When I first visited Nairobi many years ago, the New Stanley was the buzzing hub of the city, and the terrace was the obvious place to meet for a snack, to see and be seen. Now security has enclosed the terrace in an unattractive wall. And the lobby and rooms, which I experienced for the first time, are faded from what one can imagine was past glory. There were queues for check in and check out, and the lobby is not an inviting place to sit and chat -- too hectic.
The room I had was large but barren. There was a good coffee maker and the bathroom had been modernized, but there the decor was dated (not intentionally, just old) and the furniture sparse. The bar area on the first floor also fell between two eras. It was neither old and full of character nor modern and stylish. The service in the bar was sub-standard, and the food in the ground-floor restaurant predictable and mediocre. (The Thai option was better)
The locations is still central, but Nairobi is no longer a city inviting for long strolls through the center. It is crowded and, everyone says, dangerous. I walked for several blocks in each direction trying to find a shop or market selling Kenyan tea, but did not find any shop selling food, even a convenience store, in a 3 block radius. Pan handlers disrupted the walk a couple of times, however.
It is sad that a glorious city such as Nairobi risks losing tourists to the suburbs, but if the Stanley cannot maintain a high standard, it is a sad commentary on the evolution of the central business area and the city as a whole.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kenya’s first luxury hotel, Sarova Stanley opened its elegant doors in 1902. Since then, it has been making history- hosting royal safaris and legendary personalities such as Edward Prince of Wales and Ernest Hemingway. Today, as the hotel enters its second century, it continues to maintain its unique heritage and provides state-of-the-art services and facilities for business and leisure travelers. All guestrooms are a blend of luxurious Victorian grandeur and modern comfort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sarova Stanley Hotel Nairobi
- Sarova Stanley Nairobi