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“Central location but...”

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Holiday Express Hotel
Ranked #34 of 105 Hotels in Kampala
Reviewed July 25, 2012

Well not too sure where to begin with my review.. I will say something positive but!! Hotel is in the central part of Kampala, so if your brave enough to tackle the crowds outside and browse the markets for sone shopping, also it was very cheap, so if your on a budget than great. However.... Myself and a friend stayed here on either side of our gap adventures tour, and our first night we got no sleep cause all we heard was doors opening and slamming every minute, felt like the rooms were rented by the hour. We even shoved a chair under the door handle. We then had to return a few days later and once again did not get any sleep we got woken up at 3am by a girl screaming so loud running down the corridor screaming for help!! We were so scared we just laid in our bed waiting for daylight so we could go!! As two female travelling together I would not recommend this hotel, but if your travelling with your partner and on a budget than perfect.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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1  Thank emmy1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 - 30 of 37 reviews

Reviewed March 16, 2012

Its a decent hotel if you're tight on budget and also want to remain close to the city center. Considering that I was travelling on business and had particular requirement to be close to the market place, this was a great hotel for me. Though, the rooms are on the smaller side, the furnishings were fine. The bathroom was clean and things were working the way they should. The staff was very helpful in directing us to decent restaurants. The breakfast was fine as well.
My only major problem was when there was no electricity. Uganda has a major power problem and this hotel has little infrastructure to prevent those problems from affecting its customers. My last night in Kampala was atrocious. There was no light from the time I got to the hotel (10 pm) after my day in the market until 5 in the morning and the hotel wasn't capable of running their generator continuously for that long. As a result I spent half the night in my dark bedroom being bitten by mosquitoes and the rest in the hotel lounge trying to get some sleep on the sofa kept in the lounge, where thankfully there were no mosquitoes.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Ghulam H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2011

We stayed there for one night, as it was the starting hotel of a tour we did. Great location right in the city centre, great to explore the vibrant city center. However, also makes it quite noisy. Room was large, but bathroom was not properly cleaned. Buffet breakfast was good.

We did not feel safe during the stay, as it looked as everyone could enter the hotel and no control was done by the security guy at the entrance.

Power supply was a real problem, we had power maybe for one hour during the evening and otherwise sat in the dark and had to watch television as the only option. I know, power is a problem in Africa, but when paying 75$ per night, I expect them to have a generator to produce power if normal power supply stops.

The card to enter the room did not work during the whole stay and the staff was not able to change it, so we always had someone to come with us to our room to open it.

Furthermore, no mosquito net was provided, which I would expect for this price.

I would rather choose another place maybe not that close to the center, but with better value for money.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank biddingpoints
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2011

We stayed at the Holiday Express for one night before departing Uganda. We opted for a room with AC ($89 USD) versus the one without ($77 USD). The extra $12 was money well spent. We thought the place was very clean, and the staff very friendly and helpful with laundry, directions, and making arrangments for airport transportation. Breakfast is included and while unremarkable, does fuel you up for the morning.

We had a minor incident at the hotel, of which I won't go into the sordid details. But what I will say is the hotel manager, Raphael, sought me out when we returned from shopping and resolved it in a very satisfactory and professional manner. I had not anticipated this and was very impressed.

The hotel is in the middle of a congested shopping area and there is street noise. We were able to tune it out and our sleep was good. Aside from the value of the hotel is its location. It is a 10 minute walk in one direction to the African Village for crafts and a 10 minute walk in the other direction to the Craft Market. It is 5 minute walk from the Owino Market. There is also a small and well organized vegetable and fruit market across the street. There are any other hundreds of shops in the area and a nice wine and spirits store just down the street. The wine and spirits store opens from 8 am until only 6 pm, so plan accordingly if you need booze.

We felt very safe at all times walking and you just have to step out into traffic as it virtually never ceases. Taking a taxi in town for short distances is almost useless as you can walk faster than most cars move. There are plenty of guys that will give you a ride on motorcycles but we passed on that mode of transportation.

I thought Holiday Express was fine place to stay, especially for souvenir shopping. If I needed to stay in Kampala again, I would not hesitate to stay there. But to be honest, I would probably make the extra hour drive to stay in far less hectic Entebbe.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank DSaudi2Africa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2011

Holiday Express is a mid-price hotel in a great location.. for noise! It's the noisiest hotel I have ever stayed at. It should win a noise award! There were street vendors, party-goers, bar music, sirens, and even a car with a bull horn driving by blaring announcements every hour or so all through the night. It was unbelievable. Yes, even by Ugandan standards. If you want to party all night or you are a dead hard sleeper then maybe you can enjoy the Holiday Express, otherwise do yourself a favor and stay somewhere else. One reviewer said it would be a good hotel to start a safari from. I completely disagree. Even after flying 3 days from Hawaii, 13 hour time changes & total exhaustion I still couldn't sleep through the bull horns & sirens. Earplugs don't even dent the noise! I feel it ruined the first day of my safari as it was easier to sleep in a 4x4 bouncing over potholed roads than the room (I kept falling asleep -totally embarrassing!) The hotel rooms themselves are adequate & comfortable. If it wasn't for the noise I wouldn't have any major complaints. My shower wouldn't drain so I had to shut off the water during the shower and turn it on just to rinse off to avoid flooding the bathroom and there was a huge hole in the wall near the ceiling in the bathroom. Make sure you have Ugandan Shillings before you arrive at the hotel. I was charged more than double for bottled water using American dollars vs. shillings. Other than that and the dark, uneven stairs and the dirty, mildew smelling restaurant it was fine. I'm looking forward to finding another hotel next time.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank travel_fanhawaii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2010

I stayed in room 422 with air-con for about US$65 a night including breakfast (basic but pretty good with cereal / fruit / toast / egg station). The air-con was good / cable tv was included and the hotel is safe, secure and the room had everything you need. it's the 3rd hotel i've tried in Kampala after the Sheraton and the Metropole - which were both ok but very expensive. Holiday Express is at least half the price with clean, comfortable but basic rooms - and i'd recommend this except that the centre of the city location is totally hectic and can be pretty noisy - with so much traffic and pedestrian noise from downstairs.
The hotel is very close to the bus & taxi parks so that could be an advantage. I'd stay here again but i'm still searching for the best mid-range hotel in Kampala.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled on business
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1  Thank KayteWebb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2008

The hotel is small, well-located in the middle of Kampala, if you like shopping and bustle, that is. It's in a very, very busy pedestrian and street vendors' area of the city. At night the disco directly across from the entrance blares music well into the morning hours, so beware of that. And, like most African cities, the streets outside are full of party-people and security officers watching the revelry.

The rooms are small, some old and some newly re-modeled, but all are clean to a fault. I stayed in two of them. The first room I was given upon arrival was in the "new" wing of the hotel, the 5th floor. The room (517) was, like I said, small but clean. Everything in it was new. There was just one fault, however. No hot water. The electrical system could not accomodate hot water just yet and so I requested another room. I went down to 412, which was older. For this one the problems were that the toilet took about an hour to re-fill after flushing. The shower pressure was minimal so it took a long time to rinse. It made me not want to shower but, hey, that was Kampala. Showering at least twice a day was a must. To fix the toilet problem, I ran the shower water into the tank or filled up the trash can and poured the water into the tank (Just because I'm American doesn't mean I don't know how to innovate). My 412 room had no A/C, the 517 did. I had a fan in both.

There is a restaurant - small, with a slight moldy, mildewy smell about it. I couldn't figure it out. Mosquitoes have free reign inside as the windows are always open. No respite if you're hot.
The food was just on the okay side.

Finally, I must say the cadre of staff did their best to accomodate me. All were friendly. They had me pay in dollars and the final tab was great. Can't beat the rates for clean sleeping quarters. Overall, if I was on a budget or just passing through for a day or two without an agenda, I'd stay there again. Otherwise, I would book a classier, quieter hotel not so close to the markets, arcades, and bazaars.

One other note. Arrange transportation by hiring a car in Kampala. Otherwise, you have to ride the back of motorbikes (a dangerous proposition) or ride inside a minivan, which is packed to the hilt. If an accident happened and one needed to escape, forget about it, you'd never make it because there are no exits other than the ones that are blocked by auxilliary seats that fold down into the aisle.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled on business
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Thank africanventurer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Holiday Express Hotel

Address: Plot 16/18/20, Luwum Street, Kampala, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Central Region > Kampala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #34 of 105 Hotels in Kampala
Price Range: $62 - $99 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Holiday Express Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 100
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