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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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