This was our first visit to Nairobi and, as you can imagine, we were sceptical about the expectation of standards. In many places "good" is actually "meh" and even "excellent" can actually mean "meh!".
Based on the Trip advisor Rating of 4/80 for Hotels in Nairobi, we took the plunge and made a telephonic reservation. The reservations desk was very helpful and friendly even though, for the first few seconds, I had difficulty understanding the English Accent. Upon hearing the price, I asked for a discount based on prices I could see online and was pleasantly surprised to have the original quote adjusted to match (closely) the rate that I had seen online. I asked if I could make a tentative booking for 24H whilst I finalised other travel arrangements and was told that this was not a problem. I received an email (requested by me) within minutes of the call. The following day I confirmed my booking. I asked the reservations desk to make a note on my booking that we would be arriving late (after 9pm) and to ensure that our room was not forfeited accordingly.
Upon arrival, the check-in process was very simple and straight forward, I elected to pay for our entire stay in advance in cash. We were shown to our room which was lovely and overlooked the city skyline. This was particularly nice in the morning watching the sunrise behind the city skyline and silhouetted acacia trees.
The room (Deluxe/Standard) was very spacious and comfortable, clean and well maintained. The view over the city gives the impression that you are not in the city whereas you are are right there..
The water pressure in the shower was torrential rain style, totally loved it, could have spent an hour under it if there was enough time ... loved the shower. The bathroom was clean and everything worked. The bathroom was just a bit small (I am somewhat larger than the average person so ... I may be biased here).
There was a super sized safe in the room that (when I took the pre-cast shelves out) I could fit my backpack with laptop and camera into. I love that !!
We never made use of all the facilities, so our assessment is based on the things, places and facilities we did use.
The restaurant was lovely, we had 3 x Buffet breakfast and 1 x Seafood Buffet Dinner in the Mandhari Restaurant. The service and quality was superb and the attention to detail and guests was top notch.
The prices in the curio shop were reasonable and the shop was well stocked with enough variety to make some last minute purchases if required.
What was probably most noticeable was the number of staff (smartly dressed and polite) that appeared to be ready to help around every corner, at the lift, in the foyer ... everywhere. All with a friendly smile and ready to respond to our sketchy attempts at Swahili ... Jumbo Sana, Lala Salaam, Karibo Sana, Asanti Sana ..... Even though the Hotel itself was superb, what I remember most was the friendly staff.
So ... there has to be something wrong right ? ...
If I had to pick one thing, the size of the bathroom could have been bigger. Unfortunately, this is not something that the hotel can just change because of the structural effort that would require. Perhaps if the door was converted to a sliding door then that would provide the extra space. Don't misunderstand me, this was not a showstopper and when I go back to Nairobi, I'll be staying at the Serena again, no doubt!
Leaving was difficult because I would have liked to tip all the staff that took care of us. I don't like to walk around with pockets of cash giving money here and there. It would be nice if there was a way to provide a single amount to the reception and know that this would be distributed to all.
On the whole, our stay was awesome. I was well pleased with our choice and even though the rates are toward our upper limits, I will go back to the Nairobi Serena when we visit Nairobi again.
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