Since I’ll be returning to the area again shortly, felt I’d review the few things that came up on my first trip that I know won’t change or be added to on the second. There will be new restaurants, sights to see, etc, but I know I won’t be returning to the first hotel I stayed at, the Pullman Teranga. When I mentioned this to coworkers, I was met with amusement and bewilderment. Seems this is the fifth or sixth choice of hotels in Dakar, and the others were all completely sold out my first nine nights there. Online reviews on TripAdvisor made it seem tolerable, so I decided to go with it…it’s not like I had a choice! It was #10 of 35 in Dakar, so how bad could it be…right? It used to be a Sofitel up until a few years ago, when it was rebranded by Accor group as a Pullman. I’d never heard of the Pullman brand before, but it seems to be quickly growing. Knowing it was affiliated with Sofitel gave me comfort, so I was pretty ok with it. Plus, for almost 100,000 CFA a night how bad could it be?
Where do I start with the room review? The first, second, third, or fourth? Even at a rate of 100,000 CFA, I was supposed to be relegated to a “city view” room but had been “upgraded” to an ocean view. This was going to be great…or so I thought. First room, I lasted all of 10 minutes in. It was somewhere around 25C in the room, even with the aircon cranked up to the max. Went to the desk to ask, and they immediately offered to move me. Ok, second room was just a bit down the hall…and had a broken deadbolt as well as being warm and absolutely reeking of body odour. No way. Moved down one floor to room #3 and it was finally tolerable. Maybe only 22C, semi-functional air conditioning, with only a slight smell of smoke and must.
Of course, after four days, the safe battery died. They promised for two days they would replace it, but eventually admitted that they didn’t know how, and would I like to move rooms? Room four was actually just a bit further down the hall, but had the best view of the ocean. Similar to room three in smell and temperature, it was barely tolerable. Maybe other rooms are better, but I came to the eventual conclusion that the beds are very comfortable, all the rooms have a musty, smokey, unpleasant smell to them, frequent stains on the carpet, and are barely cool enough to be tolerable. Overall, if I’d had another choice based on rooms I’d have been out of there in an instant.
Rooms did had a few upsides. Free bottled water, juice, diet coke, etc in the fridge…when they remembered to restock it. Plus, all rooms came with complimentary condoms, lol.
Everyone I encountered was very friendly. There were a few staff at the front desk that were very helpful (which was needed for the frequent room issues that popped up) but there were also several younger people at the front desk with “trainee” tags. Most of these didn’t even smile, and just gave nods when you asked anything. Overall, it was pretty typical west Africa where when they tell you they can/will do something, you stand about a 50% chance of it actually happening. Everyone was friendly though, so I’d say service attempts were above average, but delivery frequently was short. English skills I didn’t really experience since my French was better than their English, but they did seem to speak enough that they could easily help you in English.
The big plus, I thought. Walkable to a great grocery store about 5-10 minutes away, lots of taxis, several good restaurants in walking distance, and seemed to be in a pretty safe area. I walked around a lot, even at night, and didn’t have a single problem or ever feel unsafe in the least. Also, if you have business with the government, it’s right downtown in the Plateau area near many of the ministries, so very convenient. A few shots out my window follow and you can see that at least on the “ocean view” side of the hotel it has some pretty great views: