The Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam is well located in central Dar Es Salaam (viz. in the middle of traffic jams) and conveniently within walking distance to the Zanzibar ferry terminal. The building itself is relatively new and appears well enough appointed from the outside. That is where the international standards stop though.
My first issue with the property was their failure to provide a pre-arranged and re-confirmed airport pickup service. As a result, my girlfriend, on her first visit to Tanzania and arriving separately to me due to my flight being rescheduled, was left to fend for herself amid the melee of airport taxis. To cap it off, when she called to ask the hotel about the status of the pickup, she was told that there was no record of her booking a vehicle and that she should find a taxi herself. This was despite an email confirmation that was copied to (and confirmed as read by) the General Manager personally. She came to no harm in the end, but I was livid at their flippant disregard for providing services that they had already confirmed to provide.
My second issue with the property was with their bathroom fittings. On our first night there, we were in an older standard room and the bathroom fittings were simply not of international standard. I understand that the bathrooms are under renovation, so I will cut them some slack on that front. On our second night there on our way back from Zanzibar, we were upgraded to an Executive Room due to my Priority Club status. The bathroom fittings here were much nicer in appearance, but the sloppy housekeeping and maintenance was in evidence. There was only a quarter roll of toilet paper provided, with no spare roll as is customary in hotel rooms. Additionally, the shower head snapped off and fell to the ground as I was taking a shower. It appeared to be some cheap plastic head that couldn't handle the water pressure. Very poor experience. We also had an electricity failure that left the entire property in darkness for almost 40 minutes - I would expect that a branded hotel in Africa has multiple redundant systems in place to deal with undoubtedly frequent power cuts.
There are other small things that stand out about the sloppy service at the hotel. For example, at breakfast the tea/coffee was served, but our table was missing a sugar bowl. The server failed to bring us any despite being requested and we had to flag down another server who eventually assisted us. Our requested refills did not arrive for 15 minutes ("yes sir, it is coming soon") at which point we just gave up and left. On multiple occasions, I had to wait at the reception desk to ask a question while the staff seemingly busied themselves in paperwork/computers rather than deal with me. The bell captain/porter desk was routinely unmanned and you had to actually walk up to it and poke around for someone to come scurrying out of the shadows to deal with you. Even the security guard/doorman that was supposed to be manning the driveway was rarely at his post, preferring instead to hang out in the air-conditioned lobby unless a manager was around.
On the positive side though, the staff who did interact with us were almost universally friendly and helpful once they actually gave us their attention. Complimentary wireless internet access runs throughout the property and is decently fast by African standards. The food at the restaurants (we ate both downstairs and at the rooftop restaurant) is also good.
Overall however, this was a generally poor experience, and the property needs a serious shakeup to maintain the Holiday Inn brand standard.
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City Centre Hotel Dar Es Salaam