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“Pleasant public rooms - miserable bedrooms” 2 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 #20 of 100 hotels in Nairobi
Australia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
“Pleasant public rooms - miserable bedrooms”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2009

Stayed in this hotel for a conference. The conference facilities, restaurant and bar areas are fine, a bit old and run down, but ok. I suspect that the ground floor facilities are the same that were there when the place was opened in 1965. The rooms are dismal and certainly not of 3 star quality. I was told that the A/C was "not working at the moment" but that a fan was available for cooling - this did not work. I understand that the perception is that A/C is not needed in Nairobi, however, in a west facing hotel room it is. The room had a sliding door that faced onto a minute balcony. This door was not lockable and no safe is provided in the room. Each floor does have a security guard, but this is not a substitute for basic room security. The room was small with ancient, battered furniture and stained, dirty carpet. It had a dingy smell that was not overcome by the nasty perfumes in the cleaning agents used by the service staff. I couldn't wait to get out of it in the morning. The bathroom functioned but was also small and of the most basic sort. The accommodation was not cheap at all and was poor value for money in my view. The Sarova group should have renovated the place years ago. The fact that they are prepared to offer such miserable accommodation for around USD 125 per night shows that they have no pride in their 'brand'. I suspect that its main selling point is that there are plenty of worse places in Nairobi.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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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Nashua, New Hampshire
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2009

Just like any other big hotel in the US. Pretty impersonal and generic. Stayed overnight between safaris and although it was nice to have endless hot water and electricity, I would have preferred a smaller, more intimate place for one night. The food is pretty good. It is far from the international airport, but close to Wilson Field.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Hampshire
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2009

Hotel was fine, if beginning to show its age and looking slightly shabby, friendly staff, good breakfast buffet, dinner OK but slow service, overall nothing special. Fine for short business stay, but for a holiday I would choose somewhere smaller and less impersonal.

  • Stayed October 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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Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
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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Netanya, Israel
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
70 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
185 helpful votes 185 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
62 helpful votes 62 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
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 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
#12 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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