‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – Protea Hotel Entebbe, Uganda

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Entebbe in Uganda.

We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for PointsYou can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.  This was scheduled to be the last one in the series, but a good response from readers means that we have commissioned another batch.  There will be a short gap whilst we start to edit them but we hope to have them running from the end of this week.

Today’s hotel is the Protea Hotel Entebbe, Uganda, a part of the world which is probably less familiar to you than many of the locations we’ve covered so far.  It is reader Adam’s favourite hotel and here is his review:

Overview

I stayed at the Protea Hotel Entebbe, Uganda for three nights in June 2019 as part of a safari to the country with family.  I actually stayed twice – one night at the beginning of our Uganda safari and two nights at the end of our trip. Both stays were consistently excellent.

Protea is a South African chain owned by Marriott with hotels throughout southern Africa and some other select African destinations. They are categorized by Marriott as being part of the “Select” range, which also includes Courtyard and Four Points.

We originally chose the Protea as it was a great Marriott Bonvoy redemption.  Upgraded rooms (with balcony and sea view) are available for between 10,000 and 15,000 points, depending on date, which using Rob’s 0.5p valuation would normally get you a room worth £50 to £75.  In this case, we got a room selling for US$283!  At the time of our stay, the deal was even better as the hotel was only a Category 1 redemption – just 7,500 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Review Protea Hotel Entebbe, Uganda

Getting to the Protea Entebbe hotel

The Protea Entebbe is just a 5-minute drive from Entebbe International Airport, the primary port of entry into Uganda. The hotel offers complimentary any time airport transfers which we had pre-arranged for our flight coming in from Nairobi.

Unfortunately our flight was delayed by about an hour, but it was a great start to our stay seeing the hotel’s shuttle and driver still waiting outside the terminal. Arriving at the hotel, we were greeted by smiles all-round, welcome drinks and cool towels.

Our room

Though we were only Marriott Gold members, we were upgraded to spacious suites with generous sized balconies and large bathroms for both stays.

The suites were well furnished in cream and purple and offered excellent views over Lake Victoria.

Review Protea Hotel Entebbe, Uganda

and

Review Protea Hotel Entebbe, Uganda

Small welcome baskets with local produce (multi-coloured taro chips, peanuts, mango juice) were waiting for us in the room when we arrived. Every evening at turndown, hand baked cookies wrapped in blue ribbon appeared, another welcome touch.

Facilities

The hotel grounds were immaculately kept with a sandy beach-like area, expansive pool and coconut palms dotted around the property.

Review Protea Hotel Entebbe, Uganda

Though the Protea is very close to the airport and within a major city, the hotel was very serene – we could easily have been at a quiet resort, miles from any city or airport. I should also mention that at the time of our stay, the hotel was going through refurbishments, but this did not negatively impact our stay.

Food and drinks

Food at the restaurant and room service was good with plenty of local options, including Nile perch straight from Lake Victoria and the Ugandan classic matoke, a plantain and peanut based dish. We also very much appreciated that on one occasion when we were ordering from the room service menu and the phone line unexpectedly dropped, a member of staff immediately came to our room to apologize and take the room service order. I thought this was great service from one of Marriott’s “lower” brands.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that service at the Protea overall was as good as any Ritz Carlton, St Regis or Waldorf Astoria I have stayed at. Staff were always polite and helpful – an outstanding team. Everyone, ranging from the receptionists, bellboys, waiters to security staff (being in East Africa the security is quite tight) were consistently happy to help and were always in a jovial mood, giving the whole property a great ambience.

What to do while at the Protea Entebbe

Of course, what makes the Protea stand out is more than just the property itself, but also the range of sites to visit in Entebbe. Close to the city, the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary cares for orphaned chimps, boat trips to Mabamba swamp offer the opportunity to see the highly sought-after shoebill (pictured below).  Entebbe Botanic Gardens and the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre are only a short drive from the property.

Review Protea Hotel Entebbe, Uganda

Tours to these attractions can be arranged.  When we wanted to visit the Botanic Gardens (a marvellous spot for wildlife viewing) by ourselves, the concierge called a reliable driver to take us there and bring us back at a pre-agreed price.

Conclusion

As a destination Uganda certainly has much to offer, ranging from a classic safari in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks to seeing gorillas in Bwindi National Park and chimpanzees in Kibale National Park. However, the gateway city of Entebbe can be considered a destination in its own right, particularly with the Protea being a standout property there.

Overall, I would happily label the Protea Entebbe one of the best Marriott properties – from any brand – that I have stayed at. Together with sister Protea properties – Protea Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport, Protea Kruger Gate (for Kruger National Park) and Protea Livingstone (at the Zambian side of Victoria Falls) – this is really an excellent hotel and a great Marriott Bonvoy redemption.

If you want to find out more, the hotel’s website is here.

Protea Entebbe review

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Marriott Bonvoy points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

'Frequent Flyer - The Video' - why we do what we do
Virgin Atlantic is removing the sign-up bonus from its free Virgin Reward credit card on Tuesday

Click here to join the 15,000 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Gtellez says:

    I couldn’t agree more. We stayed two nights as part of our honeymoon. We paid 7,5k points each night and we were upgraded to an executive (and massive) suite (Marriott Titanium). Plus free breakfast and complementary transfer service to the airport, best deal ever! The cost for those two nights were well above u$400, and that for the basic room!

  2. oliver says:

    Probably the hotel I know MOST about in these articles as I was involved in the design of the extension works while living in Kampala. Great spot for a quick dash to the airport and now there is a new highway to the city it is easy to escape to Entebbe. Highly recommend the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe (where the original Tarzan was filmed) and the Shoe Bill sightings … and highly recommend Uganda as a destination for the “Big Seven” that no other African country can offer – magical place and if you get the chance to visit push the boat our and fly up to Kidepo National Park – a millionaires safari experience on a much much lower budget!
    Historical Fact; In days gone by, the seaplane used to land on Lake Victoria on route to South Africa and guests would stay near Port Bell in Kampala.

  3. Paul Higham says:

    Yet another destination I would never have thought of. Thanks for putting this together.

  4. I know the Protea in Entebbe and also the Protea at Kampala where we have stayed several times. In fact, Uganda is a great place for a holiday. I should know, having been 18 times in the last 9 years; our most recent stay being for one month at the Kampala Serena – undoubtedly the finest hotel in Uganda. Perhaps I should write an article about it.

  5. Sergio says:

    I too know the Protea Entebbe as I was very fortunate to stay there several times in my previous job before retirement. Just one point I would like to raise about the article though. You said you had an upgraded room with balcony and sea view… Uganda is actually landlocked, what you had was a room with balcony and Lake view (Lake Victoria). Still a brilliant hotel and much better than travelling to Kampala on that dirt track called a road. I hope after all this Is over that I can go back to Uganda and do a gorilla safari.

    • Ah! Have you been recently? There’s now an expressway between Entebbe and the edge of Kampala that will get you there in no time at all.

    • Ron kaggs says:

      I think you will find the roads have had an upgrade with street lighting and clear lane marking all the way to Kampala. There is also a separate expressway which is very modern although uses a toll charge system. This cuts the journey time to 20 to 30 minutes and avoids the local traffic entirely. Uganda has come a long way and has a lot to offer. The national airline is up and running making the connection easier from the busy hubs like Nairobi and Addis Ababa. I understand later this year or early next the airline will commence long haul flights from Europe, India and China. Forgot to mention there is a new terminal being built at the airport to modernise and meet the passenger numbers.

  6. DB2020 says:

    This brings back memories of my trips to Uganda in the 1990s. The Sheraton Kampala and the Kampala Serena were the places to stay. The Speke Hotel across the road from the Sheraton had a good café with a long verandah, where one could spend a lazy afternoon over lunch accompanied by a beer (not that I drink beer to be able to confirm my colleagues’ views that Kenyan and Ugandan beers were outstanding).

    The Protea did not exist back then, their first East African property was in Nairobi, if I recall correctly. This review makes me think about visiting the region again in the future.

  7. Roddy Teague says:

    I stayed there a few years ago. Why no mention of the rampant mosquito, tsetse & other varieties that infest areas around the Lake?

    • Ron kaggs says:

      Not sure what part of the hotel you stayed at but I haven’t encountered any mosquitoes or other issues as mention.

      • catherine mulumba says:

        It was probably the little moths that come off the lake sometimes Protea is beautiful and the staff are amazing I haven’t spent a night yet but I have had drinks and snacks cant wait to visit and feel the cool breeze from Lake Victoria brush my face

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.