Hotel check: Crowne Plaza Nairobi

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Background

Crowne Plaza Nairobi is the IHG group’s second hotel project in Kenya, after the InterContinental Nairobi. It opened in March 2010 and an expansion is planned for completion in 2014. The hotel is linked to IHG’s Priority Club loyalty scheme.

Where is it?

It’s in the centre of the Upper Hill business district, which is off Uhuru Highway leading straight to the airport (17km). Downtown Nairobi is a stone’s throw away, and depending on the notorious Nairobi traffic, it will take you about half an hour to get to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, but that time is expected to be reduced when the road works around Upper Hill are completed by the end of 2013.

What’s it Like?

The Crowne Plaza’s focus on business and conferencing is apparent, with a travel desk, an in-house bank and two separate lounges – Alabaster and Babalu’s Bar – offering ample casual meeting space. The Alabaster Lounge turns into a piano bar in the evenings. The Wi-Fi connection (10 Mb/s) is excellent throughout, including in the gym, all restaurants and conference rooms. It is free for resident guests and conference attendees.

Room Facilities

There are 162 rooms spread over five floors. The hotel has 13 suites – eight junior (48m²) and five executive suites (68m²), which all have a separate living room and extra large bathroom with a jacuzzi and rain shower. All suites and rooms on the fifth floor have access to the Club Lounge which serves private breakfast and free snacks and beverages throughout the day, and offers complimentary business centre facilities. I stayed in a superior room with a king-size bed with a selection of different types of pillows that I could order from housekeeping. The room faced the road, but there was surprisingly little noise, given the nearby construction work going on. With its 32m², the room was adequate and spacious enough to work in, without feeling cramped, and I liked the modern fittings, in the form of the HDTV, DVD and Internet connectivity. The bathrooms have both a bath and rainshower, whilst the complimentary toiletries are supplied by The White Company London. I found the design of the room simple, yet functional, paying attention to detail with scented pillow spray and a fresh fruit bowl. Furthermore, there are four deluxe rooms in the hotel, which are slightly bigger than the superior rooms and 50 twin-bed standard rooms.

Restaurant & Bars

The room rate includes complimentary breakfast at Baraza restaurant, where the offering includes a spread of cereals, fruits, breads, cold meats, cheese and hot breakfasts. During the day, Baraza serves all-day lunch and dinner. Sikia, which overlooks the lobby on the mezzanine floor, is a fine dining restaurant. I enjoyed a caprese salad with beetroot carpaccio, exquisite Molo lamb chops with mint sauce, and a butterscotch parfait for dinner. The only fault I could find was the slow service, but the food was delicious. The two-storeyed Babalu’s Bar is popular for its post-work happy hour, and the Alabaster Lounge serves pastries and sandwiches from 18h00-23h00.

Meeting & Business Facilities

The hotel has three ballrooms seating 350 delegates and five boardrooms, all with projector, video and phone conferencing facilities. The business centre has four work stations offering fax, scanning, binding and photocopy services.

Leisure Facilities

There’s a gym with Technogym equipment, three treatment rooms, a steam bath, sauna and a small heated pool.

Verdict

A great hotel for business travellers looking for high-end business and dining facilities. Although IHG’s 4-star brand, the Crowne Plaza is among the top business hotels in Nairobi, delivering above its rating.

Contact
Address:
Kenya Road, Off Kilimanjaro Road, Upper Hill
Tel: +254 20 274600, crowneplaza.com/nairobi

Shruti Patel

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