Cresta President Hotel May Be the Best Place to Stay in Gaborone — But Not For Long
T he skies darkened rather quickly over Botswana as I drove across the border from South Africa at the Kopfontein border crossing; and the primarily flat terrain afforded me a full view of the massively ominous cumulonimbus cloud with the opaque curtain of precipitation beneath it.
I drove on the straight two-lane road towards Gaborone — where I was to stay for the night — as I neared the culmination of a drive of greater than four hours…
…and as I turned left onto Botswana Road from Independence Avenue, I realized that central Gaborone emulated more of a mid-sized town than a capital city of a country: few traffic lights; not too much traffic; and houses mixed with commercial buildings.
Location and Arrival
The exterior of the Cresta President Hotel appears on the right side of the street only three blocks down; and it was not impressive by any means. It shares a parking lot with what appeared to be a seedy, run-down small shopping center with a row of stores — which were across the street from the central police station of Gaborone — as there is no other parking available anywhere else than on the street…
…and once I parked the car, I walked along the driveway into the unusual entrance to the lobby, which was small but nice; and I was greeted warmly by the members of the staff behind the front desk, who checked me in and gave me the key card to my room.
Whether taking the stairs or the elevator, the key card to the hotel room is necessary because the hallway cannot be accessed without it. A secure glass barrier separates the elevator and staircase from the hallway on each floor — a security measure I personally have never seen before in a hotel property.
Once past the secure glass barrier, I turned around and looked at the view of the elevator from the hallway. The staircase is at the extreme right side of the photograph shown above.
I then walked down the hallway to my room.
Another odd design of this hotel is that there are superfluous columns which tend to restrict access to the door of a room if one is carrying large pieces of luggage. I personally would have extended the room out to the edge of the hallway and simply placed the doorway of the room between the column on the right and the wall on the left. The column might serve as a functional support — but it is certainly no design element.
I walked into the room, which was fairly nice — but nothing extraordinary.
The bed was comfortable, as I had no problem sleeping on it.
Having two pictures hanging on each side of a decorative column element on the wall above the bed was a little bizarre, as I probably would have hung one picture on the decorative column element instead — but what do I know?!?
As I stayed in this hotel property in February during the summer and had bottles of water with me, the small white refrigerator on the left side of the desk was an absolutely welcome amenity for me, as it kept my water cold.
The entrance to the room is on the right of the photograph above; and the bathroom is just to the right of that entrance — in fact, you can see part of it in the reflection of the mirror above the desk.
Wi-fi access to the Internet was included at no extra charge. While it was not exactly the fastest service I have ever experienced, I had no problems with it using my laptop computer on the desk.
The closet — actually, more like an armoire — and the minibar did not appear to belong in the location in which they were placed…
…but the closet — which was more than ample for what I needed — contained such items as a safe, two extra pillows, an extra blanket, a laundry bag, and hangers. Coffee cups, glasses and a coffee pot were available for use.
Items necessary to prepare and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea were available at no additional charge.
The sink area of the bathroom was reasonably stylish, in my opinion.
On the vanity of the sink area were the amenities: conditioning shampoo, body lotion, body wash and a shower cap. They adequately served their purposes; but I would not consider purchasing them in a store.
Plenty of towels were available.
The toilet had one of those paper bands wrapped around its lids; and the bathtub with shower was adjacent to the toilet.
Although this building did not exactly enhance the view from the window of the room…
…the sky was still clearing not long after the rain stopped…
…and a nice evening sunset eventually replaced the thunderstorm.
Breakfast was included at no extra charge.
Watermelon is thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa — much of which is in Botswana — so I had to have some with my breakfast; and it was delicious.
Additionally, I had kippers for breakfast — mummy dear, mummy dear, if you can guess this reference — croissants, peeled kiwi fruit, and a large hard-boiled egg. They were good and filling; but the morning breakfast buffet — which also had processed meats, cheeses, assorted breads, yogurt, fruit, juice and a few other items — was slightly better than edible at best, in my opinion.
Fortunately, there was a balcony outside of the otherwise dismal and noisy dining area, where I could partake in breakfast in relative quiet while enjoying the fresh air and observing the people of Gaborone going about their daily business.
In my research for a hotel property at which to stay while I visited Gaborone — which is the capital city of Botswana where I spent the morning wandering around its central area — the Cresta President Hotel seemed to be the best place to stay in town.
I had never heard of Cresta Hotels prior to my research, which is a portfolio of 17 hotel properties in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
I paid a total room rate of $104.40 — that includes $11.19 in taxes and fees — which I booked through Expedia through a deal which lasted for only 24 hours where I saved 25 percent on the room rate. While $104.40 is not necessarily expensive for a room in a hotel, I did not feel like I received much value for my money.
Major lodging chains are expanding their footprint in Africa. The Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone hotel property is expected to open later this year; and Marriott International, Incorporated is committed to remain the largest hotel company in the continent of Africa and is expected to open the first Protea Hotel property in Gaborone sometime in 2018 — so the Cresta President will soon have formidable competition…
…and if improvements are not implemented to this hotel property by the time its competitors open their hotel properties in Gaborone, then I would not particularly recommend the Cresta President Hotel at the price point which I paid. Otherwise, it is not a bad place to stay — but try to secure as low of a room rate as possible if you do intend to stay here.
Cresta President Hotel
Botswana Road, Main Mall
All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.