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“Advise caution” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Nairobi Serena Hotel

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Nairobi Serena Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Kenyatta Avenue/Processional Way | P.O. Box 46302, Nairobi GPO, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 106 Hotels in Nairobi
Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Advise caution”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2011

I'm really disappointed to say that what started out as a real treat turned into a very unhappy situation. We stayed in the Serena for just one night and money was stolen out of the safe in our room, one of those ones where you put your own pin in. I now see that sadly other travellers have had the same experience. The staff seemed helpful at first but then I realised they did not look even remotely surprised. Later they admitted they had a machine on the premises that could read the last 400 entries typed into the safe!

I live in Kenya and unfortunately corruption is very common, including amongst security staff. What normally happens is they blame the person who cleans the room, even though the cleaner clearly would not have the means to break into a locked safe, which more senior staff do. If you are already booked into this hotel just be very careful.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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515 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Loughton, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2011

In the interests of giving a fair review, I will start with the positives.

The rooms are nicely laid out, the bathrooms are extremely pleasant, with extremely good showers, and breakfast was a real treat - a wider selection you could not hope for. The bed was comfortable.

Unfortunately all of these positives were put into the shade due to a theft from my room that I was sharing with my fiance. We went out for about 6 hours, having been in the hotel for a few hours after our flight. We left cameras, MP4 players, and our money in the safe in the room. Having been the victims of a burglary in the UK weeks earlier, we were extra careful to ensure that the safe was locked.

We came back to the room to find the safe wide open. Everything seemed to be there, until we counted the cash in our wallets. We each had $200 US prior to going out, and now we each had $160. Someone clearly hoping we would not miss a slice of the money.

We reported this to the 'security' team at the hotel. Not overly interested, not overly surprised either. They informed us that the electronic safe had not been locked when we left the room (they interrogated it apparently), this was not true. We could not prove we locked it obviously, so we continued on the tack that regardless, the money had been taken from our room by a member of staff. They performed an 'investigation', and said that they could not prove it was a member of their staff (as if the person concerned would leave their prints all over the safe?!), and so they were not liable. The inherent implication would be that the story was made up by us. We called the police, and they were more helpful, but it seems they could not see beyond the fact that the safe was 'unlocked' when we left the room.

We would have left happier if the hotel had agreed the money was taken, and that they would refund what (to them) would be a drop in the ocean. They could then have performed their internal investigation to nab the culprit, but I would have left in the same financial situation I arrived in. Thefts happen, but what prompted this review was what followed.

It is hard to say where the fault lies here, but we know that the safe was locked, and I am sure that only a handful of people at a senior level in the hotel could over-ride the lock system (for guests who forgot their password for example). This is worrying, and may provide some indication as to why our complaint was dealt with so poorly by management. Unfortunately given my certainty that the safe was left locked, this reflects my view of what happened.

So, all in all, a nice hotel on the face of it, but if you are going to stay, keep your belongings with you at all times. In future I know I will only use a safe at hotel if it is at the reception, and I can get a receipt for everything I put in there - I do not trust those provided in rooms.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2011

Paying a large sum of money to stay at a good hotel is one thing. Being charged three times for the privilege is another.

I stayed at the Serena Nairobi for four days in August 2010, en route to Juba. A few days after leaving the Serena I noted from my bank that my payment had been put through twice. When I pointed this out to the hotel I was refunded one of the transactions with an apology, but not the transaction costs. Almost six months later, I discovered today that the payment from August was put through my account AGAIN!

Is this incompetence to be expected from one of the "Leading Hotels of the World"?

Stayed August 2010, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
52 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2011

My husband and I spent the first and last nights in Kenya here. We arrived at the same time as the prime minister, and were treated the same. Staff were really friendly, and on arrival we were offered either a fruit cocktail or a beer, to be brought to our room. Although these arrived about two hours later.

Our room was a little dated, but the bed was huge and very comfortable. The bathroom was pretty small, but with some luxurious Penhaligons products. There was a lot of information and advice on the area in the room. My only issue with the room was the fact that the AC was a bit noisy. I prefer to turn this off and open a window if possible, but there are mosquitoes and the noise of traffic would probably have prevailed. I did think that the room smelt a little stale - my only criticism.

We felt very secure here, there were lots of security staff who were in no way intimidating, but nevertheless their presence was reassuring.

After a long flight, arriving late afternoon, we chose to eat at the hotel restaurant rather than brave Nairobi. We pushed the boat out, eating a la carte in the upstairs restaurant overlooking the pool. Whilst it wasn't cheap, the food was fantastic. The service was really good.

We had an early start the following morning, being collected for our safari at 6.30am. We had a great night's sleep, waking up refreshed and raring to go. We were surprised that we were able to have breakfast that early - it opened at 6.30am, but we were welcomed in at 6am. The breakfast was great - a huge buffet with around six choices of fresh fruit juice, and a choice of freshly cooked eggs, pancakes, waffles etc.

On our return from the safari we were welcomed back as if old friends. We were pretty shattered after a week of off-roading and fresh air, so spent the afternoon lazing by the pool. I had picked up a stomach bug on safari, so we didn't indulge in the a la carte again, instead eating in the less formal pool restraurant. This was just as good, with plenty of choice.

I travel a great deal on business, although not yet to East Africa. I would however recommend this hotel to colleagues staying here as I felt very safe and it had a professional feeling. I would have felt comfortable meeting with agents here. There did not appear to be anything "in your face". I did not use the business centre or internet here so cannot comment in this aspect.

I would wholeheartedly recommend the Serena Nairobi. It is comfortable, luxurious, with great food and the staff are very good.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2011

Unfortunately my first posting was lost so a speedy summary:

I spent a week here for a conference and the Serena was superb. First and foremost was a very service-oriented staff where everyone did their best to satisfy us. The conference rooms are good, the facilities team for equipment (flip charts, projectors) was helpful, the free wi-fi was a pleasant feature (which I used nearly constantly). As a guest, the gym and pool were great, transport was reliable and comfortable, the staff was attentive, and the food in all facilities was excellent.

I especially recommend the "Seafood Night" buffet on Friday nights at the Cafe Maghreb. One of the best seafood buffets I have tried anywhere! Grilled lobster, prawns, and an assortment of seafood dishes abound!

Only downsides at all:
- The wi-fi service was spotty in some conference rooms, and poor in many of the guest rooms. The best connection was by the pool, which made for a great excuse to spend more time there!
- The bed was a bit hard, but I guess still one of the best I've tried in Africa after 50+ nights. I thought it was jet lag, but after a week I still struggled to sleep well - hence the 4 stars instead of 5 on sleep quality.

All in all, seems like the perfect place to have had our team meeting for a week! Thank you Serena!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2011

Stayed here in November en route to safari in Masai Mara, then again several days later en route to Mombasa. Was debating between the Serena and the Tribe, but decided the Tribe was just too far from both the international and regional airport. I was pleasantly surprised with the hotel. The hotel's driver was waiting for me when I landed, then a quick drive to the hotel, with heavy secuirty at the gates (a comfort in Nairobi). Check-in was smooth. The room was very clean, and the bathroom and mini bar were excellent. There is even a pillow menu. On my return stay, they had a cool bottle of Tusker sent to my room - nice touch. Would highly recommend, but might try the Tribe if I was spending more time in Nairobi.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berkeley, California
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2010

My husband and I stayed here for two nights before heading off to safari. The hotel is very clean, well situated, and has great staff. The food is excellent, as is room service (and the prices are decent, too). The guest room we had was fine, but nothing to write home about. It was a standard hotel room that seemed more Best Western than Leading Hotel of the World (one of the hotel's claims to fame -- it's regarded as the best hotel in Nairobi), but the housekeeping was always well done and everyone was great. The walls are thin, and the beds could be more comfortable (no luxury thread count sheets, or mattress pad). We're stayed in much nicer places than the Nairobi Serena, esp considering the cost per night, BUT the Serena chain is fabulous overall, as we found out while staying at their various properties on safari. I'd say Nairobi Serena is the least of the properties, and it's still well above average. I'd stay here again and encourage you to do the same; just know that this is not a true 5-star hotel. No stomach issues with the food, complimentary water is provided, and, again, service is great. Also, nice massages at Maisha spa.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nairobi Serena Hotel

Address: Kenyatta Avenue/Processional Way | P.O. Box 46302, Nairobi GPO, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 106 Hotels in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Nairobi Serena Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 183
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