9 of The Best Hotels In Kenya

Kenya’s lodgings offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a boutique hotel in Nairobi, an eco-friendly lodge with stunning views, or a safari camp in the Maasai Mara with luxurious tents, delicious food, and a swimming pool.

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Why we love it: A secluded safari camp offering Old World luxury and connections to the local community

The Highlights:
- An ideal location for witnessing the Big Five and Kenya’s famous wildebeest migrations
- Classic safari style that recalls Out of Africa
- Access to bush walks, hot air balloon safaris, community excursions, and other unique activities

The Review:
Romantic and luxurious, this tented camp transports guests to the Kenyan safaris of the 1920s and 30s. On the edge of the gorgeous Masai Mara, the secluded property was completely renovated in 2018 and now comprises two camps, each with nine tented suites featuring polished wooden floors, en-suite bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers, and copper bathtubs with views of the night sky. Classically elegant, the tents also come with private wooden verandas overlooking the vast, game-filled plains; personal butlers who attend to every whim; and thoughtful details like handcrafted artifacts, map-inspired wallpaper, yoga mats, and a butler hatch for delivering morning coffee or tea.

Elsewhere on site are two swimming pools; a common sitting area outfitted with leather Chesterfield sofas and fine antiques; a state-of-the-art gym with views of the Mara; a massage room; a gift shop stocked with local handicrafts; and a stylish bar for Kenyan coffee and top-shelf gin. Of course, guests are really here to see the Mara’s magnificent wildlife, and while they can spot several animals on site, they also enjoy twice-daily game drives, as well as night excursions and bush walks (permitted because the lodge is on a private concession). Additionally, guests have access to breakfast and sundowners in the bush, Maasai talks and fireside dances (much of the staff is from the local Maasai tribe), the educational WILDChild program for kids, and visits to nearby schools or villages for an authentic look at life in the African bush.
Kalama Community Conservancy, Kenya
Architects clearly had fun designing Saruni Samburu, an eco-lodge tucked away in the private Kalama Conservancy in central Kenya. Set on a giant outcropping of volcanic rock, stone serves as furniture and structure in the six spacious villas—jutting out of walls, punctuating the outdoor decking, and transformed into shower stalls with some clever pipework. Creative decor aside, the family-friendly resort enjoys spectacular views over billowing golden rangelands, a scene best appreciated from one of the two infinity pools on site, or with a gin and tonic in hand from the decked patio area. Just be sure to call it an early night: Guests are assigned their own jeeps and guides for daily safari excursions to spot elephants, giraffes, and endangered Grevy’s zebras.
Laikipia County, Kenya
What if you could spend the night in the middle of hundreds of acres of wild scrubland—where large herds of elephant graze, gazelles bound, and elusive leopards patrol—with nothing between you and the canopy of stars but a thin black mosquito net? The Star Beds at Loisaba Conservancy in northern Kenya offer a quirky and spectacular place to wonder at the universe all night long. The camp’s comfortable beds are rolled out onto a private open deck in the evening, allowing guests to watch the darkness set in and the glittering wonder of the galaxy awaken overhead.
6GGR6W43+QP, Nanyuki, Kenya
Just an hour’s drive from the busiest town in Laikipia County, El Karama Lodge feels like a world away. Set on 14,000 acres of private land, six cottages and two riverfront cabins are simply decorated with locally sourced stone and thatch and regionally made furnishings, giving emphasis to the lush natural surroundings. If total immersion is more your speed, the staff can arrange a personal fly camp before your arrival: after a hike to a remote location, you’re greeted by a suspended tent with a clear view to the night sky, complete with comfortable bedding, a drinks table, and a small barbecue. What you won’t find here? Cell service, though you’ll hardly miss it. A drive through El Karama land is almost certain to include sightings of elephants, giraffes, and zebras, but guests can also see creatures that are unique to northern Kenya, including gerenuk and Laikipia hartebeeste. Back at camp, there’s nothing to do as darkness sets in but lie back, stargaze, and listen to the calls of the wild.
Mara Triangle Narok East, Kenya
Safari veterans Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald spent their careers running more than 60 lodges for luxury travel company &Beyond before opening their own on an escarpment overlooking the billowing plains of the Masai Mara. With its colonial-inspired indoor-outdoor aesthetic, the layout at Angama Mara is a modern take on Nairobi’s Muthaiga Country Club, a familiar sight to fans of the film Out of Africa. In fact, nods to Karen Blixen’s famous story exist throughout the property, including a replica of Denys Finch Hatton’s yellow Gipsy Moth biplane that sits in the library, a striking cone-shaped room lined with red Masai brick. (One of the camp’s kopjes was also the setting for the movie poster.) Wooden decks wrap around the glass-enclosed main structure to maximize views, and a sunken fire pit invites guests to gather for evening sundowners. Bedrooms are just as dreamy: 30 glass-fronted tented suites are set on a ridge that looks out on the Rift Valley and come with roll-top bathtubs, parquet floors, gin-filled decanters, and airy verandas.
Gogo Falls Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Families would be hard-pressed to find a more memorable place to stay than Giraffe Manor. Located in the leafy suburb of Langata, about a 30-minute drive from central Nairobi, the 1932 family home of a former candy baron was modeled on a Scottish hunting lodge before becoming a sanctuary for endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, for which the boutique hotel gets its name. The ivy-clad brick mansion features 12 light-filled guest rooms, many with gauzy canopy beds and understated furnishings, but the real draw is the airy breakfast room, where you can feed the exceedingly friendly animals as they crane their necks through windows and doors in search of snacks. Afterward, complimentary chauffeured vehicles are on hand to take you to the area’s most popular attractions: at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the residents being fed are orphaned baby elephants.
94, Kikenni Dr, Nairobi, Kenya
A stay at OneFortyEight, in Nairobi’s Langata suburb, feels like hunkering down at your most stylish friend’s home. The former private residence has eight eclectic rooms that blend regional artwork, custom furnishings (by local fashion designer Anna Trzebinski), gothic touches, and feminine finishes and come in a variety of layouts to satisfy every kind of traveler, from two-storey apartments to a three-bed loft perfect for children. A large, welcoming fireplace sits in the middle of the living area to greet guests, dinners take place around a giant wooden table, and a covered lounge overlooks gardens filled with grazing warthogs and tree-leaping monkeys. Days are spent visiting nearby sights—dropping in on the giraffes at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Center, adopting a baby elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, or walking in the footsteps of Karen Blixen. Of course, no one could blame you for holing up for the night: each room has access to Wi-Fi and Netflix.
Kenyatta Rd, Lamu, Kenya
The ancient rhythms of daily life are palpable in Lamu’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates to the 14th century and is widely considered the best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Ideally situated on the waterfront, Lamu House is an 11-room boutique hotel (there are also nine residence-style apartments a short walk away) that serves as a great base for exploring the island’s confluence of cultures, a mix of Portuguese, Arab, Bantu, Indian, and British influences. Start at Lamu Museum to get an overview of the region’s nautical past and artisanal specialties, then weave through the fruit and craft stalls—and donkeys, as there are no cars—that line the cobblestone streets nearby, spotting intricately carved wooden doors on your way back to the hotel. The courtyard swimming pool offers respite from the daytime heat, as well as a tranquil backdrop for quiet nights under a starlit sky. And be sure to ask for a sea-view room: watching the glowing sun rise through open doors is not to be missed.
Lamu Road, Malindi, Kenya
The final mile of the drive from the resort town of Malindi to the secluded beachfront hotel Che Shale winds through lush vegetation and coconut-studded palms—a preview of the laid-back vacation that awaits you. The property itself is simple and stylish: guests sleep in thatched bandas made with locally sourced materials and dine with sand between their toes on soft-shell crustaceans from the hotel’s organic crab farm. There are hidden nooks up wooden ladders to read or snooze in, but the party is down on the beach, a snorkeler’s delight thanks to warm Indian Ocean waters teeming with tropical fish. This stretch of coastline also gets great waves, and kitesurfers flock here, though the staff can arrange lessons for novices. There’s also an on-site boutique filled with swimwear, beach bags, straw hats, and more should you decide to extend your stay.
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