Serena, Dar Es Salaam

The Serena is the perfect stopover before heading into the Serengeti for a safari or to Zanzibar for a beach break.


The hotel is a convenient ten-minute drive away from Dar es Salaam International Airport, which is the main gateway to both the Serengeti in Tanzania and the white-sand beaches of Zanzibar. Internal flights to both destinations operate from the Julius Nyere International Airport airport daily.

Located in the heart of the Central Business District, the hotel is walking distance from the city centre which offers nightlife, dining, shopping and cultural attractions.


The reception area is grand and has an air of opulence with sleek wooden ceilings, marble flooring and multiple seating areas. The staff at the reception desk were friendly and, upon hearing that one of our bags hadn’t made the connecting flight, were extremely helpful when it came to communicating with the airport. 


The room 

There are five types of accommodation, ranging from the Standard Room to the Presidential Suite.  Guests staying on the seventh level Executive Floor have access to personal butler service, an Executive Boardroom accommodating up to eight and a private Internet café. 

I stayed in a Superior room, which was spacious and featured a king-size bed, desk, sitting area and plenty of storage. Other features include a tea/coffee making station, complimentary wireless Internet, bathrobes and a minibar. The decor is very classic with mid-century style furniture. 

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Restaurants and bars 

I ate lunch in the Serengeti Restaurant which is designed to feel like you are dining in a safari lodge. The buffet-style restaurant offers a huge variety from fresh salad and homemade desert islands to active cooking stations. I enjoyed the choice of seafood on offer. By the time we finished the restaurant was busy with locals.

I wasn’t able to experience a theme night, but they are as follows: Seafood Night on Wednesdays, Indian Night on Thursdays, Taste of Africa BBQ on Friday and the Family Brunch on Sundays. Diners can choose to eat inside or enjoy the leafy surroundings from the outdoor terrace. 

For a upmarket dining experience, the signature restaurant Jahazi specialises in seafood selections served a la carte. I opted for the tuna steak which was served with a potato salad. It was cooked to perfection. I also tried the marinated prawns which consisted of giant juicy prawns suspended on a metal skewer, the presentation was impressive and the taste even better. 

The pool bar is a relaxing place to enjoy a drink and casual snack.


Other facilities 

There is an onsite spa which offers massages and beauty treatments. The Maisha Spa Treatment is the hotel’s signature treatment and includes a full body polish using ancient body wrap crystals, followed by a layering of unique clay body wraps. There is also an outdoor pool, gym, sauna and steam room.


The verdict

The Serena is the perfect stopover for onward travel into the Serengeti for a safari or to Zanzibar for a beach break. The property is surrounded by well-tended gardens and feels like an oasis in what is the largest city in Tanzania. The staff were especially helpful in helping me to track my lost luggage – which arrived the next morning in time for my departure. 

Details: A superior room costs from $248 USD.