It is indisputably one of the most prestigious hotels with a rich history in Kenya. Indeed when the history of Kenya’s hospitality industry is finally written, Nairobi Serena Hotel will feature prominently as one of the leading five star hotels that have put the country on the world map. This it has done by not only providing quality and unrivalled services but also by being the hotel where the agreement that saved Kenya from plunging into the abyss following a disputed general election in 2007 was signed.
Being a flagship of the Serena Group of Hotels that trades under the name Tourism Promotion Services (TPS Serena) and comprises a collection of 36 luxury resorts, safari lodges and hotels in Africa and Asia, Nairobi Serena Hotel considers itself an oasis of calm in the centre of the city. This is rightly so. Located just next to the historic Uhuru Park, the hotel offers an ambience of calm in a buzzing city. Despite being within only five minutes from the central business district, Nairobi Serena Hotel offers customers who include business travellers, tourists, international diplomatic guests, local clients and many others, an environment to serenely conduct business, hold conferences or unwind.
It is for this reason that Nairobi Serena Hotel, which is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, has consistently been voted as Nairobi’s best hotel. In recent times, the hotel which is home to the iconic Mandhari fine-dining experience, has been voted Africa’s Leading Green Hotel – 2016, Kenya’s Leading Business Hotel – 2016, Africa’s Leading Green Hotel – 2015 and Kenya’s Leading Hotel – 2015 by the prestigious World Travel Awards.
To cement its position as the leading hotel in Kenya, Nairobi Serena Hotel is set to implement a Sh2.2 billion (US$23m) expansion and upgrade project that will enhance its magnificent Pan-African themed designs when completed in April 2018. The project, which is being spearheaded by Symbion Kenya Ltd, one of the region’s top architectural firms, will involve revamping and expanding nearly all its facilities.
“The project aims to give the hotel an entirely new fresh look while maintaining the features that Nairobi Serena Hotel is known for,” according to the architects. The expansion will involve the construction of a new ball room that will have a capacity to accommodate 350 people, new meeting rooms, a new specialty restaurant and an additional executive 7th floor. It will also involve refurbishment of existing hotel rooms and installation of new mechanical and electrical services.
The entire reception experience is being revisited and made significantly larger, whilst at the same time incorporating a new link to a purpose designed conference and banqueting facility. Combined with the Amani Room and the hotel’s other premium brand meeting and conferencing facilities, this new destination, supported by additional car parking spaces, will consolidate Nairobi Serena’s position as the capital’s leading business and leisure hotel. The new reception lobby and lounge will be made more inviting with generous provision of ubiquitous WI-FI, phone /laptop plugin charge points and ample sit down spaces to meet and socialize in small groups. The new reception will have improved security features, existing lifts will be upgraded and a luggage lift introduced. The upgrade will also introduce a themed restaurant, which will accord guests the opportunity to access it separately from the hotel’s main entrance. The specialty restaurant is an add on to the existing Maghreb, Mandhari and Axum bars
Guest rooms will be modernized incorporating new technology in services as concerns acoustics, air conditioning and additional plug in outlets.
The upgrade would not be complete without the addition of a VIP floor at the roof top that features a lounge with meeting rooms and executive suites. The VIP lounge will allow people to work in a public area, meet with guests and still allow them their privacy. The VIP lounge will also offer extended F&B services distinct from the dining and restaurants located at the ground floor.
It is important to note that The Nairobi Serena Hotel has distinguished itself as a champion in green way of doing business to guarantee sustainability of the hospitality and tourism industry. Over the past five years, the hotel has been named Africa’s top green hotel three times because of using the latest technology to recycle waste, reduce pollution and save on power.
According to the architects, emphasis on green initiatives will be a crucial aspect of the expansion project. Notably, high efficiency plumbing fittings will be incorporated in the refurbishment and native plant species that require little or no irrigation will be used in landscaping. Energy recovery units and heat pumps will be installed to provide preheated water to the boiler while a robust waste recycling and solid waste management programme that harnesses the latest technology will be deployed. Other interventions will include enhancement of natural lighting for lobbies and bedrooms with improved indoor environment and air quality, use of low-e glass as well as environmentally friendly paints.
The Hotel will remain fully functional during the construction period and the project team has designed a work schedule that ensures minimal business disruption. Contractor access and staging areas have been kept adjacent to Nyerere Road, leaving Processional Way primarily for guest access. The refurbishment will be achieved by splitting the hotel into North and South blocks with buffer spaces maintained between guest occupied and contractor occupied areas . Integration of new and existing services will be a major challenge but the team expects to execute the entire project seamlessly.
Project Managers : Betts Townsend (Pty) Ltd
Architects: Symbion Kenya Ltd
Civil: Howard Humphreys East Africa
Structural Engineers: R.K Boga
Quantity Surveyors: Barker & Barton
Mechanical & Electrical Engineers: Bosch East Africa Consulting Engineers Ltd.
Main Contractor: Parbat Seyani
Electrical Subcontractors: Patronics Services Ltd
Plumbing & Drainage Subcontractors : Allied Plumbers Ltd
Mechanical Ventilation and Air Conditioning : Shankar Electronics