I plan to revisit it whenever an itinerary requires a transit through Arusha in the future.

We understand that this property has been renamed Lake Duluti Serena Hotel

Overall Impression Serena Mountain Village was a welcoming haven of tranquil elegance on the outskirts of Arusha, the bustling gateway city to the famed safari destinations of northern Tanzania. Set on a slope overlooking the shore of Lake Duluti in the verdant foothills of Mount Meru, the Mountain Village was designed to recall its previous incarnation as a colonial era coffee plantation. At the highest point of the property, the lodge, a gracious country manor built of pale local stone, held all the public areas. In every room, French doors opened onto a covered terrace that ran the length of the façade and led to the tree-shaded lawn a few steps below. From the lodge, paved walkways ran through lush gardens down to clusters of stone and thatch roundavels in the style of African villages, which held the guest accommodations.

I arrived in Arusha after two weeks spent in the remote national parks of southern Tanzania. I was on my way to the northern parks and lack of coordination between the schedules of various small airlines that serve the two areas had necessitated an overnight stopover. Aware that such quick transitions from the bush to an urban setting can be jarring, I especially appreciated the serene environment of the Mountain Village. The interiors of the public areas had the quietly luxurious atmosphere of a private home, with lovely antique accents and large vases of fresh roses throughout. My own room was equally welcoming, with contemporary facilities that included a Wifi connection, a tiled bathroom with enough water pressure for a gratifying shower, and a view of the wooded lake shore.

The smiling, attentive staff treated me like a welcome friend whose comfort was foremost on their mind. I especially appreciated the inviting country setting, modern comforts and helpful staff of the Serena Mountain Village, all within an easy 20 minute drive of the Arusha airport. I plan to revisit it whenever an itinerary requires a transit through Arusha in the future.

Children The Mountain Village welcomed children of all ages.

Class Of Accommodation Luxury hotel

Communications My GSM 900/1800 compatible international cellular phone service was fully operational at the property.

Connectivity WiFi service was available in my room at an hourly rate of approximately $4.

General Manager Gerald Macharia

Handicapped Access Guest accommodations included one wheel-chair friendly room.

Length Of Stay One night

Location The property was 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Arusha and 37 miles (60 kilometers) from Kilimanjaro International Airport in northern Tanzania.

Owned And Managed Tourism Promotion Services Eastern Africa, Ltd (TPS). The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) was the majority shareholder.

Pets Allowed No

Size The 14 acre (6 hectare) property had 42 guest rooms that could accommodate up to 84 guests. It employed a staff of 105.

Year Opened-Renovated The Mountain Village opened in 1989. TPS Serena took over the management of the property in 2000 and engaged in an extensive renovation program. Reconstruction of the common areas was completed in 2003 and the renovation of guest accommodations in 2008. TPS Serena assumed ownership of the property in 2010.

Lobby And Common Areas A main building housed all the common areas, which included a reception foyer, lounge, bar and dining room. The décor showed a strong English Regency influence, starting on the terrace where a period pedestal table held a large blue and white porcelain vase filled with fresh roses. The foyer had white plaster walls that provided an effective contrast to the dark wood-paneled ceiling. The floor was covered with clay tiles buffed to a soft shine and accented with mellow oriental rugs. A tall mahogany-paneled reception desk faced the entrance. Behind the desk a matching armoire held an arrangement of peach roses. To the left of the reception area, a credenza holding a similar floral display separated two groupings of persimmon-color leather sofas and taupe damask Queen Anne armchairs. An antique grandfather clock stood in the back corner. To the right of the foyer, a few steps led up the lounge and bar.

The lounge was a vast space with a coffered ceiling held by white plaster pillars with mahogany wainscoting. The floor was covered with cinnabar wall-to-wall carpeting. Groupings of rolled arm sofas upholstered in faded cinnabar and taupe damask, with matching armchairs covered alternately in plain red or royal blue velvet were arranged around walnut coffee tables throughout the room. A long mahogany-paneled bar with a mirrored backdrop occupied the rear wall. Six high chairs with green and taupe velvet seats and backs were lined in front of the bar. In addition to brass chandeliers and sconces, table lamps with crystal and porcelain bases and silk shades gave the room a warm glow that enhanced its cozy atmosphere. A stone fireplace stood in the center of the left wall, topped by a walnut-framed mirror. To the left of the fireplace, a few steps led down to the dining room.

The dining room occupied the far corner of the building, where exterior walls were lined with oversized French doors draped in pink and green flowered chintz. The room had a dark hardwood floor and white plaster walls under a beamed ceiling. A large stone fireplace was centered on the right wall, with a portrait of an 18th century military officer hanging above it. An assortment of ladder and lyre-back chairs with seats covered in pink and green Bargello needlepoint surrounded a mix of round and square dining tables clad in taupe and white linen. Against the back wall, antique vaisselliers displayed a collection of white and blue china.

Bathroom The bathroom was entirely tiled in light taupe ceramic with cocoa brown trim. The brown ceramic vanity held a white porcelain set-in sink and two towel rods with bath and hand towels. A mirror in a wooden frame hung above the vanity, flanked by a pair of opaque glass sconces. Shelves with a mirrored back were recessed in an alcove above the commode. A glass-enclosed walk-in shower occupied the opposite wall.

Room My 162 square foot (15 square meter) room, Number Three, was an inviting circular space decorated in contemporary pan-African style. The floor was covered with cocoa brown ceramic with blue and taupe throw rugs. The walls were painted in pale taupe. The queen size bed had an ornately carved headboard with built-in bedside tables and a bright blue bedspread. Next to it there were wall-hung reading lamps. A dressing table and mirror were fitted in an alcove beside the bed, along with a wrought iron bench with a persimmon velvet cushion. This sleeping area, which also featured a ceiling fan, could be enclosed draw-drape style in mosquito netting. A curved built-in desk with a black wrought iron and persimmon leather chair sat under a leaded glass picture window that overlooked the gardens and the lake. The window was draped in taupe and gray ethnic print cotton. On the wall opposite the bed, an armoire held storage drawers and a television.

Food And Restaurants The restaurant featured a varied menu with European and Indian influences. Everything I sampled was fresh and well prepared. I especially enjoyed the assortments of grilled vegetables and fish. All fresh vegetables and fruits were sourced from local organic growers.

Amenities Room amenities included electric kettle with coffee and an assortment of teas, bottled water for drinking and oral hygiene, golf umbrella, electronic safe, hair dryer and insect repellent room spray. Bathroom amenities included shower cap, cotton balls and swabs, mosquito repellent towelettes, and personal size shower gel, shampoo, body lotion and facial soap by Taylor of London.

Business Center Basic business services (fax, copier, computer for web access) were available.

Facilities There was a lounge, bar, restaurant, business center and gift shop

Gift Shop The gift boutique featured an assortment quality local crafts, ethnic jewelry, books and t-shirts, as well as basic personal hygiene products.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Review February 2011

Reviewers Article and photos by Josette King

Service Every member of the staff and management team with whom I came in contact during my stay was consistently attentive, friendly and professional. My room was serviced twice daily. When my dawn departure time turned out to be earlier than the scheduled start of the morning dining room service, I was firmly assured that my suggested quick cup of tea and breakfast pastry in my room would not do. A cozy corner of the dining room was set for me, where a cheerful server was standing by with a selection of breakfast beverages at the ready. He promptly produced a full English breakfast menu and returned with my beautifully prepared order before I had finished my first cup of coffee. After this hearty start, I was efficiently handed over to an awaiting driver who took me back to Arusha airport for my flight to the Serengeti.

Would You Stray There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • P.O.Box 2551
    • Arusha
    • Tanzania
  • Phone:
    • + 255 (0) 27 2553049
  • Fax:
    • + 255(0) 27 2553316
  • Website:
  • Email: