Sunday, 26 March 2017

UGANDA: Kampala Serena Hotel Improves

In Middle of May the new rooms and suites will be handed over by the contractors to the Kampala Serena Hotel's management, will Kampala be in for a surprise.

The 36 Suites and Executive Rooms, include a yet to be named second senior Presidential Suite, which will be larger, more luxurious and provide new levels of comfort to Serena's top rated VVIP clientele.

The 'Royal Suite' in the main hotel, named after H.M. The Queen Elizabeth II following her stay in Kampala during the Commonwealth Summit of 2007, will on opening of the new facility become the hotel's number two as the latest trends in technology, equipment, security and furnishings have been incorporated in the country's largest such suite. This new showcase will no doubt become Uganda's top hospitality offering.

Be it Heads of State, Heads of Fortune 500 companies, the who is who of high finance, movers and shakers and of course the stars of the entertainment industry from Hollywood to Nollywood to Bollywood, this will be their place to be as there simply will is no better anywhere in the country - and I say that after a sneak preview a few days ago during which the taking of pictures was not quite yet on the cards.

All other rooms in the new wing will also be larger and again include the latest technologies and layouts, for sitting rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Overall will the number of rooms rise from the present 152 to 188, also reflecting the growth in demand the hotel has experienced over the past 11 years since it opened under this leading East African brand.

The upgrading and expansion of the Kampala Serena is in line with what is happening in other city hotels of the group, which is generally seen as East Africa's market leader, in terms of service, market standing but also the sheer number of properties in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique and of course Uganda.

Kigali's expansion was completed some time ago already and now it is the Dar es Salaam Serena where only last week the new restaurants and public areas were unveiled, reflecting much of the coastal architecture and designs for which this part of East Africa is so famous for.

In Nairobi too is a major refurbishment and expansion underway and again is Serena upping the game in the face of all the new competition which has sprung up over the past years and is still pushing into the Kenyan capital.

In Kampala is Carlson Rezidor set to open a Quorvus Collection branded hotel - which took its owners over 11 years of construction and then some, the same time the Serena has been in operation by the way - before CR came onboard with their expertise to put finishing touches to it and move it to the verge of opening.

Yet, the Kampala Serena Hotel will be ready for the new kid on the block, not just in terms of room offerings but also vis a vis a very refined food and service concept which can be experienced in the various F&B outlets.

Only a few days ago was the Pearl of Africa restaurant, a repeated award winner as Kampala's best fine dining venue, chosen to host the 'Gout de France' dinner which was celebrated around the world in 2.000 venues with 2.000 menus.

Chef Raphael, seen above proudly displaying the certificates awarded to the hotel and restaurant, and his team, including Sommelier Celestine, were suitably acknowledged by their French and other guests who received a culinary firework paired with great wines.

Add to all that the hospitality extended by Restaurant Manager Faussy and her team and you truly have a winning combination.

But excellence in cuisine does not end here. The Kampala Serena partakes in national and regional food competitions, stages regular international food festivals and is often host to guest chefs who come to Uganda from their home 5 star hotels and even Michelin rated restaurants.

When at the Kampala Serena they orchestrate the high art of culinary perfection, train the local chefs in the process and delight patrons with taste bud busting creations, be it at the Pearl of Africa, the Lakes or the Explorer.

I will in due course narrate my dining experiences at the Kampala Serena Hotel, one being a superb meal at the Pearl of Africa venue where Chef Raphael offered me a choice of a la carte or else their regular workday table d'hote menu.

I settled for the latter, which proved to be an excellent three course meal served in the space of one hour and a bit, perfect for top executives who are looking for a lunch venue of this kind where food excellence and service speed are a match.

My other meal was breakfast at the Lakes and indulging again by having an Egg Benedict, expertly prepared but here too, more about it in a few days or weeks, as I catch up with my writing and finish other assignments.

Meanwhile though will my eyes be glued to the calendar when sometime towards mid May the new Kampala Serena extension will open up and the attention of the contractor can then shift towards the completion of a new champagne bar and a new Executive Lounge on the 6th floor of the hotel.

Guests with a sudden craving for a Kir Royale or a glass of pink or golden bubbly will not be disappointed as Sommelier Celestine is already preparing a new section in his cellar just for that outlet.

The new lounge according to usually well informed sources, will add another dimension of hospitality for Serena's loyal clientele.

Regular Serena guests with loyalty cards, or those who are booked into the various suites, will experience an oasis of serene tranquility, in spacious and contemporary surroundings where across the day snacks and light meals will be on complimentary offer.

From breakfast to lunch to high tea and pre dinner hors d' oeuvres will those using the facility be able to still a sudden peckish feeling and a lounge concierge will be at the service of the guests with almost no task considered impossible.

There may even be a daily happy hour for guests, perhaps with the General Manager or key members of his team making an appearance to interact with guests, or maybe there will be a once a week GM's cocktail for his premium guests ... time will tell so stay tuned to this site.

All of it again shows that Serena not only maintains high service standards but is constantly pushing the envelope further, incorporating the latest trends in the hospitality industry and giving value for money to their loyal guests because service is at the very heart of Serena's corporate philosophy.

Serena's Uganda flagship, the Kampala Serena Hotel is an inspirational blend of 5-star polish, pan-African panache, social style and business reliability.
Ideally located at the very heart of Kampala, our luxury business hotel stands amidst 7.2 acres of landscaped grounds and water gardens. An oasis of cool and green, encircled by the seven hills of Kampala, this 152-room world-class hotel is the focal point of national, regional, business, political and social life.
Drawing its architectural inspiration from the abundance of Uganda's lakes and rivers, the hotel has been created around a central water theme, which manifests itself both in the extensive water gardens and in the hand-carved panels and shimmering mosaics with which it is decorated.
Inspirationally styled as a Kampala showcase for Ugandan art, this unique 5-star hotel offers; an international conference centre, a garden auditorium, a roof-top terrace, a rock-sculptured pool terrace, three restaurants, two bars and the Moorish palace of the ‘Maisha Mind Body and Spirit Spa'.
GETTING THERE
The hotel is situated in central Kampala, 40 kilometres from Entebbe International Airport.

FACILITIES
- Wide selection of rooms and suites: all with AC, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and voice-mail
- Bambara Residents' Lounge with Bedouin Terrace
- The Lakes, all-day brasserie
- The Mist, cocktail bar
- The Explorer, Italian bistro
- The Pearl of Africa, fine-dining experience
- The Sesse Pool Terrace bar and café
- Panoramic roof terrace for private cocktails and social events
- Garden auditorium
- Extensive swimming pool area with rock-built waterfall
- The Maisha Mind Body and Spirit Spa
- Running track in the grounds and golf course (nearby)
- Hair and beauty salon
- International Conference Centre to seat 1,500
- VIP entrance, helipad, dedicated car park, full security
-Wide range of incentives options
- Business Centre, travel desk, taxi and limousine service
- Wedding planning service
- Gift Shop, news-stand and travel requisites kiosks