Our travel agency moved us into the Serena lodge for 2 nights at the last minute after the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge was overbooked. From our arrival, we could see right away that this hotel was very different to the other lodges we had stayed at during our Safari. It had a more corporate feel (even though the other lodges are also not owned independently) and was also significantly larger than any of the lodges we had stayed in earlier.
The view of the crater was beautiful, and the food at Serena was quite good, but other than that we could not shake the feeling of being in a crammed cruise ship with poor service.
Two of our friends had to change rooms right away because their toilet was not working--this was not a very welcome development after a whole day of traveling from the western Serengeti. Also, the advertised "free WiFi" was a travesty. Hotels in Tanzania do not understand the concept of bandwidth, and offer "free WiFi" to their guests but do not realize that if 80 people are sitting in the bar checking their email, their small bandwidth does not have the capacity to accommodate everyone. When I complained to the concierge about this, he explained to me that something must be wrong with my iPhone and that he suggests I restart it as no other guests had complained to him about this issue. When a member of our group ordered a vodka martini at dinner, the waiter brought him a glass of vermouth and we were then charged for this and had to complain. Finally, and most upsettingly, we were woken up after our first night and asked if we need help with our bags. Confused, we responded that we are staying for two nights; however, the concierge informed us that our booking was only for one night. We spent the next 45 minutes trying to deal with our tour agency, the hotel concierge, and Serena's head office to figure out what went wrong. The concierge was not willing to budge, so rather than leaving for our game drive, we frantically ran back to our rooms to pack. While we were packing, though, we received a call from the concierge telling us that the HQ had confirmed our second night. Although everything worked out in the end, the miscommunication between Serena's office and the hotel left a sour taste in our mouth.
The rooms were alright, a little bit small in the triple compared to other lodges and tired out even though the hotel is quite young, but fine. Showers had hot water that was consistent, so that was much appreciated.
If I were to come back to Ngorongoro C.A., I would choose a different lodge next time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Perched on the jagged rim of the crater, wreathed in morning mist, camouflaged in river-stone and cloaked in indigenous creepers, the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is a triumph of ecological and architectural fusion. Sensitively constructed so as to take nothing from its environment whilst affording endless vistas over the heat-shimmering reaches of the crater below, the clustered boulder-built buildings of the Lodge hug the crater rim, linked by rope-lashed timber walkways that skirt the buttressed roots of ancient, liana-hung trees. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ngorongoro Serena Safari Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area