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“Reasonable by Ugandan Standards”
Review of Aponye Hotel

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Aponye Hotel
Ranked #75 of 103 Hotels in Kampala
Reviewed September 28, 2010

Rooms were clean but sparse. Louvered upper windows can't be closed and are open to whatever noise is nearby. The room we had reserved was given to someone else with no attempt at making it right. Manager was unavailable.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank HOMEAGAIN3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 - 52 of 61 reviews

Reviewed August 13, 2010

I agree with the previous reviews of this place. It's all true. I just wanted to let people know that the high standard continues.

Rooms are still USD15 for a single, USD20 for a fan double and USD25 for an a/c double.

Tip: Check out Antonio’s restaurant just around the corner for breakfast and lunch - great value.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Chester-Brown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2010

Aponye is in a crazily busy part of Nakasero. It's convenient (close to the bus park, taxi parks, and all the services/shops/banks of Kampala road) but it can also be intimidating. The hotel itself is clean and pleasant. Rooms are basic (mine was $19/night with no A/C, but with a good fan so didn't need it) but there's Wifi throughout the hotel, which was great. I've stayed at other places in Nakasero and not been able to sleep because of the street noise, which goes all night, but my room in Aponye had windows facing into the hotel, which has a big open atrium in the middle. I thought this was odd at first, but it turned out to be great. The restaurant staff are very nice and the food is good.

One thing -- the front desk staff are not the friendliest, but if you have questions, be sure to ask them, as a lot of the written information is incorrect. (For example, the website says they take credit cards; they don't. Signs in the room say checkout time is at noon; it is really at 10:30.)

As a woman traveling alone, I'm really concerned with safety, and Aponye felt very secure. There are guards at the entrances and stationed at each floor. Definitely recommended.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled on business
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Thank rachftgreene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2010

Pros: Very well kept and clean hotel, Excellent food, Excellent prices
Cons: Lift/Elevator sometimes not working

This hotel doesn't look so promising from the outside but inside it has a lovely polished appearance. You can always find staff during the day, busy sweeping or mopping the floors.

The rooms i saw were clean well kept. The night shift manager explained that whilel the rooms have mosquito nets, the window blocks any from entering the room.
The first night i slept with the net covering me but after that i just slept without protection. I never got biten once so his claim was true. However the balcony door when opened will let mosquitos in and in that case you are likely to get bitten

The reception staff recommended not to walk alone at night. So if i needed to go out for what ever reason i had to get someone to accompany me or just wait for the next morning. But note this didn't stop white people going out at midnight. One night at around 11.30pm I heard in the corridor two american girls making a big deal about how some black guy told them that they were sexy and asked if they like sex. They obviously weren't prepared for a visit to africa.

Their are 3 types of room available
30,000 a night, 40,000 and 50,000 (Ugandan Shillings)
The cheapest one has a single bed and only a ceiling mounted fan to keep the room cool.
The expensive one has air conditioning and a double bed.
All rooms also have small accessable balconies

While the website quotes room prices in US Dollars, you should note they only accept payment in Ugandan money (for the room and restaurant bills. Payment also must be made upfront before moving into the room. (You cannot stay the night and then pay for the room later.)

If you are from the UK and have a visa debit card, then the barclays bank and crane banks nearby will accept your uk cards. They give out ugandan shillings.

The restaurant was better than expected. It had elements taken from 4 star/5 star hotels. The menu had several types of meal. Breakfast, Beef, Chicken, Italian, Indian and Fish. They usually offered either chips or rice as extras. Everything i tried tasted great and authentic. The staff were very eager to assist and make me feel comfortable

The cheapest meals were around 5,000 USH. While the most expensive were 12,000 USH.

The location of the hotel is very good being close to the taxi park, the minibus stop and most important places. The nearest supermarket to the hotel appears to be Pride Supermarket. It opens at around 9:30am (its located towards the end of william street, near where hotel equatorial is). While being a bit limited in size they had many things westerners would want to buy. However for the best supermarket in kampala go to garden city. There you will find two very large sized supermarkets. (In seperate shopping malls)

The hotel offers a taxi service to and from the airport. It wasn't a problem for them that i wanted to travel at 2o'clock in the morning. The cost for the taxi was 15 US Dollars one-way (30,000 USH). This was cheaper than most prices offered at the airport.

Staying at a hotel with good security levels was a major concern for me.. Aponye Hotel has signs all over the place warning customers to leave their valuables behind the desk at reception. However when i showed my passport they just took a photocopy of it for their own recoreds and handed it back to me.

The cleaners were very enthusiastic to clean my room. This actually concerned me at first but my fears were misguided as i never had anything taken from my room.
Its worth noting that they dont keep any spare keys for thotel rooms. The cleaners need your key to provide access to your room. (Only in an emergency does someone with a universal key come round to unlock your door in case you had accidentally locked yourself out.)
The cleaners therefore will not be able to clean your room if you dont hand it to them or leave it at reception.

The hotel has lots of stairs. Reaching reception requires going up. 3 flights of stairs. The lift/elevator was unreliable and not available on some days. This problem is my main criticism of the place.
Theres also a lounge area near the reception. If you need to hang around/kill time before moving into a room then you can make use of this facility.

All rooms have tvs fitted with satellite tv channels. I counted a total of 50 channels. Most were indian language. The exceptions being BBC World News, Al-jazeera and Star Sports.
Wimbledon and the World cup were being shown on Star Sports (great news for all you avid-sports fans.)

Just one word of warning. Many banks and important places in Kampala have armed security guards. Theres also one to be found outside the hotel at night. Dont be too alarmed if you see a guy with a shotgun approach you when you first arrive at the place.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank moinjaang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2010

Firstly, we chose it because of its location - it is a short walk to the taxi parks and the bus park, which is really great if you are arriving or departing early morning or late evening.
It may be an intimidating location if you have only just arrived in Kampala so I would recommend getting the airport pickup service so they can help you settle in!

Secondly, you go up to the 3rd floor and you feel miles away from the outside world. It is modern, simple and clean. The room was great, with a huge bed, clean bathroom and our own decent TV connected to cable. Hot water was included! The hotel's restaurant was surprisingly good with a mix of options and inexpensive. The service in the restaurant was lovely too, and you could watch the World Cup on a few big TVs.

Thirdly, the staff were accommodating and well presented. I was happy with the prices and felt like we received good value (we paid 40,000 UGX for one of the smaller rooms but was definitely adequate and the bed was huge!)

We will definitely recommend friends to stay here and I am sure we will back again.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Special_K24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2010

VALUE: Aponye is an incredible value for the money (~$25 USD per night for the "deluxe" room with A/C). We looked at a couple other hotels in the area in the same price range and they didn't come close. Aponye has a much more modern, clean, and friendly vibe going on. I'm willing to bet it's the best hotel in this price range in central Kampala and it's quite a leap to the next price range before you'll start finding nicer hotels (in the $85-$100 range). My husband was planning a 3-4 week stay (I was there for the first week) so value was an important consideration for us this time.

SERVICE: The outstanding service is one of the main reasons I would recommend this hotel to others. The staff went completely out of there way to accommodate our needs and help us navigate our time in Kampala. The manager, Arnold, and his assistant, Prosper, personally drove the van to pick us up at the airport and bring us to the hotel (~$25 USD). Later in the evening on the first day they took us on a brief driving tour of Kampala (for FREE) so we could get oriented, and even let us stop to order dinner and buy some groceries and supplies (e.g. laundry detergent!). This was such a kind gesture for weary travelers in a foreign country. It went a long way toward helping us get settled, and we were glad to know we had help and support from these kind people. Arnold took the time to check in with us daily when we would run into him in the lobby and he obviously cared to make a good impression and take good care of his customers! He even bought us a pineapple as a surprise to enjoy one morning.

Other services: Later in the week we were able to hire a driver from the hotel to take us to a dance performance across town (another life saver in Kampala traffic). They let us check our laptop in and out of the front desk for safe keeping. The hotel offers room service from the modest, but clean and comfortable bar/restaurant and daily room cleaning services. The entire staff was very helpful, although not everyone was quite as friendly as the management team.

ROOMS: The rooms are basic but completely adequate and comfortable with a small TV, a basic bed, table and chairs, and a private bathroom. Everything was nicer than expected and the room provided a nice home base for our time in Kampala. The closets/bureaus/dressers were very convenient and much larger than would be found in many American hotels. The shower left some room for improvement, because it didn't have it's own stall; it was merely a thin curtain hanging down the middle of the room between the toilet and shower head. The bathroom had a slightly musty/dingy feel, but it was still seemed adequate for Ugandan standards. We had to wait up to five minutes for hot water, but there always ended up being enough for both of us to shower.

CLEANLINESS: People are constantly tracking red dirt and mud from the city streets of Kampala into the hotel, but I would have to say the hotel does a wonderful job of constantly following behind and cleaning things up. Housekeeping services were offered every day, but you have to make sure to leave your key with the front desk or they may skip your room. We also had to wait for towels on our first night at the hotel, and we were told there were no more towels because it had been raining. When we received the towels they were still a bit damp and we realized that they must be line-dried. This is the kind of thing that makes for a charming and memorable trip to Africa, but it is just a bit different from what we are used to.

LOCATION: This is where the review starts to go a little downhill...while Aponye is located close to central downtown, it's actually a little TOO central. It is in the middle of an extremely busy warehouse loading district and it can be absolutely packed with traffic, goods and people. I actually found it to be fascinating, but also overwhelming. I don't think you can fully describe the energy of William street...one just has to experience it. We had more than one taxi driver ask us how we found this place, and what in the world were we doing staying here. Leaving the hotel to go anywhere required dodging trucks, boda boda traffic, and the like, and was probably a bit dangerous. It left a distinct impression of the city, that is not a fair impression of Kampala as a whole. It isn't for everyone, however, I am personally glad to have experienced a week in a life so different from my usual day-to-day reality.

SLEEP QUALITY: The hotel feels like a real refuge from the chaos on the streets below, but I would recommend requesting a room on the back side of the hotel. Our friends who stayed on the front side of the building reported having trouble sleeping due to truck loading noises in the early morning hours, and their room was filled with exhaust/pollution fumes. Unfortunately, pollution seems to be a fact of life in Kampala, so I can't fault the hotel, but you might as well try to reduce your exposure.

SAFETY: One problem with this hotel is that they do not seem to have fire escapes, sprinklers or even fire alarms...and this is a 5 or 6 story building! I found this to be a cause of great concern, especially given that the families living in the apartments located right behind the hotel cook on their balconies using open flames. However, the hotel is primarily built from solid concrete, and none of the other hotels we looked into seemed to be better off in the fire safety department.

There are armed guards on each floor of the hotel, which contributes to a dual feelings of safety and unease. On the whole, I think this is probably a wise choice and a good sign though.

Other notes:
-The free WiFi worked fairly well in the lobby, but did not reach our room on the 5th floor. We were fine sitting in the comfy leather couches while checking email, but it would have been nice to have the privacy of the room for Skype.
-The restaurant/bar is decent and convenient, but expect to wait awhile for your food orders. We were also surprised to learn that breakfast is not included after we ate the plain white toast and had a cup of tea and were then asked to pay ~$13USD (total for four people). Not that that is so much money, but better breakfasts can certainly be found elsewhere...perhaps there was a currency conversion error on this one.

Overall I would highly recommend Aponye as a clean, friendly refuge in a chaotic part of Kampala for a unique African city-living experience.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank aschultz22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2010

The staff at the reception desk were very helpful and welcoming. Our room was quite spacious with good furniture. We were even given the option of changing our room because we wanted a mosquito net. The hotel is not far from the centre but is situated in a very noisy and busy street. Our room was on the fifth floor and the lift was not always working! But all in all this hotel is good value for money.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Madliena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aponye Hotel

Address: Apollo House,Plot 17B William Street | Next to Equity bank & UBA Bank and Majestic Plaza, Kampala +256, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Central Region > Kampala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #75 of 103 Hotels in Kampala
Price Range: $22 - $25 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The hotel has 52 elegant, self contained; air conditioned and well furnished executive rooms fitted with DSTV and Cable TV.It is within walking distance to and from the bus and taxi stations, shopping malls, African craft shops, cultural centres, major banks, universities, government offices and foreign missions.Aponye hotel is a favorite of foreign tourists and the business community because of its price friendly and affordable accomodation,utmost good care and hospitality extended to its guests ... more   less 
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