If you are here to climb Kilimanjaro, the following lodgings offer both comfortable accommodations and all-inclusive climbing packages. If you don't wish to reach the summit but would prefer to explore the lower reaches, or you just want to say you spent a night at the foot of the mountain, the Marangu Hotel is the best option.
I have noted elsewhere that climbers should also look at options in Arusha. Aside from those reviewed, the Meru View Lodge (tel. 0784/19-232; www.meru-view-lodge.de; from $130 B&B double), adjacent to the Arusha National Park, is worth highlighting. This is a highly recommended climbing base, very efficiently owner-managed by Horst and Deborah Bachmann. Horst is a regular climber of both Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, as well as a seasoned self-drive fly-camper throughout the Northern Circuit. His advice on everything from routes to road conditions is invaluable. He utilizes Zara Tours, so you get exactly the same climbing deal as you would at Springlands, though you pay more for the privilege of starting and ending in the more peaceful atmosphere of this small (15-unit) lodge, with accommodation in separate huts dotted in the garden around the pool.
The sprawling village of Marangu has limited accommodation options. Aside from the two reviewed, you may want to take a look at the 42-room Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort (tel. 027/275-8950; $154 double full board). Opened in 2003, it is younger than the Kibo or Marangu by many decades and is in some ways the most comfortable lodging in Marangu, with modern amenities such as flatscreen TVs, minibars, and hair dryers in every room; an Internet cafe; and a small fitness center. Its lush mountainside location is best enjoyed from an elevated position; ask for rooms on the second or third floors. The two family loft rooms, sleeping four, are quaint. However, the property is set at the end of a bone-jarring track, 15 minutes' drive from Marangu gate; rooms (aside from those in the loft) are utterly characterless; and service, staff, and food are also lackluster. The rest of Marangu's lodgings are not worth a look.
If the following options don't suit or are full, another worth looking into is Sal Salinero (http://salsalinerohotel.com; $115 double dinner and B&B), also located in Moshi's leafy suburbs in what must once have been the private home of a somewhat eccentric art lover. The gardens are dotted with interesting sculptures, and the double-volume dining area is very dramatic, with more imposing artworks. The seven rooms are generously sized but not in ship-shape condition; staff are well meaning but clearly not that well versed in Western hospitality standards. That said, it has a great pool and is certainly one of Moshi's more interesting options. Climbs are arranged through a sister company.
If you are not on a full board package or simply want a break from your lodgings, the best restaurant in town is the veranda at the Impala Hotel (noon-11:30pm; average main course $6.50). Order the Hara Bhara Chicken, tender cubes of chicken cooked in coriander and creamy yogurt with subtle spices, or the Handi Lazeez, chicken marinated in yogurt and cooked in a sublime gravy of cardamom and cashew nuts. Vegetarians are naturally well catered for, and the dhingri kaj mutter, mushrooms and peas simmered in subtly spiced cashew gravy, is out of this world. Chef Kamal Singh, trained in Mumbai, came to Tanzania for a year-long contract; that, thankfully, was 5 years ago. If you feel like pizza, IndoItaliano (New St., opposite the Buffalo Hotel; tel. 027/275-2195; daily noon-11:30pm) is a good bet (the Indian isn't bad, either). The average main course is around $3 to $4; try for a table on the balcony.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.