WOW ... or as many of my American friends would say, AWESOME ...
I flew from Arusha's municipal airport with Auric Air to the Grumeti airstrip where a Serena 4x4 custom build safari vehicle picked me up. While the Grumeti River was swollen the previous day was a crossing possible when I arrived but river levels fluctuated wildly during my three day stay at Kirawira Serena.
As we got nearer to the camp did the driver point out the hill on which the camp is located and thanks to the binoculars available in the vehicle (besides a bird and game book selection) was it possible to make out the tents, which were spread under tall shade trees around that part of the hill which allows for views over the savannah below. The camp is well concealed from the distance and blends in perfectly into the surroundings.
When we reached the parking were staff immediately at hand to take care of luggage and my carryall, leaving me to stroll alongside the guide towards the reception. A large lounge under canvas awaited me, as did iced towels, a cool drink and my registration form, completed by the camp reception apart from my signature. My request for a cup of tea resulted in a pot of tea being served in the space of a few minutes, probably as long as it took to brew it and put it on a tray.
After a short brief, quintessential when coming to such remote locations with wild game close up, was I shown to my tent, which in fact was a suite under canvas. I first took in the view over the plains below and imagined what it must be like when the great migration comes through the Grumeti Sector of the Serengeti in their constant search for pastures. Make no mistake, I saw plenty of game while at Kirawira, predators and prey alike, elephants, buffalo, giraffes and myriads of birds including several flocks of open billed storks numbering in their hundreds each.
The tent was stylishly furnished and the bathroom topped it all with its copper sinks, gold plated taps, a wide shower cabin with an extra large shower head, hot water aplenty and the pressure from the taps like in a city hotel. Fluffy towels and bathrobes completed the picture.
Let me now pay tribute to the chefs at Kirawira. While one night I and other guests enjoyed a BBQ at the pool side, the distant horizon constantly illuminated by lightning, that was the only occasion food was not served by the stewards as per one's order though they did take the loaded dinner plates and set it on the tables.
It was a la carte for breakfast and a table d'hote menu for lunch and dinner with several choices of starters, main courses and desserts. I made it a point to order my meals in advance, like I made my choice of lunch at the end of breakfast and my choice of dinner at the end of my lunch before agreeing on a time with the chefs when I would come to eat.
Whenever I entered the restaurant tent and sat down at my table, was my selection of dishes promptly served by immaculately dressed waiting staff, wearing white gloves like it was in the olden days. The food was delicious, portions large enough to avoid a second helping and the food presentation on the plates was truly 5 star. An extensive wine list is available as is a wide range of premium spirits, though after having a look at it all I settled for my usual water and ended the meal with a pot of tea.
The bread was freshly baked and still hot when served, the soups on one occasion made me ask for a second, not so full bowl, and both main courses and desserts were fit to be served in a top city restaurant.
While Kirawira's best season is when the huge herds of wildebeest and zebras cross the plains below the hill, did I find plenty of game during my game drives while enjoying the sights on my own, not another car in sight for most of the time.
It is possible to leave the park for a day tour to Lake Victoria at the town of Lamadi and take a boat excursion, something I did out of interest to see what is happening outside the park boundaries.
I found a small library of nature books and guide books at the lounge, which was comfortable with sofa and easy chair sets and a never ending supply of freshly brewed tea.
I was not keen to leave but had to in the end, to meet the park warden at Seronera for an interview and then reach my next destination in the Serengeti, due to be reviewed next.
For consistent quality, of food, service and accommodation, Serena it is and with three properties in the Serengeti, they cover this superb park like no other hotel group!
The best view in Africa
I do not exaggerate. I am a 'bush junkie' and over the years have spent more than 400 days on safari in 8 countries. Kilaguni is a destination in itself. Give yourself at least 2 nights here - 3 or 4 would be better. The staff have that great Kenyan combination of professionalism and natural friendliness; Mzima Springs is close by; and on a clear day (and most days in Tsavo are clear) you've a view of the Kilaguni waterhole, the volcanic Chyulu Hills and Kilimanjaro. And now is a good time to go because folk are being overly-anxious about visiting Kenya. I'd recommend a fly-in from Nairobi (Safarilink have a service to Kilaguni), book online via the Serena web site, and use the lodge vehicle for game drives.
Amaizing amaizing amaizing
There's nothing as reassuring as going to the same place over and over again only to find that the service you receive keeps getting better with time. Like old fine wine, Zanzibar Serena Inn keeps delivering each time I go there. Whether with my husband or friends, the quality of service is amazing. Thank you for always being reliable. I can bet my right arm that this hotel is hands down the best hotel in Zanzibar stone town. There's no where else I would rather be while in stone town.
The food is always top notch. Entertainment is available every evening overlooking a perfect sunset. The location is just right. It is close to almost every attraction in town. Being only a stone throw away from the famous Forodhani, that is always bustling in the nights.
Really nice lodge hotel - great location
We stayed just one night at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge and as we arrived in the afternoon we could enjoy the lovely scenery and location. We found the staff very friendly and helpful, and the kitchen staff accommodated our request for an early meal - The chef Tobias should be complimented on his very good vegetarian indian food. I would have preferred to stay here two nights rather the stopping in Arusha. The Serena brand did not disappoint!
Spent two memorable nights at the Shela Suite - Serena Beach Resort and Spa, a visit that will remain etched in our collective memories. Immensely beautiful gardens, beach & architecture, attentive staff, the suite was beyond description. We felt doted on throughout our stay. Can't wait to go back.
Superb safari experience
A fantastic safari experience in the luxury of Selous Serena Camp. Run on a small and personal scale, our 'tent' was amazing, taken great care of by Heavenlight. The full day game drives were fantastic, with our excellent guide Anicet, the real wild Africa, and a beautiful river trip with guide Saidi. Excellent lodge, great food, the whole Camp superbly managed by Elliete. The service and attention to detail was outstanding.
Jahazi Grill at Serena Beach
My new favourite restaurant in the whole of Kenya! The Jahazi Grill puts the likes of Tamarind, Caramel and The Capital Club to shame and is much better value for money as well!! The staff are extremely friendly and unpretentious. Where else can you dine with your feet in the sand while being masqueraded by local guitarists and served both an amuse bouche and sorbet palette cleanser? The prawns were cooked to perfection, you can taste the sea in their oysters, excellent chili crab and a perfect creme brûlée! I would fly to Mombasa from Nairobi just to eat here again! Asante sana Jahazi Grill, Serena Beach Hotel and Spa. I wish there were more restaurants like you. Keep up the good work guys!
Amazing, convenient wilderness getaway
Located in Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Sweetwater's is both conveniently located (close to Nanyuki and not that farm from Nairobi) and offers excellent game viewing opportunities - as well as plenty of opportunities to relax in a natural setting for those who are less interested in safari activities.
The staff are excellent, friendly, and attentive. The food is also excellent - there is certainly no shortage of it. The rooms are well-equipped, cozy and clean. They are luxury tents (more like hotel rooms) that have been arranged around a water hole which is frequented by large mammals including rhinos. If my memory is right, the water hole is also lit (or partially lit) at night.
There is a swimming pool to relax in during the heat of the day (it does get very hot) and an elegant main house with a fire to keep you warm at night. (It also gets very cold at Ol Pejeta, so do bring warm clothes. However, there are lots of blankets in the rooms and hot water bottles are placed in the beds at night.)
There are no shortage of activities, ranging from visiting the chimpanzee sanctuary to late night game drives (it is possible to do a drive from 9-11pm, which I have not experienced elsewhere). There is plenty of game in the conservancy and the presence of fences (Sweetwater's is located close to the western boundary of the conservancy) does not detract from the wilderness experience in my mind. The combination of comfort and wilderness is what makes Sweetwater's an excellent safari destination for families in particular, which are rarely catered to in the deep bush.
I have read in online forums that Ol Pejeta is considered "tame" by many safari enthusiasts. While Sweetwater's does offer comforts that would not exist in remote locations, the wildlife are no more or less tame than those in national parks or other conservation areas.
I highly recommend Sweetwater's, even just for a weekend getaway from Nairobi.
Mara Serena Safari Lodge
We go there every year since 8 years its an awesome experience every time. The location is apt to view the migration at a closer distance.the lodge is clean and kids friendly.the ever friendly staff always shower with great hospitality.
Spent my Valentine's weekend in Amboseli and the Serena lodge was a great choice. It's located in the national park close to Mt. Kilimanjaro. You can enjoy a drink and watch the animals at the watering hole close by, or take a drive to Observation Hill for a spectacular view of the park, especially at sunset.
Historic Elegance, Not to be Missed!
As a luxury travel writer for World-Adventurer.com, I've stayed in several grand historic hotels around the world. Poland Serena Hotel is one of those rare colonial masterpieces that has a place in history and a charm that will always remain.
Here are the highlights.
History: Walk through the halls. Look at the pictures. Ride the antique elevator. You can't miss the history that exudes from the walls of the building. Step back into colonial days, welcome to the Polana Hotel.
Pool: The showpiece of the property is the massive pool overlooking the sea. You'll be sure to lounge around here with a cocktail if you stay.
Spa: The spa is worth checking out. The treatment rooms surround a smaller private pool.
Restaurants: The property offers several restaurants including one of the best French restaurants in the city. Ask about live music and events during your stay.
Location: Right on the sea and in the center of the city, you'll have access to all the main sights or business centers a short drive away.
Though there are newer properties, if you really want to experience Maputo, there's not substitute but to stay at the Polana. For more pictures and a detailed review, see my post at world-adventurer.com.
Interesting place to stay
Serena Hotel, Zanzibar is well located, overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is a heritage property located in the older part of the town. The hotel is well maintained, the staff is nice and courteous and the rooms well appointed. The restaurants are quite nice as well.
I enjoyed my stay at the Serena Zanzibar.
Beautiful lodge in a beautiful setting
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
Stayed two nights at this Serena property in February while on safari with Tauck Tours. It is nestled in the hillside. Upon arrival we were greeted by attendants with cool damp cloths to wipe our hands and faces. Once inside, we were treated to a Maasai greeting dance. The view from my room was of the Ngorongoro Crater. It was spectacular. Large room and bath. The king size bed was comfortable, the shower was good. There was nightly entertainment in the bar, dancers, singers, acrobats. The restaurant was wonderful. Everything about this property was top-notch
Melanie and I just wanted to say how grateful we are for the wonderful time arranged for us in Tanzania. Our memories of The Selous will stay with us for ever; it is a remarkable place and the two Serena camps could not have been better. All your staff at the camps and in Dar should be congratulated for their professionalism and for the way in which they looked after us in an unobtrusive and considerate manner.
Tough time in Kenya tourism ... but Serena Mombasa provided and catered very well for us
The visit was at a tough time in Kenya tourism ... But Serena Mombasa provided and catered very well to us. Thank you all sincerely as our holiday in Mombasa was made better with your hospitality (especially under the current situation - foreign government advisories).
Excellent, good service, friendly staff
Excellent, good service, friendly staff at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge. Hotel is much better than most hotels in the USA. Thank you.
Second time here at Serena Beach Resort & Spa and was highly impressed by how the staff have maintained their hospitality. Food quality and variety was great along with live bands on selected dinner days. Private beach with a variety of activities. Rooms were clean and spacious. Maisha Spa - pure bliss!
Honest and sincere staff
Clean, nice and relaxing rooms. accomodating, honest and sincere staff. I lost my phone during the stay and realized only when i got home. I emailed the hotel and i got quick response! Thanks to the honest housekeeper Ms. Clara Bura and the guest relation manager Ms. mariagoreth for their time, patience and effort to send my phone. I have Been in diffrent hotels around the world and no matter how exquisite the hotel's facilities are, what truly tops it all, is how well the staff accomadate their guests, and at Serena Dar Es Salaam, they made me feel I AM AT HOME so im giving this hotel a 5 star rating! I will denitely look forward to stay here again!Keep up the good work and more power!
We had a weekend gateway with my wife for two nights in this camp and it was just amazing! the service is one of the best we have received in Kenya the facility and interior decor was lovely and very well thought about. The food was top of the class. The camp runs a WOW! factor from when u walk in with a Champaign check in and you fill out your chekin at the lounge and not at the desk (nice and easy). WOW! factor continues to your room to the dinning. Highly recommended for gateway.
Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp.
Excellent weekend getaway
I spent a weekend here with my angel. Nice getaway from the busy life in Nairobi. It's very peaceful and very quite. The camp overlooks Lake Elementaita, with several herbivores roaming around. Breakfast by the lake side was a first time experience for us. The rooms are large and spacious. I recommend this camp to anybody looking for a quick and quiet weekend getaway.
Also spent one night in the Hyatt and my experience at Dar es Salaam Serena was much better. I will use Serena on any subsequent visits to dar es salaam. Thank you
I had a wonderful stay at Polana Serena Hotel. I came there on business but have vowed to come back to Polana Serena Hotel with my wife and possibly family as well. I enjoyed each and every moment of my stay there and will definitely recommend to my friends, family and colleagues to seriously consider visiting the hotel and experience the comfort and ambience of the hotel together with the hospitality of the staff. I was a great pleasure for me to stay at Polana Serena Hotel.
We had a fantastic experience at Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel and as an African Tour Specialist I will absolutely recommend and use your property for all future clients. Thank you so much.
Mr & Mrs
Nairobi Serena Hotel:Very impressed with the management and staff professionalism.
Mr & Mrs Afzal Ahmed
Kampala Serena Hotel: Worth every shilling!!! Awesome customer service, high standards and generally home away from home. Thanks alot and I will definitely be back.
This was my first time in Africa and was my first experience on Safari. Wow what an amazing trip it was. I was here in December of 2011 and it was a perfect stay. We ended up seeing pretty much everything other than Rhino which was fine. Enjoyed the breakfast and sunset cocktails. Only thing I think you miss out on is that every time you go for a drive you lose like 30 minutes of Safari time just getting out of the lodge. The views from the rooms and the pool are wonderful. You can literally see animals in the Serengeti from them. The food at the lodge was very very impressive, hard to believe they can make such good food there.
Aaron G, Atlanta, Georgia
The Mara Serena's biggest asset is its breathtaking view of the Masai Mara. You needn't even go for a game drive since you can see everything from the Serena! The reception, all rooms and even the gym look out over the plains. Also, it is situated within the Mara Triangle which has abundant and concentrated wildlife and which is the most beautiful part of the park. Rooms are nice, service is good and food is nice although I would prefer a bit more Kenyan cuisine. A once in a lifetime experience and highly recommended!
The Mara Serena is one of the best options for stay if one travels to the Masai Mara in Kenya. Its location is bang on one of the best spots of the entire Mara and one can see many animals frolicking around through the day. Views fro the room and the patio are awesome. The rooms are well-equipped and the staff is extremely pleasant and helpful. Food is outstanding.
The place is ridiculously nice. The architecture and interior design has been redone and it is not overly to my taste, but I appreciate the love and effort that has gone into it. Rooms are well done in the low impact eco friendly way of the Serena lodges - full points from an ecological perspective, you certainly get the impression that Serena could pack up and leave without a trace after 3 months of deconstruction, which is not a bad thing at all! Full points on the service and attention given by the folks here, especially the Deputy Manager of the lodge, who took us to the banks of the Mara River for a magical unforgettable breakfast amongst the crocs, hippos and mongoose. Great food, great service, great views, and great ecological focus. These people love the park and nature, and it shows. I will return
Spotted Chui, Nairobi
The Kigali Serena Hotel was absolutely incredible. Definitely one of the nicest, and most accommodating hotels I've ever visited. I was thrilled with my experience. I'm very picky about cleanliness in hotels but I have never felt more comfortable than at the Kigali Serena Hotel - it was pristine! I loved everything about my stay - even the bath towels and the bed sheets were amazing! I wish I could thank each one of your staff individually for the exceptional job they do. I wish every hotel was as wonderful as yours! By the way, I know this all sounds overly enthusiastic, but I swear, I'm not joking; I really loved your hotel that much! =)
Excellent stay and friendliness of staff was great and made the hotel. Also liked the displays of different crafts from different parts of Africa. For a new person to Africa this was very interesting.
Impeccable staff- charming, professional and a fountain of warmth and hospitality!
Mr & Mrs
We really enjoyed our time at the Serena Hotel. It is comfortable, elegant, beautiful environment within which to relax, absolutely "world class." From our interactions with hotel staff, we must say that we thing Ugandans are a wonderfully welcoming people who are able to interact with people from all over the world! This hotel and its staff are a wonderful advertisement for tourism in Uganda - which is a country with so much to offer visitors! Thank you again to the hotel management and staff for a wonderful visit and for exceptionally good value for money!
We all have no hesitation in recommending this hotel to all our friends and colleagues in Oman.
living in a dream
Staying at Serena is like living in a dream and floating on a cloud. It is a pleasure to talk to the staff that is always polite and helpful. The hotel is beautiful & the experience of staying here is as lovely.
I had a business trip and decided to stay at the Serena in spite of concerns about security. Security is tight at the hotel and police vehicles on either side and one way in and out ensure that vehicles and people are checked before entering the hotel complex.
The hotel is beautiful, both the garden, the common areas and the rooms. I was greeted by a juice while my details were taken. Staff were pleasant and some staff were exceptionally good.
Tips are not encouraged at the Serena hotel and this is a breath of fresh air compared to some hotels where tips are almost required to get any service no matter how bad.
The hotel is incredibly comfortable and security is obvious and reassuring. There are a couple of restaurants to choose from and food quality is above average for Kabul.
I will definitely be staying here again in spite of the price tag as the next cheapest hotel is about $100 less but a world apart in terms of security and comfort.
never felt like just a room number
The Hotel experience was beyond expectations. The service from staff was out of this world. The Lady who organised transport to the airport identified me by name all the four times I called her from outside the hotel, How, I do not know but for once I never felt like just a room number. Generally your service standards and Censirity of your staff blew me away. The drivers to and from the Airport were also out of this world! Regards, Cuthbert Tembedza, Johannesburg.
You are just amazing! I use to travel a lot in Africa and other places. You are the best I`d never seen. Continue like that! People from France, Canada, America, Cameroon, Botswana, Argentina, name it, should send their personnel in your hotel to learn how to wellcome and really care of their guests! Good luck and Bravo!!!!!!
beyond usual courtesies
Most hotels allow customers to leave bags at the hotel while they are away on safari. Most also allow these guests to "hang around" in the lounge for a few hours on their return to Nairobi before they leave Kenya. However, Serena went beyond these usual courtesies and even allowed me to use the gym facilities to take a shower and get a complimentary glass of juice! I am an avid safari goer in Kenya and have decided to use Serena for all my future stays!
We live in Nairobi but wanted to celebrate New Years Eve doing something extra special. Upon arrival, Reception upgraded us to a lovely executive suite. It was so comfortable, we decided to have Room Service rather than eat in one of the restaurants. Everything was just perfect. Thanks to all the staff at Serena!
Serena is an exceptional hotel and the staff are very customer friendly, but what i find most interesting is the attention to detail in terms of decor and ambience. Thats what separates serena from the rest. thats what attracts me to serena all the time. Please don't loose that uniqueness.