We were here only one night before setting off to Mara. The hotel is quite lovely though small - which is a considerable inconvenience as you are cautioned against going out past sunset making it very boring with nothing to explore in the evening.
We were here at Christmas and they had many small gingerbread houses around the lobby and a gingerbread roof at the hotel entrance which was very exciting for our son. Also complimentary cookies that were most generously given :).
The staff is very warm and hospitable like everywhere in Kenya. In fact I think Kenyans are possibly the most hospitable and friendly people I've met- if this is done consciously given how heavily they rely on tourism it's still done very well and we felt extremely welcome.
Our room was huge (we had a triple room) and it was the type of room where you secretly photograph the bathroom! The fittings and decor are very tasteful and there's a lovely old world feel to it without being dinghy.
We had room service for lunch as we were too tired to go down. The portions are large and the food is quite nice with a few attractive and well made vegetarian options. We wanted to get dinner in one of the restaurants but weren't able to as the Thorn Tree cafe has a set menu for Christmas Eve full of food we don't eat like seafood and turkey :(. Of course I understand that a veggie Christmas dinner is a bit unlikely but it was disappointing. We couldn't eat at the bar restaurant as children aren't allowed and the other restaurant (a Thai one I think don't remember too well) looked uninviting. So back to our room for room service which was quite a boring finish to our day.
We had breakfast at the famous Thorn Tree cafe which honestly seemed quite ordinary. The spread was good. The washrooms in the cafe are quite smelly and bad. They don't seem to quite belong to the rest of the place which is clean, airy and lovely. Also as we had an early breakfast there weren't many people around and the staff outnumbered the guests. This was a bit awkward as you couldn't move a finger without some very attentive waiter or host rushing to help! Well meant but awkward.
They have a lovely vintage phone in the lobby but before playing with it be warned that it actually connects to the front desk :). We were quite embarrassed when they came by to politely inquire if we needed something.
One thing that we found reassuring was the level of security given what we have heard about Nairobi. They have guards on the stairs and also X-ray everyone and everything entering the hotel.
Overall this is a nice hotel for a short stay and if we are fortunate enough to be in Kenya again, we would stay here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kenya’s first luxury hotel, Sarova Stanley opened its elegant doors in 1902. Since then, it has been making history- hosting royal safaris and legendary personalities such as Edward Prince of Wales and Ernest Hemingway. Today, as the hotel enters its second century, it continues to maintain its unique heritage and provides state-of-the-art services and facilities for business and leisure travelers. All guestrooms are a blend of luxurious Victorian grandeur and modern comfort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sarova Stanley Hotel Nairobi
- Sarova Stanley Nairobi