Nairobi - Hiram Macharia, a marketing executive at LG Electronics, heard the first blast around 3 p.m.
"I grabbed a fire extinguisher and we started going downstairs. Then we saw two of the attackers firing at the elevators and we turned back. We hid under desks in our office," he told Reuters outside the hotel.
"They were firing twice at each of the elevator doors and the two staircase doors on each floor as they walked up the building. One of them fired at our office doors, entered slightly and then moved on."
Macharia hid in his office, but one colleague ran to the roof and was shot dead there, he added.
Mamadou Dia was on a business trip from Paris for STP Consultants when he ended up huddled in a room with Chinese and Canadian residents of the hotel and a waiter who worked there.
He received updates on his telephone.
"They told us by text that the police knew we were in that room and that they would come, and one and a half hours later, the police came to evacuate us," he said.
As armed officers escorted them out, the attackers started shooting at them "like snipers," he said, adding that police fired back.
Families who went to Nairobi's Chiromo morgue were told they could not view bodies until a forensic investigation had been performed, provoking grief and anger.
The family of a missing 35-year-old man collapsed upon hearing a body had arrived with his identification papers.
"He is gone, he is gone," the father repeated into his phone as his mother wrapped a shawl around herself and wept.
Another family arrived, demanding to see whether their relative was there but were told only police had access.
As they argued, an elderly couple arrived in silence, bringing a freshly pressed suit to dress their dead son.Reuters