Most importantly – Does the hotel and room do what it’s supposed to do?
Emphatically yes. As a slight spoiler this hotel is the best hotel we’ve ever stayed at. Not only does it feature luxurious rooms, excellent food and the customary Four Seasons customer service, the hotel also has a watering hole next to its infinity pool that constantly draws elephants, zebras, buffalo, Impala and other game animals to the hotel. You can go on safari, but at the Four Seasons Serengeti you can sit back and let the safari come to you.
How did we rate the experience before we stepped into the room?
The Hotel liaised with us before and after booking to find out when we would be arriving and learning our dietary requirements so that the chefs could create a menu tailored to our tastes and dietary requirements.
We were greeted by our driver, Sadyck as we stepped off the plane despite arriving early. We were taken to our luxury car where chilled drinks had been laid out before getting into the padded seats and heading off on safari.
On the road to the hotel was saw giraffes, elephants, zebra and a river of hippos before turning into the gate of the Four Seasons Serengeti and past the waterfalls to the reception.
At reception we were welcomed by friendly staff, invited to sit on the lush sofas and sip our welcome drinks whilst checking in. Our bags were whisked away to our suite from under our noses. The process was seamless.
Does it cover the basic needs?
Breakfast – best hotel breakfast we’ve had covering everything, even bespoke smoothies freshly made to order.
Comfy bed – super check: so comfy falling asleep felt like being knocked out with a giant feather.
Decent towels – super check: towels and soft bathrobes
Fridge – check
Good pillows – see comfy bed
Parking – available but self-driving to the Serengeti comes with its own risks.
Safe – safe inside the room, Masai Warriors outside the room.
Shower with decent water pressure – outside shower, inside shower, waterfall shower and freestanding bath with detachable showerhead and cushion. Being smelly is not an option.
Wifi – good but not great. You can pay for upgraded Wi-fi but with rooms starting at over £1,000 per night you’d think the upgraded wi-fi would be included.
What makes your stay feel special?
The Four Seasons’ reputation of first class customer service is certainly upheld in the Serengeti. The staff are all extremely friendly, attentive and excited to serve. The service was easily the best we experienced in Africa.
The hotel also provides a lot of great extra services. There’s a full spa which mixes international with original African massages. Yoga lovers and early risers can start their day with a yoga class in their yoga pavilion or wait until sunset to climb a nearby kopje for a sunset class with panoramic views over the plains. The hotel also offers honeymoon packages that include couples massages and candlelight private dinners.
Does the hotel and room make sense?
The hotel is a safari haven and is set up to help you get the most out of your Serengeti adventure. The hotel has an educational Discovery Centre to help hotel guests learn about the wildlife and nature of the Serengeti. The hotel also had resident photographers to help guests learn how to get the best out of their cameras.
The perfect lounge
Our suite opened into a spacious lounge area with a full wall of glass doors, perfect for watching the wildlife, with a toilet and shower leading off, and the live feed of the watering hole.
Next to the bed were the main shower, toilet and freestanding bath.
There was lot of room in the bathroom/sink area with a large open wardrobe opposite. Overall a very spacious and well thought out suite.
The epicentre of the hotel is the watering hole with the main restaurant, pool and loungers all designed to face this oasis. The hotel rooms are lined up along the side of the path leading to the watering hole so you can see the elephants walk past your window or from your private pool on their way to the watering hole. If you miss them, there’s a live feed of the watering hole in your room.
So yes, it makes sense.
We were lucky enough to meet with Head Chef Curtis Smithen before our dinner. The entire hotel team do a fantastic job preparing and serving gourmet food in a national park that doesn’t allow any farming and in a country that makes importing luxury foreign goods a challenge.
Our private candlelit dinner on the pool island had a menu created just for us and featured cream of pumpkin soup with truffle oil, poached pear and blue cheese salad, grilled beef tenderloin and then an avocado. Mango and blueberry mud crumble to finish. Each course was perfectly paired with South African wines.
To say the soup was creamy and the beef was beautifully cooked would be doing a disservice to the meal. Every piece of food on the plate was a small culinary feast with small sides such as the vegetable relish, onions marmalade and especially the cauliflower puree making each mouthful an masterpiece.
Breakfast was as lavish as a breakfast can be with everything from fine hams (even though this is hard to get in the Serengeti), perfectly ripe fruit, full English options, a pancake and omelette cooking station and our personal favourite; the bespoke smoothie station.
For the last meal at the restaurant I decided to pick the least tempting thing on the menu: A chicken sandwich. The chicken working in tandem with the pesto relish and finely cut tomato and lettuce changed my opinion of what a chicken sandwich could taste like.
Best extras included?
The watering hole. The hotel has its own water cleaning plant which pumps clean water into the watering hole making sure it never runs dry. We visited the hotel during a drought and the watering hole was constantly being visited by elephants, zebra, buffalo, impala and wildebeest.
The elephants are the kings of the watering hole. As herds of elephants come and go other animals nervously queue and wait for their chance to grab a drink. Whilst sometimes zebra and elephants share the watering hole, a loud trumpet from a protective mother will quickly send the zebras stampeding away.
The hotel seems to be designed around the watering hole meaning you’ll be entertained by the animals at breakfast, whilst swimming in the pool, whilst sipping cocktails on the sun beds or watching the sun set over dinner.
As a reminder, this was easily best hotel we’ve every stayed at, so everything below is incredibly picky.
The standard Wifi was not great for anything beyond emailing and browsing social media but wifi and phone reception was a recurring problem in Tanzania. The upgraded Wifi was much better and the best we experienced in mainland Tanzania.
The linear design of the hotel (no buildings are more than two floors) means that if you are staying the luxury villas or going to the spa it can be hike. However, it does mean each room is secluded from each other.
The staff are also super friendly and excited to serve you which is great. However, if you’ve left your kindle in your room, a return trip from the pool to your room and back might elicit at least 10-20 “Jambo’s” from staff.
So the Four Seasons Serengeti is terrible: the staff are too friendly, the rooms and spa is too secluded and the Wifi is the best in the country.
The Four Seasons Serengeti is a hotel that mixes the customary Four Seasons excellence in food, accommodation, facilities and service with the unique and special watering hole that brings your African safari right to you and your cocktails. Whilst the price tag is not for the budget traveller it is a special hotel that is worth saving for as it is smartly run and planned to provide an unforgettable experience. To book your stay or for more information visit the Four Seasons Serengeti website.
Thank you to the Four Seasons Serengeti for hosting us, however our opinions are always honest and our own.
Last modified: 17th July 2018