Fawlty Towers in Makeni, Sierra Leone

1032 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

2/5

Review type

Accommodation

Location

Date of travel

January, 2023

Product name

Hotel Wusum

Product country

Sierra Leone

Product city

Makeni

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Culture/Sightseeing

Alarm bells rang when I found the hotel’s website, www.wusumhotel.com was unavailable, and booking company searches had comments like ‘sorry, but this property isn’t taking reservations on our site right now’ or ‘fully booked’. However, our travel agency assured us that their ‘man on the ground’ in Sierra Leone reported that ‘Hotel Wusum is definitely operating, and they have just launched their newly refurbished executive rooms.’

We checked in at 4pm, and were led up to the first floor Goodrich room (104) on the refurbished wing.

The large, spacious room had king-size bed but unfortunately double-size bed linen, but at least there were cushions to supplement the single pillow. Lighting was good with lots of English style plug points for charging, air conditioning, and we got 4 Wi-Fi vouchers and enjoyed a good signal. There was one bedside table and light, a safe and wardrobe with hanging space and shelves which weren’t needed for a one-night stay. A full-size empty fridge dominated the room, and there were tea and coffee facilities for one, and complimentary water.

Our small balcony had no chairs for sitting out.

The bathroom had only one bath towel and the only complimentary toiletry was a small single bar of soap. Having contacted reception, additional towels were brought by someone who seemed surprised to find two of us in the room. The tap in the basin wobbled, and the expensive looking, illuminated mirror created shadows making it useless for shaving. Despite having a large boiler in the bathroom, the water in the walk-in shower was tepid and afterwards, we spotted that the hot water switch in the bedroom was off. There was no hairdryer and if we’d been staying for more than one night, we might have complained.

Having unpacked, we went to explore and found a large, inviting looking swimming pool with tables and chairs around it. The service from the bar was excellent and having ordered G&Ts, the bottle and measure were brought out, and we were able to have doubles. Whilst there was ice, the tonics were chilled and complimentary nuts were provided. All boded well.

Whilst we could have eaten al fresco, we were keen to explore the restaurant which our Bradt guide book suggested was ‘popular with miners, ministers, and paramount chiefs, although it can turn into a bit of a hooker-fest in the evenings’. At 7.30pm we were the first customers, and the waitress seemed surprised we wanted to eat, but cleared the cutlery from all but two places on a table for six as there were no smaller ones. She then disappeared off, but eventually we found someone to order from. I asked for spaghetti napolitana but was told it was unavailable, so asked what they had. The waitress disappeared and eventually returned saying bolognaise was available. Roy’s requested tuna sandwich was also unavailable and so he asked the same question. Again, the waitress disappeared and returned to say there was a chicken sandwich. We ordered another round of G&Ts and after 30 minutes the spaghetti bolognaise arrived, which was good, with lots of cheese, although it could have been hotter. However, there was no sign of the sandwich and in the meantime, a group of Americans arrived and ordered drinks and the two girls disappeared. Roy went into the kitchen to cancel his order and found the sandwich waiting.

At breakfast there was only one other guest, but several staff and loud music blared from the kitchen. The buffet had juice, two cereals (but no sign of any milk), banana and papaya, breads and several hot dishes including fried plantain, black eyed pea stew, mixed vegetables in rice and sausages. There was a burner and frying pan, but no one offered to cook eggs. Tea and coffee was rudimentary with a baby burco, tin of coffee, one type of tea, but no milk.

Whilst our wing had clearly been refurbished, a second was work in progress, and another looked derelict.

As our Bradt travel guide remarked, the reception was huge and overwhelming with larger-than-life carved statues of people and animals. But we found it a rather bizarre place and experience, but at least it existed contrary to our initial fears.

Helen Jackson

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