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“Comfortable, but renovation needed” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sarova Panafric

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Sarova Panafric
Ranked #19 of 163 Hotels in Nairobi
Certificate of Excellence
1 degree east
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Comfortable, but renovation needed”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 17, 2009

The worst bit first. The bedrooms were last updated probably when built and are rather worn and in severe need of attention. However they are spotlessly clean and comfortable. The staff (with only one exception I found) were very friendly and tried exceptionally hard to help. The public areas are much better, and the food and service at the hotel's Flametree restaurant were as good as any I've found in (and outside) Kenya, and I found myself looking forward to ending my day there. Breakfast which is in the restaurant can be quite a treat if you've the time and appetite. The pool is large but like most in kenya unheated, with poolside waiter service at only slightly premium prices.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jumbolina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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726 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Nairobi
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2009

Travellers cannot expect honest and genuine services from this hotel. My shirt was torn by the laundry service. None of staff showed and extended sincere apology, rather, try to hide it. Reception work is not organized and is not attentive to individual guests・・・. Anyway, you should find other hotels if you would like to enjoy your days in Nairobi.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Walkamateur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2009

Stayed in this hotel for a conference. The conference facilities, restaurant and bar areas are fine, a bit old and run down, but ok. I suspect that the ground floor facilities are the same that were there when the place was opened in 1965. The rooms are dismal and certainly not of 3 star quality. I was told that the A/C was "not working at the moment" but that a fan was available for cooling - this did not work. I understand that the perception is that A/C is not needed in Nairobi, however, in a west facing hotel room it is. The room had a sliding door that faced onto a minute balcony. This door was not lockable and no safe is provided in the room. Each floor does have a security guard, but this is not a substitute for basic room security. The room was small with ancient, battered furniture and stained, dirty carpet. It had a dingy smell that was not overcome by the nasty perfumes in the cleaning agents used by the service staff. I couldn't wait to get out of it in the morning. The bathroom functioned but was also small and of the most basic sort. The accommodation was not cheap at all and was poor value for money in my view. The Sarova group should have renovated the place years ago. The fact that they are prepared to offer such miserable accommodation for around USD 125 per night shows that they have no pride in their 'brand'. I suspect that its main selling point is that there are plenty of worse places in Nairobi.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank welwitschia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashua, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 13, 2009

Just like any other big hotel in the US. Pretty impersonal and generic. Stayed overnight between safaris and although it was nice to have endless hot water and electricity, I would have preferred a smaller, more intimate place for one night. The food is pretty good. It is far from the international airport, but close to Wilson Field.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jdleclerc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire
Level Contributor
65 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2009

Hotel was fine, if beginning to show its age and looking slightly shabby, friendly staff, good breakfast buffet, dinner OK but slow service, overall nothing special. Fine for short business stay, but for a holiday I would choose somewhere smaller and less impersonal.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank bactrianus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2009

I booked two nights at the Panafric, my first and last nights on a three week trip in East Africa. The hotel was not the best first impression of Nairobi. I arrived early in the morning since my flight arrived at 6:45am. I was told that there was nowhere to eat within walking distance so I ended up eating the breakfast buffet, which I later found out was very overpriced at nearly $20 USD. I do have to say that the waitstaff and food were excellent though. When I checked in to my room after encountering a very unfriendly woman working at the desk, I was very disappointed that the room looked NOTHING like any of the photos on the Sarova website. After a wonderful trip through Tanzania I would have to say that many of the campsites on Safari were more enjoyable. All in all, as someone who is completely happy staying at a $15 hostel I would have to say that the Panafric was not worth the money. I cancelled my second night there and stayed downtown. The Hilton is centrally located and hardly more expensive.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank hwood09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Netanya, Israel
Level Contributor
117 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 204 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2009

I stayed in the Panafric for 4 nights in late August. Being a frequent visitor to Nairobi for business, I usually try and stay at the Fairview, but its often full, so the challenge is to find another acceptable hotel within my company's travel budget of $150 per night. This is not easy in Nairobi since most of the good business hotels are in the $200-$300 per night range. (the Fairview is a very pleasant enigma, probably why its always booked solid). So, the Panafric came up as an option - $140 per night, and in Upper Hill which is an acceptable distance from the city center where the majority of my meetings take place.

The Panafric is quite an unusual hotel. It seems like it was built in the 60s, (perhaps the 70s) and does not appear to have been renovated since. Access to the hotel is strictly guarded by a security check point, so at least it seemed to be safe from that point of view. The lobby is really small and old, and I must admit my first impression was a pretty negative one. I thought that I had fallen hard. Check in was a fairly painless procedure, and then I went up to my room. (A positive point - there is a security guard located on every floor.)

Now, the rooms are quite a good size - king size bed, separate armchair and coffee table. The floors are parquet, which I quite like, and in good condition. The furnishings are all fairly plain and old fashioned - they don't appear to ever have been changed - BUT, the weird thing is, though its all old furniture, and though there never seems to have been renovations, the room was in surprisingly good condition and very well kept and spotlessly clean. So in fact, the room was very comfortable. The bed was very comfortable as well and the bathroom was large and also spotlessly clean. I actually found the room grew on me and I felt extremely comfortable throughout my stay.

Location as I mentioned, is in Upper Hill, which is very close to downtown - a 5-10 minute cab ride depending on the traffic. I would not recommend to walk to town since the park that lies between the hotel and city center is rumored to be home to many petty thieves that could spring out of nowhere, snatch a bag and disappear very quickly. This was local advice. Upper Hill itself is quite an upmarket area and has the advantage of being quiet, green and a bit of a breath of fresh air compared with downtown. Only problem is you need a cab to get anywhere.

As many other reviewers have mentioned the Flame Tree restaurant in the Panafric is in fact outstanding. For a hotel restaurant it is very reasonably priced, and the food is really excellent. I had no hesitation eating there several times rather than venture out looking for other restaurants. Their breakfast (included) was also decent - omelets made to order, lots of tasty pastries, and plenty of variety overall.

Wireless internet was a bit expensive, but very reliable. I didn't use any other facilities, but I know there is a pool and a massage room. As far as I know there is no fitness room.

Overall, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Panafric. As long as you don't expect super luxury, and all you need is a comfortable room in a good location, its definitely worth consideration. Not a bad "budget" business hotel at all.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jonathan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sarova Panafric

Property: Sarova Panafric
Address: Along Valley Road, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi > Upper Hill Estate
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 Business Hotel in Nairobi
#12 Spa Hotel in Nairobi
#15 Romantic Hotel in Nairobi
#19 Luxury Hotel in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sarova Panafric 4*
Number of rooms: 162
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Idyllically located 5 minutes' drive from the CBD and 18 km from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, amidst beautifully landscaped gardens in a quiet suburb of Nairobi, Sarova Panafric offers 162 rooms in a range of Superior, Executive, Club, Studio and Themed Suites - all recently refurbished and decorated in a contemporary vibrant African style. Once the watering hole for freedom fighters, spies and foreign correspondents, Flame Tree restaurant is named after the Flame Tree that holds pride of place in the gardens and offers leisurely meals. Sarova Panafric offers state-of-the-art banqueting and conferencing facilities with a range of meeting and function rooms equipped with the latest audio visual and WIFI equipment. To wind up the day, take a dip in the pool or go for a leisurely massage - or simply enjoy a cool drink to the soothing sounds of Africa's rhythm. And this hotel is centrally located, only a short 0.5 Km from Kenya's landmark 'Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC)', one of the most prominent events venues in Africa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sarova Panafric Hotel Nairobi
Sarova Panafric Nairobi
Panafric Hotel Nairobi

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