Gran Melia Arusha Tanzania – Full Hotel Review
Gran Melia Arusha hotel is in the beautiful town of Arusha in North Tanzania. Which is the Safari gateway to Tanzania
Somebody told me Gran Melia hotel is one of the best hotels in Tanzania. So is that true? So I checked in to find out for 10 days. I’m going to review this hotel in 7 Categories.
I got a double deluxe mountain view room for $325 USD per night so it’s not cheap. But you can get cheaper rooms for about 40 dollars less, with city views. So there’s two rooms. The is the living room which has TV, sofas, coffee table, powder room here, with toilet and sink and mirror and there’s a desk. Then there’s a massive balcony with amazing views of Mount Meru
Then there’s the bedroom.. Queen-sized bed and 65-inch TV, which is massive that’s bigger than mine at home. Desk, air conditioninge, ducted air conditioning. Air conditioning automatically turns off when you got the balcony doors open which is quite good because that saves energy. There is local bead artwork above the bed which is beatiful. There’s two USBs and power on each side of the bed which is excellent -always like that. A carpet layes around the bed and 2 bedside lamps and another lamp there, which is good. I can always tell it’s good room, if they have lots of lamps and not too many ceiling lights. Which is good. They have very trendy light switches, but obviously you have a lot of fun turning them on in the middle of the night. So you actually have to use your brain a bit to use these light switch. Because you have to actually read. There’s a little seat to put clothes on and stuff . And the balcony doors have double glazing, which is excellent.
Now on to the other rooms. Safe, Water facilities,. Tissues and thing to put your ice in here. Coffee here which is fantastic. I love the coffee here. They have local coffee which is really good. Tea facilities here which are good. and fidge.
Now sliding doors onto the bathroom and sink. Nice freestanding bath with tap -this is acrylic or something. But that’s quite nice. Then you get a window that you can see out to Mount Meru, while you’re in the bath which is quite cool. Toilets have separate cubicles which is different. Well, a lot of the new hotels are starting to do that now have separate cubicles for the toilet and the shower.
I love these slip proof tiles on the floor there. The soap in this hotel, the shower gel, this stuff here, coconut and lime, which is absolutely amazing. I have to get some of that. Shaving kit, dental kits and everything if you forget your tooth paste or toothbrush and everything. All these hand and body motions all that kind of crap. Scales there .
Then the view at the balcony which is amazing. Some days are really cloudy, you can’t see the mountain. They got nice slip proof tiles on the floor on the balcony. Then they got this other stone on the wall outside, which is quite nice And you can see the gym down there and the swimming pools
The only thing I don’t like about the room is the light switches but I’m not even going to think about knocking a point off for that because at least they tries to install something modern and it’s probably the best room I’ve ever stayed in. So overall, the room is very good indeed.
2. Location of Gran Melia Arusha
Gran Melia Arusha sits slightly east to the Arusha town center, which is the main tourist base town for safaris in Tanzania You can do day trips to National parks, such as Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the famous Ngorongoro Crater.
However, arguably the most famous one is Serengeti, which is not really drivable from Arusha in a day, so it’s not realistic to stay in Arusha, if you want to go to Serengeti National Park. Having said that, the location is still fantastic, with plenty to do off the hotel grounds, excluding the parks. Such as:
visiting the many coffee plantations,
The cultural Museum,
Twiga local brewery,
Visiting the Maasai Villages,
or simply hanging out to exploring the Arusha town.
All can be done easily from the hotel location. The best thing about the location, for me, is the wonderful views to Mount Meru, which is the second tallest mountain in tanzania probably some of the best views in the city from this hotel bar. The majestic views in the morning will give you goosebumps.
Even though the location and views to Mount Meru are stunning, I still think a lot of tourists would rather stay in the actual safari parks rather than in Arusha town.
Gran Melia Arusha has over 18 acres of landscaping, which includes tea and coffee plantations waterfalls, flowers, everything. It’s like being in a tropical paradise. So you can walk around and explore the grounds, as you please, under Mount Meru.
I love pools that have green tiles because it makes it a bit more exotic and with the surrounding gardens and waterfalls it’s just simply naturally relaxing. And I’ve always wanted to come to one of these hotels where the actual bed is inside the water,
the shallow part of the water, in the pool. Which is kind of the latest trend nowadays.
It gets a bit noisy sometimes with kids in pool. Which was annoying because there were No Children signs in the pool. There’s also a kids pool and pool bar, which is only really active in the evenings.
They don’t have a deep end in the pool which is good. I like that and a lot of other people like that because you don’t have to worry about drowning
Onto the Fitness Center, which is quite spacious and has large changing rooms. So they have a good amount of bikes, treadmills, don’t have any rowing machines and they don’t have any weights for legs but it’s still better than. In hotels usually gyms in hotels are not very good. But this is a good one.
So the treadmills and bikes are good because you can watch them as well. They’ve got Netflix and YouTube – all your favorite channels. So even though they haven’t got every piece of equipment on every body part the equipment they do have is top notch so it always makes work out much better when you’ve got decent equipment so that kind of makes up for it So gym is excellent. The gym is also open 24 hours and also there’s a spa next door. I don’t realize they got a steam room and sauna as well. So i didn’t go into the spa because I’m not a girl. Its pretty expensive by the looks of it as you expect because it’s a high class hotel.
Now the lobby has a fantastic atrium with natural light from above. This really welcomes you into the hotel and is a really inviting place to hang out The atrium creates a sense of place, influences the comfort of visitors and increases the social image of the hotel
There’s also a business centre with conference rooms and a huge ballroom for events. So this is one of the conference rooms. The tables are massive.
They also have a ballroom and finally there’s some shops including one that sells Tanzanite diamonds and surprisingly, the prices are quite good.
As you can probably tell these are some of the best I’ve seen for a hotel.
4. Food & Drink
Breakfast at Gran Melia Arusha had everything, including vegetarian options like cereals, breads, croissants, danishes and salads. But I was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of meat on display for breakfast You should see the bacon in this place it’s like a Kilimanjaro mountain of bacon. One minor annoyance, was the lack of sauces on the table.
Every morning I had to ask for ketchup. So I’m sat waiting, until it arrived. See every morning i have to ask the sauce all the time By the time the sauce comes. Can’t have everything though. Everything else is pretty good
What made the breakfast for me was the boiled egg and soldiers and of course, the English tableware.
We were lucky enough to be invited for Christmas dinner with highlights that included roast pork, beef wellington, amazing salads, cold cuts and pumpkin soup. Bit strange they didn’t have roast turkey and cranberry sauce which is kind of traditional where I’m from And don’t forget the ice cream and desserts where you’ll be spoilt for choice.
There’s also a coffee shop in the lobby, which sells really nice local coffee, tea, treats and cake.
And finally upstairs there’s a roof bar which also sells more casual food like pizza and pasta So this is the rooftop bar which has a fusion between Peru and Spain, that kind of flavor And the rooftop bar has a wonderful view of mount Meru, which is the second tallest Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro, of course. The last eruption here was in 1910. There is local beer here, Twiga Beer, where they have a local brewery here, which is probably my favourate beer Ive had here. There’s also a bunch of Mediterranean style cocktails.
I don’t think you’re gonna get much better than this in Tanzania.
Service didn’t start off great, when our airport pickup didn’t show up. I don’t understand, there’s only one airport in the Arusha the other airports in Kilimanjaro. Hotel gave us the number of the driver to call instead of calling the driver themselves. We had to wait 40 minutes so we decided to get our own taxi I don’t know why they went to Kilimanjaro. It’s only 40,000 Shillings o the airport anyway. Anyway when we finally arrived, everything was next to perfect.
Good service at Gran MeliaThe manager called me and apologized for not picking us up and they invited us for dinner, so that’s fantastic. That usually costs 60 dollars per person, so we got that for free – that’s great. The managers were friendly and I got the impression the staff enjoyed working there Well, who can blame them.
One thing I really did like, is these digital menus that are scattered all over the hotel. Makes life easier.
We did have some slow room service I ordered the food an hour ago. Probably the worst time to order room service 10 minutes before room service stops… on new year’s eve. But hotel are 24 hours open. When I ordered the calamari they kept saying with chips chips chips. Patoatoes? Or with potatoe? I asked for patatoes. But I said no no potato potato potato they said okay But they ended up giving rice instead. But it was just before midnight new year’s eve – so not a big problem. Then after all that – I forgot the Quiche. That was the reason why I called in the first place. But the service was still good. What you’d expect from a five-star hotel in Tanzania. Noveza’s got a bit upset because she tried to reserve a table for new year’s eve at the bar upstairs but they told us that they’re not taking any reservations and to arrive early instead. So we did that. And then we turned up and there was loads of tables saying reserved on it. So i don’t know what thats all about
Okey so let Gran Melia Arusha off they’re not picking us up at the airport in time because they invited us for dinner. The only issue was the room service, which was slightly disappointing, everything else was fantastic.
I was quite impressed with the cleaning standards that were met in this hotel during these pandemic times
I saw the staff clean regularly. The lifts had distancing signs and the facilities were well maintained, including the pool, gardens and gym. As you can see here they disinfect the gym every two hours which is excellent. Some slight issues with the travertine walls and floors. So they’ve usedbeautiful grey travertine all over the hotel. I’ve actually used it on some of my projects as well it’s really nice. But the travertine on the floor has been scuffed a lot from the trolleys and the suitcases. I wouldn’t put travertine on the floor, because it’s quite a soft limestone.
To be fair that’s not really the hotel’s fault, that’s probably the interior designers or the architect’s fault Final score for cleanliness. So the travertine scuffs don’t really count. So top marks for cleanliness. Gran Melia Arusha is clean.
So, value $325 USD for one night. It’s a lot of money. But it is a luxury hotel and i did get a big room, well two rooms actually and there’s a lot of other hotels that cost a lot more than that like over 400 dollars if you go to the Serengeti. However, I do understand that this simply is not in the budget for most people.
Overall Gran Melia Arusha
I’d recommend Gran Melia Arusha if you want a unique tranquil experience. I honestly I could stay there much longer and you cant go wrong with this hotel. So expect to be looked after. Just be careful on hotel pickup!
Russell M. Henderson is a practicing RIBA Chartered Architect based in Tanzania, East Africa.
The photography is by Russell M. Henderson
Map by Wiki
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