Let me start off by mentioning that I have been staying at to this hotel at least 4 times per year since 2007. That would more than 20 stays so far. I have also referred countless of people to this hotel. I kept on coming back here because this was the first hotel I stayed at in Dar es Salaam. Over the years it became a familiar place to me. I like the gardens and the staffs is very friendly. The rooms never blew me away, after a couple of stays it just became the place I knew in the city.
During this time I have also come to know who the owner is - he never uttered as much as a “hello” or “welcome back” to me. It did not bother me because I realised that he cannot be friends with everybody that stays here. It was never a reason for me however not to come back here again.
During my last trip (flight) from Europe to Dar es Salaam the owner happened to be on the same flight and in the same class as me. Once more, we did not exchange greetings, which actually made me feel awkward because by the time I realised that he was on the flight, we passed one another a couple of times. I thought it would be silly to greet this late. Even so, I did not think much of it and assumed that he might feel the same.
After my first night and breakfast at the hotel, the visibly shaken and embarrassed hotel staff informed me that the previous night was on the house - but I had to leave the hotel. No one could give me a reason why, except that the owner walked in that morning and instructed them to inform the person, who was on the same flight with him, to leave. To say the least, I was shocked – especially because I have been a loyal guest over a couple of years. I was also angry that he put his staff into such an embarrassing situation. They have always been very friendly and nice to me and they tried their best to ease the situation. It is really sad that he did not have the courage to tell me this in person. Thinking back then - and judging on the way he arranged a whole arrival team/workforce for his pick up at the airport (if I did not know better, I could have been fooled into thinking some kind of local celebrity has landed), an inflated ego is a possible candidate. Notwithstanding, this action was determined and aimed to hurt……for not saying “hello” (which I can also accuse him of btw)??..... This also brings me back to the basic rules of hospitality. In the normal world the staff (or management for that matter) approaches their guests and introduces themselves and not the other way around. I cannot think of any other reason why he did this. As I mentioned before, he never stopped to greet me at the hotel in all the years. All the other people that work there have always greeted me and welcomed me back. I find this behaviour exceptionally unprofessional; one would not expect this from the management/owner of a hotel. I did not disembark the plane in Dar es Salaam with a grudge, thinking that I will stay at another hotel now because I was not greeted or asked if I will be staying there again by the owner of the hotel which I have been supporting so often.
Judging from how ruthless this owner treats his loyal guests, I can only assume how the staffs get treated at this hotel. Even if my assumption is wrong, I got kicked out, irrespective of the fact that I have been a loyal guest for years, for no reason and with no explanation at all. Just like that.
Based on this little incident, I will now also allow myself to highlight what has always bothered me about the hotel:
1. The ocean facing rooms only face the ocean but actually look into the garden. They face the garden on the ocean side of the property. Do not book a garden facing room however - because there is a night club just across the road from the hotel and you may find yourself with a lot of noise at night. It has happened to me in the past but I did not complain back then (luckily I had really good ear plugs with me). Currently the hotel is also constructing a number of new garden facing rooms on the side where this night club/bar is situated and the rooms closest to the night club are no more than 20 m away from it. There is just a hedge and a dirt road between the rooms and the night club.
2. The rooms are rather dark and gloomy with old AC’s. They are very noisy and only function at one level. Unfortunately, most of the year you have to sleep with the AC on because there is no air draught through the rooms.
3. The beds are basic and not the most comfortable: On top of that you only get a sheet as blanket. It would be nice to have a proper duvet.
4. The showers (sometimes toilets) leak and there is hardly any water pressure. I have not seen any improvements in the bathrooms in the last 5 years.
5. The towels are a joke. More sheet than towel. They do not absorb any water at all. They are the worst I have ever seen in any hotel.
6. Wireless is for free but it comes at the speed of the internet anno 1995. It is the slowest wireless I have experienced in Dar es Salaam.
7. The food in the restaurant is good but pricey for DAR standards. Here too, there have been no changes in the menu in the last 5 years. Only the prices changed.
8. The hotel is very isolated and removed from the normal rhythm of Dar es Salaam. It is also far from the city and the traffic going there is always bad. The road leading to the hotel is also in a bad condition, especially after rain.
This unnecessary event also brought something good to light though. Firstly, I will not support (and advise others also) an institution that is run by such ruthless people. It also provided me with the opportunity to explore other options outside my comfort zone. I now discovered that there are numerous other options closer to town on the Peninsula. Here you will also find hotels on the ocean but you can also experience normal DAR life if you have the urge to leave the hotel. If you want to be on the beach outside of the city however, there are better options with better rooms, albeit a bit further out. White Sands for example.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mediterraneo Hotel and Restaurant is a unique resort style hotel located by the Indian Ocean in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Situated close to the commercial centre of Dar es Salaam with attractive gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mediterraneo Hotel And Restaurant
- Mediterraneo Hotel Dar Es Salaam