It’s ‘The City Hotel by the Game Park’, with one side of the property overlooking the Nairobi National Park. If you’re lucky, you’ll see animals at the nearby waterhole, from either your room, the bar, restaurant or hotel swimming pool. The Ole Sereni is owned by four independent directors and opened in October 2009.
Where is it?
This is one of its greatest strengths, particularly if you want to avoid the infamous Nairobi traffic. It’s off Mombasa Road, which links the airport with the city, and out of traffic the trip between the hotel and airport is barely 10 minutes. Conservatively, the trip to the CBD is about 20 minutes, but can be longer. Leave more than enough time for meetings.
My fourth floor Club room had a view of the park and that in itself lends itself to a more tranquil stay, with a sliding door opening onto a small balcony. I would describe my room as spacious, functional and all you would need for a comfortable ‘business stay’, with modern amenities – king-size bed, work station, safe big enough for a laptop, flat-screen TV with selected satellite channels (sport, news, movies), ironing board, air-conditioning, mini-bar and nicely configured bathroom. The only weakness here was the shower (in the bath), which blew a little hot and cold. Otherwise, it was clean and functional. A nice touch in the room was a coffee press with Kenyan filter coffee – something a bit more than your standard tea and coffee station, and the Kenyans know how to make coffee! Another nice touch, for the security-conscious – key card access to the floor and not just the rooms. In total, the hotel has 134 rooms – 58 Superior city-facing rooms, 48 Deluxe and 26 Club, along with a couple of suites.
Restaurants & Bars
I had dinner at the Big Five restaurant, which has indoor tables and a 300-foot veranda that looks onto the park, and serves a variety of cuisine, including Italian, Indian and Oriental. After warming up with the local brew – a Tusker beer – I was treated to one of the finest steaks I’ve ever had. The signature ‘Jack Daniels Beef Fillet’ is a fillet of aged Kenyan beef, brushed with the kitchen’s special Jack Daniels glaze, served with crushed potato and spinach, baba ganoush and a mustard sauce. Further to that, my order of ‘medium’ was spot-on. The service wasn’t fantastic, but that didn’t ruin what was an outstanding meal. I didn’t get to sample breakfast or lunch, but the other dining options are the Waterhole Snack Bar (looking onto the park) and the newer Eagles fine dining and lounge, which is located on the fourth floor.
Business & Meeting Facilities
There’s the Pride Hall Conference Centre that can accommodate 500 people, and can be divided into five smaller venues. In addition, the hotel has three meeting rooms with a capacity of 40 to 60 people each, plus one large fully-equipped boardroom. There’s also a 24-hour business centre with high-speed Internet, photocopying and faxing facilities, and a secretarial team. The hotel will also do outside catering and conference and banquet menus tailored to your needs. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
The Ole Sereni has an ultra-modern gym with cardio-vascular machines and weights, along with a decent-sized changeroom, shower facilities, sauna, steam room and massage facilities. Adjacent to the Waterhole Snack Bar, there’s a pool that also overlooks the park. For the tourists among you, there’s a well-stocked curio shop.
It’s only been around a couple of years, but it’s already making a strong bid for the title of premier Nairobi hotel on the Mombasa Road. The combination of a clearly ‘African’ theme, together with modern amenities, great food, location and friendly staff, make this a business hotel worth trying.
Address: Off Mombasa Road, Nairobi
Tel: +254 732 191000