Rooms: 156 in total: 62 Superior, 51 Deluxe, 7 Junior Suites, 2 Executive Suites, 33 Club Rooms. I had the opportunity to see both a superior and a deluxe room at the Sankara, unfortunately the suites were all occupied so I didn’t get the chance to physically see them. All the rooms are very tastefully decorated in a cozy but contemporary style. The furnishings have a very nice finish to them and the cleanliness was excellent. An outstanding feature of the rooms here is the glass partition between the en-suite and the bedroom. It allows guests to be able to catch up on the news as the TV is in full view and within the bathroom are speakers which are a nice touch. Quite spacious, the rooms have large beds, bedside tables, lounge chair, desk and TV. Through the main doors is the wardrobe area with free safe/shoe shine etc, there is also a stocked mini bar and tea and coffee – my only complaint would be that there wasn’t enough tea and coffee and we had to ask a couple of times for extra/refills. The bathrooms are very tastefully decorated with basin, bath, WC and large walk-in shower. Another nice touch is that the range of complementary toiletries is of a very high standard which, for me, was most appreciated – however, these were not replaced daily. The deluxe rooms were of a similar standard, slightly larger but mostly the same apart from a different layout for the bathroom.
The club rooms, I am informed, are basically the same as the deluxe but guests pay an extra premium to use the club lounge. We had a tour of the lounge which again is tastefully decorated and guests staying here have access to a meeting room for two hours which have all the equipment expected in a boardroom. Also available for guests is the use of the lounge for early arrival and late checkout, hot drinks all day (and non-alcoholic drinks for the day), breakfast and evening snacks and drinks (happy hour).
Most of the rooms have panoramic windows but I’m afraid the view leaves a lot to be desired – I was informed, though, that this is going to change as there is a lot of building and refurbishment work taking place around the area.
Facilities/meeting rooms: the Sankara has a vast amount of meeting rooms which cater to different needs depending upon the event. The prices were extremely competitive and guests have the additional help of a member of staff present for the full event.
Gym: state of the art equipment, clean and contemporary. There is also a rooftop heated pool with a relaxing bar/lounge area.
Restaurants: Artisan is food from around the world, Muhibbah is food from South East Asia, Sarabi serves snacks and tapas style food located on the rooftop by the pool. During our stay, we dined in Artisan. On arrival we were informed that as it was Friday (and again on Saturday) there was a buffet that evening. This didn’t bother me too much until I saw other guests looking at an a la carte menu. We were never informed that there was a separate menu which is really not acceptable. However, I have to say the food was excellent. I had reservations as my past experience has proved that buffet food can often be bland and barely hot. The Sankara food is some of the best food I have ever tasted and the variety has not been matched on any of my travels. Our second night in the restaurant, we again were not offered the a la carte menu. I asked to see one and can only say that I wasn't really impressed with the offerings but the prices seemed to be quite comparable. The one thing I will say however is that the desserts were wonderful - leave some room........!
Spa: the hotel has a franchise with Angsana Spa which is a well-known International company. They offer a vast array of holistic therapies and I booked a “dreams” massage. My experience at the spa was extremely relaxing, professional and friendly. I was treated very well by my therapist who asked pertinent questions, kept me relaxed and comfortable throughout and finished with ginger tea and fresh fruit. It’s the most expensive massage I’ve taken in Kenya but it was worth every penny. Do treat yourself to a spa therapy whilst there, it’s most definitely worth it.
Overall: this is no doubt a five star establishment; the prices, staff, furnishings and food all prove it. However, in my opinion, it’s definitely geared toward the business traveller and although it’s always nice to have a touch of luxury to finish your holiday (particularly a gruelling journey following a long safari); its price range is probably out of reach for most travellers. At around $500 per night, I believe it’s far too expensive to expect a holiday maker to stay at this hotel which is a real shame.
Perhaps a cheaper deal for travellers only needing a one night stay might encourage people to use it more often? Otherwise it’s a big cost to pay out of a holiday budget.