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“Comfortable, friendly and safe”
Review of The African Tulip

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The African Tulip
Ranked #1 of 41 Hotels in Arusha
Certificate of Excellence
istanbul
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Comfortable, friendly and safe”
Reviewed November 10, 2010

We stayed here during a safary trip in Tanzania. Managed by the well established Tanzanian safari organizer Roy Safaris, it is definately a very comfortable and safe option for a stay in Arusha. Although we reserved a triple room to reduce the accomodation costs, we were kindly given two rooms without demanding any additional charge. The frontdesk staff were also extremely helpful by assisting us making other hotel reservations for the remainder of our trip. I recommended this hotel to my collegues, also visiting Arusha during a safari, and they were pleased as well.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank utkana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
675 reviews
128 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,858 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2010

The African Tulip is a boutique hotel with pure African styling, very clean and everything feels nearly brand new. It is set in a small lot, not much bigger than the hotel itself, but with high garden walls for privacy and security. The inside is all very stylish and professional looking, there is a small outdoor swimming pool set in a very nice garden area with lounge chairs and a pool bar. Another bar is located inside by the restaurant. There are no elevators in the building so if mobility is an issue, make a special request for ground floor.

LOCATION - African Tulip is located just a block off the main road to town, within easy walking distance of city center, a small grocery store, and many restaurants. You'll want the hotel to call you a taxi for going out at night, which takes some time to arrive as the taxi company they use is quite far away, but when it arrives, it is luxurious compared to the regular white taxis you find on the street corner (ours was a new model minivan), and our driver was always honest and courteous. Because it is off the main road, it is quiet, no road noise, which is very nice.

ROOMS - We booked a deluxe room, which was decent sized, but not huge by any means. It was clean and stylish, and seemed like new. It could have used some more things on the walls, and we were annoyed that the television was located right over the desk so if one person was working, the other couldn't watch television - I don't know why hotels do that, it's so impractical!

Because we had a lot of luggage, the room wasn't really big enough to be comfortable for a three night stay, so we upgraded to a suite for $60 per night, well worth it! The suite is quite large, no separate bedroom but the working and sitting area is in a separate part of the room, so it feels separate. The TV was again right over the desk, still very annoying. The furnishings were lovely, the bathroom was large with a separate shower area, two sinks, a wardrobe, a sitting table, and a small balcony which was really on a rooftop. There is a deluxe room upstairs with a huge, lovely balcony - it's not a suite, but the balcony is by far the best in the hotel. It's the on you can see on their website of course.

The television is over the desk in the other part of the room, so there is no way to watch it from the bed. Instead of a second television, there is a mirror on the wall. There is a sofa you could watch the television from if nobody was sitting at the desk working. There is no iron or ironing board in the room or available at all in the hotel - only a pressing service that is charged at half the laundry price - and the hair dryer is so weak it is pointless, so plan ahead if you need those services. The rooms are air-conditioned, and there is a mini-bar but it is not stocked so I'm not sure why they advertise it. The bed is a Swedish Tempur-Pedic style foam mattress (though a lesser quality), and was fairly comfortable. The linens were nice, but the pillows were cheap and hard, which was too bad. Loved the rooms overall, clean, roomy and stylish.

BUSINESS - There is a very large desk, even bigger in the suites - we sat two people relatively comfortably. It is cumbersome to work at the desk because the TV is in the way, but it's workable. There is wireless internet throughout the hotel, though on the 2nd floor it was not a very strong signal - 3 bars generally. The speed was quite slow at only 300kb/s, with an unusable upload speed of less than 100 kb/s. Skype did work ok, but YouTube did not, and internet backup was not possible. It was very slow to upload or download files, and it kept going in and out, not all the time, but sometimes. Even browsing the web was cumbersome, though workable. For this, they charge $20.00 per day. There was no wired internet in our room. There is also a business center downstairs where they charge for everything. I printed one page, they put it on my room bill - 75 cents. There is a conference room here as well. Plenty of places in the bar or pool area to use your laptop if you wish as well. Good cell service and Blackberry service in town here, as well as 3G Mobile Broadband.

SERVICES -
Thereis a small gift shop and a Tanzanite jewelry store downstairs with pretty decent prices surprisingly enough. The whole place was spotless, though I'm not sure why they only give you two half-size bottles of water each day. There is a computer station downstairs where you can use the internet for a fee, and they will store your bags for you if you are going on safari or a Kilimanjaro climb. Room service is available until 10:00 PM. Staff was helpful in recommending a restaurant to us and calling us a taxi. Check-out is at 10:00 AM for some reason and they will charge you heftily if you overstay.

There is a restaurant that has great Indian food and a few Tanzanian dishes. Service is friendly but very slow and poorly trained with limited English, so there were several miscommunications and frustrations. They do try hard to be helpful, they just aren't always successful at it because they aren't well trained or well supervised. Just make sure you ask specifically for your coffee in the morning to be brought before your breakfast (otherwise it will be a long 30 min. wait without coffee), and you'll be fine.

The front desk staff is similarly equipped - friendly and eager to please, but limited English and not well trained enough to be capable in many cases of doing so, and the manager was very unhelpful, seldom seen, did not get back to us when he said he would and totally uninterested in offering solutions to our issues. Our check-out process took over 1 hour to complete because of two very simple issues that the front desk staff didn't know how to handle, and the managers didn't care to offer any solutions or even to talk to us, even though they were standing right there. Very unprofessional.

Laundry services charged by the piece are available, but we got ours back not pressed and stuffed in a bag all wrinkled so we couldn't wear them. Of course we wouldn't have bothered to wash them if they weren't going to be wearable, but they insisted that we still pay for them in full, and fought over the $4.00 in question like it was my entire bill. The manager stood by the whole time and watched without saying a word. Very unprofessional. If you have large amounts of laundry from a long trip, they will not negotiate bulk laundry rates for you, and they will not refer you to a laundromat.

On check-out we were informed that if we wanted to use a credit card to pay, then they could only charge us in U.S. Dollars even though all the charges were in Tanzanian Shillings, using the absurdly horrible exchange rate of 1300:1 rather than the real going exchange rate of 1500:1, a whopping 15% difference! On top of that, they would have to charge us an additional 4% for bank fees, so we would now be paying a whopping 20% overcharge just to pay with a credit card. Absolutely criminal! Of course, none of this was mentioned at any time, so we didn't have enough cash on hand, so we finally had no choice but to pay it.

Then, their credit card machine didn't work and it took the staff a ridiculous amount of time to come to the conclusion that the line was down, so they decided that the only solution was for us to find an ATM or Bank somewhere at 7:00 AM and take out enough cash to pay our bill. No offer to take us either, just that we need to find one. Of course, there is a limit on ATM withdrawals so we couldn't take enough cash out so had to find multiple ATMs to make the payment. We finally managed to get enough cash, but then of course the internet charges were in USD so they charged us a huge conversion fee to change that to Shillings. We left after a full hour of being jerked around and ripped off totally furious. Too bad too, because we had an otherwise very good stay.

With some serious retraining of management and staff members, and a reworking of the gouge-the-customers-in-any-way-possible policies, African Tulip would be a very nice place to stay in Arusha. As it stands, I would not stay at African Tulip again and would not recommend it to others. The service we received at check-out and the absolutely predatory payment policies are so offensive I just can't express it. They simply did not value me as a customer, and for the $300/night price tag I think I have a right to expect better treatment than this.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra
1 review
Reviewed October 14, 2010

I recently stayed at the African Tulip for three nights with my father and my nephew and we all enjoyed our stay.

The service at the hotel was first class and nothing was too much trouble for the friendly staff. They chased up my lost luggage and arranged for my father to visit a dentist at short notice. A special mention for Beatrice is appropriate.

The rooms are comfortable and our room easily accomodated three single beds. The shower and bathroom facilities are excellent. The restuarant is clean and it served up good breakfasts and great coffee.

The hotel is located in quiet area, still within walking distance of the town centre but far enough away to avoid the touts. It is a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Arusha. The pool area is a great place to unwind, read a book and sip on a Kilimanjaro. A Barclays Bank ATM is also conveniently located across the road.

Overall, the hotel has a nice relaxed feel to it and it is great place to stay before or after a safari. I would highly recommend the hotel.

A big thank you also goes to Hemed, our driver for Roy Safari, the parent company of the African Tulip. Having Roy's next door to the hotel was brilliant when we needed a car a driver at short notice.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MattC64Canberra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
grass valley, california
Level Contributor
36 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed October 14, 2010

This is now my fourth visit to this wonderful Hotel. The staff is always friendly,, the rooms are clean, ;large and comfortable. Their breakfast has improved since the last time, and because it is a quite small hotel, they really care about you personally.
This has to be the best hotel in Arusha, if you want a nice place with a friendly atmosphere.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank steveula
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2010

My wife and I spent a total of four nights at The African Tulip 2 nights before our Kilimanjaro trek (which was amazing) then before and after our 7 day safari.
The hotel is an oasis of charm, excellent service and great value. One would never know the hotel was so close to the city centre - it was tranquil and peaceful, a lovely swimming pool, superb lounge and excellent meals. The staff went out of their way to make us welcome and we felt right at home by the time we spent our last night there!
Its proximity to town meant that we were able to visit the local markets, go shopping for gifts to take back home and for a final splurge before we returned home.
We would highly recommend The African Tulip to anyone contemplating a safari and/or Kilimanjaro trek - this is the perfect base for both, and offers everything from meals to internet service (great for sending our Kili pictures back home) and spacious, well decorated accommodations.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Chris_Bristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed August 31, 2010

My colleagues and I stayed at The African Tulip for over a week and found everything about our stay to be excellent. This is a lovely, quiet, small boutique hotel located just off the main road. The staff were very attentive and friendly, the rooms are very spacious, clean, modern and comfortable, with each room having its own theme. Internet connection also good.

Although we were not having our conference in the hotel, the staff were very accommodating with any resources we required. We currently now use the African Tulip every time we are in Arusha and will continue to do so.

My two colleagues and I managed to tag on a safari to our trip which was organised by Roy Safari's (next door). Again, everything about this trip was fantastic and well organised.

Overall, I would definitely recommend The African Tulip and Roy Safari's if you are planning a trip to Arusha.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GALVmed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Switzerland
Level Contributor
57 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2010

We were positively surprised with the ambiance, nice African decoration and friendliness of the staff at the African Tulip. We stayed one night before our safari with Roy Safaris, which also owns the place.

The hotel is minutes away from the main busy road in Arusha, but in a very quiet and peaceful location. All the premises were perfectly clean during all our stay.

I did not feel the rooms so large as in the previous posts, but adequate. Ours had a balcony with chairs.

The restaurant is relatively expensive for the African standards. I had better T-bone steaks before, but my wife and kids enjoyed the meals ordered from the Indian menu.

The staff was always very friendly and courteous. Internet is available for a fee.

There is a small shop and another one in the Roy office just beside the hotel. The items had good quality and we later discovered that prices were very competitive even compared to regular local shops during our safari.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank FromAuw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The African Tulip

Property: The African Tulip
Address: 4 Serengeti Road, Arusha 1517, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Arusha
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Arusha
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — The African Tulip 3*
Number of rooms: 29
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

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