Sunbird Lodge - One to keep OFF your List!!
Sometimes you hear of horror stories and wonder and hope that you are never the story teller, ever.. But, lets face it, this is life, and someday, it will rain hot oil on you.
Such is story of undoubtedly the worst hotel experience of my life. Sunburnt Podge forewent all Hospitality ethics codes, all sense and all reason over my stay.
The only thing going for it, is the view, though, in the end, you realise, just the view is not worth the whopping $170 per night. That realisation reveals itself when climbing the Epiphany stairwell up to the reception.
A special mention has to be given to their CON-cierge, Isaac. Grumpy, unhappy Isaac.
We were booked there through our clients for a work weekend, perhaps that is what entertained his notion of malpractice toward us, and moreover, the lack of interest to maintain any sense of professionalism, having have declared upon himself that we were never going to tip him, or so he may have assumed.
Well, here is a little Tip for you all:
The rooms are pretty basic, nothing worth mentioning other than the hammock in the balcony. Their twin rooms are one Double bed, and one Day - bed with a mosquito net.
Day 1: After our long day at work, we arrived back at the hotel at nearly midnight and went off to sleep after buying some of the most exorbitantly priced beers in Kenya. 330/- a beer?
The night was interrupted by noisy guests who entertained themselves with a lot of expensive beer. But thats not the lodges’ fault, nor Isaacs, however, it might have been good if the management could have asked a guard to go speak with the guests to keep it down at 4am.
After some breakfast we left the place to get to work.
Back at the lodge, at the reception at nearly midnight, tired, dehydrated, and just, very very very tired (yes, i said tired twice).
“Oh, you’re back!”, said the never happy Isaac.
We asked for the keys and just wanted to get rest at least 5 hours if possible.
“You have been moved”, said the nervous Isaac, hiding his shame well.
Extremely skeptical, my brother and I, in absolute shock, accepted this fact, suppressing our rage at the fact that they moved our stuff without our permission, with the fact that Isaac mentioned we had been upgraded.
Upgrade ey, well, that sounds nice.. maybe 2 actual beds and no noisy neighbours tonight and free beer?
We started our journey to the "upgraded" rooms by exiting the reception through the entrance that led us out to the parking lot.
Pitch black! Crickets and frogs all numbed their midnight merry making.
The guard lit his torch and began his march in absolute silence.
Amazed that the upgrade would be further away from the "amazing view", or the lodge itself and in fact closer to the main gate.
I immediately knew what was happening and noted to my brother that we are being led to the staff quarters.
My brother is in the habit of having more faith in people than I and immediately rejected the notion, pumped his inhaler one more time, and Left, and Right, toward our upgraded rooms, he began trotting.
Finally, we arrive. A meager room stared us point blank in the face, proud to wear its faded paint and flush door as a badge.
There is a symmetric 3 door per side system.
A red numbered plastic badge atop the rooms stand out, as i scanned left to right to register the becoming of the most obscure upgraded room in history. It looked like 12 arthritic blind dwarves built this upgraded room.
Doors 1 & 2 were closed. Door 3 was not labelled but was wide open pimping the regal pinkish toilet seat that was misaligned from the cracked whitish toilet bowl. An off-angle, slanted wash basin breaks the desperate tone before the shower head and pipe wickedly hanging from the ceiling with a piece of nylon rope, reveal themselves.
Closed doors, 3 & 4, and the scan of the room concludes with my brothers faith in mankind torched in that moment.
In absolute rejection of this “kind gesture” by the lodge, we went back to ask for our humble “twin” room.
The answers we got from there were all haphazard with Isaac completely silent and offering no solutions.
We asked to speak with the manager, who, came to the rescue armed with the shivers and shakes and more confusing stories of how our room vanished from beneath our feet.
The story as I gathered from the managers' murmuring were: A drunk guest was accidentally checked into the room and refused to leave.
The story then goes that the guest then locked himself in the room and refused to get out despite several attempts to vacate him.
It is only a wonder, how then, some of our clothes and chargers managed to land on the sad bed in the staff quarters if the guest had locked himself in the room.
No solutions were offered, and the Manager said the only thing left to do was to call the Police to intervene. But he wasnt keen on doing that. So instead checked us in to the staff quarters.
Oh and Yes!! We demanded a refund on the unopened beer. That was probably Isaacs worst moment, having have to return money to us. It was well executed and brilliantly long display of apparently not having 330/- in the cash register to refund to us.
It was 2am now and we were beyond furious and extremely tired, so we went to Serena Elementaita where our clients were, to see if we could get a driver to take us to Nairobi.
The amazing staff there dissuaded us from doing that and offered up their staff quarters to us. We then hung out with the staff there and beers at staff prices and made merry till 3am.
6am rang and time to get to work. The nightmare was over. Sunbird Lodge had successfully been exorcised from our hearts and soul, albeit temporarily, and we entered Nairobi on Sunday afternoon determined to let this experience go.
My suggestion then to all wanting to go to Sunbird Lodge would be, Dont! Instead, buy yourself a bicycle saddle with thorns and ride 130kms back to Nairobi, or sleep in the middle of the highway before you take that left turn to Sunbird Lodge!