Review: The Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam – The Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
It’s a little challenging to get around middle Africa as flight times from international flights don’t always align with regional flights. As a result, we needed a central and secure base of operations in order to overnight prior to our regional flights around the region. We opted for the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam “The Kilimanjaro” as a reliable base of operations for our trips around the region. Did the Hyatt Regency hotel stand up to compound living that is often needed amongst African hotels?
This post is one chapter on our trip to the Republic of Tanzania and the Islands of the Seychelles. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and enhanced through World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: Zanzibar, Tanzania and Islands of the Seychelles via Air Canada and Turkish Airlines Business Class
- Air Canada Signature Business Class: Vancouver – Toronto
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Toronto International Terminal
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Toronto – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Dar Es Salaam
- The Hyatt Regency – The Kilimanjaro, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
- Precision Air: Dar Es Salaam – Zanzibar
- The Residence Zanzibar by Cenizaro, Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Crossing the Island of Zanzibar, Tanzania
- The Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Tanzania
- The Decorative Doors of Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Among the Horrors at the Slave Trade Market, Stonetown, Zanzibar
- Emerson Spice Tea House Restaurant, Stonetown, Zanzibar
- Cruising into Sunset on a Dhow Cruise, Zanzibar
- Precision Air: Zanzibar – Dar Es Salaam
- Kenya Airways: Dar Es Salaam – Nairobi
- Kenya Airways: Nairobi – Mahé, Seychelles
- Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove, Mahé, Seychelles
- The Beaches of Beau Vallon, Mahé, Seychelles
- Cat Cocos Ferry: Mahé – Praslin
- The Chateau des Feuilles, Praslin, Seychelles
- Tortoises at Anse Lazio and Vallée de Mai, Praslin Island, Seychelles
- The Beaches of Praslin Island, Seychelles
- Air Seychelles: Praslin – Mahé
- Salon Vallée de Mai Business Lounge, Mahé, Seychelles
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Mahé – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Arrivals Lounge, Istanbul Atatürk
- Turkish Airlines E Tour, Istanbul, Turkey
- Turkish Airlines Business Class: Istanbul – Toronto
- Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport, Canada
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Toronto Domestic
- Air Canada Signature Business Class: Toronto – Vancouver
Review: The Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam – The Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
After arriving off of Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul – Dar Es Salaam, we couldn’t get to our end destination on the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania without a night at a hotel in Dar Es Salaam. Hanging out at an African airport between 3 AM and 8 AM after arriving off two international flights didn’t appeal so much, so we opted for a hotel. There aren’t many reasonable options in Dar Es Salaam. At the time of writing, there were none next to the airport so this meant transferring into Dar Es Salaam inner Central Business District. While there were two Marriott Protea options, they didn’t look all to appealing. By default, that left us with the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam which is located on the water in downtown Dar Es Salaam.
We would end up staying twice at this property. One stay was in a regular room and our second stay was in a Regency Suite. We’ve combined both stays into one post.
Booking the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam:
The cash rates at the Hyatt Regency were quite expensive and over $350 USD per night. We ended up using a little trick were we paid for a top up of World of Hyatt Points and redeeming Cash and Points rate.
This brought our Cash and Points rate to points + $75 USD. It was a bit cheaper to use the points versus paying a high US dollar rate for our stay here.
Getting to the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam:
Given that we arrived at 2:30 AM, I pre-booked a hotel car to transfer us from the Julius Nyerere Dar Es Salaam International Airport to the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam. The cost of the hotel car was a reasonable $40 USD and approximately twenty minutes of car travel.
The Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam hotel is located right on the waterfront of the Dar Es Salaam harbour, which makes for interesting views and a nice setting overall.
The lobby was fully attended by staff and security. The lobby featured a nice water feature which was luxurious, considering most of Africa faces drought conditions where water is a luxury.
On arrival, our bags and hand articles went through an x-ray and we passed through a security check in the immediate foyer. At about 3 AM, the hotel lobby was and our check in was handled by two alert and professional staff the front counter. Our Cash and Points rate was honoured and the front desk even indicated that breakfast was included. I didn’t think it was available with the rate but I wasn’t about to point that out at the prices hotel breakfasts were (laughing). I suspected that it was a hotel policy but it turned out to be consistent with our Hyatt stays throughout Tanzania. The Wi-Fi policy and breakfast hours of 6 AM – 10:30 AM were also explained. As a World of Hyatt base level member, I also asked for a 2 PM check out and it was offered without any problem.
The Room: One King – City Garden View Room
We were led up to the room by the bell man who set up the bags. The room was freshly appointed and clean looking. I certainly was surprised to see a room of this cleanliness and modern fit and fixtures for our stay.
The room itself was a standard sized room. It was a little compact, but perfectly adequate for a short stay.
There was an in room safe and small fridge. These were accompanied by the usual in room laundry items.
The bathroom was well appointed and with modern fit and fixtures. The in room toiletries were of the Pharmacopia variety.
The Room: A Regency Suite
We also stayed at this property on our way out of Tanzania prior to our Air Kenya Dar Es Salaam – Nairobi flight onwards to the Seychelles.
On our second arrival to the hotel, we had another baggage X-ray. We had a friendly and prompt check in. Despite booking on World of Hyatt Cash and Points rate, we were fortunately upgraded to a Regency Suite facing the city side.
We were led up to our room by friendly staff. The arrival hallway had all the appeal of a North Korean hotel; austere and institutional.
The Regency Suite itself was an older suite; in much older generation than our earlier room. Access to the room was immediately though a short hallway that led to the sitting area.
The Regency Suite entry had you arriving into a sitting area and a table. There was a small desk with stationary supplies.
I couldn’t help but wonder how many meetings and shady African business transactions had taken place in this room.
Off the suite portion, there was a tiny outdoor balcony. This suite appeared to be one of the few rooms in the hotel that had an outside balcony. It offered a view of some relic buildings that you can only find in Africa.
Also off the suite entrance, was a tiny second bathroom. There was also an institutional kitchen that was sparsely decorated.
The Regency Suite had a comfy king size bed in a separate bedroom. The bedroom also featured a convenient long bench seat which we used for our bags.
Behind the bedroom, there was a very spacious bathroom with separate vanities on opposite sides of the room. The main bathroom was in great condition and had likely been upgraded.
On the Hotel Property:
There is a lot on the hotel property to keep a traveler occupied. Consistent with stays at African hotels’, it’s usually compound living after dark due to security reasons. As a result, it’s worth staying in a property that offers some entertainment and amenities that don’t require you to leave the property.
An Outdoor Pool
The hotel offers a great outdoor pool area on the first floor or the third floor above ground with a peek a boo view over to the bay. The temperatures were a little cool at the mid twenties Celcius on our visit, and we didn’t see anyone lounging out here during our time.
The pool area is not anywhere that I would budget time to spend in if you were looking for some sun, but it’s a reasonable place to stay if you had an hour or two to kill before a flight. It was nice to take in a little bit of the outdoor view prior to the next leg of our adventure.
The hotel offered a gym with day light windows. The gym offered distant views over the water. The gym had a full range of equipment needed for a full workout.
The hotel gym was attended by a gym attendant on our pass through. It had outdoor views but the views of anything weren’t too exciting.
There were reasonable views of the harbour from the hotel as well.
Level 8 Rooftop Dining:
Level 8 is the roof top lounge and bar at the hotel. The place was advertised in the elevator directory, but the button didn’t work on the last visit and I never bothered to ask about it. It turned out it is only open certain hours and is locked off otherwise. In all forms somewhat African, the hours aren’t posted, so you need to ask about it or use the “guess and check” method.
The Level 8 bar was quite a surprise and welcome part of our stay. As I’ve described earlier, its often compound living when we stay over in Africa. We don’t usually leave the hotel after dark for safety reasons. Level 8 was a beautiful space right at sunset. The lounge had both indoor and outdoor seating on the hotel’s rooftop.
We located ourselves a spot outside in the sunset. There was a large patio area that seemed to be filling up as we arrived.
The sun set behind us against the buildings and lit up the harbour with a nice glow. The skyline at sunset reminded me of Miami with some of the buildings lit up close to the waterfront.
We were able to see some of the passenger ferries to and from Zanzibar disembarking, from the roof top.
We enjoyed a glass of wine along with some “forty minute” French fries to take off the edge of the bite. They took something like that amount of time to arrive…
The Level 8 bar was a great way to wind down after a day of waiting and traveling “African style”. It’s actually one of the nicer African Hotel bars. Although similar to the roof top bar at the Hilton Windhoek Namibia, Hyatt has done a nicer job with this space thanks to upgraded fittings and furniture and a spacious area.
The Palm Brasserie:
Our included breakfasts were in the Palm Brasserie restaurant located just off the lobby. The breakfast featured an eggs / omelette station, cheese, middle eastern foods such as hummus, laboueh and moutrah, along with Asian specialities such as congee and rice. The service provided was friendly and warm, which again I wasn’t expecting for a major chain hotel in the middle of an African city.
We also enjoyed a light dinner in the Palm Brasserie restaurant. The hotel didn’t seem to have many restaurants around it that were walkable and I wasn’t getting any great suggestions from Google, Trip Advisor or the Lonely Planet guidebook. MrsWT73 had a cheese pizza that didn’t agree with her. I ended up having a Quiche Lorraine with Mixed Greens. In true African style, the mixed greens never made it on the delivery truck as nothing is usually as advertised. It was only a few accent pieces tonight.
For the most part, I enjoyed the food and beverage options at the Hyatt Regency. Although MrsWT73 was a little delicate after her food, I mark this up to a typical international experience and not any unsafe food handling on the part of this particular hotel.
In other arrangements with the hotel, I had contacted the hotel in advance and asked if they could store my rolling bag while we went to Zanzibar since we were coming back through Dar Es Salaam on the way back. They had no issues doing so free of charge. We were headed out on Precision Air Dar Es Salaam – Zanzibar on an ATR72 propellor plane. Thanks to my past Air Tahiti ATR72 experiences where we got charged additional fees for traveling with a rolling case, I was looking for other options. As I turned over the bag, I asked the front desk if they needed to check inside it before I locked it up for security reasons. The front desk lady joked with me and asked “Why – is there a bomb inside it?” She was light hearted about it but it was a funny interaction for someone like myself when there was a full security cordon and X ray screening at the front of the hotel. The storage was completed without issues and I was really appreciative of the hotel’s organization and understanding.
The Bottom Line: The Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam:
Overall, the Hyatt was a very reasonable choice. It offered everything that you’d need in a central African hotel where you could opt for compound African living if necessary. The nice state of our room was a pleasant surprise for our stay. While it wasn’t a complete five star experience, it was a very solid four star property in Africa which is a terrific achievement indeed. We would easily return for our next travels through the area.