Hotel cehck: Southern Sun Mayfair

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Background

The Southern Sun group has nearly a hundred hotels in Africa, the Middle East and the Seychelles. Previously known as the Holiday Inn Nairobi, the Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi is set on 12 acres of landscaped gardens. It’s actually one of Nairobi’s most historic hotels, having been established back in 1940s ‘Colonial Kenya’.

What’s it Like?

It’s a 4-star property and that’s probably about right, although the setting is very picturesque, in amongst lush gardens, with a beautiful pool and dining area the highlight for me. It doesn’t have the 5-star trimmings, but it’s more than adequate and comfortable.

Where is it?

The hotel is located in the suburb of Parklands and is ideally situated for people who need to be close to the various embassies, United Nations buildings or the commercial hub of Westlands, which is a short drive away. The location of one’s hotel in Nairobi is of critical importance, due to the incredible traffic, and if you plan to squeeze in a lot of meetings at different locations, you had better have a driver (self-drive really isn’t an option in Nairobi) who knows where he’s going, and you’d better factor in a lot of time either side. The hotel is also walking distance from the Westgate Shopping Mall and just a few kilometres from the city centre, although the trip can take up to an hour, for the reasons just listed. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is 20 kilometres away, but try to arrange for your airport trips to take place out of rush hour, as the road is bad and the traffic relentless.

Room Facilities

Pretty standard Southern Sun fare, with a queen-size bed, parquet flooring, television with selected satellite channels (SuperSport, news, local channels), work desk and chair, tea/coffee making facilities, South African and UK plug points and a window onto the pool area. I was a little disappointed to have to pay $5/hour for Wi-Fi Internet access in my room, but that’s not unusual in many African hotels. I also found the bathroom a little small, comprising basin, toilet and shower in a bath, with little room for anything else. Nonetheless, it was clean and my request to reception for shaving cream was dealt with efficiently. The Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi has 171 rooms, made up of executive rooms and suites, smoking and non-smoking king, double and twin rooms, and one wheelchair-accessible room.

Restaurants & Bars

The Oasis Restaurant has a beautiful setting next to the pool and offers an informal atmosphere – open daily from 06h00 to 23h00. The breakfast spread was particularly impressive – a mouth-watering buffet to kickstart the day. The hotel also has a Golden Spur Steak Ranch, located adjacent to the lobby area. It’s a family restaurant, with a bar, and specialises in steaks and burgers, together with the franchise’s renowned salad valley. It’s open between 11h00 and 23h00 daily.

Conferencing Facilities

The hotel has eight meeting and conference facilities, which can accommodate 20 to 350 delegates. The following equipment is standard – telephone in each room, flipchart board with paper and pens, Proxima Wireless Internet connection, computer connection facilities at business centre, and separate group registration area. The following additional services can be arranged: courier service, flower arrangements, photographer, personal computers and printers, and luggage storage.

Leisure Facilities

Besides the pool, there’s a residents’ lounge and a health club, which has a sauna and fully-equipped gym.

Verdict

An attractive setting, nice food and accommodation that is comfortable, without being overly luxurious.

Contact

Address: Parklands Road, Parklands, Nairobi, +254 2 037 40920, southernsun.com

Dylan Rogers