“ Address: Msasani Peninsula / P.O. Box 3030 / Dar es Salaam / Tanzania / Tel: +255 752 555500 „
In June 2007, my life was about to change. After 12 years living in Malawi we were moving to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. On arriving in the country we decided to stay at Hotel Sea Cliff for a few nights whilst finding our feet in a new country.
The Sea Cliff is a beautifully located hotel, perched on the edge of the Indian Ocean at the end of a peninsular. It is privately owned, and really boasts that individual touch. The hotel is approximately 30 minutes drive from the airport on a good traffic free run. However, the traffic in Dar Es Salaam is often completely congested, so the trip could take one and a half hours! I assure you that it is worth it. The hotel does have an airport pick up facility, which I would fully advise, as it takes all the stress out of driving through a new town.
Travelling to the Sea Cliff only gets exciting when you turn on to the penisular. This is a residential area which is much quieter than the busy town. Driving along the road, you have the ocean on your right, with palm trees swaying in the sea breeze, and at the end of the road you are greeted by the Hotel. It is not an eyesore and actually looks quite small and neat from the front. There is a carpark next to the hotel, which is never full.
On arrival, you are welcomed by Tanzanian Masi. They act as doormen for the hotel. The Masai's wear traditional clothes and look amazing. My boys were fascinated by these warriors and were drawn to their charm, and also their weapons! The Masi were so friendly to my children.
The Masai set the 'African' scene within the hotel. The owners have cleverly made the Sea Cliff into a beautifully decorated themed environment, which is not tacky at all. It is tasteful and made me very envious, as well as giving me some super ideas for my home! It is warm and welcoming with impressive tribal masks and carvings used as decor.
The Sea Cliff has 94 rooms in total, ranging from deluxe ($300) to presidential ($800). It offers 24 hour room service and housekeeping.
Reception and check in were very straight forward. We had booked two rooms and were lucky enough to get ones with an adjoining door. One tiny downside about the decor is that there is a lot of dark wood used which did make the rooms slightly dark. Our rooms were the cheaper ones and thus did not have a sea facing view (just the road!). On entering our room there was a small corridor with a bathroom on the right, and then two large very comfortable beds, a desk, chair and drawers, along with tea and coffee. There was also a safety deposit box in the wardrobe. In the bathroom there was a large powerful shower, sink and toilet, with reasonable towels and lots of bathroom goodies (soaps and creams). There are also rooms with enormous baths as well as a shower.
The rooms were very pleasant, clean and manageable with four boys. There was also a t.v, which only had a few channels, as the hotel had only subscribed to a limited bouquet. I always find this a burden, as kids need to be entertained in the early morning, just to keep them quiet! The rooms are all air conditioned, which is a must in Dar Es Salaam.
I did use the laundry service whilst staying at the hotel (the are no launderettes in Dar!). Nothing went missing and nothing was ruined, so that was great. However, like all hotel laundry it was an expensive service.
I found the hotel to be fairly quiet. There was no slamming doors, or noisy people disturbing us during the night. It is a beautiful haven in a busy city.
The best thing about the Sea Cliff is the outside gardens and restaurant. On going to the exterior you are greeted by lush tropical gardens, followed by a breath taking view of the ocean. There is a lovely, large swimming pool, with a smaller pool for little ones. We spent a lot of time here, as entertainment for the boys and to cool off. It really is a lovely pool with plenty of beds and sunshade. The sea breeze also helps with the humidity. Unfortunately, you cannot swim in the sea, as it is perched on a cliff edge. We did order food and ate it at the pool side. This was basically sandwiches, chips and burgers. Nothing to rave about, but it filled the kids up!
Onto the Karambezi Cafe. This is the main restaurant, and is situated on the edge of the coral cliff overlooking the ocean. It is outside, but all undercover. We ate our breakfast here, and it served both hot and cold food. It was super to see many local products being used, from yoghurts to fruits. The pancakes went down a treat with my lot. In the evenings, and even now we use it as a restaurant, the food is delicious, and the ambiance very special. Seafood, is a must, especially the platter and the crab curry. The restaurant also serves more casual food, like club sandwiches and pizzas, for those who want. Unfortunately the restaurant is expensive, but worth the treat.
There is another air conditioned Chinese and Indian restaurant, which I have never tried. The Sea Cliff also has a gym, an ATM, a casino (tucked to one side), the best hairdresser in town, and a business centre.
Staying at a hotel, in an unknown town, with limited transport and children in tow, is always a challenge. One really good point about the Sea Cliff is that right next door, two minutes walk, they have built a small shopping complex. There is an excellent book shop, coffee shops and restaurants, a supermarket full of English goodies, a beauty salon, and a number of retailers. It is a safe area, with no hassles, and you can get near enough anything. It is a real pleasure.
The Sea Cliff, comes highly recommended. It is not a holiday resort, so is never packed, and is ideal as a stop over hotel. There are other lovely hotels in Dar, but none with the same "African' feel. It is expensive, but on a par with the other Hotels. It has also just had a major refurbishment as the thatch roof caught fire, and has now be replaced with tasteful ceramic tiles. So if ever you find yourself 'lost' in Dar Es Salaam, like I was, the Sea Cliff is a beautiful and relaxing place to stay in a very busy city.