Last week I had a coffee date with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while and the first thing she said after she said hi to me was “Girl you are doing well! You are staying in Serena Hotel nowadays? That right there is what self-actualization looks like” I immediately started to explain that I was only able to stay for one night but she shushed me, telling me that it was a great start and I should not despise small beginnings. So I hushed and enjoyed the praise I was not sure I deserved.
As is with us girls we quickly switched to another topic, catching up because we had not seen each other for a few months. “How have you been?” was followed by “how is your husband doing?” and before long we were discussing marriage, motherhood, career changes and moving houses. It’s really amazing how we women can compress three months of not seeing each other into one coffee date. As we were talking about career changes, the issue of going on vacation resurfaced. The conversation quickly turned into how tired we are and how terribly we need a vacation.
“I need two vacations; one with my husband and kids and one all by myself” she said giggling and I really identified with her. Every woman fantasizes about going somewhere with no chores and not having to wait on her family. Can you imagine no laundry, no fixing dinner and no “honey I can’t find my socks?” questions? I just thought about it right now with eyes closed and a smile. Paradise, that’s what it is. I need me one of those.
The conversation turned serious and she asked “honestly tell me about Serena. I know they have amazing lodges all over East Africa but aren’t they expensive? I don’t think I can afford it…” So I shared my experience at Serena Nairobi and how well I was treated, how awesome the food was. My only regret was not going to the spa which is now on my bucket list. Then I mentioned they have a Lipa pole pole (pay over time) program and she literally lit up.
“Wait, are you saying I don’t need to pay everything up front?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. You can pick a Serena destination, decide on the check in date, pay a deposit and pay the remaining amount in installments. By the time your vacation date arrives you have finished paying and are ready for the time of your life!”
She pushed away the piece of cake she was having and just said “tell me more.”
The Lipa pole pole payment plan makes planning for a vacation less stressful particularly because the financial burden feels lighter. It also helps us to develop a culture of planning your time off. Most of us just go to places because a friend tells you “We are going to Naivasha for Easter. Want to come?” And as much as being spontaneous is fun, sometimes you don’t have to money for impromptu trips and actually need to plan way ahead of time. This initiative by Serena is only available to East Africa residents – which is pretty cool because we need to improve domestic tourism. I would like to get to a point when I have visited all Serena Hotels and lodges in Kenya and the next step is going to Tanzania for vacation. If you are like me and want to make vacations more fun and visit awesome Serena destinations, here is what you need to know about the #LipaPolePole initiative by Serena.
- Identify which Serena Hotel, lodge or Safari camp you want to go to.
- Pick a vacation date. Give yourself adequate time to come up with money and plan the trip better. You could synchronize your leave days with a vacay. Now that we are in May, you can plan for a trip as far off as October.
- Check out their rates so you can plan well. Because hotel rates change with seasons you can call to confirm what the rates are for that season.
- Book the dates you want. Then tell them you want to use the lipa pole pole payment plan. To get this plan you have to book with Serena directly.
- To start with you will need to pay 25% of the total value of your stay as deposit or down payment.
- They will then generate a unique reference number to help track your reservation and deposit payments.
- Just so you know deposits/payments can be paid via Mpesa /Cheque /VISA /AMEX /Mastercard
- The last installment is supposed to be settled at least 7 days prior to check in date.
- In the event of a cancellation, due to unavoidable circumstances, a full refund will be made. Or you can tell them to hold it for another vacation. Your choice.
- I have saved the best news for last. You will get 7.5% pre-payment discount on the total amount once you pay the deposit.
Going on vacation just become easy, right? So go your calendar, see when that long awaited leave will be and start planning. Or check when that anniversary is coming up and surprise your spouse (hint hint to my husband). They will be like “Babe how did you manage this and the way we are broke?” You can just tell them what an awesome ninja you are and when the vacay is over tell them about lipa pole pole and next time they can be the one doing the surprising.
Author: Wanjiru Kihusa
I am Wanjiru Kihusa and I’m a writer and founder of Still A Mum – an organization that seeks to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. I am especially passionate about women and children.
I blog to share my thoughts and experiences hoping that in the process someone will learn from my life.