The BOMA is a new hotel (It opened in early 2013 I believe) that's operated by the Kenyan Red Cross with proceeds benefitting the organization. The non-profit link is great but make no mistake about it, the BOMA is not a charity. There's easily an average 300% mark-up on items sold in the hotel and don't get me started on their in-house taxi. My guess is that it's not that much different than most other tourist haunts.
The pluses: they do a great job with guest relations and guest services and for the most part appear to hire great smiles and coach them up on the rest. Charles our waiter at the Johari restaurant was particularly attentive and courteous. The rooms were spacious and well-appointment and I particularly enjoyed the shower. The girl at the coffee shop also makes a great cappuccino.
The minuses: the food is atrocious!! There's really no other way to put it. They try, they really do with fancy place settings and attention to every little detail but the food quality and flavor is just not there and if it doesn't get fixed they'll lose a good percentage of their clientele over it. Breakfast was unmemorable except for the fresh fruit and some of the meat (sausage, etc) and eggs were consistently overcooked.
Lunch and dinner were equally unremarkable and I actually had to call to complain about our room service meal to which they responded by comp'ing our dinner (Thanks Restaurant Manager Gregory) The problem with the food is two-fold. First, by nature Kenyans don't do whole lot to flavor their food outside of salt, pepper and mchuzi mix. Any real spices are usually in Indian dishes they've acquired over time. Second, the chefs and cooks (except for the pastry chef) seem to lack the subtle skills needed to execute western dishes instead applying the 'cook it till it's dead" philosophy. The chicken and beef are consistently dry and so is the fish and while Kenya is blessed with an abundance of produce it often gets lost in the overcooked/overbaked wash.
I ordered the french onion soup and while the menu promised a gruyere encrusted crostini it seemed more like a floating crouton and my wife's chicken burger (or whatever that was) was indiscernible and whatever you do, DO NOT order the Tembo Club Sandwich. For what it's worth I think they mean well and can right the ship but they need to get the food under control ASAP. I'd even be happy to share my food knowledge in helping them improve. I'll sum up the food by saying this, after 2 days of disappointing meals we headed over to City Centre to grab a bite at the Nairobi Java House only to find what seems like half the hotel guests eating there too. That says it all.
In summary, great property, very good guest relations, overpriced goods and services, and the food could use a major overhaul.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hospitality has now become a new front in the fight against human suffering. Kenya Red Cross Society has taken this concept to the next level with the launch of The Boma Nairobi. This is a luxury deluxe hotel with an adjoining conference centre offering world-class hospitality, having every penny of profit funding the KRCS’s humanitarian work. This is 'hospitality with a conscience.' ... more less
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