In recent years Nairobi's traffic has become infamous, in part due to the traffic circles (roundabouts) which are fine with light traffic but become choke points at heavier densities. Over the years many businesses have migrated away from the city center toward the Westlands suburb, which is now as congested as the city center once was. The Ole-Sereni occupies the former site of the US Embassy, which replaced the old city center site which was bombed in 1998, and then was replaced by an even newer Embassy location in Gigiri, west of the city). The Ole-Sereni occupies a long narrow lot along the road to Jomo Kenyatta Airport, in an area which is mostly industrial, and is even closer to the domestic/charter airport (Wilson). The location makes the Ole-Sereni very convenient for onward travel (whether domestic or international), but somewhat less convenient for doing business in Westlands, Museum Hill, or city center.
The unique draw of the Ole-Sereni is that the hotel is immediately adjacent to the Nairobi National Park, and the layout of the restaurant, bar, swimming pool, etc. have been designed to maximize the view of the park. A watering hole is just over the fence from the hotel, and in the dry season a wide range of wildlife (antelope, zebras, giraffes, birds) come to drink in the early morning and evening hours. The building is set back from the road such that traffic noise is not an issue, though when I was there some construction was underway in an adjacent lot.
Rooms are comfortable and modern, though I found the mattress very firm. The mini-bar drinks were lukewarm, but the walk-in shower had plenty of hot water. WiFi was free and had a strong signal. The only restaurant (the "Big Five") has a good mix of international and African-themed dishes, and an outdoor grill/ buffet is popular during evenings and weekends. The pool is on the small side but the fitness center is well-equipped. The barrista prepares espresso, cappuccino etc. to order, but note that these are not included in the breakfast price.
One drawback of the location is that there are no other restaurants, shops, ATMs etc. within easy walking distance, which means that one is somewhat confined to the hotel unless going out by car or taxi. There is a gift shop selling Kenyan souvenirs, coffee, maps, caps, etc. Staff are friendly and well-trained, and the hotel overall is a very good choice provided one does not need easy access to the western parts of Nairobi, and doesn't mind the somewhat isolated location. A cold Tusker beer while gazing at the national park is something none of the other hotels can offer!
- 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