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“Grand hotel that could be a gem if attended to”

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Polana Serena Hotel
Ranked #2 of 23 Hotels in Maputo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 June 2014

This is a hotel that, on the outside, is beautiful. Public areas are well maintained and it is a comfortable place to stay. Interestingly, many of the rooms are separate from the main hotel building and require an outdoor walk and flights of stairs (no elevator available) to reach. In the US, this would probably be a 3.5 star hotel. Service was terrible. It is, for example, not reasonable to take 75 minutes to serve a lunch. My impression was that staff had not been adequately trained and that performance standards were quite lax. I attribute the poor service to management. I would expect much more from a Serena. We have stayed at a number of Serena hotels. This was clearly one of the best looking on the outside but worst functioning on the inside. There are quite a few luxury hotels being built in Maputo along the sea. As they open, I would expect to see business at the Polana Serena decline quickly. Yes, it is fun to stay at a grand hotel with vestiges of that grand hotel era feel. But, it is not fun to have to suffer the poor service offered at the hotel. By the way, the door to our balcony would not lock. None of the staff seemed to care about his so it stayed that way throughout our stay.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank boyerbuckets
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 May 2014

The Polana Hotel is a jewel in Maputo. The main building is very grand with a spectacular view out over the pool and the Indian Ocean. My room was immaculate and modern with all the amenities of a first rate hotel. Service was good and not overbearing. I was there for business - the hotel is big enough that you can get away with small delegations to still enjoy the surrounds but conduct business in a private environment. Thoroughly recommend for business and personal alike.

Room Tip: Book a room in the main the building. A colleague stayed in the forward rooms in front of pool and t...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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Thank Jono_Regan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2014

Stayed for a week long conference on site plus several more days for work so I feel like I got a good feel for the place!

Highlights - Clean, comfortable rooms - super comfortable beds! Penhaligon's Products. Beautiful public areas, Fantastic ocean views. The pool was clean, clear and refreshing (but without some minor buildup between the tiles.) Plentiful staff who were often very helpful, but sometimes English was limited. From a business standpoint, if you are holding a conference or seminar here the meeting facilities are good and everything went well but the buffet lunch each day was outstanding with a huge variety of delicious food (European, African/Mozambique, seafood - everything) including an amazing dessert selection. The Breakfast buffet was also just as good. Tea and coffee any time through the Varanda Restaurant - and perhaps not charged for this if you are staying at the hotel - I'm not sure.

A few critiques - all of the wonderful service does come at a price - but you get what you pay for - restaurant food was a little high but not outrageous. The business center charged just under a US dollar for one b/w copy or print which was really expensive. I have praised the buffets and while The Varanda Restaurant food was good, it took a very long time to arrive in the evenings - close to an hour a couple nights and after this we just went out to eat in the evening. This is definitely one area that could use improvement. One night we actually ordered room service because we knew it would be faster. While the Varanda is often full at breakfast and lunch it's deserted in the evenings - perhaps due to the slow service. The only other area that felt a little inconsistent was housekeeping. Every day the room was cleaned and bed made, and in the evening turn down service and a yummy chocolate was standard but sometimes there would be a facecloth/flannel left and some days there wouldn't be. And like many hotels who preach care for the environment and give you the opportunity to hang up your towels to reuse, in reality, there were new towels given every day - sometimes twice a day.

Shuttle service to the airport is US$20 per person. A taxi is $15 per taxi so a cheaper option. Taxis are plentiful outside the hotel but many restaurants and shops are within walking distance.

This is a beautiful hotel with outstanding service. If you can afford it you will feel pampered and well cared for. I would love to return!

Room Tip: All the rooms are great, a sea view room would obviously be really nice
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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Thank thewilsonswanderings
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2014

This is a gorgeous venue. There was a private party there while we were visiting. The pool setting and various venues around the resort beg for weddings and social gatherings.

My hotel room on the bottom floor of the outer building, 611, was spacious and well appointed. There was a separate shower, tub, water closet, comfy bed and monogrammed sheets. As all over Southern Africa--ask for face towels at check-in, there will be none in your room. There was always staff on duty nearby.

The restaurant was overpriced for dinner. We paid $47US for a buffet dinner that had been sitting all day. The rice was crunchy, the meat was tough, and they did not replenish the shrimp or seafood. I had a couple of mussels; they were grainy and old. The restaurant is beautiful.

Breakfast was much better with a wide assortment of various ethnic foods including Chinese, S. African, and Indian selections. Ask the price before ordering a glass of wine, beer, or even water. Paying in S. African Rand or U.S. Dollars will fetch you a TERRIBLE exchange rate. Just charge on a credit card.

Room Tip: Tell the desk you are celebrating your honeymoon, birthday, or anniversary for a special room.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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Thank AuntieAnne22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2014 via mobile

The property is exceptional with incredible views. However the food is terrible and hotel is not all that clean. Hall ways are shabby. I did not find the front desk staff to be all that helpful. The gym / spa are very nice with an attentive staff. Unfortunately there are only two five star hotels in Maputo. The Polana and the Radisson (which is newer). Polana is not value for the money and probably a 4 star hotel. Great seafood resturants in close proximity.

  • Stayed: May 2014
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Thank A A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2014

Visited on business in June 2013. Stayed for 3 nights. A Maputo institution, this hotel is excellent. Well located in the city, close to all the interesting places. The hotel has a good spa, a lovely swimming pool and fantastic ocean views. The hotel is ageing, however, and needs some renovation. Friendly staff and good restaurant. All in all, quite a nice place to stay in Maputo.

Room Tip: Try to get an ocean view room
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled on business
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Thank Ibadanboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2014

Latest refurb and new spa have improved the hotel but service is still a problem and food is mediocre and expensive. Definitely in a higher class than most hotels in the country. The main pool and surroundings has charm and restaurant and bar with view over Maputo bay is peaceful place to watch the sunrise...

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank DAMOCLESofTEETWO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Polana Serena Hotel

Address: Avenida Julius Nyerere 1380, Maputo 1100, Mozambique
Region: Mozambique > Maputo Province > Maputo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 23 Hotels in Maputo
Price Range: £177 - £271 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Polana Serena Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 142
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The “Grand Dame” of Africa, as the Polana Serena Hotel is widely known, is a must-see historical landmark when talking about the city of Maputo. The elegance and splendour of its façade are the living memory of bygone colonial times; its luxurious interiors whisper stories of the many generations who spent nights protected by the hotel’s majestic walls, kings and queens, ambassadors and presidents, princesses and common travellers; its gardens, perfect and romantic lookouts offer a breathtaking view over the Indian Ocean.Built in 1922 in the heart of Maputo, one of the most exclusive residential areas, the Polana Serena Hotel belongs to the elite of the most famous hotels in the world. The splendor of its colonial lines blend tradition and art, making your stay an unforgettable journey through the past, looking to the future. Faithfull to the Serena Group philosophy of integrating architecture with cultural heritage, the Polana Serena Hotel offers a mix of elegance, grandeur and ethnicity, in a space equipped with the most modern solutions, luxurious facilities and excellent service. ... more   less 
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