Breakfast in Awe at the Sea Cliff Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
PHOTO: The view from the Karambezi Restaurant at the Sea Cliff Hotel. (All photos by David Cogswell)
The Sea Cliff Hotel, as its name implies, sits on cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It has some of the most exhilarating ocean views to be found anywhere. The hotel is palatial, with shiny marble tile floors, wrought iron chandeliers, large square pillars and plush easy chairs with fat pillows in the lobby.
The hotel’s Karambezi Restaurant sits right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the rocky shore. The views of the ever-seething ocean, the rhythmic splashing sounds of the waves, the feeling of the ocean breezes and the presence of the rocky cliffs are so stunning, one wonders how anyone can sit and eat their meals and not just stand with jaws agape, transfixed with wonder.
There are other dining options: the Alcove bar and restaurant adjacent to the hotel lobby and the Kaskazi Lounge with its 180 degrees of ocean view. There’s a round, blue swimming pool and the hotel has its own casino with 140 slot machines and 16 gaming tables.
The rooms are luxuriously comfortable and friendly, with ocean views on one side and sliding glass doors so you can remove the barriers between the room and the magnificent environment. Palm trees are silhouetted against the sky when the sun rises over the Indian Ocean. It’s a tropical paradise par excellence, but none of this would count for much if it weren’t for the service.
The staffmembers of the Sea Cliff are all kind, patient and accommodating just when you need it. When you show up at the hotel after traveling from the U.S. to Africa, a trip that requires many hours of flight time and dragging oneself from airport to airplane to immigration to baggage claim in a seemingly endless series of hikes, you are inevitably jetlagged and exhausted. That is the moment when you most need kindness and care, and the staff of the Sea Cliff are right on top of that most fundamental function of lodging.
Tall Masai men, clad in their traditional red checked blankets, serve as security guards at the front of the hotel, and have a commanding presence. Those who know the Masai feel secure indeed. Even the great lions in the Masai Mara will not attack a Masai walking across the high plains. Formidable as the lions are, they would prefer easier prey.
If the Masai guards watching the front door of the lobby don’t make you feel secure enough, there is a sentry post in front and no one gets near the hotel without being observed by the watchful eyes of the sentries.
Whatever trouble there may be in the world, it will not reach you when you are at the Sea Cliff.
More by David Cogswell
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