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The African Tulip Hotel, Arusha

The African Tulip is a boutique hotel with pure African styling, very clean and recently constructed and has been favourably compared to the Nairobi Hilton. The small grounds are surrounded by high walls for privacy and security, and contain a swimming pool (which can be on the chilly side) next to a reasonably sized bar and patio area. The hotel is located off a side street, so the hustle and bustle of the main road is left behind.

The décor inside is very stylish and contemporary, with a bar area next to the restaurant with a baobab tree inside.  The restaurant menu is includes French, Indian and Tanzanian cuisine, often served as a buffet; if there is not something to your liking, you can always order from the a la carte menu. The service is friendly but can be slow with some language barriers and miscommunications.

There are no elevators in the building so if mobility is an issue, make a special request for a ground floor room.  The rooms are of a good size, and are well appointed. Some rooms have balconies, and large bathrooms with both a bathtub and a shower. Unfortunately some of the rooms overlook the grounds of a safari company next door, which often run a generator through the night, and the prevailing winds can carry the diesel fumes in through the windows.

Facilities at The African Tulip

The facilities of the rooms have come in for a few minor complaints; the televisions in some rooms are not easily viewed from the beds, the hair-dryers will take longer to dry hair than in Europe due to the weaker electricity supply here, and there are no ironing boards in the rooms, only a pressing service that costs half the price of the laundry service, which is chargeable per piece, and does not include pressing.  The mattresses of the beds are universally praised, but the pillows have come in for criticism for being too hard. Room service is available until 10pm, and check out is at 10am; if you stay longer than this you may incur a fee, which is best settled with Shillings to avoid the Hotel’s exchange rate commission.

The Wi-Fi connection can be a little weak on the second floor, but there are plenty of places to use a laptop around the bar or pool patio. The speed is much slower than using the 3G connection that is widely available in Arusha.

Trips to the town centre should be in taxis after dark, as there have been reports of tourists being attacked along the road to the town. Having the taxi driver as a guide for your sight-seeing reduces the likelihood of attracting swarms of street-vendors who pick-pockets use as cover.

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