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Serena hotel Nairobi is a five star hotel found in NairobiKenya in the African continent. This is one of Africa’s best hotels and Nairobi’s finest hotel. The hotel has got 183 rooms and 7 suits including 1 state suit. The Serena hotel groups is among the 96 companies worldwide that form Aga khan Fund for Economic Development and the group operates under the name Tourism Promotion Services (TPS Serena). By November 2011, the group was confirmed to have 25 properties in Africa, in the countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania Mozambique, and Rwanda among others. The group has also properties in the Afghanistan and Pakistan (Gaisma, 2007).
In Kenya, the Serena properties are found in Mombasa that is in the coastal region of Kenya, Nairobi which is the capital city of Kenya, Mount Kenya, and Masai mara, Amboseli, Samburu and Nanyuki.
Nairobi Serena hotel took after the Masai name Nyrobi which means cool waters. Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya and it has a population of about two million people and it was begun in 1899. It was built as an artificial settlement by the Europeans during the construction of the East African rail way. Nairobi is the largest, the youngest, the most modern and the most developing and growing city in East Africa (Gaisma, 2007).
Location of the Hotel
The Nairobi Serena hotel is located in Kenyatta Avenue of Nyerere road in Nairobi city. The hotel stands among verdant gardens found in the outskirts of the central park of Nairobi. It has got various tree species that include jacaranda, bougainvillea and acacia that provide shade and beautiful environment. There is a tranquil just before the hotel and it is not located inside the centre of the city, it’s a ten minute walk from the city centre. It has got many attraction sites like art and cultural institutions, convenient game reserves like the Nairobi central park, cool entertainment and shopping night life among others.
The hotel is one of the most beautiful hotels of the world. It offers high quality standards of accommodation, cuisine, services and amenities. It is set in a peaceful set of landscaped gardens, where the central park can be overlooked from a cliff (Gaisma, 2007).
Each room in the hotel has got a mini bar, an electronic safe, a television satellite, private bath and shower, air conditioning, direct dial phone, shaving mirror, hair dryer, each bathroom has got a telephone among other luxurious facilities. All the suites of the hotel are well fitted with a facsimile and the bedrooms are well renovated. The hotel is attributed with effective and efficient attentive and personalized services.
When it comes to dining, the hotel has got the mandhari restaurant known to offer fine a la carte dining served in a modern cuisine that is contemporary. There is also an all day restaurant called mahrel which has a theme of buffets and a la carte menus.
The restaurant has got also additional features that include an hair salon, facsimile and a meeting room, conference rooms that can accommodate up to 250 people, boutiques, business centre with PC, car rental, audio visual equipment, free parking, a free courtesy bus that offer services to and from town, a 24 hour room service among others.
The recreational facilities in the hotel include; a resident’s lounge and pool bar, steam room, Jacuzzi, maisha health and fitness centre with sauna, a massage and gymnasium, a swimming pool of fresh water and nearby there is a complimentary golf (Gaisma, 2007).
The Management of the Hotel
The hotel managing director of Serena hotels in Africa is called Mahmud Jan Mohammed. Jan heads also the Tourism Department for the Aga khan Fund for Economic Development. Jan is based in Nairobi Kenya and he is delegated the responsibility of heading twenty six hotels, lodges and safari resorts in Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Jan managed to place Tourism Promotion Services (TPS) Serena hotels in Kenya in the Nairobi stock exchange back in 1997, and for the Serena properties in Tanzania and Zanzibar were placed in green field sites back in 1994. From 2005 to 2007, he managed to develop and acquire hotels in Rwanda, and Uganda and the banner of Serena.
Jan is an experienced person who has held top positions in East Africa that include; the Founder Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Federation, Director of the Corporate Governance Board of East Africa and Trustee of the East African Wildlife Society. Under his management, Serena hotels have been voted as the most honored and respected company in the sector of tourism in East Africa for the last five consecutive years. This is courtesy of the surveys done by the company of price water house coopers.
Jan has attended management training programmes at CornellUniversity where he is a member of Cornell hotel society and he is also a member of the Hotel Catering Institutional Management Association.
Jan is contacted through the administration phone lines which are; Telephone (+9714) 250-2250, fax (+9714) 250-2252, and he can be reached through the postal address which is Nairobi Serena Hotel, P.O Box 46302-O0100, Nairobi Kenya (Gaisma, 2007).
The hotel purchases vegetables like kales, tomatoes, onions and carrots among others from farmers who are within the locality of the hotel, for example, the Limuru farmers association, and for meat and its products are got from the Kenya Meat Commission, for white meat like chicken and fish are supplied by the white meat association of Kenya, milk and other products like yoghurt are supplied by the Kenya Co operative Creameries, and the rest of the supplies like cloth, linen and napkins are supplied by various cloth suppliers depending on the nature and quality. The hotel has got many vendors that cannot be all mentioned. Every supply brought to the hotel has got its vendor and the hotel management was not willing to mention some of the vendors due to reasons well known to them.
Vendors are very important in purchasing of the hotel requirements so as to maintain an adequate supply. This is because, if it is a farmer who supplies the hotel with vegetables, he will know that he has to take and at what time, for example if it is two bags of kales daily, the supply will be regular to avoid inconveniences. With the vendors, the hotel can easily complain to them incase of low quality goods or those that do not meet their standards (Dan & Carl, 1989).
It is also an advantage to the vendors as they receive good money at once and use it wisely than receiving small amounts daily and spending on little things. This is like a bank that they go every end of the month or as agreed upon to receive their payments.
Another good thing with vendors is that, payment will be easier than the daily purchases. Vendors are paid once for a while depending on the agreement or the signed contract. With clear records, these vendors will be paid without confusions. Also with vendors, prices remain constant for long unlike daily purchases with prices that keep on fluctuating day after day. This also minimizes impulse buying on the side of the hotel as they order in advance what they need and budget for it. They do not have to go to the market and window shop (Dan & Carl, 1989).
The Serena hotel has been using the vendor service since it began because the vendor service is more effective than daily purchases from the market. This is around 192 years ago because the hotel was founded in 1899. They advertised for tenders during that time and got various customers from whom they chose the best for each requirement in the hotel. Some of these vendors have been maintained to date. Some have died and been replaced by others, some have even relocated to other places although they have continued to supply the hotel with their products. The hotel has no plans of changing the mode of vending because this is the effective mean of purchasing goods. The management told me that, unless they discover a better alternative of which they have not yet discovered, they will maintain the vending system.
The hotel uses the modern technology like internet and computers to order for their supplies. For instance, products like napkins and linen are ordered through the internet from suppliers within the country and sometimes outside the country because some preferred quality of linen is not manufactured in the country. For the local products like vegetables that are within the locality of the hotel, can be ordered through the mobile phones, it all depends on the vendors locations. Some are even contacted through letters and more especially those in places with poor network and no internet, although this is a slow mean of communication since it takes long for the message to reach the supplier hence it is not effective for urgent supplies (Dan & Carl, 1989).
The hotel is very much advanced in technology, for example, each room in the hotel has a private bathroom with wireless internet coverage and an international satellite television. Hotel reservations are also done through their website that is only allowed to individuals who are thirteen years and above, employment applications to the hotel are also done on line.
The supplies into the hotel are received upon orders. For instance, the orders tend to be many during certain seasons like the festive seasons and Easter holidays. During these periods, local and international customers flock into these hotels in large numbers and so a lot of supply is required. There are regular supplies that are required at least daily and they include; milk, vegetables, bread, meat and eggs among others. Those that are ordered once for a while include cheese, ghee, sausages and cauliflower among others.
The vendors are very keen on the progress of the company so as not to end up incurring losses or selling their produce to a collapsing company. I succeeded to interview one of the hotel employees who is a catering purchasing assistant and he told me that, vendors trust them very much because they always pay them on time. He further explained that, during the recession period, many restaurant industries loose vendors due to delayed payments, but for them (Serena), they have alternative means of paying their vendors during these periods.
I was also lucky to find one of the vendors who had brought his products and managed to interview him on some areas and he was very comfortable in selling his products to the hotel. He said that, the hotel has enabled him give his five children education up to university level, fed his family, cloth it and house it. He confessed that, he has been a vendor in the hotel for the last thirty six years and so far he regrets nothing about it, instead he is celebrating the success.
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