed in staff have been very happy and if not satisfied with their pay they have always appreciated the much they get, and their leadership too, for those fellow travelers who watch CNN you might have seen the advert on bringing to a stop modern slavery! according to what I heard at ole-sereni, this is a case of modern slavery, Kenyans have been very polite and hospitable people just like where I come from in Zanzibar, but some investors who own ole-sereni seem to be taking advantage of this nature of Kenyans, All guests pay service charge, which is 10% of their bill fellow travelers if you are not aware of this check on your hotel bill, in Kenya it is 10% of the total bill, this money is equally shared among all staff who are not in management, it is considered as a tip to them, this hotel never gives all this money to the staff! what even makes it sad is that the staff know this, and have addressed this with their management with unwillingness of the management to help in this, compared to other hotel this staff told me that he communicates she communicates to staff who work else where and they receive service charge of over 25,000 Kenya shillings about 300 us dollars per month while they were only being given 10,000 Kenya shillings about 100 us dollars, dear travelers I was speaking to a very frustrated employee of this hotel but passionate about her job, that was the only thing that she said was keeping her going, though given a chance elsewhere she would run and never turn back, so my dear travelers as an effort to put to a stop modern slavery, we need to black out this hotel; as even the enormous amount of money you pay as 10% of your bill as service charge never gets to it's rightful owners but in the pockets of the owners plus plus the profits! HELP STOP MODERN SLAVERY AT OLE SERENI.

Room Tip: If the slavery is stopped, ask for a room facing the wildlife park.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Llandeilo, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2011

We usually stay at the Serena in Nairobi but last time we had faulty airconditioning, which was not great in January and the a la carte evening meal was again below par, so wanting a quick overnight stop, minus Nairobi morning traffic, we gave this hotel a go.
We were late in from LHR due to Greek traffic control strike but check in was handled smoothly and with a smile. Travelling with my elderly parents, we had requested a twin for them and a double for ourselves, both overlooking the park. Both requests taken care of and checked on arrival. None of the problems mentioned in previous posts, although our agent did mention that perhaps the hotel sometimes favours regular guests/large conventions in favour of one off guests.
Porterage extremely good on arrival and departure.
Rooms were a good size, clean with a few nice touches. Beds are hard - we like a firm mattress but I think a few nights would have taken their toll on our backs - this needs to be addressed.
This is the old US Embassy; my only real down point would be that the doors are very heavy and noise echoes into the rooms at night. As the hotel is close to the airport, there are people checking in and out at various hours. In fact, it appeared that vacating rooms were serviced during the night (01 30 hrs +); as for about 45 mins we could here doors opening & shutting and bins being emptied etc ...However, I have to say that all staff were most concerned as to the quality of our stay and as we were questioned as to the quality of our night's sleep, we mentioned this. Consequently, the manager came to see us before we left to make a note of this issue.
Excellent breakfast.
I liked the hotel, would probably not want to stay for more than 2 nights cos of the hard beds and some noise issues but proximity to airport and quality otherwise rate this ok for a quick and convenient pre or post Kenya stay.
HB

Room Tip: Pay for room overlooking park - although far enough away from main road not to cause any problems
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ole - Sereni Hotel, Nairobi

Address: Mombasa Road, Nairobi 00500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Spa Hotel in Nairobi
#14 Romantic Hotel in Nairobi
#16 Luxury Hotel in Nairobi
#18 Business Hotel in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ole - Sereni Hotel, Nairobi 4.5*
Number of rooms: 134
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ole Sereni is a premium wildlife resort strategically located just off the Mombasa road overlooking the Nairobi National Game Park. Centrally positioned between the international airport and the city center, this is the only hotel bordering the wilds of the National Park. Ole Sereni offers all comforts and services to the business as well as leisure travelers and enjoys proximity to the central business district, international organizations, financial institutions, government offices and industrial area. ... more   less 
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