Alright, I'll give them marks for being a low budget hotel in the center of the city so everything is within reach. However, I recommend it as a one-night only hotel. We were there for four nights and each day exposed another flaw in the works.
1. The place is infested with roaches. They vary in size from ant to pet rat. The little ones I can handle but the big ones...eek! They spray the rooms religously and housekeeping is quite dilligent in maintaining a clean room, so much so that whatever it is they use to get the roaches can make for an unpleasant morning. I woke up once (thank God I had flipflops) and had to make my way through a minefield of dead and almost dead roaches. The sheets were clean but worn and torn, and I was definitely bitten by a flea on the second night. I managed to kill it hence was able to identify it.
2. The hotel's central location actually works against it in some ways. It is situated right across from the Stanley Hotel (ridiculously overpriced hence the choice of Oakwood) and also on a busy street. Be sure to ask for a quiet section and don't pick the rooms facing the street. For one, you're facing all that traffic and the city goes to sleep late or lulls momentarily before picking up again. And those rooms (201 - 205 I think) are right above the bar which gets very noisy. Our room was relatively quiet but we got the back traffic noise of very loud matatus and chugging buses.
3. There is no airconditioning throughout the hotel so be prepared to sweat it. We didn't want to leave our windows open at night as we were only two flights up and there didn't appear to be any security in the back. i.e., no bars on the windows or at least a high wall. Also, the lighting is very bad. There was only one bedside lamp and flourscent lighting to make up for the rest of the room. The beds themselves are somewhat comfortable but the design is terrible. Our double bed had the side drawers built as part of the head board and sticking out and not back, so you could actually risk poking or knocking a part of your face out if you turned over a bit too far in your sleep! Also, there was no mosquito net above our bed. A bit disconcerting as we were bitten every night and would have to cover our heads when that annoying whining of a searching parasite began and since there was no AC....very uncomfortable.
4. Food - atrocious. Breakfast consists of three kinds of cereals, stale dry pastries, instant coffee and you if you have to ask for eggs be prepared for a 10 minute minimum wait. The juices are not fresh squeeze, rather the bottled-add water variety. We never dared eat anything other than breakfast so can't exactly vouch for the snacks or other offered entrees.
5. It can get very loud within the hotel itself. An enthusiastic cleaning staff woke us up very early in the mornings with brooms knocking the numerous wood panel walls around and loud chattering and gossiping between dusting.
I will say that the staff were friendly and helpful but the hotel is not in the best of shape. The concept is good, a low budget hotel in the city centre but they need to get rid of the insects, demolish the kitchen and start afresh, hire a new kitchen manager in fact.
Mada Hotels advertises another property on the outskirts of Nairobi, but I'll wait until I see a positive review on Oakwood's improvement before I venture out there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Oakwood HotelThe Oakwood Hotel is a small exclusive and perfectly located property, in fact, it's ideal accommodation for guests who enjoy the hustle, bustle and non-stop night-life of Nairobi.The Oakwood resides in the Elite House. building, formally Livingstone House. The property was built in the 1950s and although it maintains its colonial Architect. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Oakwood Hotel Nairobi