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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Hotel Insider: Oyster Bay, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania 

The best option in town for a short stay pre- or post-safari in Tanzania 

The exterior of the Oyster Bay Hotel in Dar Es Salaam. Courtesy Oyster Bay
The exterior of the Oyster Bay Hotel in Dar Es Salaam. Courtesy Oyster Bay

The welcome

Our plane was delayed and we arrived at the airport bleary-eyed at two in the morning to be met by the hotel chauffeur all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. On arrival at the hotel half-an-hour later, a full complement of staff were on hand to show us to our room and make sure all our needs were met. Impressive.

The neighbourhood

The hotel is in the Oyster Bay residential area of embassies and large private houses on the palm-lined beachfront looking out towards the ­Indian Ocean. The beach can get quite busy, and the hotel staff prefer it if you stay on-site (for safety reasons), but we took a stroll along the beach, enjoyed a swim in the sea and came to no harm. Don’t expect to see the city centre as the hotel is not centrally located.

The scene

This is a modern art house, with all the fixtures and fittings looking like artworks too. Wooden sculptures, wicker baskets, modernist paintings with exotic frames, lamp stands carved in tribal style and beautiful traditional Zanzibar doors feature all around the hotel.  Courtesy Oyster Bay
This is a modern art house, with all the fixtures and fittings looking like artworks too. Wooden sculptures, wicker baskets, modernist paintings with exotic frames, lamp stands carved in tribal style and beautiful traditional Zanzibar doors feature all around the hotel.  Courtesy Oyster Bay

This is a modern art house, with all the fixtures and fittings looking like artworks too. Wooden sculptures, wicker baskets, modernist paintings with exotic frames, lamp stands carved in tribal style and beautiful traditional Zanzibar doors feature all around the hotel. The garden at the back is relaxing, has a nice swimming pool and is probably a better option than the beach. The whole experience is like staying in the house of a friend who just happens to be the ambassador to Tanzania.

The room

All rooms are very spacious and quiet, with four-poster beds, cavernous wardrobes, soft furnishings and decor reflecting the rest of the hotel, plus an air-­conditioner, which is very necessary in the heat. Courtesy Oyster Bay 
All rooms are very spacious and quiet, with four-poster beds, cavernous wardrobes, soft furnishings and decor reflecting the rest of the hotel, plus an air-­conditioner, which is very necessary in the heat. Courtesy Oyster Bay 

Our room was on the second floor (of three) and one of eight rooms (two twin and six doubles). The rooms on the top two floors have views over the ocean with French windows and verandas. All are very spacious and quiet, with four-poster beds, cavernous wardrobes, soft furnishings and decor reflecting the rest of the hotel, plus an air-­conditioner, which is very necessary in the heat.

The service

Smiling and helpful without impinging on privacy. Our initial problems getting hot water in our room turned out to be our own incompetence and a very helpful lady sorted it out. The gate guard escorted us down to the beach when we went for a swim and watched over our belongings to make sure they weren’t stolen. The manager was always on-hand and helpful without being overbearing. Meal times were flexible.

The food

The garden at the back is relaxing, has a nice swimming pool and is probably a better option than the beach. Courtesy Oyster Bay
The garden at the back is relaxing, has a nice swimming pool and is probably a better option than the beach. Courtesy Oyster Bay

Meal times, location and the menu, with a wide variety of options, are geared towards the wishes of the guests. Breakfasts include everything from yogurts and exotic herbal teas to a full cooked breakfast. Lunch and dinner (enjoyed next to the swimming pool and on the outdoor terrace) are ordered at breakfast time with the chef making a few suggestions and buying in the ingredients fresh.

Loved

The shower and bathtub inside the Oyster Bay hotel. Courtesy Oyster Bay 
The shower and bathtub inside the Oyster Bay hotel. Courtesy Oyster Bay 

Being in a quiet cocoon and resting up after a long (and delayed) flight and the tropical elegance and birdsong.

Hated

While it’s great to feel welcome and to be sure all your needs will be met, the manager insisted on joining us (unasked) for drinks when we were tired and would have preferred to be on our own.

The verdict

A perfect location for acclimatising before a safari, or recovering from the early morning game drives after one.

The bottom line

Rooms at Oyster Bay start from $515 (Dh1,890) per room, per night and include all meals and drinks and transfers to and from Dar es ­Salaam airport. The stay was organised by The Luxury Safari Company.

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Read more:

Hotel Insider: Legendary Lodge, Arusha

Island stories: digging Zanzibar's Arabian past

Hotel Insider: The Residence Zanzibar

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