Like many reviews before the main feeling you get at the Hilton is that the actual building is very old, this means lifts out of order or very slow, odd shaped rooms with small bathrooms. But these are things you cannot change without rebuilding and the Hilton is something of an icon on the Nairobi skyline.
It's also worth noting where you are, for all it's financial developments and improvements this is still a African developing country where supplies, infrastructure and consistency will always be a chanllenge to any city centre hotel.
So, to the hotel;
The staff are friendly and engaging, my check-in girl was very helpful and knew all the Hilton Honours benefits I was entitled to and that I'd be getting a complimentary room upgrade. This set the tone for almost all the staff i met during my stay, friendl, helpful and informative. Again it helps to remember you are in a country where hotel workers are not paid that well and a small tip can make a difference!
The room, well as mentioned i was upgraded to an exec room which is bascially 2 standard room joined by an archway. 1 room is converted into a sitting room with a sofabed, chairs and table. The other side is your bedroom with large double bed vanity table, there is a HUGE tv sitting on the minibar under the archway and can swivel 180degrees so you can watch it from bed or sitting area. there is daily drinking water provided and the minibar has the standard alcohol and chocolate/snacks. What I found quite funny is that they have kept both bathrooms on each side and both are quite small. My recommendation would be to use the entrance space on the bedroom side as an extension to the bathroom. thre is adequate wardrobe space with shelving but no drawers. the bedrooms are carpeted and I think it could do with a wash and shampoo, but the rest of the room is very clean and well maintained. You get tea/coffee making facilites as well as iron/ironing board, hair-dryer and room safe, there are numerous electrical outlets dotted around for your charging needs, these are standard UK (3pin) type.
The public areas, I visited the gym/health club regularly. It is small but has a good range of equipment and a seperate studio are. there are 3treasmill, 3bikes, 2cross trainers and a rowing machine for cardio. Gym equipment for most types of weight lifting and a small range of free weights. There is sauna/steam room available and good changing rooms. The pool looks nice and big (but I dont swim so never used it), the poolside bar is anice place to relax in the shade when the Kenyan sun is blazing down on you. The exec lounge is very small and is probably the 1 place I would like to see updated to have more lounge seating, although most of the time I was there it was empty so this is possibly not a highly used feature of the hotel.
The restaurant, well I only had breakfast in the main restaurant as it was included in the price, the range of food is good, cereals, cold meats, american and african hot food, pastires and bread and a small selection of fruit (maybe this depends on the season?). the waiters/aitresses walk around and ask if you want tea/coffee or juice and sometimes you do have to work a bit to get their attention, but nothing major and something I have come across thoughout my journerys. There is also a pub which is a pleasent place to unwind after work and have a cold Tusker, but you're likely to end up chatting away to an expat, young lady or safari tourist, so best avoided if you want alone time. On a few occassions I had to order room service and the range of food available is decent and served up nicely presented and of very good quality. The prices are high but these kinds of services come at a price so no complaints here.
Do not exchange money at the front desk, if you must echange in-house use the CBA bank branch that is next to the coffee shop in the lobby, for a 30second detour you get a few more shillings per $.
the laundry service is unbeliveably high, unless you have a suit or similar, bring some travel wash and do your smalls yourself, there is a line you can pull across the bath-tup to dry them.
If you ae getting a hotel cab ask the bell captain how much you should pay beforehand and get him to agree it with the cab driver.
Take a walk around the block, for all the dangers and tourist trappings, a walk around the block will give you a good feel for the place without being too far from the safety of the hotel.
I generally went out in the evening to an area called Westlands, there are many bars, pubs, restaurants and nightlife. Gypsies, Brew Bistro are a couple of my favourites. If you have time visit Carnivore, a huge restaurant with seperate club area, they serve meat fresh from a huge open pit BBQ and have seasonal game meat like ostrich or aligator. There is also a place called Galilieo which is a little more upmarket but open til 6 I think. Street crime and particularly pickpocketing is still a real problem in Nairobi, so don't go out wearing lots of jewellery and blingy watches, leave your credit cards in the hotel safe if possible and just carry enough cash for your dinner/drinks, get a number from your cab driver and try to stick to using him or his company.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience Kenya from the Hilton Nairobi hotel, situated in the city's central business district, one block away from the Kenyatta International Convention Centre and only 25 minutes from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The hotel enjoys proximity to several major banking institutions, universities and government offices, including the Parliament and the High Court of Kenya ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Nairobi Hotel Nairobi
- Hilton International Nairobi
- Nairobi Hilton International