The best hotel we have ever stayed in

Sunday, March 03, 2013
Ngorongoro, Arusha Region, Tanzania
On the way out of the park we had coffee in the Siena Lodge overlooking the Ngorogoro crater. The hotels, and for that matter the camp site, are rather odd as to minimize costs no one stays more than 24 hours so all the guests have left the hotel by 7am and the new ones won't arrive until late in the afternoon. This huge hotel was therefore empty of guests and the few staff in evidence were surprised to find anyone wanting service.
We got to Gibbs Farm for lunch, it is a smashing place, hardly surprising as it costs £500 a night. The gardens are full of flowers and birds, the room is enormous with our own veranda comfy chairs, desks and all sorts of nice furniture. The bath is bigger than our blue room bath and there are two showers, one inside and one outside. We could very easily get used to the lifestyle. The reason for staying in such a swanky place for a few days is that it is my 60th birthday tomorrow, I don't feel any older.
 Gibbs Farm still grows it's own vegitables but suffers from a lot of elephant damage which was emphasized later when three elephants were spotted down by the vegetable patch. I got a few pictures of them from a safe distance.
Next night (my birthday) got the best spot for dinner with a blazing chiminia to ourselves. The waiters formed a procession and “Sang In” a birthday cake the hotel had made for me. A very present evening.
This is best hotel I think we have ever stayed in, the room is fantastic, the staff very friendly, they call you by your first name and seem very laid back but they are professional and look after you very well. At no time did we feel out of place and there was no silly rubbish about dress code or rules about what you can or can't do.
Now would be a good point to offer a guide to the other hotels in Tanzania:
We have stayed in 12 different hotels/lodges during our trip, some more than once. All hotels are more expensive than the equivalent place in the UK, those in or near the parks being many times the UK norm. Gibbs Farm which is the most expensive hotel we have ever stayed in but also the best, so worth the money. Most other hotels seem to be over priced for what they provide. As a rule of thumb everywhere has nice clean rooms, hot water and perfectly good food although even at the best places there is only a choice of two things on the menu. Only one hotel had a television, we didn’t watch it.
In addition to this you get :-
If you pay less than $100 a night (One Lucas Star) the receptionist does not have their own pen and they won’t ask you beforehand if you are vegetarian so you have to eat what is given to you, fortunately between us we eat almost anything so get by.
 If you pay $100 – $200 (Two Lucas Stars) the receptionist will have a pen, there will be Wi Fi but the waiters will not have pens so if they do have two options on the menu they will get the order wrong.
Pay $200 – $300 (Three Stars) All the staff have pens but the basin in the room won’t have a plug. They may take credit cards but charge a fee for doing so
$300 – $400 (Four Stars) Everyone has a pen, there is a plug in the basin and someone will turn the beds down at night and, more importantly, spray the room against mozzies.. They take cards
You have to pay more than $400 to get a bath but there still will only be two options on the menu. (there was one exception to this, the Arusha Coffee Lodge restaurant food was indifferent but the bar food, especially the pizzas were brilliant).
All the prices are in US dollars but you can’t get dollars out of a bank so you either bring a big stash with you or convert everything to Tanzanian shillings at a very inconsistent rate. 
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