I recently stayed at the Ilboru Safari Lodge while on a Kilimanjaro climb. I spent a total of 3 nights at the Lodge both before and after the climb.
The drive to the hotel can make you nervous, especially if you haven't abroad. It's a bumpy dirt road through a poor area of Arusha. However, once you go through the gates and onto the lodge proper, you will likely agree that it is an oasis.
The grounds are beautifully manicured with trees, shrubs, and flowers. The lodge itself is composed of a main building (with gift shops, restaurant, storage, and some rooms), pool area, a separate building with snacks/internet, and multiple guest houses (2 suites to each guest house).
The lodge is well maintained and very clean. The pool area is quite nice, with loungers surrounding it and the restaurant staff service this area as well. The gifts shops are smaller, yet contain some excellent art work and local handi-crafts.
The hotel staff are extremely helpful. If you don't like porter server, don't be surprised if you have to state several times that you don't need help (remember, the tips for porter service are usually much needed by the staff, who work in a country where the minimum wage is 388 Tsh per hour, or less than $0.25 American). The staff do go above and beyond though. If you come back from a safari or climb, they will typically offer to wash your hiking boots etc for a tip (I used this service and my boots were spotless!).
The hotel also has spa and massage services (I didn't take advantage of these).
The front desk staff were very helpful, arranging a tour for me and making sure I was notified of pickup times, etc. They work frequently with the various tour/safari operators, so it's a pretty well greased machine.
The rooms themselves were quite nice. No TV or air conditioning, but they did have beautiful 4 poster beds with mosquito nets, an amazing duvet, and LOTS of storage space. The washrooms can be hit and miss, so check out the washroom and make sure the hot water heater is working and the toilet works well before accepting the room. (Note: Hot water is on a switch...save energy by turning it off but also remember to turn it on about 30 minutes before you shower!)
Internet is available via wifi in the main lodge building and the snack building. The internet was VERY intermittent. Do not use this internet for critical functions, as it's not reliable enough.
The food in the restaurant was FANTASTIC. The breakfast buffet has a moderate selection, but was quite tasty. I sampled their Swahili/Tanzanian dishes and the Swahili salad is amazing. They also have Indian, American, and even some European dishes. I have to say, their french fries (chips) are AMAZING (I know, I should have been eating more local food) and they have a hamburger sandwich (called the Mac) which was to die for. Most amazing burger I've ever had actually!
Overall, this was a great place. My only real negatives about the lodge were the spotty internet, the occasional power outage (lasted only a few minutes at longest while I was there), and the occasional mediocre server. The rest more than made up for it.
Last point regarding currency: Most prices quotes by the hotel are in US or Tsh. However, if they are only reported in Tsh, the hotel uses a generic conversion rate. So, you can function exclusively in US dollars if you want, but you WILL pay a bit of premium due to the exchange rate they use.
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- Also Known As:
- Ilboru Safari Hotel Arusha