Having read great reviews of the Southern Sun on TA and needing a hotel for 2 days at the beginning and end of our vacation in Tanzania, we decided to book. I had also contacted the manager concerning our booking briefly prior to arriving and he responded quickly to my enquiry. The Southern Sun proved to be a great choice.
We arrived at 3:00 a.m. tired and still somewhat jet lagged in spite of spending 3 marvelous nights in Istanbul enroute from Toronto. We were warmly greeted at reception, registered and shown to our room within minutes.
The room, which was on the first floor, was clean and the bed quite comfortable. However the furniture was somewhat dated and the room appeared to be in need of renovation. This wasn't of major concern as I had also read that the hotel was in the process of renovations and understand that these things take time. On our return 2 weeks later we were given a room on the second floor and noticed a difference immediately. This room had been updated, the furniture was newer and it was much more comfortable overall. Free Wifi was also available throughout the hotel.
An excellent breakfast buffet was served on the second floor from 4:30 a.m. onwards. In addition to a variety of fruit, bread, yogurt, juice etc., a hot breakfast was available from a short order cook who prepared an omelette etc. while you waited. Tea and coffee were served at your table by friendly staff.
An added convenience for travelers wanting to see local attractions is that a branch of Kearsley's Travel is conveniently located on the second floor. The oldest travel company in Tanzania and highly respected, it which offers local tours and other services. We had booked our safari and other travel arrangements through Kearsley's head office (online) and found them to be both friendly and efficient.
The main restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and a varied, well prepared menu. The fish and curries were delicious. We ate there on three occasions and enjoyed it very much. Prices are also quite reasonable. The hotel, being the closest hotel to the airport, was always busy and the restaurant and lounge were full each time we were there. Our servers, although efficient, weren't quite as friendly as staff in other parts of the hotel but the restaurant manager went from table to table chatting with guests and checking to see if their needs had been met. On one occasion the chef also enquired. This was a nice touch and we were pleased to see that they were interested in their guests. Next to the restaurant was a spacious and comfortable lounge whose doors opened onto a patio and pool. It was a very pleasant place to relax and enjoy a drink.
The main lobby was spacious and well appointed. There was also a small independent shop selling souvenirs and gifts. However prices were higher than what is available in places such as the Slipway where a number of vendors sell a huge selection of similar souvenirs and gifts. I was also surprised to find that although the selection was of good quality, most of the items, if not all, had been made in Kenya!
Although our stay at the Southern Sun was brief we enjoyed it very much. We were especially delighted with the restaurant and the overall service provided by the staff. I recommend it as a great place to stay while visiting Dar es Salaam or as a stopover. Kudos to Adam and his staff!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Southern Sun Dar-Es-Salaam offers the best of all worlds with excellent facilities and within walking distance of the city centre. It is situated in a quiet part of town, close to the sea, next door to the Botanical Gardens and numerous diplomatic missions. The Hotel was recently awarded Silver status by the Heritage Environmental rating program in recognition of our commitment to reducing the Hotels environmental impact. A free Wi-Fi service is offered throughout the building. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Southern Sun Dar Es Salaam Hotel Dar Es Salaam
- Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam