Being put up at the Panari as part of a media group invitational to Nairobi, I had to stay where I was booked. Arrival handling was fairly swift, as I helped to find my own name on the guest arrival list. Getting upstairs one has to watch both elevators, which are not 'coordinated' and guests and staff are often seen to move from one to the other, pushing the buttons to eventually get one.
My 'superior' room, resembling a junior suite, was spacious, though the wardrobe unit was not 'built in' and standing next to what in a private residence would probably serve as a drink cabinet, wine bottle holders and back mirror included.
The desk was on the small side, a challenge for a writer used to spread out and a single socket at the desk made it a further challenge to keep all the camera and phone batteries charged up. On check in I was, upon making my case, given the courtesy of free internet access, for a travel writer an absolutely crucial component, but otherwise guests have to pay for this service I was told.
The bed and pillows were comfy, the duvet warm enough for the coolish nights, but lacking was 'dudu spray', aka anti insect spray, and when two calls to housekeeping would still not produce a can, subsequently causing nightly hunts for the little tormentors I eventually made a stop at a shop to buy my own.
A flat iron burn mark on the carpet stuck out like a sore thumb, and spoiled the impression of an otherwise clean room.
The dressing table, and I suppose ladies in particular will complain about this, lacked both overhead and side lighting but contained a hair dryer.
The bathroom, adequately equipped, had an exhaust fan installed which made far too much noise and was linked to the light switch, unable to switch it on separately. Perhaps this unit was faulty, but I rather guess those types from yesteryear just are noisy.
Another negative impression came from the traffic noise generated from the Mombasa highway, and double glazing, which could sharply reduce if not eliminate that noise, was notably absent. The view from 'this side' is clearly superior, allowing panoramic vistas of the Nairobi National Park and the Ngong Hills behind, but the noise at night, especially by seriously sick trucks, was ever filling my ears.
I only ever ate breakfast at the Panari, and that was adequate, though the breakfast cook tended to overheat the pan for the omelette and would not use butter as I requested but stuck to oil, prompting me to have one and then avoid it henceforth. The variety was there and the quality of the croissants, pastries and bread, fruits and juices, cannot be faulted.
The waiters, as often observed, were obsessed with clearing plates, and needed determined fending off, especially on my first 'appearance' when 4 in a row came and tried to remove my bread plate while I gave no indication that I 'was done'. One in particular amused me when I ordered cold milk for my tea and she brought another cup, full of cold milk, before seeing my face going into a big question mark mode, then figuring out what she had just accomplished and off she rushed to mend her mistake and bring a little milk pot instead.
The staff, all the staff I should say from the front entrance security to the doorman to the reception to the dining room were friendly and approachable.
On check out I was presented with a bill for my first day's breakfast, to which I was 'invited' by the reception staff on check in who told me 'breakfast is served over there if you want to have some tea or coffee' ... at 2.398 Kenya Shillings a whopper galore and probably what I would expect at the Ritz. I had been booked by my hosts on B&B, so this charge was unexpected to say the least but extorted anyway as otherwise I would not get a gate pass to leave the hotel.
In closing, having been booked there the saying goes 'do not look a gift horse in the mouth' but frankly, this would not be a hotel of choice when I travel under my own steam.
Located closely to the airport it is a suitable transit hotel for passengers on delayed flights but that is about as much as there is to say about the Panari.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Panari Hotel is the closest hotel to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi. Located 7 kilometers from the airport and 8 kilometers from the city center, we have your convenience at heart. From the rooms, our guests enjoy a captivating panoramic view of The Nairobi national park on one side. On the other side, you have a full view of the City in the horizon. The hotel is one of its kind being the only venue with an Ice Skating Rink in East and Central Africa. For our guest's convenience, we have a bank, forex bureau and a hair salon all under one roof. We also have a variety of food outlets alongside the Hotel's main restaurant "The Red Garnet." For a night out, you need not go elsewhere, on the second floor of the hotel, "Shooters and Dips Lounge" is the hottest entertainment spot along Mombasa road. No need to interrupt your keep fit regime while traveling. Get a full work out at The Dolphin Health Club. The health club is fully equipped with all the modern workout machines, steam bath, sauna and an indoor swimming pool. The Panari Hotel boasts a very large conferencing area with sufficient, secure and ample parking space to fit 450 cars. The Panari Hotel "A Luxurious Way of Life." ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Panari Hotel Nairobi