I stayed at the Nairobi Hilton for a week to attend business meetings held in their conference center, and for the weekend to relax afterward. The hotel is an older, classic building located in the center of Nairobi – it has two restaurants, an excellent coffee shop, a pool and fitness center, business center and meeting rooms, as well as shopping in/adjacent to the hotel.
It must be said that my initial impression of the Nairobi Hilton service wasn’t good. As a single woman traveling alone, I had reserved transportation from the airport to the hotel, and the Hilton representative who had my flight information (arriving 8:15) put me on the 9pm shuttle. My flight was on time, I had purchased a Kenyan visa before leaving the US (which was supposed to save me time), and it still took me more than an hour to clear immigration. As a result, the Hilton shuttle left without me. There was no red-jacketed Hilton representative to greet me (as had been promised, “no matter what”), no message for me, no other arrangements made for my transportation to the hotel. So after 20+ hours of travel, I was forced to deal with a feeding frenzy of sketchy people trying to get me into their cabs, and I was quite lucky to be rescued by a safari guide who called and confirmed that the Hilton representative had left and then arranged a taxi for me at the same price as the Hilton had quoted for the shuttle. So first off, I’d recommend that Hilton guests book a dedicated car/limo that will wait for them no matter how long the immigrations lines are – the Hilton shuttle clearly isn’t reliable. After an experience like that, I expected that the front desk would at least offer to pay for my taxi or to upgrade my room when I checked in, but all I got was an apology from the front desk clerk for “my trouble”, which leads me to believe that this is a common occurrence and/or the Hilton doesn’t actually own its shuttle service so it doesn’t take responsibility for it.
Fortunately things got much better after that. My room was a standard Queen, non-smoking (611), with a wall of large windows and a very interesting street view. The room was adequate in size but not large, and the furniture/bathroom fixtures showed some wear, but everything was very clean. The usual high end Hilton mattresses and flat screen TV’s were not in evidence, but otherwise the room appointments were quite nice – including a mini-bar, coffee/tea service with biscuits, and designer soaps/shampoos. Internet was free with my room, even though the initial Hilton connection required that I sign up with a 3rd party service provider that would charge my room for internet use. Apparently the hotel simply removes those internet charges from your bill if internet service is included in your package. Breakfast was also included with my room: there is a very large breakfast buffet from 0630-1030, but if you need to eat earlier than 0630, ask about having breakfast delivered to your room.
Now to the service part: Upon arrival I asked the bell hop about ice and although one usually calls room service for this, he had ice delivered to my room within minutes. When I received a rose on my room service dinner tray and decided to keep it in a glass of water on the bedside table, I returned to my room later and found a small basket of roses by my bedside, which was refreshed twice during my stay. When I needed to leave early for a Saturday game drive, and decided to just grab a cappuccino in the lobby coffee shop, the gentleman at the front desk told me to please go and sit down in the restaurant, where I could have the cappuccino for free and take a few minutes to eat something. They assured me that they’d send my driver to find me in the restaurant when he arrived. Sure enough, by the time I walked across the lobby, the front desk had already called the restaurant and they were getting me a cappuccino. When I needed a taxi to the National Museum, the Doorman not only had a taxi waiting, but he arranged the fare and had the same driver return for me at a specific time to ensure that I had safe service back to the hotel. In addition, the Hilton travel agents (Marble Travel) were absolutely wonderful. On my only day off, Marble Travel arranged an early morning Nairobi National Park game drive and a visit to the Sheldrick Trust (both highly recommended) at a very reasonable price. The Marble travel agent met me in the lobby and introduced me to my driver, who was both knowledgeable and very pleasant.
The Hilton room service was very good – helpful, fast, accurate, and tasty. Tea, coffee and snack service in the business conference rooms was also exceptionally friendly and helpful. The Traveller’s restaurant specializes in huge and diverse buffet meals, which include Kenyan foods as well as international favorites. The buffet food varies from good to excellent depending upon the dishes chosen. But for a truly relaxed and fun meal, I highly recommend the Jockey Pub, where the décor is warm and very British, the service is attentive, the food is excellent, and you can see soccer, rugby, cricket (or nothing) depending upon your choice of table.
All in all, this is an older Hilton hotel whose physical plant could use some upgrading, but whose staff is to die for! Colleagues of mine attending the same business meetings at the Hilton stayed at the Intercontinental hotel, a 10 minute walk away. I got the sense from them that their rooms may have been more upscale, but the service they received was not as personal as what I experienced at the Hilton.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the city's heart, the Hilton Nairobi hotel is next to the craft market and 25 minutes' drive from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Enjoy global dishes at the Traveller's Restaurant, try fine Italian cuisine at Sale E Pepe Restaurant or have a pint at the Hilton Nairobi hotel's Jockey Pub. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Nairobi Hotel Nairobi
- Hilton International Nairobi
- Nairobi Hilton International