I have been traveling back and forth to Senegal for nearly 20 years and I have stayed in the Radisson Blu a few times over the past few years. I have seen the rise, reign, and eventual decline of several hotel properties in Senegal over this period. The Radisson Blu Dakar fills the gap in the market for those who want to feel like they have “modern” accommodations while in Africa.
The Radisson is frequented by airline crews, World Bank types, foreign diplomats, and celebrities. This place is ex-patriot central. The high priced, secure, trendy property has the requisite modern architecture, infinity pool facing the ocean, fluffy white bedding, fancy shower, and a string of niceties that are well documented in other reviews. The Radisson is co-located near a shopping complex with western friendly stores like Benetton and a nicely appointed sushi restaurant.
Overall, I have enjoyed my stays. Yet, if I scrutinize the details just a tad, it is fairly easy to find fault in the hotel to include the accommodations, service, the sometimes annoying presence of sultry sex workers, and poor staff conduct. On the latter point, during my most recent stay, a server in the restaurant, Oumou, asked me to hurry up and leave, so she could prepare my table for lunch. Her words were, “Depechez vous SVP”. At least she used the polite form, vous. There were a few lingering guest in the restaurant but she was obsessed with my table. She came back twice to ask me to leave, each time giving me sharp, disapproving looks. Now imagine yourself being chastised by your grade school principal, except she’s 20 and you are nearly 50 years old and you are in a high priced hotel not at school. Later, I gently reminded Oumou and the young man who said he was the manager, Lucas, that sometimes it is not what you say to guests but how you say it. They offered apologies but I am left unconvinced they were sincere. (I could share more examples of faults with other aspects of my stays but see other reviewers’ comments for diverse opinions).
Interestingly, despite little bits like this, and the high price point, The Radisson Blu Dakar will continue to be the “go to” “it girl” “bells and whistles” hotel for travelers who do not want to accept common inconveniences and realities that accompany a stay in Senegal and similar countries. In my experience, this trend will continue until little problems overtake the hotels perceived value or until a new hotel replaces this one. Look for the progression of reviews that include terms like, faded glory, used to be, needs updating, etc. Ironically, hotels and aging Hollywood stars are often referenced using the same terms. Alas, we travelers are a trendy set!
In closing, if you want to stay at a location with a modern, sort of like you are not in Africa vibe, you will truly enjoy the Radisson Blu Dakar. If you want the place to exceed your expectations, do not focus on the messy bits or try to hold this place to the standard of a 5-star hotel. This is not a 5-star hotel!! Compared to a Ritz Carlton high end property, I would give the Radisson Blu Dakar a conservative 3.5, although it has 5 star hotel price point. I would characterize it as a luxury façade facility that is way ahead of the pack in its ability to offer travelers a blissful retreat in Senegal…… for now.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Some things you simply must see to believe. The Radisson Blue Hotel, Dakar Sea Plaza is a perfect example of this. Located on the tranquil Cape Verde Peninsula, this sophisticated, modern resort boasts an enviable address in the elegant Fann Corniche neighborhood. The 241 guest rooms and fully equipped apartments of this stylish accommodation are characterized by their contemporary design and superb amenities, including individual climate control and Free high-speed, wireless internet. The Dakar Sea Plaza houses 3 on-site dining options and one bar for your enjoyment. Experience the remarkable L'Avenue Restaurant, where chefs are inspired to transform Senegal's rich history of African, Dutch, and French influences into truly unique Mediterranean cuisine. Unwind by the outdoor infinity pool with a refreshing cocktail from the Pool Bar, or sample dishes from the Pool Side Restaurant. Fresh-caught, grilled seafood is sure to please at our new Galuchat restaurant facing the Atlantic Ocean. Savor the explosive flavors of The Little Buddha Dakar, where the eclectic culinary styles of the Pacific Rim come together to create a one-of-a-kind Asian-fusion experience. The hotel's fitness center and spa provide the perfect way to maintain your fitness routine and relax your troubles away. If you find yourself in Dakar on business, the hotel's 12 modern meeting rooms and refined ballroom are perfect for planning a productive conference or stellar gala ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar Hotel Dakar