BACKGROUND Dar es Salaam is the commercial capital of Tanzania and there are relatively few chain hotels established in the city – along with the Kempinski there’s a Golden Tulip and a Movenpick, and recent additions are a Hilton Double Tree and a Holiday Inn. The Kempinski is a well known, well respected five-star hotel.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The Kilimanjaro Kempinski Hotel is well established in Dar es Salaam and is frequented by heads of state and the UN. It’s very much a business hotel with 80 per cent of guests being business travellers staying two to three nights, but there is plenty for the leisure traveller to enjoy. The building has been a hotel since the 1960s and six years ago Kempinski bought, gutted and completely refurbished it to the impressive five-star hotel it is today. There are eight floors (the top floor is a bar with a terrace and views of the port) and the entrance to the hotel is grand with a huge driveway and a long covered walkway.
ROOM FACILITIES Standard rooms are on the floors two through to five, while the sixth and seventh floors are for Executive rooms. My room was an Executive Suite on the seventh floor overlooking the bay (room 714). The bathroom was large with a separate walk-in shower and bath-tub, and a window (with blinds) looking through to the bedroom. There was a large wardrobe with a laptop safe (and plug inside for charging). There was a desk area opposite the bed with plenty of plugs for electronic devices (Tanzania has English plug sockets) and a chaise-longue in front of the window. The much-appreciated air conditioning was very efficient. Executive guests also have snacks in the room, such as fresh fruit and pastries and bottled water. One night there was a heavy downpour, common in December, and my TV could not pick up a signal. Power cuts are relatively common although the hotel has several backup generators meaning that there should only be a couple of seconds without power. It’s worth saving any laptop work regularly, just in case. Wifi is charged in the rooms (USD$5 for four hours or USD$10 for 24 hours) although executive guests can use the free internet on the computers in the executive lounge on the sixth floor.
MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES The Flame Tree lounge just off the lobby is a relaxed place for a one-to-one meeting. There are also 11 function spaces, including the Kibo ballroom which divides into three and holds 400 delegates, and the 200-capacity Zanzibar room. The executive lounge on the sixth floor offers free internet access and a printer as well as breakfast, snacks and cocktails for guests staying in executive rooms.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS On the mezzanine floor the Oriental restaurant serves sushi in a smart but relaxed setting. The food was excellent and it is a popular place for dinner. The Palm restaurant on ground floor is open for breakfast and lunch. The breakfast offering is superb with fruit, bread, cold meats and hot food including rice and fish and meat, and stew and noodles. Eggs are cooked to order by Rosemary - just one of the excellent members of staff I came across during my stay. Lunch here is also impressive with a good variety of hot and cold food on offer. Level8 is the bar on the top floor, which was popular with business travellers and expats and serves bar food. You can sit outside but watch out for the mosquitoes. The Flame Tree lounge by the lobby has a garden with running water making it a relaxed and bright place to have a meeting over a coffee.
HEALTH AND LEISURE FACILITIES The Anatara spa offers a full range of treatments, from Swedish massage to facials. There is also a gym and an infinity pool overlooking the bay.
VERDICT A top-class offering from Kempinski with superb facilities for both business and leisure travellers. The service is hard to beat, as is its location near the city centre and port.
- HOW MANY ROOMS: How many rooms? 180 including 30 Executive rooms. Even-numbered rooms face the sea and odd-numbered rooms face city.
- ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The port views, comfortable working area, executive lounge access and efficient air conditioning.
- PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in the last week of February 2011 started from USD$285 (£179) for a double Deluxe room.
- CONTACT Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski, Kivukoni Street; tel +255 764 704 704; kempinski.com