The fam trip for European agents to Southern Tanzania has started! It looks like a very nice group of agents, all very eager to experience and enjoy this less known but magnificent part of the country. In total it is 11 of us and we come from five different European countries – from the very far north to the very south, many the languages spoken :-0
Today it has been a busy day trying to coordinate arrivals with different airlines and at different times and making sure all felt at home and each person did what he felt like doing.
Some enjoyed a nice siesta and relaxing time around the swimming-pool or in their spacious air-conditioned rooms, after the long flight and to adjust to the big contrast of temperatures between Dar and cold Europe (today here it was +32°C with 70-80% humidity!). Others took advantage of the very good wi-fi connection at the hotel and decided to catch up with work. Some went around a bit to see what this part of the city can offer, staying however out of the bad traffic of downtown Dar. So we went to the Shopping Centre at Slipway – always a good stop for the last or .. first day shopping! -, then next was the little market of the typical Tanzanian Tinga Tinga paintings and finally we visited Wonder Welders Workshop, where a group of disabled men and women create very innovative pieces of art using recycled waste materials like metal, wood, paper and glass. Very interesting and very very special to see the way they work and what they manage to do.
If one does not want to take a taxi, just behind the hotel there is a shopping centre which offers a good selection of shops with an exchange bureau, a few souvenir shops, a cafe’ and a gym. Also the hotel can organize for a massage therapist to come over and give treatments directly here in the hotel.
Needless to say that all agents were very pleased to discover that not only The Oyster Bay is a great “home away from home” but also that it can actually be a good idea to stay a day and night in Dar to recharge batteries and familiarize with the country before actually starting the tour, or in fact both at the beginning and the end!
The Oyster Bay opened in December 2007 as the first boutique hotel in the city and I cannot help thinking of my reaction when I first visited it :”What! A place like this exists in Dar???”
I had in fact been here many times since the mid 90s but never had I imagined that such a classy and elegant hotel could be available in Dar es Salaam. And I am sure that the surprise I felt is still shared by most of the guests of the hotel.
It is located in Oyster Bay, the residential area of the city, right on the ocean front and all the 8 suites enjoy very nice views of the ocean. The airport is less than 20 km away, which means that a transfer takes anything from 30 minutes to 90 minutes, the trick is to arrive and leave not during rush hours! But this applies not only to The Oyster Bay, it applies to any hotel in the city.
All the suites – 2 twins and 6 doubles (extra beds to make triples can also be added) – are very spacious and offer air conditioning, satellite TV, telephone, safe, hairdrier, all bathroom amenities, use of bathrobe, writing desk, comfortable sofas and verandah. Wi-fi is everywhere but in case one does need there is also a pc for guest use.
Being a hotel where people come for a few hours or for a few days, meals are served not only during the standard meal times but also as per each guest wishes and needs; only hotel patrons can stay and have meals at The Oyster Bay. Drinks are included and are available at any time. And this type of service and attention indeed makes you immediately feel at home and relaxed.
Children are welcomed and as a matter of fact when a family arrives, the hotel tries to give the 2 rooms on the same floor so as to offer them a very private feeling. All the main credit cards are accepted (Visa, MasterCard and Amex) however there is really no use for them since The Oyster Bay rates are all inclusive, no surprises at the time of check-out.
We finished the day with a very nice dinner – the jumbo prawns were the size of lobsters rather than prawns! – and Dimitra, the manager, and Charlie Bailey, the owner of both The Oyster Bay and Beho Beho, joined us playing wonderful hosts.
Tomorrow early morning we leave Dar for the wonderful bush of the Selous …. rested and happy to know that when you stay at The Oyster Bay, Dar es Salaam stops being perceived as a place where you have to stay a few hours because of flight connections and becomes a nice stop-over of the holiday.
More will follow the next days