One of the best parts of traveling is being able to experience new things and visit new places. New hotels definitely fall into that category for me. You never know what you are going to get when you step foot in a new hotel.
While in Nairobi, I stayed at the Nairobi Serena Hotel. In many instances, security protocols leave you to feel a bit vulnerable. In this case, the security means that the hotel takes extra precaution to protect its guests. Upon arriving at the gate, cars are swept for devices (yeah, you know what kind I’m talking about) and trunks are checked. Suspicious vehicles are checked more thoroughly.
As my car approached the entrance, I was greeted my two doormen. At the lobby entrance, there are x-ray machines that all luggage and handbags must be screened through before entering the building and guests walk through a metal detector. Once inside, I was given a ticket for my luggage and the bellman brought them to my room a few minutes after checking in.
The interior décor of the Nairobi Serena reflects an entirely pan-African theme, featuring art and inspiration from Ethiopia, the Maghreb, West Africa, and East Africa.
Upon completing the check in process, a guest relations member walked me to my room since I was new to the hotel. What service! In my room was a welcome basket with a bottle of sustainable South African wine (a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend) and a bowl of various fruits). What a great treat.
Room with a View
In the dark, I could see the city skyline out my window. In the morning, I could see that my room overlooked the garden area of the facility…fauna and flora with the tall city skyline in the distance. Peaceful yet located in the middle of civilization. The windows have a UV slider, and then the main window, which opens all the way to allow in the breeze and fresh air. There aren’t many bugs in the desert, so the open window can be pleasant.
The hotel room was a decent size. I was in a standard room (king bed, table and two chairs, desk, marble luggage stand, etc.). Not huge, but not tiny. The bathroom was small, but that’s not to be unexpected from a European brand, and complete with robes and luxury toiletries.
The bed came standard with 6 pillows, but featured a card with a menu of pillows you could choose from at no additional cost. I ordered a contoured memory foam pillow for my stay—just like my pillow at home.
The ‘Maisha' Spa features qualified and talented massage therapists at stellar prices. I partook in the “Indian Massage” treatment—a special treatment of 30 minutes focusing solely on head, neck, shoulders, and upper back. The treatment price was 2,800 Kenyan Shillings (about $32 based on the exchange rate the day I had my treatment). I can barely get $1 per minute at shady massage places in the states, let alone at a nice spa.
Sustainability and Green Travel
The Serena Group is an environmentally conscious hotel chain. Per their website, the Serena “is sensitive to the conservation of environmentally protected or threatened areas, species and scenic aesthetics.” They practice energy conservation (reducing and recycling waste); minimize emissions and pollutants; reduce the use of products such as CFSs, pesticides, and other toxic substances; reduce noise and visual pollution. As a Vermonter, their green practices appeal to me. If you have to travel, do it as greenly as possible.
Honestly, my only complaint about the Nairobi Serena was the bed. The beds can definitely use an update. All I could feel were springs in all parts of my body because the mattress was so poor. I don’t know if it was worn out or just poor quality, but the fluffy comforter and sea of 6 pillows are what made the bed tolerable.