Background: The Southern Sun Dar es Salaam has business travellers at the heart of its operations. It’s located within close proximity of the airport, in the central business district of Tanzania’s capital city and hosts weekly cocktail networking sessions.
Where is it? The hotel is situated 13 kilometres from Julius Nyerere International Airport. Traffic can be very congested, especially during peak hours, but Kearsleys Travel and Tours, the hotel’s on-site tour operator, can arrange your transfer and advise on travelling time.
The Southern Sun borders the national botanical garden, many of its rooms have views over its expanse. It is less than a 10 minutes’ saunter from the beach, and a brief walk from the city centre and various tourist attractions.
Room facilities: If you’re staying for a few days, consider booking an executive or junior suite, the latter has a guest toilet, work desk and living room that’s separated from the bedroom by a door. There’s another working desk and entertainment unit, with a full DStv bouquet of channels, in the main bedroom with a very spacious en-suite bathroom. Not only is the junior suite comfortable, but you can hold business meetings in the living room without disturbing your partner or encroaching on your personal space. The 500MB of complimentary daily wi-fi is very reliable and allows for seamless skype calls.
Both suites have a fully-stocked mini-bar and the fourth floor is reserved for smoking guests. Although the Southern Sun mostly caters to business travellers, it also has inter-leading family rooms as well as rooms for the physically challenged.
The best views are from the north-east-facing corner rooms on the topmost (fifth) floor, where you can see the Indian Ocean from your king-size bed, and the swimming pool and botanical gardens from the other window.
All female guests receive a vanity gift set consisting of a scarf and cosmetics, as a gesture of Tanzania hospitality. Make use of the complimentary mosquito repellent as Dar es Salaam is found within a malaria area.
Restaurants & bars: “You’ll never find frozen fish in my kitchen,” Executive Head Chef Jimmy van Biljon tells me over a dinner of seared tuna steak served with a lemon, ginger and lemongrass sauce and al dente steamed vegetables. He gets a daily supply of fresh red snapper, changu, tuna and calamari, according to sustainable fishing practices, delivered to the hotel from Kivukoni fish market.
Breakfast is served at Kivulini Restaurant on the mezzanine floor from 04h00 to 11h00 during the week, so as to cater to guests with early morning flights, and until 13h00 on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Enjoy your choice of a Continental or English breakfast, along with coconut water, in the air-conditioned dining area or beneath an umbrella on the balcony that overlooks the swimming pool and botanical gardens. Baraza à la carte restaurant, on the ground floor, is open from 12h00 to 23h00 along with the adjoining bar that’s made of coconut wood.
Business & meeting facilities: The hotel is famed for its cocktail networking sessions, each Wednesday from 18h30 to 20h30, where each guest receives a sticker of their country’s flag alongside a complimentary drink. Who knows, perhaps you’ll strike a new business deal. The business centre, which is open daily from 07h00 to 22h00, is on the mezzanine floor. Guests are charged $2.50 for30 minute’s use of the computers, while printing, faxing and binding services incur an additional cost. The Kikao meeting room can accommodate 15 people with a boardroom set up or 35 in a classroom arrangement.
Leisure facilities: The fitness centre has free weights and general exercise machines such as the orbitrek, treadmill, a stationary bicycle as well as yoga mats. If you would rather take a walk outside, the hotel grounds lead out onto the botanical gardens. When you return take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool.
Verdict: A hotel in a beautiful natural setting that caters to every need of the discerning business traveller.