We recently made two brief stays at the Sankara, just a few days apart. The two stays felt so incredibly different, you would think we were in two different hotels.
For our first visit, my husband and I arrived at the Sankara very late on a Saturday evening after over 18 hours of travel from NYC. Our first impression was great. Very tight but friendly security, front desk clerk was efficient and welcoming. We received an upgrade. Room on the second floor. Nice bathroom. Very clean. Cozy bed. Room service was ordered - a veg burger and a beef burger. Both arrived after about 45 min, and were quite tasty. We stayed 2 nights (Saturday and Sunday) and enjoyed a truly excellent Indian meal in the downstairs restaurant on our final evening as well as drinks on the rooftop lounge. Turndown service was also quite nice, with adorable little ceramic animals and their info cards left bedside. Monday we left early for our flight to the Masai Mara, leaving our larger bags in storage at the hotel. My husband and I remarked what a wonderful experience we'd had a what a lovely hotel the Sankara was.
Thursday Night: After a brilliant safari, we returned to the Sankara for a one night stay before heading to Zanzibar. No upgrade this time, which of course was fine. It was a Thursday after all and this business hotel was hopping. Very busy. We were given a room on the 6th floor (#6019). On first impression, it seemed great. A bit smaller then our previous room, but not by much. Very clean, and beautiful yellow calla lilies in vases. Nice touch. We were relaxing in the room, totally beat from the long days on safari, when suddenly we hear the most AWFUL sound. Imagine being inside a drum and the thump, thump, thumb of it reverberating through your skull. What the $%^&??? We head upstairs to see what is above us. It's the gym. It's someone on the treadmill training for his 10K or something. OK. We ask the nice gentleman manning the place what time it closes. He tells us It would be open until 10 or 11pm (I can't remember now). All I do remember is that we had a 4:15am wake up call the next morning for our flight to Zanzibar. We'd be trying to get to sleep MUCH earlier then 10. This will not do. Why is that room even a room in the first place? If anything it should be the last room/worst case scenario when the hotel is completely full. We head downstairs to change rooms and are placed in a room down a long hallway on the 3rd floor. Excellent! It will be quiet and we can get rest! Upon entering,though, something seemed off. This room had clearly not been occupied or cleaned in a while. No flowers. Everything had a thin layer of dust. The fixtures in the bathroom, the tables next to the bed. Amenities like soap and shampoo were a bit sticky. We were both so exhausted, we decided to just deal with it. The room also had a small balcony. How nice! I went to open the door and the knob fell off in my hand. 3rd floor room with a broken balcony door in downtown Nairobi? A safety and security hazard one would think! We also never received turn down service. The manager did call to ask us if everything was OK with the new room and if there was anything else she could do. We told her that the new room wasn't great, but it would do…but we mentioned that we were disappointed that we didn't get one of those cute little ceramic animals. We didn't need turndown, but if they wanted to make it up to us for the problems we'd been having, we would love it if they could send one of those up to us. She said "absolutely!"...but well over an hour later, no one had come to our room. We called again to say forget it (it was getting pretty late, and we had that 4:15am wake up call looming…) She checked with housekeeping, and a few minutes later someone did show up with with our animal (which we appreciated!) After this, we went to bed. Upon check out, we mentioned our dissatisfaction with our second stay - particularly the very dangerous balcony door situation - to the gentleman at the front desk. No acknowledgment at all. I'd like to think this may have been a language barrier issue and not just a brush off, but we found the silence very puzzling.
The Sankara is a terrific facility, with some serious issues to sort out. The fact that our experience was so wildly different during the quieter weekend period says a lot about how this place is being run. First impressions are important, but so is consistency.
A frustrating experience, to say the very least.
Lower floors will have less noise because of the roof bar and gym facilities.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for taking the time to write your review dated 25th November 2013.
We sincerely regret the shortfalls that you experienced during your second stay with us; first impressions are as important as last impressions. The balcony is a special feature in only a few of our rooms and it is unfortunate the knob malfunctioned. This is clearly a maintenance oversight from our end. We are reviewing to changing the locks to ensure that the safety of our guests’ is observed.
Thank you for your feedback as this will go a long way in helping us improve on our services that we provide to our guests. We sincerely hope this has not permanently marred your overall experience of our hotel; and we look forward to hosting you again in the near future.
With Kind Regards
Moshi Perera, General Manager
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.