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“a little oasis in the middle of Nairobi chaos” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sarova Stanley

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Sarova Stanley
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Corner of Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street | PO Box 30680, Nairobi 00100, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 111 Hotels in Nairobi
San Francisco, California
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“a little oasis in the middle of Nairobi chaos”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2013

I was in Kenya with friends for a safari and we booked a night at the Sarova after our safari and before taking off for Naivasha for the weekend music festival. That night was wonderful and exactly what we needed after a week out in the savanna. Though downtown Nairobi is just as chaotic and stressful, the inside of the hotel was a haven. The Sarova is pretty decadent and the facilities very luxurious. Though it's a historic institution, the gym was very new, as was the exercise room, where a friend and I were able to grab mats and do some yoga. The outdoor pool is cute and a great place to lounge and have a drink.
I need to give special praise to the breakfast buffet, which was one of the best I have had. The selection was great and the fresh fruit was abundant -- though a bit over the top since a person is there to cut it for you on demand.
The staff in the lobby was extremely nice and helpful to get us a taxi etc.
One hitch we had was that a friend I was traveling with was a US citizen and grad student who was in Kenya for her research. She was staying in a different city and only brought a copy of her passport with her on the safari. She was not able to check into the hotel without the original passport. It took several conversations even with the manager and they still were not able to let her check in, despite showing all her other forms of ID. In the end, she had to swap rooms with a friend who was staying at a different hotel.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
David G, General Manager at Sarova Stanley, responded to this review, October 29, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review.

We were humbled to have hosted you before and after your safari, offering a haven in the hustle and bustle of the city.

On the hitch mentioned, we understand and regret the inconvenience caused to you and your friend in particular. In line with government regulation, original identification documents are the only valid and acceptable credentials in hotels.

We look forward to hosting you again.

Warm regards,
David Gachuru.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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659 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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English first
Newton, Massachusetts
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2013

The Sarova Stanley, Kenya’s oldest hotel, boasts great service, clean and modern rooms and friendly, accommodating staff. With the exception of a few hiccups, my stay was nearly perfect.

Like most Americans, I was a little reticent about traveling to Kenya (especially in the wake of the mall tragedy). Effective the moment I first came in contact with my escort and driver from the Stanley at the airport (who picked me up and drove me to the hotel), I knew that I was about to have my expectations hit out of the park.

I was kindly greeted by my contact who met me at the airport, who took me to their WiFi-equipped Mercedes Benz, offered me a cool towel and a bottle of water, turned up the music of my liking and told me a bit about the city and the hotel.

After arriving at the hotel, walking through the metal detector and having my belongings scanned (which is standard practice in Kenya), I checked in and was taken to my room. Wow! It was spacious and clean - everything I could have hoped for.

The bed was a bit firm for my personal tastes, but I got a good night’s sleep.

I ordered a bit of bubbly from Room Service -- who had to pause a bit and call me back to see if it was available before delivering it. I was brought the wrong item, but after 18 hours of traveling, it wasn’t a big deal and I looked forward to sipping my champagne and FaceTiming with my family. (Yes, WiFi is free -- a bit slow, but free).

The next morning, I met my friend for breakfast at their buffet. I was surprised that the staff interrupted our breakfast together to tell him that due to his check in dates, he wasn’t “eligible” for the breakfast and we had to pause our conversation until he resolved the hotel’s concern with two staff members. Still -- the buffet had a wide selection of Western and local items -- and it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen.

After an afternoon of exploring the city, we had our only negative experience with the Sarova Stanley. Due to the hotel’s error in assigning rooms, my friend and I were placed in single rooms (instead of a double) for the second night. Rather than moving everyone, we asked to stay in our original single rooms -- as the hotel wasn’t booked and the error wasn’t made by us. Throughout the next hour or two, we had to have constant discussions (I was even called in my room!) to resolve the issue in a way that benefitted the hotel. I was told I couldn’t stay in my room because they needed it. Of course, when I offered to pay for the difference, the room magically became available and I was able to stay.

Amazing how, despite a great experience otherwise, one can feel slighted and done wrong based on one poor experience. Because of the hotel’s unprofessional handling (which, frankly, made it feel like we were doing something wrong), I personally have a bad taste in my mouth about the Sarova properties.

Overall - I think that the hotel handles common travel scenarios without complications extremely well. The only time that I think the hotel provided less than 5-star service was in dealing with exceptions. I would still recommend this to my friends and family and think that any traveller would have a comfortable stay. I hope that the hotel will educate its staff and management to more effectively deal with guests’ complications in a way that’s appropriate, doesn’t detract from their experience and is fair for all parties.

Tips:

If you want to make your arrival easier, shell out the USD $40 for the ride from NBO airport.

I’m not generally a breakfast buffet type of person, but it’s totally worth checking out at least once -- it’s a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city, while you’re still close to the action!

Make sure to resolve any exceptions to travel (last-minute changes, special requests) before your arrival to minimize any headaches.

The suites are a bit pricey -- but are spacious and worth it, if you’re into that sort of thing.

WiFi is free, but a little slow.

Room Tip: Try a suite - the extra space is a great value for its money. The AC was a little weak, though.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David G, General Manager at Sarova Stanley, responded to this review, October 29, 2013
Dear Tim F,

Thank you for your great feedback.

It was our pleasure to have hosted you while in Nairobi. We boast of great service, clean and modern rooms, friendly and accommodating team. We are also glad that your arrival experience at the airport and at the hotel was memorable, your room met your expectation and our dining options were exceptional.

We have noted how we dealt with your exceptional scenario was unprofessional and below expectation. We have addressed this issue with the team members involved. Training was conducted on how to handle various scenarios and performance will be reviewed regularly.

Once again, thank you for your review and we look forward to hosting you again.

Warm regards,
David Gachuru
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Jonesboro, Georgia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

We had a great time in Nairobi and it was all do to the great staff at the hotel. Form the moment we stepped out of the cab on arrival to the moment we departed we were greeted with some of the best customer services ever.We were there from 8/30 to 9/06, two coupies.The staff is some of the friendlys people you will every meet. The restuarant and bar, GREAT! The holet is very safe, clean and in a good location in the city center. I would definately recommend this hotel to anyone planning to visit Nairobi. Boaz, one of the best concierges. You can't go wrong choosing this hotel.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David G, General Manager at Sarova Stanley, responded to this review, October 29, 2013
Dear RIPP,

Thank you for your review.

We are happy to hear you had a great time in Nairobi and specifically at the hotel. We appreciate the feedback on our team's customer service efforts that exceeded your expectation. Special mention of one of the team members is highly appreciated. We are glad you enjoyed and endorsed the hotel for any future stays.

Looking forward to hosting you again.

Warm regards,
David Gachuru.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

This was an overnight stay on our way to the Masai Mara. This is a jewel in a busy and noisy downtown location. The rooms are quiet and 2nd floor pool/restaurant area very busy with business dealings. Thai restaurant is the best in the city. The bar was good, but service was very poor. A cheese plate took over an hour. Hot appetizers were about 30 minutes. Breakfast was included and elaborate and excellent with a tremendous variety from sushi, champagne and OJ to you name it. All excellent.
Going into the real outside is something else and if a tourist, be sure to have someone with you, especially at night.
Unfortunately, Nairobi is a dirty, polluted, traffic congested city and the Stanley will eliminate any such problems for business or pleasure.

Room Tip: Make sure you reserve a time for the Thai restaurant, which is next to the bar. Ask to be served by...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David G, General Manager at Sarova Stanley, responded to this review, October 17, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your candid feedback.

We appreciate your comment as a jewel in the city. The guestrooms, Thai Chi restaurant, Pool deck restaurant and bar met your expectations. Thank you for the special mention of our team members who ensured your dining experience was memorable at Thai Chi. As a hotel, we have also recognized their efforts in customer service.

The bar experience could have been better. We have taken up issue raised, identified the gaps in our food production and trained our team on meeting customer needs.

Nairobi, just like any other city or business hub, is faced by challenges brought about by growth and development. Our government does not tire to continually develop this city and eliminate the concerns raised.

We look forward to hosting you again.

Warm regards,
David Gachuru
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

Stayed here for a couple nights while on my way to visit the worlds biggest refugee camp in Northern Kenya. Although this hotel has been around for about 100 years, it has constantly been updated and renovated, so even though it retains it's old world charm, it is thoroughly modern in the level of service, facilities and furnishings. Great restaurants and bar. Only complaint is that as is common in East Africa, the internet was very slow and spotty.

Room Tip: stayed in a corner room with more windows
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 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
    • 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.
David G, General Manager at Sarova Stanley, responded to this review, October 17, 2013
Dear Prehensile,

Old World Charm indeed - thank you for your review.

Our history and heritage spanning our 100 years is our greatest treasure. We were glad to have shared the story of Sarova Stanley with you - the structure, the people and the emotions.

On our internet access, we regret the inconvenience caused. We have an ongoing planned maintenance schedules that assist us identify the flaws and as we continue to invest in solutions to remove the flaws. We know that during your next stay, the internet will have improved speeds and it will be more stable.

Warm regards,
David Gachuru.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
162 reviews 162 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 75 cities Reviews in 75 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

It deserves the star rating, basic rooms are spacious, clean and generally up together. Outdoor heated pool was bliss and can enjoy evening drink on the terrace before dining elsewhere or later on a drink in the Exchange bar. Staff are very friendly. Food is excellent (Thai restaurant is perhaps a little pricey and whilst the service is great, the food doesn't quite do it justice, but I am being a little picky here).

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
David G, General Manager at Sarova Stanley, responded to this review, October 17, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review.

We are glad that your guest experience from the spacious rooms, outdoor heated pool, dining experience and staff friendliness exceeded your expectation and you rated us five star. We have noted your comments on Thai Chi restaurant and we shall re-look into our pricing and food offering.

We hope to host you again in your next business trip to Nairobi.

Warm regards,
David Gachuru.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

We stayed at the Stanley en-route to safari in the Mara, the security was great given incidents with the west gate bombings we felt completely safe, our room was very comfortable from the beds the robes to the bathrooms all was perfect a truly 5 star hotel and experience.

the breakfast was also very lavish we had our fill sitting on the outside patio, the only thing i thing i would say needs improvement is the taxes imposed on the food bills which are not included on the menu in the rooms.

We had drinks at the bar on the 1st floor which also very nice and relaxing, the staff are well trained and friendly enough.

Would definitely stay there again and again

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
David G, General Manager at Sarova Stanley, responded to this review, October 17, 2013
Dear Gee K,

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for choosing to stay with us en-route to the Mara. Our rooms and in-room amenities exceeded your expectation, offering you a truly 5 star hotel experience. You noted our breakfast as lavish and the drinks at the bar as relaxing.

We understand your concern on not having the taxes included in the menus. We assure you, that we are re-looking into this issue to improve in our customer service.

We look forward to hosting you again and again.

Warm regards,
David Gachuru.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sarova Stanley

Address: Corner of Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street | PO Box 30680, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Nairobi
#4 Romantic Hotel in Nairobi
#5 Spa Hotel in Nairobi
#6 Business Hotel in Nairobi
#7 Luxury Hotel in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sarova Stanley 5*
Number of rooms: 217
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

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