Sarova Salt Lick Lodge, Giraffe Manor, Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Villa Rosa Kempinski Nairobi, Norfolk Hotel Nairobi


13 Unique Hotels in Kenya – Visit Kenya

9. Sarova Salt Lick Lodge

Sarova Salt Lick Lodge - 13 Unique Hotels in Kenya

Beyond question one of the most romanticized safari-destinations about Tsavo and one of the bellwether safari lodges established in Kenya, the multi-award winning Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge is a visionary safari wonderland, not least for its unique architecture. The entire complex is built above ground, on stilts, with all 96 rooms conforming to the design of the indigenous Taita traditional huts. Essentially raised as a large lookout for game viewing over the plains and overlooking a waterhole and Taita Hills, this captures the imagination of safari. Over the years big game have become accustomed to its unobtrusive presence. The animals therefore ignore it, and come to drink and dig for salt around the waterhole in front of the building in large numbers. Between game-watching at the private verandas in the rooms, there are two public game viewing balconies and the something-else underground pillbox placed on the edge of the watering hole. Today, the Sarova Saltlick Lodge is an indelible asset of the living-history of Tsavo Ecosystem in more ways than one. It is also the perfect jumping-off place to the Battlefield sites in Taita Taveta. By the same token, Sarova Salt Lick Lodge is actively involved in identifying these sites and coming up with exciting historical journeys. Its sister hotel, the Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge, has a museum that displays some antiquities of World War 1. From both these hotels, holiday-makers can explore the Maktau Military Line, Mwashoti Fort, Maktau Railway Station and Cemetery, Snipers Baobab Tree, Salaita Hill and Mahoo Hills. The lodge is found 46 kms from Voi along A23 Voi-Mwatate-Taveta Road.


10. Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor Nairobi. - 13 Unique Hotels in Kenya

Raised in 1932 as a residence for Sir David Duncan Mackintosh, the 12-rooms Scottish style hunting lodge set on 13-acres with austere views of Ngong Hills is today one of the unique hotels in Kenya, and part of The Safari Collection. It is internationally recognized as a singular experience in Africa. Unique to Giraffe Manor in the northern area of Giraffe Center is the unmatched interaction with the resident giraffes that gracefully roam in and out of the property. Most of the time these giraffes enjoy a limitless buffet of leaves but, they are never shy of popping in for a bite with the guests through the large dining windows. Granted that there are many modern touches within the Manor, it has retained much of the original 1930’s character and preserved its colourful and charming history. Each of its 12 rooms are uniquely outfitted to portray a piece of Kenya’s golden safari days. One of its rooms is named after Karen Blixen, the world-famous penman of Out of Africa. Then, there the Betty’s Suite named after one of the smallest and prettiest giraffes in the Center born in 2000, and which in turn was named after Betty Leslie-Melville a previous owner of Giraffe Manor (1974-2009).  Other suites include the Finch Hatton Suite, Hellen Superior Room and Kelly Superior Room.  Each room has a private veranda overlooking the forest, hillscape and park. Some of the high flying names that have stayed here include Ellen Degeneres, Mick Jagger, Walter Cronkite, Johnny Carson, Brooke Shields, Richard Chamberlain, Richard Branson, Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman.


11. Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge

Mara Serena Safari Lodge - 13 Unique Hotels in Kenya

A big way of enhancing the experience and respecting the local culture is raising establishments that deeply infuse the native approach of architecture. Hard to miss yet unobtrusive and glam, secluded within a grove of acacia trees looking out to the sweeping savanna with Mount Kilimanjaro standing-sentinel in the background within the Amboseli National Park, the series of ‘maasai manyatta’ on the side of a hill, with the roughcast traditional roughcast finish shows great care and respect for the epochal Maasai Culture. Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge has 92 rooms, each housed in a single-storey building opening directly onto the grounds, and each reflects a Maasai Manyatta theme with hand-painted wildlife murals, locally inspired furnishings and artefacts, and “earthy” brilliant primary colours symbolic of these fabled warriors. There is a lovely swimming pool too. Transport is available at the lodge for safari organization in Amboseli National Park. There is an airstrip just 11 kms from the lodge and transfer facilities are available. The outstanding feature of the area is, of course, its fauna. It contains one of the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa, and on a scale that’s made iconic by sights of Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli National Park is famed for its herds of elephants, occasionally exceeding herds of 50, frequent the area. The giraffes and zebra migrate from the central plains to the permanent water near the Observation Hill. At the tail of the procession come the buffaloes, that gradually disperse the breath of the park after meeting up the watering holes. In addition, there are thousands of varied antelopes, hippos, warthogs, and rhinos.


12. Villa Rosa Kempinski

Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel - 13 Unique Hotels in Kenya

Villa Rosa Kempinski offers the perfect mix of renaissance revival architecture with original features including a 4 storey elevated heated swimming pool, spa and four eclectic restaurants serving world class cuisine plus all the modern amenities of a 5-star establishment to create a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere just a hop west of the central business district of Nairobi City. The 200 elegant rooms spread over ten floors and equipped conference facilities and business center, with an ideal location, makes the Villa Rosa Kempinski a great choice for both business and casual travellers. “Just 10 minutes’ drive from Nairobi’s CBD, Villa Rosa Kempinski offers guests a 24-hour front desk, a spa and state of art fitness centre. Free private parking is available. The tastefully furnished spacious rooms are elegantly furnished and offer city views. They are equipped with a minibar, desk and flat-screen TV. Some rooms have balconies” Booking.


13. Norfolk Hotel

Norfolk Hotel Nairobi - 13 Unique Hotels in Kenya

In 1900 Nairobi was declared a city in preparation for the arrival of Kenya-Uganda Railway in 1903. The railway led to the blooming of several towns like Mombasa, Voi, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, and Eldoret. Nairobi conspicuously became important as a inland deport. It also enabled the settlers to come into the country and occupy the “White Highlands”, as well as, the growing number of visitors to the region eager for game hunting. The declaration of Kenya as colony in July 1920 through a proclamation by the British Empire, assuring the European settlers of their dominance in Kenya, further accelerated the influx into Nairobi. Naturally, there was a growing need for hotel establishments to meet the demand. The historic landmark of Norfolk Hotel, built in 1904, which became the epicenter for early explorers and settlers, played a climacteric role in Kenya’s historical legacy. “For over a century business has been discussed and deals struck on the verandah of the iconic Norfolk Hotel.” Fairmont Hotels By catering luxuriously to the middle-upper budget, Norfolk Hotel established itself as Nairobi’s premier house for the sophisticated class. Then and now, its 27 luxurious suites and 143 rooms set around tranquil tropical gardens, with a heated outdoor swimming pool and a health club with a fitness centre, has attracted many travellers to Kenya. The rooms intermingle classic elegance and modern design with discreet technology. Many rooms have pleasing elevated views of the landscaped courtyard, while the signature suites are an excellent choice for guests seeking to experience luxury intertwined with the rich history of the city. In its garden is a collection of invaluable antique object piece like the “transportation trio” – a hand drawn cart, a model Ford and animal drawn cart.

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