Having stayed at this hotel numerous times over the past 10 to 12 years, I have watched with increasing apprehension and also a sense regret as the facilities within this aging and rather neglected building continue to deteriorate while the room rates climb relentlessly ever higher. Sad to say, but this establishment with its superb central location on the edge of downtown Nairobi, with convenient access to the main sites in the city core, is no longer a place that one should seriously consider unless one is prepared to put up with the obvious shortcomings. Regrettably, these are many and they are not being addressed by the hotel management. The rooms in the main are old and increasingly run down. While it is true that they are oversized and thus quite comfortable from the point of view of space, the state of the furnishings and the facilities in most is simply abysmal. Many reviewers have commented that the beds are rock hard. This they most certainly are. That, however, may not be a bad thing as some of us prefer a firm to a sagging mattress. The sheets and towels are changed daily by the caring and efficient housekeeping staff. However, there is absolutely no excuse for the wretched state of the hotel plumbing. In a word, it is simply dreadful. Every time a resident flushes a toilet, the resounding "clank" of the toilet valve shutting off the flow of water can be heard throughout the entire hotel. This is no exaggeration. And believe me, it is far from pleasant, especially at night or in the early morning, if the hotel is full and many people are using the facilities. Additionally, while there is always a reliable supply of hot water any time of the day or night, it is simply impossible in any of the rooms I have occupied over the years to efficiently regulate the water temperature during a shower. Your best bet: Have a bath in the enormous tub. Most rooms have one or more broken or non functioning electrical outlets; locks on patio/veranda doors are mostly inoperable; there is neither air conditioning nor an electric fan to help circulate the stifling Nairobi afternoon air which heats up the room forcing one to open the windows. This can be a problem inasmuch as the rooms facing the street are niosy even with doors and windows closed. There is also a mosquito problem at night but this can generally be dealt with by purchasing and liberally using "Tabard" mosquito repellant readily available in the shops. The restaurant remains for me a highlight of the hotel. The dining room manager, Leonard, goes out of his way to ensure that the needs of the guests are addressed by his efficient and friendly staff. I like the breakfast buffet and having experienced the dinner menu on a couple of occasions, it also gets top marks. Quality and price are, in a word, top notch. As always, the front desk staff anchored by Herman, Julius and Bernard among others is unfailingly friendly, hospitable and efficient. Perhaps I have been coming here for so long that they favour me with a special welcome, but my observations of the way they treat their other guests suggests that this is the norm. My biggest single complaint, and the one thing that will keep me away from the Meridian in the future is the detached, aloof, superior attitude that borders on the arrogant and downright unfriendly as displayed by the Indian family that owns and operates the Meridian. In a frank discussion with the owner over this very topic, I was told in no uncertain terms that he did not feel that it was his responsibility to take a personal interest in the well being or the satisfaction of the guests. That he said was the job of the staff. While on this subject, I would single out the wife of the owner as a particularly egregious example of this callous view. She skulks around the building barking orders at the staff and generally spreading misery everywhere she goes. It is upsetting as well as unsettling to the morale and the motivation of employees who take an observable pride in their jobs. It is a wonder that they stay, but given the employment situation in Kenya, one cannot afford to put one's job at risk by offending a dictatorial, arrogant superior even if he or she is clearly being unnecessarily heavy handed. Given the new 2012 room pricing structure and the continuing declining condition of the rooms, I have decided that there are better alternatives in the area. These observations are nothing an imaginative, committed and service oriented management could not remedy. The sad thing is that the current owners exhibit none of those things and therefore little or nothing will change in the immediate future. Allan H. Adams.
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