When we first arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania after a 12 hour flight from London, we weren't sure about the kind of accommodations we were going to stay at (sure the websites and brochures looked great, but we were still a bit apprehensive that all may not be as good as it seemed!)
We stayed at The African Tulip, near the city centre in Arusha for two nights before our safari to Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Tarangire booked with Aim4Africa a travel agent based in England. The hotel which is quite new, was absolutely superb - looks simple,small and unpretentious from the outside; but the interior is magnificent with all kinds of African decor and two huge "trees" through the foyer and dining room. The aptly named Baobab Restaurant (with a large baobab through it) is an eclectic mix of traditional and modern African art. Being an interior designer myself, this place is unlike any I have seen before (and I had a good look round - occupational hazard I guess). Not overly opulent, the materials are all locally sourced and the service was exceeding good. The Zanzibar lounge was tastefully decorated with all kinds of artefacts from the legendary spice isle. Our room overlooked the swimming pool, very spacious, fully ensuite with minibar and satellite television and air conditioning (although it was quite cool when we were in there so we didn't need to turn this on). The food was absolutely superb - fine dining a la carte (for our first meal we had a pumpkin soup with fresh rolls followed by exquisite pork chops and vegetables and finally the most melt-in-the-mouth pudding - choux pastry in the shape of flamingoes served with butterscotch!) - the meal is marked forever in my memory as we were ravished by the time we got to Arusha from the airport. The waiters all had a warm smile and made us feel right at home! The next day Roy Safaris our ground operator, drove us to Tarangire and we stayed at Kikoti Camp, a lovely rugged but truly "African" camp, followed by a couple of nights at Serengeti and Ngorongoro (stayed at the Serena Lodges and Sayari Camp - all very lovely and ideally located with the most fabulous wildlife around).
As for the African Tulip, we returned to stay here after our safari, and this time had a traditional Tanzanian meal - out of this world! The banana and meat stew was exemplary (never tasted anything like that before!) and an aromatic delicious Zanzibar rice with salad. The hotel has an Internet service center (sent all my emails from there to let family back home know we were okay), and got the most amazing souvenirs from a quaint gift shop right off the hotel lobby.
All in all, I would definitely recommend the African Tulip (named after the trees with vibrant orange flowers that line the street) to anyone going to Arusha. It is fairly new (opened in August), although centrally located, it is quiet and peaceful with all the luxuries one needs.
I would definitely go to Tanzania again (we are hoping to return in a couple of years when we have saved enough) and I know we will want to stay at the African Tulip for at least the first night (and Kikoti if we return to Tarangire)!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The African Tulip is Arusha's premier boutique hotel providing first-class western luxury with outstanding facilities, personalized service and warm hospitality in a convenient location. The 'Zanzibar lounge & bar' is an ideal meeting place; The Baobab restaurant serves an excellent range of cuisine; 'The Serengeti' Pool & Bar is a fantastic place to relax. Additional facilities include a business centre, conference room & gift shops. It truly is Chic. Unique. and Authentically African. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The African Tulip Hotel Arusha
- African Tulip Arusha
- African Tulip Hotel Arusha