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Arusha Serena Hotel
Arusha Serena Hotel
Arusha Serena Hotel

Arusha Serena Hotel

3°22’50.3"S 36°47’31.8"E

Arusha Serena Hotel: Our full report

The Arusha Serena Hotel is located on the outskirts of Arusha in a scenic spot – a 150-acre former coffee ...

... plantation – overlooking Lake Duluti. It was first constructed in 1988 by two Indian brothers, with the name Hotel Mountain Village, before being taken over in 2000 and largely rebuilt by the Serena hotel chain. Today it is a smart hotel with a colonial vibe.

The main building at the Arusha Serena Hotel has been designed to resemble an old colonial manor house, slightly reminiscent of the world famous Giraffe Manor in Nairobi. However, on closer inspection it is revealed as largely constructed from concrete breeze blocks. The effect is nevertheless fairly impressive and flanked by a number of palm trees it feels like quite an imposing structure. Inside, beyond the large reception area, are the lounge, bar, curio shop and dining area. The colonial theme continues here with wooden beams, dark leather sofas, richly patterned fabrics and stone fireplaces.

To the front of the main house is a pretty terrace which overlooks Lake Duluti, furnished with quirky, giraffe-shaped chairs. A flagstone path leads down to the gardens. When we visited in 2019, we were told there were plans to build a swimming poo in the near future.

The Arusha Serena has 42 rooms, 32 of which have a view of at least some of the lake. These are arranged in little semi-circular clusters, each with six adjoined rooms. With banana-stem thatch roofs they loosely resemble traditional Maasai huts. These are all identical in design, with either double or twin beds enclosed within a retractable mosquito net.

The rooms are simply styled but very comfortable with red ceramic floor tiles, a writing desk, satellite TV and a built-in cupboard with plenty of storage and an electronic safe. The outer wall of the room is curved and has a pair of glass doors opening onto a grass area at the back. Each room has an en-suite bathroom with a shower, single basin and complimentary toiletries.

Most people will only spend one night here before or after a northern Tanzania safari, however there are plenty of activities on offer if you choose to stay a little longer. The hotel is only a short walk from Lake Duluti, which is a relatively small yet surprisingly deep crater lake, estimated to be as much as 700 metres deep at its deepest. The lake is surrounded by tropical forest and a local guide can take you on a nature walk where you can learn about the native plants whilst keeping an eye out for monkeys in the trees.

You can also go canoeing on the lake which is a rally relaxing way to spend a couple of hours, exploring the lake shore where monitor lizards and water birds can regularly be seen. Unfortunately, you are strongly advised not to swim, because of bilharzia near the shore and currents further out.

Other activities include a visit to the Polish graveyard, Swahili lessons, cookery workshops at the hotel and trips into Arusha where you can explore the local markets. As well as in-room spa treatments the hotel is planning to create a purpose-built spa in the near future, although when we visited in 2019 there was no completion date.

Our view

With 42 rooms, spacious grounds and gentle activities the Arusha Serena is a comfortable hotel which is ideally located for an overnight stay before or after a northern Tanzanian safari.

Lyndsey Marris

Lyndsey Marris

Tanzania expert


Arusha, Tanzania
Ideal length of stay
Stay one or two nights at the start or end of a northern Tanzania safari.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Bed & Breakfast
Food quality
All meals are served in the dining room, which is part of the main house. Breakfast and lunch are normally served as a buffet, while dinner is either à la carte or buffet depending on the occupancy. The food we had in 2019 was very tasty with dishes using fresh produce from the kitchen garden.

Breakfast includes a range of cereals, bread, pastries and fresh fruit and yoghurt. A hot breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages and tomatoes can then be cooked to order.

When we stayed in 2019 lunch started with either vegetable or chicken soup, followed by a buffet including a selection of cold salads, hot dishes such as curry, rice, pasta and fish, and also barbecued meat. We had a selection of fruits and cakes for dessert.

Dinner consists of three courses, which may start with soup or a salad. This is typically followed by a meat dish such as chicken or beef accompanied by a selection of vegetables. You would normally round off the meal with some form of cake or fruit tart.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
There are phones in the rooms and room service can be requested.
Drinks included
All drinks are at extra cost, this is typically around $5 for a beer or a glass of wine.


Attitude towards children
The Arusha Serena Hotel accepts children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions
Special activities & services
There are no special activities or services however children are likely to enjoy the local activities such as canoeing or forest walks.
Cots and highchairs are available although these are best requested in advance.
Generally recommended for children
We feel that the Arusha Serena Hotel is good for children, although there are no family specific rooms.
The hotel plans to build a swimming pool and children should be supervised when using the pool.


Power supply notes
There is a backup generator
There is complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel, both in the main area and also in the rooms.
TV & radio
There are DStvs’ in the rooms.
Water supply
Water supply notes
There are flush toilets and hot running water.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
Staff are first aid trained and there is a doctor on call. There is a hospital in Arusha which is a 15-30 minute drive away.
Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Security measures
There is 24-hour security at the gate and around the edge of the property.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers throughout the hotel.


Disabled access
In Place
Laundry facilities
Laundry is available at extra cost, roughly from $2–5 per item.
There are electronic safes in the rooms. A small amount of currency can sometimes be exchanged at the front desk, although this cannot be relied upon.
Accepted payment on location
The Serena Arusha Hotel accepts cash payments in most major currencies, including US dollars, GB pounds and Euros. Major credit and debit cards are accepted including Visa and MasterCard. There is no surcharge for credit card payments.

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