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“Great food, awful customer service!”
Review of Ole Sereni

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Ole Sereni
Ranked #21 of 169 Hotels in Nairobi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 5, 2013

If it wasn't for the awful customer service in this hotel I'd be sorely tempted to return as the food was great and the hotel was quite stunning. It faces the national park, authentic interior and at night it's quite a chilled ''hotspot''. We were on our way to the airport and stopped off for a few drinks and a meal. It took about 20mins to get a drink and we had about 5 different servers come up and not return with what we asked for. We even asked for a candle at one point which never appeared.

Our red wine was served in sherry glasses which we found very odd but the steak and the calamari were really excellent and judging by the food we saw on other tables this is a good kitchen. shame about the service as other tables also waited some time to get a menu, order taken and drinks.

Tip - be firm if you decide to visit!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank JanineSDouglas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghulam S, General Manager at Ole Sereni, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2013

Ms. Janine,

Thank you for sharing your comments.

Please accept our sincere apologies on the unsatisfactory service levels you experienced.

We assure you that your future visit will encounter superior service levels.

Once again, I appreciate your views as it will only assist us in a positive way.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,071 - 1,077 of 1,363 reviews

Reviewed January 4, 2013

Good:
If you need to stay near the Jomo airport, especially when you have an early flight, I recommend this hotel. It serves nice room, wonderful breakfast. It takes just 15 min to the airport, so that you don't need to worry about the traffic.

Bad:
If you are interested in Nairobi city, I'm not pretty sure because this hotel is located in out of the city center. Moreover, hotel taxi was too expensive! Don't take the taxi from this hotel. It will charge you $30 only for 15 min drive to the airport. Totally ripping you off.
And a lot of airport guys will rush to you when they saw you are in the Ole Sereni taxi for asking tips as a return of 30 sec work. If you get to know local taxi, you better get the drivers number.

Room Tip: Hotel price is quite different by website up to $100. You'd better compare prices all the websit...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank erangtree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghulam S, General Manager at Ole Sereni, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2013

Thank you for taking time to share your comments.

Its very unfortunate to learn that you did not find our product up-to mark.

In regards to your comment on our Taxi Tariff, we offer competitive pricing as any other hotel in town.

Once again, I thank you for sharing your views and hope to have you with us soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2013

The location of the hotel is close to the airport and away from the citycenter. Very good for early/late flights! The surroundings are quiet and you might get a look at some wild animals from the restaurant if you are lucky!
The breakfast is the best I have experienced in Nairobi and I only wished that I'd more time to eat before my departure.
The room was clean, with own fridge and new bathroom.
The restaurant was fantastic, what a great service and food. I was impressed! During the service there was a band playing and I enjoyed it a lot as they played with good volume, which is great as it is a bit common for bands to play to loud!

Only concern was that the bed was very hard and uncomfortable to sleep on, please add soft madrases and I will be back!

Room Tip: As for a room facing the gamepark!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Olifo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghulam S, General Manager at Ole Sereni, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2013

Olifo,

Thank you for sharing your positive comments with us.

Its truly overwhelming to learn that your stay was satisfactory.

We are in the process of changing our Mattresses and I can assure that your future stays will see that change.

Once again, thank you for sharing your views and we look forward to welcoming you back.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

I have been to Ole Sereni before.

I will never return.

We made a reservation to have lunch at Ole Sereni's Big Five restaurant on 22nd December, 2012. On 24th December, the hotel called to confirm our booking and i did so.

On 25th of December (the day of our reservation) our family of 5 pax arrived at Ole Sereni, patiently waited for our turn to be seated and gave our reservation name.

That was the beginning of a long long lunch.

Apparently the table we had reserved had been given away to another party. We were asked to sit somewhere else as they tried to find a table for us. One person in our party was on crutches and the other was unwell, apparently this did not matter to the management.

We were seated outside under the sun and beside the band. I declined to accept this as the band was very loud and the sun excessive.

We sat there for 10 minutes waiting for a change of table only to realise that no one was coming back to us!

I walked back to the reception and asked to speak to the Manager. The lady whom was pointed out to me turned out to be the one who needed just a few minutes to find us an alternate table! I asked to speak to HER manager and he was most apologetic.

He found us a table indoors (even if our reservation was for terrace sitting). As we prepared to sit, one of the other waitstaff said that they had found the perfect table for us. I requested the rest of the party to sit as i checked out the new sitting. This was a good move on my part.

A circular table and a rectangular ones had been joint together jutting unto the walk path. The seating would have meant that anyone seated by the path scoot over anytime someone wanted to walk by.....SERIOUSLY????

We retained the indoor seats given. By now it was 2pm for a reservation of 1 pm. We were already tired.

The buffet was disorganized with no clear indication of where to start. Plates could not be found (other than salad plates) and we had to wait for more. The food selection was either sea food (which we are allergic to) or turkey.

For Ksh 4,500 (an equivalent of roughly 45 Euros or 52 USD) i was hoping for more than one protein but there we were.

We served what we could, listened to music and generally tried to relax after such a trying beginning.

As we would our lunch to a close, we realised that the our sitting area was now very hot and stuffy. We noticed that some of the terrace diners had left and asked to be moved to the terrace. Again the lady manager (yes the same one who needed a few minutes earlier) asked for a further few minutes.

10 minutes later i approached her and asked her whether she has managed to find us a vacant table on the terrace. She swiftly replied that none were available, When i pointed out to one empty, cleared available table, she said that perhaps the diners were getting dessert! Then she changed her mind and said that yes we can move there.

We sat at the table devoid of any cutlery and with dirty and stained linens and waited for the linens to be changed and cutlery provided. We were out of luck!!

The lady manager came over and covered the largest stain on the linen with a cloth serviette!!!!! Apparently that was the best they could do!! I was disgusted.

We returned to the buffet to serve dessert only to be informed that lunch was fiished and the kitchen was closed and as such NO DESSERT!!!! FOR 4,500 YOU CLOSED THE KITCHEN AND THERE IS NO DESSERT???? ARE YOU SERIOUS!!

I again turned to thr reception and asked how this could be from a lady manning the reception by the name of Jamila. Jamila turned to her colleague and broke out into swahili leaving us wondering whether the conversation was for us? About us? with us????? Jamila said that she will get back to us.

We set back on our filthy table and waited for word from the hotel as to the dessert situation.

We saw a few friends and started chatting only to realise they had also had a terrible time of it. Reservation lost, repeated requests for drinks, dissatisfaction with buffet and of course NO DESSERT!! Clearly this was not an isolated incident of poor service from the staff.

They introduced us to another party which had been seated for 15 minutes with NO acknowledgement from any of the staff. The party left immediately after and yes, they will also NEVER return to Ole Sereni!

Jamila came back to us and with the worst attitude i have ever seen from someone in the service sector told us we can serve dessert.

Fruit skewers and cake slices. The fruit skewers had clearly been hastily put together and the watermelon in them had gone bad. The cake selection was terrible and no one had more than a bite. We had to select our dessert plated carefully as several plates were dirty!!

We reiterated our request for cutlery to use for dessert and by the time we received it, we had used our fingers and realised it just wasnt worth it!

We asked for our bill and quietly paid and left. We were exhausted from our attempts to get the mediocre service we received.

At a total of Kshs 26,500 ( 234 Euros or 311 USD) this was the WORST experience that we could have had on Christmas day.

There was absolutely NO value for our money and the management and staff in no way made this an enjoyable meal. The customer service left a bad taste in my mouth as did the rotten fruit and the terrible attitude from their staff.

I have been to Ole Sereni before.

I WILL NEVER RETURN!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Wambuimwangi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghulam S, General Manager at Ole Sereni, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2013

Ms. Wambui,

Thank you for taking time and effort to share your experince.

I regret to learn that your experience was not satisfactory.

May i please request for your contact info as i would like to personally get in touch with you to resolve this issue.

Ole-Sereni surely does not stand for this level of service and I would like to request for an opportunity to assure you of it.

I sincerely request for your response and hope we can have you back as our guest.

Report response as inappropriate
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Reviewed January 2, 2013

First, they didn't have any Fanta or Sprite which in essence meant they only had Coke, club soda and tonic water for soft drinks selection. There was no coconut cream so they couldn't make piña coladas, despite having a hypermarket 5 minutes away. Lastly, I ended up changing my order from the tandoori chicken because they didn't have it. Yes they had chicken, but not tandoori, which is a bit confusing.

As for the actual dining experience. Service is prompt and the staff are helpful. We tried their cosmopolitan, mojito and mai thai. the mojito was really good, the rest were passable. My friend's glass was chipped but she didn't want to make a fuss. The tempura prawn, caprese salad and calamari starters are good. Entrees were good but I expected spectacular. Then everything went downhill. It took almost 15 minutes to clear the table, they forgot the drinks order we made when they were clearing the table and depending on your waitstaff, you might not be allowed to order dessert from the main restaurant past a certain time, even if that's where you ordered your lunch from. Dessert was. . .sweet. Not much else to say about it.

They should also look into a small play area for kids.

In conclusion, the major plus points are the amazing view and ambiance. The food is ok, not memorable especially for the prices.

  • Stayed: January 2013
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Thank aidatesfa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghulam S, General Manager at Ole Sereni, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2013

Sir / Madam,

Thank you for taking time to share your comments.

Our sincere apologies on the inconveniences you had faced especially on the delay in service. I have taken stock of your comments:

1. Unavailability of Fanta / Sprite: The outlet where you were dining 'Waterhole' did run out of it but it was organised from the other outlet which took some time and we apologise for it.

2. Tandoori Chicken: Since it was festive season we were not running our regular menu but only the Buffet hence the reason of the non-availability.

We would like you to give us another opportunity to ensure you are satisfied with our services. Our Food & Beverage Manager has been trying to get in touch with you but in vain.

We look forward to having you with us soon.

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Reviewed January 1, 2013

We stayed one night at this Hotel on our way from London to Zanzibar. The room was quite small, same for the bathroom that is basically composed by a basin in the room itself and a shower box. Breakfast buffet is nice & rich and the terrace overlooking the park is lovely. Check-in and check-out process was very slow and the transfer to the airport that we booked with them was late. We had the impression that rather than respecting the arranged time they were waiting to see if they could have more people on the same van. The driver was finally convinced to leave after informing him that he would have paid for a new flights in the event we had missed our flight. Definitely expensive for what offers, however very convenient to reach the airport and if you fancy a quick Safari in the park. I would suggest to book your own transfer and not rely on theirs.

Room Tip: Do not rely on their transfers to/from airport or attractions
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Weddinginrome W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghulam S, General Manager at Ole Sereni, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2013

Sir / Madam,

Thank you for taking time to share your comments.

My sincere apologies on the delays you faced. Ole-Sereni surely stands for superior service standards.

May I request you to reconsider our services in your future travels as you will experience a far superior stay.

Once again, I thank you for sharing your views and wish you a Brilliant 2013.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

Do not stay at this hotel if you are expecting to see animals. The hotel is adjacent to scrub land of the Nairobi National Park. If you wish to see elephants and other assorted African animals, then go the large game reserves of the Coastal Province.

Be sure to ask for a room facing the park, otherwise you will be given one facing the highway. It is also a good idea to ask for a non-smoking room unles you are a smoker. The rooms are smal but confrotable.

The big plus of this hotel is its location close to the airport.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank gdl_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghulam S, General Manager at Ole Sereni, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2013

Sir / Madam,

Thank you for sharing your stay experience.

I am sure it was very disspointing not to have any sight of animals in the Game Park. Lately there has been much human traffic in the park which has made to animals move away from this side but they do come across during early hours of the day and especially during the night.

I hope you will get to see them during your future visits.

Once agin, I thank you for sharing your views and we look forward to welcoming you back.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ole Sereni

Address: Mombasa Road, Nairobi 00500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Spa Hotel in Nairobi
#13 Family Hotel in Nairobi
#15 Business Hotel in Nairobi
#19 Luxury Hotel in Nairobi
Price Range: $158 - $252 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ole Sereni 4.5*
Number of rooms: 134
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ole Sereni is a premium wildlife resort strategically located just off the Mombasa road overlooking the Nairobi National Game Park. Centrally positioned between the international airport and the city center, this is the only hotel bordering the wilds of the National Park. Ole Sereni offers all comforts and services to the business as well as leisure travelers and enjoys proximity to the central business district, international organizations, financial institutions, government offices and industrial area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ole - Sereni Hotel, Nairobi Hotel Nairobi

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