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“Decent hotel, but nothing special” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sarova Panafric

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Sarova Panafric
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi 72493, Kenya   |  
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Ranked #19 of 96 hotels in Nairobi
Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Decent hotel, but nothing special”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2009

I booked two nights at the Panafric, my first and last nights on a three week trip in East Africa. The hotel was not the best first impression of Nairobi. I arrived early in the morning since my flight arrived at 6:45am. I was told that there was nowhere to eat within walking distance so I ended up eating the breakfast buffet, which I later found out was very overpriced at nearly $20 USD. I do have to say that the waitstaff and food were excellent though. When I checked in to my room after encountering a very unfriendly woman working at the desk, I was very disappointed that the room looked NOTHING like any of the photos on the Sarova website. After a wonderful trip through Tanzania I would have to say that many of the campsites on Safari were more enjoyable. All in all, as someone who is completely happy staying at a $15 hostel I would have to say that the Panafric was not worth the money. I cancelled my second night there and stayed downtown. The Hilton is centrally located and hardly more expensive.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Netanya, Israel
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
66 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
180 helpful votes 180 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2009

I stayed in the Panafric for 4 nights in late August. Being a frequent visitor to Nairobi for business, I usually try and stay at the Fairview, but its often full, so the challenge is to find another acceptable hotel within my company's travel budget of $150 per night. This is not easy in Nairobi since most of the good business hotels are in the $200-$300 per night range. (the Fairview is a very pleasant enigma, probably why its always booked solid). So, the Panafric came up as an option - $140 per night, and in Upper Hill which is an acceptable distance from the city center where the majority of my meetings take place.

The Panafric is quite an unusual hotel. It seems like it was built in the 60s, (perhaps the 70s) and does not appear to have been renovated since. Access to the hotel is strictly guarded by a security check point, so at least it seemed to be safe from that point of view. The lobby is really small and old, and I must admit my first impression was a pretty negative one. I thought that I had fallen hard. Check in was a fairly painless procedure, and then I went up to my room. (A positive point - there is a security guard located on every floor.)

Now, the rooms are quite a good size - king size bed, separate armchair and coffee table. The floors are parquet, which I quite like, and in good condition. The furnishings are all fairly plain and old fashioned - they don't appear to ever have been changed - BUT, the weird thing is, though its all old furniture, and though there never seems to have been renovations, the room was in surprisingly good condition and very well kept and spotlessly clean. So in fact, the room was very comfortable. The bed was very comfortable as well and the bathroom was large and also spotlessly clean. I actually found the room grew on me and I felt extremely comfortable throughout my stay.

Location as I mentioned, is in Upper Hill, which is very close to downtown - a 5-10 minute cab ride depending on the traffic. I would not recommend to walk to town since the park that lies between the hotel and city center is rumored to be home to many petty thieves that could spring out of nowhere, snatch a bag and disappear very quickly. This was local advice. Upper Hill itself is quite an upmarket area and has the advantage of being quiet, green and a bit of a breath of fresh air compared with downtown. Only problem is you need a cab to get anywhere.

As many other reviewers have mentioned the Flame Tree restaurant in the Panafric is in fact outstanding. For a hotel restaurant it is very reasonably priced, and the food is really excellent. I had no hesitation eating there several times rather than venture out looking for other restaurants. Their breakfast (included) was also decent - omelets made to order, lots of tasty pastries, and plenty of variety overall.

Wireless internet was a bit expensive, but very reliable. I didn't use any other facilities, but I know there is a pool and a massage room. As far as I know there is no fitness room.

Overall, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Panafric. As long as you don't expect super luxury, and all you need is a comfortable room in a good location, its definitely worth consideration. Not a bad "budget" business hotel at all.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Maun, Botswana
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2009

The location is about 30min from the airport, next to a huge public park & in walking distance to the Intercontinental and Serena Nairobi hotels. Even the "city center" can be reached by foot and I think it is no problem to walk there alone by day.
I have stayed in July / August 2009 at the Panafric a total of 5 nights [2 pre-safari, 2 post and 1 in between]. The hotel was recommended by the tour operator [Gecko's] and used as meeting point. Booked through the operator, the single was around US$100 B&B which I found quite expensive. However, looking at the official rate for a standard room [$296] I was really shocked. This is outrageous. Seems a huge lack of rooms, because in general all hotels are expensive. No way that this place is worth so much money. I was staying in three different rooms [213, 625, 129] and the place is really worn & torn and is in need of an overhaul urgently. Cleanliness is also not the strength of the hotel, I found the rooms to be unclean, with torn linen. Positiv: I found all rooms, even the street facing 213 quiet. The "spa" is just a room that has been converted and equipped with one massage bed. But I must say the lady [Helen] did a great job with the Tulia massage [ca. KES2200]. But time managment is not on their side. I had to wait over 30 minutes, even though I had a confirmed booking. Needs better communication with front desk where one can do the booking. The pool seems not temperature controlled; the water was ice-cold [probably fine in the hot months], but in July / Aug, Nairobi is only about 20-25C, so it would have been nice to swim in warmer water. The only highlight is the restaurant "Flame Tree". I have had 4 dinners and the food was outstanding. The chefs are creative, so beside the usual burger&chips stuff, you can find real gems like prawns with ginger & macadamia [KES1200] or Tilapia Chermoula with Citrus Rice. No matter what I ordered, it was all very tasty and the service is fast. The restaurant staffs shine, all very friendly and accommodating. I would recommend going there even if you stay at a different hotel. The breakfast buffet is ok [yet for 300 bucks I would expect more], only coffee / tea is not good, this is sad as Kenian products are of excellent quality, but it lacks the proper preparation. As a last point, which I found very disturbing is the fact that I had filled 3 guest comment cards with detailed points for improvement, and I received no response from the management. Each stay was with a week in between and I had even announced my coming back with the next arrival date. You would think that somebody would approach me latest at the thirs stay. For me, this is one of the main reasons [beside the prize] why I would not recommed this hotel and I won't return. Hotel mgmt must not ignore their guest's comments.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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England
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2009

I stayed in this hotel in July 2009 and had my bag, containing my passport and other items stolen from the hotel restaurant as we ate dinner. Be very vigilant with your possessions whilst in this hotel.

  • Stayed July 2009
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2009

Outdated hotel with great swimming pool and breakfast area. The lower class Sarova hotel is an aright hotel. Clean rooms with no air-conditioning, outdated decor of the rooms and common areas, but clean and with a great choice of beauty and massage treatments. Doesn’t feel particularly safe. But does have a great swimming pool, a fantastic choice for breakfast in a lovely area (much better than the more expensive Sarova Stanley).
There are many other hotels that are in the same price range or lower and are of much better quality Country Lodge or Fairview Hotel, so there really is no reason to stay in Panafric.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Geneva, Switzerland
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
57 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2009

While the lobby fails to impress, and the rooms are mediocre (but clean), depending upon what wing you are in, overall this is a fine business or conference hotel for Nairobi. I was in the older wing and had to tolerate poor lighting in the room, as well as a flickering fluorescent light in the bathroom, but it was clean and the bed comfortable. The staff were all very friendly and the room service food was fine. The breakfast was very good and large in terms of selection. I was there for a conference and the room we were in was very nice, large and bright. The food at the breaks was also fine and the staff were all very attentive. The pool and surrounding area was nice but I did not use it. The business center staff was friendly, but the connection was a bit slow (but that is Nairobi). Overall a fine experience.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Santa Clara, CA
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2009

We were sent to this hotel by Kenya Air at 3am. They were extremely unorganized to the point several people were given keys to rooms that were already occupied!!

  • Stayed June 2009
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Sarova Panafric

Address: Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi 72493, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Spa Hotel in Nairobi
#11 Business Hotel in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sarova Panafric 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Idyllically located 5 minutes drive from the CBD and 18 Kms from Jomo Kenyatta Internationa Airport, amidst beautifully landscaped gardens in a quiet suburb of Nairobi, Sarova Panafric offers 164 rooms in a range of standard, superior, club and suites- all recently refurbished and decorated in a contemporary vibrant African style. Named in honor of the Pan African movement, Sarova Panafric was inaugurated by the first president of Kenya H.E. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on the 5th January 1965 and truly represents Neo Africa. Enjoy leisurely meals at the lively and warm Flame tree restaurant, once the watering hole for freedom fighters, spies and foreign correspondents and named after the Flame Tree that holds pride of place in the gardens. Sarova Panafric offers state of the art banqueting and conferencing facilities with a range of meeting and function rooms equipped with the latest audio visual and WIFI equipment. To wind up the day, take a dip in the pool or go for a leisurely massage – or simply enjoy a cool drink to the soothing sounds of Africa’s rhythm Sarova Panafric is also located a short 0.5 Kms from Kenya's Landmark 'Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC)' , an events venue in Africa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sarova Panafric Hotel Nairobi
Sarova Panafric Nairobi
Panafric Hotel Nairobi

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