If you're in Nairobi for business, then priority-one should be picking a hotel near your business. Otherwise expect to spend a long, long time in standstill traffic (dodging khat-chewing matatu drivers). You can easily spend an hour or two getting to JKIA from the Sankara Hotel during rush hour, or 45 minutes to downtown Nairobi.
The hotel was cozy and comfortable with a small gym, spa, pool, and a couple restaurants. The beds were comfortable, and the linens felt soft, however the in-room entertainment was very limited. Our bathrooms had both showers and tubs, which was definitely welcome. The small animal carvings they left in the room each night during turn-down was a nice touch.
The main restaurant has a good buffet with several meat selections, however it wasn't impressive enough to warrant a second visit during our stay. I thought breakfast, which was included in our room rate, was actually better than dinner. That said, avoid the cheese at the buffet -- I'm pretty sure they carted out the same blocks of cheese over multiple meals so you there's a risk of spoilage. After suffering from an upset stomach a couple of days, I stopped eating the cheese, and my stomach returned to normal.
Hotel Internet was fine for email and casual internet browsing, but was useless for connecting to my company VPN or watching my Slingbox. The internet connection frequently dropped. For VPN access, I had far more success connecting via my iphone hotspot and Safaricom.
At the end of our stay, we had the usual billing issues that are all too common in Africa, like false minibar charges (I never, ever use the minibar), and charging more than was agreed-to for late checkout. After I complained, they fixed the bill, but having to scrutinize every line of the hotel bill gets old.
Security in the hotel was very tight - they will check your hand bags every time you enter the hotel. Frankly, after recent events, I was ok with that. Security on the streets around the hotel is not very good, however. The street lighting is poor, and crime is a serious problem in Nairobi. If you're going to walk to a restaurant near the hotel, It's best to go in a group, and be very watchful of the crazy traffic.
There are several good restaurant options near the hotel. Open House has great Indian fare, and we also enjoyed the Italian food at Mediterraneano. The BBQ place on the 2nd floor of the mall across from the hotel is good too, but we preferred the first two and made return visits to them.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sankara Nairobi combines international five-star standards with personal service and the authentic flavour of the new Africa. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sankara Nairobi Hotel Nairobi