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Reviewed October 22, 2012

It's difficult to find a decent international-standard hotel in Dar. I've tried a few, but I keep coming back to the Holiday Inn. It offers good value for money in a convenient downtown location (no small advantage given the chronic gridlock of Dar traffic). In fact, I’m writing this review having extended my stay by one week when I could have moved to another hotel had I wished.

Believe me, more expensive does not mean better service - certainly not in Dar. The Holiday Inn’s rooms are clean and serviceable (except for occasional stains on some carpets and under-sheets that are not quite big enough). Beds are firm and comfortable. The public areas are not as large or fancy as at some other hotels, but fine. (On this trip we held a morning function at the hotel; it went well in terms of facilities and service.) The downstairs restaurant is not “terrible,” but not much above average even with its new menu – which wears a bit thin after several days. The quality of food preparation and service varies considerably. My early breakfast order last week was lost somehow, and at 5 am the restaurant, although open, offered scrambled eggs with the consistency of porridge. But I’ve had good meals there, too.

This hotel’s biggest asset is the attitude of its staff. Everyone is consistently friendly, sincerely eager to please. Note that the General Manager himself (new from last year) responds individually and constructively to comments on this site. Its two biggest problems are follow-through and infrastructural issues. For example, friendly housekeepers don’t do much good if they can’t remember to leave you a hand towel plus a bath towel. On the other hand, ever since the housekeeping manager heard about this problem on my current visit I’ve had a double towel supply every day.!

Each time I visit some new challenge seems to appear. This trip it was hot water – lukewarm for the first few days of my stay. It took three days to get someone to follow through on what seems to have been a boiler problem, then more days of cool showers until the maintenance man explained that the fixture in my room is backwards – so “cold” means “hot.” (No tubs in the rooms, just showers, which is fine for me.) On a previous visit the hotel had been without reliable power for weeks - not its fault (a grid problem), but eliminating reliable air conditioning nevertheless. And, contrary to other reviewers, I definitely don’t recommend booking airport transfers through the Holiday Inn. They have unreliable for me in the past. The first two times I asked them to arrange a transfer no one met me on arrival; one of those times my bag was stolen as I looked for the hotel driver. Rather use a licensed airport taxi.

It may sound as though I’m negative about the Holiday Inn. Far from it. I’ve had plenty of problems at other international-standard Dar hotels, too (to say nothing of the more-local variety). As I said, I keep coming back to the Holiday Inn – because it is comfortable, reasonably priced, and very welcoming. They certainly are trying hard, which is what I most appreciate. If I had the option on this site, I would rank them 5 stars for effort, 3.5 stars for results.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms 501-503, 601-603, etc. - noise from outside.
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Phil C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
eclipse22, General Manager at Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City Centre, responded to this reviewResponded November 13, 2012

Dear Phil,

Thank you for your positive comments especially those regarding our team members, they certainly do try to be the friendliest in town.

As you point out, a lot of the problems we experience are unfortunately common amongst most hotels in Dar es Salaam. We are working hard to resolve these problems both as a city and as an individual hotel.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Holiday Inn Dar es Salaam in the near future, and hopefully on your next visit we will finally get everything right.

Best regards
Paul Ferguson
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 15, 2012

The hotel is a new 10-floor property smack in the centre of town. It's quite expensive, but I guess you're paying for the reassurance of a franchised western chain in an African city.

It's a Holiday Inn, not luxury, but comfortable and practical. The top floor has a bar/snack facility, which can be fun. There's a pool, though it's more jacuzzi size, overlooked by the office building next door. The gym is a more serious, well-equipped affair. Downstairs is a comfortable, but rather pricey restaurant with an outdoor terrace overlooking the street.

Rooms are perfectly fine, standard Holiday-Inn style, well-airconditioned with a decent-sized bathroom (mine had only a shower, no tub). Bed-sheets and towels are beginning to look worn, and felt slightly damp, perhaps a function of high humidity. Oddly, the bed's under-sheets were not wide enough to fit the single mattress.

There's a spacious Club lounge: breakfasty things, light evening snacks - but you'll be disappointed if you expect a "happy hour".

Staff are charming and generally efficient. Hotel cars seem well-managed and are not too over-priced compared to taxis. They'll fix up convenient airport pick-ups for only around $5 above what the airport taxis ask for.

Many people will prefer the expensive expat enclaves on the peninsula, but for the atmosphere of a city, the Holiday Inn is a good choice for Dar central. Alternatives might be the Kempinski (reassuringly expensive!), the "off-chain" Africa or the more budget Heritage.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled solo
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Thank SwissFella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
eclipse22, General Manager at Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 17, 2012

Hi Swissfella,

Thank you for the terrific comments, here at Holiday Inn we pride ourselves on providing a mid-range affordable product with the friendliest service in town.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Holiday Inn Dar es Salaam,

Kinds regards
Paul Ferguson
General Manager

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Reviewed October 8, 2012

Hotel is good but dining experience is terrible. Plus I felt like I was being discriminated against. I mean even when I ordered early, I got my orders way before other people. That is just sad!
And seriously, the chefs need to go back to school or take more time thinking of something new. There is no variety in the meals. For the whole week i stayed there, the buffets stayed the same. lost my taste buds. I believe they can get better.

Room Tip: i liked the higher floors
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Balix H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
eclipse22, General Manager at Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 17, 2012

Dear Balix H,

Thanks for your comments following your recent stay in Tanzania.

We apologise for your disappointment with our food variety during your stay, however on your next visit you will be suprised by the changes we have made in the Restaurant.

It was only shortly after your stay that we launched our new Ala Carte menu featuring a wide variety of meals to suit all palates.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Holiday Inn.

Kinds regards
Paul Ferguson
General Manager

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Reviewed September 19, 2012

I was expecting more when i booked the hotel for a conference in September. Well, i was disappointed. Frist the conference room given was too squeezed. I had requested for a double bed but the did not have one. The person at teh reception promised to give me a room by end of day and i really had to pester tehm every few hours to get one. Finally got one. The bed is comfortable, my room smelt of smoke or something.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Susan N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
eclipse22, General Manager at Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 1, 2012

Dear Susan N,

Please accept our sincere apologies for failing to meet your expectations.

We do on the odd occasion have delays in assigning the correct room type for our guests. The situation arises from the fact that we offer late departures to all guests due to late night flights and this can inconveniences arriving guests. When situations of this nature occur, we always move the guest to their preferred room as soon as possible.

Our new panoramic rooftop conference venue opens in December 2012, and will comfortably accommodate up to 120 people. We would gladly welcome you back to the hotel to review these facilities at your convenience.

We delighted you enjoy a good night’s sleep at the Holiday Inn.

Kinds regards
Paul Ferguson

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Reviewed September 18, 2012

Stayed at the HI Dar for 4 nights while doing some business in the city besides holding a meeting in one of the hotel's conference rooms. Its so hard to review the hotel without breaking it into the PROs and CONs since they have so much going for it - just as by the same stroke they do have plenty of areas to work on. PROs by far outweighed the CONs but here goes;

PROs
Good value for money
Seamless Airport Transfer
Location bang in the middle of Dar - excellent if you have business in town
An executive lounge with complimentary drinks and snacks all day long
Modern amenities in the room (only disappointment is the bathroom)
Very friendly housekeeping staff - they always had a smile on
Charming Rooftop bar - serving an assortment of drinks and a la carte menu (need to improve on music as same CD kept looping)
Excellent conference facilities with good A/C
Coffee making facilities in the room, plus a mini-bar and 3 complimentary bottles of water daily


CONS
Breakfast staff looked gloomy and took ages to respond to requests
Frequent power failures (although they rarely last more than a minute but still a nuisance)
In room carpet was dirty

TIPS
Settle all your restaurant / bar bills in local currency (Tshs) upon consumption as you will get ripped off when checking out (if the bills are posted to your room)

Room Tip: The corridors can get a bit stuffy (not the hotel's fault, probably due to the humidity) so get a room near the lifts
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Alex M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
eclipse22, General Manager at Holiday Inn Dar Es Salaam City Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 1, 2012

Dear Alex M,

Thank you for your complimentary and constructive review. Please be assured that your points have been addressed with the relevant departments, and that more importantly we have adjusted the error in our exchange rates.

The power supply situation is unfortunately a regional issue, and as you correctly point out rarely last more than a minute but are still a nuisance.

Thank you once again for your review.

Paul Ferguson
General Manager

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