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“Nairobi's best” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Nairobi Serena Hotel

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Nairobi Serena Hotel
Ranked #3 of 156 Hotels in Nairobi
Certificate of Excellence
Coffs Harbour, Australia
Level Contributor
114 reviews
84 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Nairobi's best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2010

I'd be surprised if this isn't the best hotel in Nairobi. All the business types seem to stay here including Chinese business and government types and what looked and sounded like American business and government/aid workers, not to mention South African business types and tourists from the high-end safari companies.
The hotel is good. Good big rooms with all the facilities, quality bathrooms with lots of toiletries, turn-down service, cable Tv, free in-room wifi - that actually works.
Food wise there are several options including an up market restaurant, a larger more casual all day dining outlet where the Serena signature buffet is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus room service. We ordered cheeseburgers off the menu for an enjoyable late lunch when we arrived hot and dusty direct from safari. At night we had the buffet, and again for breakfast. The food was top quality and very much enjoyed after the night before at Sentrim Amboseli - see my review.
They also have a very well equipped, and well used, gym which I took advantage of followed by a decent massage in the attached spa. The bar, which I didn't use looked fun and lively with football (soccer) on the big screen and lots of people obviously enjoying themselves.
There is also a large lounge reserved for house guests only with international newspapers, waiter service and afternoon tea served each day. This is a very civilised touch and a great place to relax if you don't want to be in your room or the bar.
I liked this hotel. Its more expensive than the others and although it can't match the Sarova Stanley for atmosphere it is a much higher standard and just the place you need after a long safari and a final night in a sub-standard Sentrim. If you have the funds, stay here.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hazza55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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789 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (148)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
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English first
Uk
Level Contributor
39 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2010

The rooms were large and clean though a little dark. However, the dining rom was really beautiful with abstract decorations. The service was excellent all round but the hotel was particularly helpful when one of our party was ill - not their fault. They really went the extra mile as did our tour company.
The pool is beautiful with a lovely restaurant beside it, a lovely place to while away a few hours. So though we had to stay an extra night, SErena looked after us well and we were not too unhappy about missing a day of our safari.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank coachhouseh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sheffield, england
Level Contributor
26 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2010

We arrived here after our flight, expecting it to be a Travelodge equivalent..... we were very surprised to have been upgraded to a suite which had 2 bathrooms, an office, living room, dining area and the biggest bed ever!We were left champagne and fruit basket. We left the next morning but would hapily have stayed longer. Great staff, very helpful. We left our 'beach' cases with them and picked them up a week later with no issues. Shame we didnt get to explore the hotel more!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank weenireeni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2010

My spouse and I stayed at Serena in July 2010 during our vacaction in Kenya (Safari, beach and sight seeing). We stayed at Serena for seven days between Safari and beach. I would definately recommend this hotel:
First, location, location, location: the hotel is well situated next to downtown Nairobi. We were told you can walk to the city center but only until 5:00pm (risky afterwards). We did walk and other time took taxis around. Also, traffic is horrendous in Nairobi, so, if you stay outside the city, it might take you ages to get to the airport etc - be prepared for nasty jams.
Second, security: one of the best hotel security in Africa. There are lots of corporate and government of Kenya officials meeting here so it is quite safe. No vehicle is allowed into premises without being checked. I travelled a lot in Africa for security-related business so I know what I'm talking about when it comes to security. We were booked to stay at Fairmont (Norfolk) but after driving by cancelled our reservation.
Third, service/staff: my wife was initial skepctical after reading some of the reviews herein. However, she changed her mind the moment we got into the lobby and our rooms. The staff saying jambo everyday and even trying to teach her some swahili words. Oh, yes, we even go an upgrade for free. Honestly, the rooms are very comfortable, clean, and spacious for a travel (unless you are looking for a mansion). Compared to rooms in European hotels, this was decent size, with coffee, TV - basically it meet all our needs. And, staff came in every evening to spray (mosquitoes), make our bed and making sure we had water etc. The service was splending.
Fourth, friendly staff: even security guys will say Jambo (hi) and in general everyone was very nice and responsive. Yes, someone actually answered the phone, be it room service etc. And, the doorman/bell boy will give you pointers on hotels etc.
Ask yourself - why on earth are there so many corporate types staying at Serena Nairobi? all the above. Who cares how old the hotel is? As long as it is clean, secure, comfortable, full service when I want anything etc then I'm good. This was my spouse's first time to Africa and she really enjoyed staying at Serena. We are planning second trip to East Africa next year and will stay at Serena hotels in the region.
Fifth: it has a somehow decent nightlife with live music on some nights. We stayed there durng world cup and watched some of the matches with lots of guests and outsiders - nice ambience.
Sixth; we are both gym rats and this hotel provided one of the best stocked gym I have seen in Africa, Europe and Americas. We did not try out the pool because it was july is considered to be "wintry" in Kenya, but the pool was wide open.
And the oscar goes for the most friendly hotel manager (according to me) goes to Ken Mbithi at Serena Nairobi. With his smiling and easy going attitude, this guy made it worthwhile for us in terms of answering questions and making sure we were comfortable.
Final advice: please tip your waiters, bellboys etc. People working in Kenyan hotels make very little so don't assume they are well paid just because it is a five star hotel. And, don't add tip to your bill, change some shillings and hand out whenever you like the servies. And, don't shout at waiters - just because you are in Africa does not give you an excuse to let your cave-man side out.
Cons:
1. internet service is very expensive so we avoided using the business center. Yes, we were on vacaction so why bring along stupid laptops.
2. Food is good. However, if you order al carte then it will take forever to arrive. We settled on buffet which to my amazement, my wife liked, yes, she is a chef,
3. Serena does not have a safari service; we asked and we referred to someone who appeared nice but the safari driver turned out to be not so friendly. If only Serena had a decent prized safari company with all information on its website
4. Pickup from the airport is very expensive; seriously Serena, $35 per person - you are kidding right!. My advice to non-corporate travellers, don't take Serena taxi but rather take Kenatco ($10) when you arrive at the airport. They are cheap and very reliable compared to Serena's taxi.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Pamaluka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2010

We stayed for two nights during our Honeymoon in Kenya. The Hotel is five star in every way and would recommend to anyone on Business and Leisure.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
Thank mara2152010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2010

Fantastic hotel... spotlessly clean with great service... the only problem, and it is a big one... is the beds. Quite literally....Hard as a rock... I ended up sleeping on the floor because the carpet gave it some padding. Such a shame... as I have stayed at other Serena properties and didn't have the problem.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lsarandes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford
Level Contributor
95 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2010

Despite the comments of some recent users I found the Serena to be very good in all departments - great, personal service (I was greeted by name everywhere) free wireless internet, comfortable room and a good location not far from our local office. This is important - Nairobi traffic is some of the worst in the world.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nairobi Serena Hotel

Property: Nairobi Serena Hotel
Address: Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi, 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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 156 Hotels in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Nairobi Serena Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 183
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Justly famed for its exceptional standards of efficiency, service and five-star hospitality, the elegantly sophisticated Nairobi Serena Hotel is a member of the 'Leading Hotels of the World'. Despite its pivotal central hotel location in Nairobi, Kenya, the Nairobi Serena remains true to its title and offers an oasis of serenity amidst the bustle of one of Africa's most vibrant capital cities. Offering a wide range of dining experiences, The Nairobi Serena is also renowned for its 'Mandhari' fine-dining restaurant, which is universally acknowledged as one of Kenya's finest. ... more   less 
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