The Best Hotels to Book in Kenya for Every Traveller

Stays in Kenya range from the laid-back Hotel Sonrisa in in Diani, above, to city centre boutiques
Stays in Kenya range from the laid-back Hotel Sonrisa in in Diani, above, to city centre boutiques | Courtesy of Hotel Sonrisa /
Photo of Lucy Harley-McKeown
27 January 2022

Whether you’re looking to spot elephants and lions and walk with the Maasai in the Massai Mara, live it up in the lively capital of Nairobi, or go birding in Naivasha or Nukuru, Kenya has a lot to offer. When it comes to unique places to stay, the country’s best accommodation ranges from boutique hotels in the big city, to glamping, spa getaways and safari tents in Kenya’s many national parks. Here’s our pick of the best places to stay in Nairobi and beyond, bookable with Culture Trip.

Hotel Sonrisa, for instant beach access in Diani

A four-poster bed and patterned easy chairs in a bright room at Hotel Sonrisa
Courtesy of Hotel Sonrisa /

To be honest, when the backdrop is the fabulous, white-sand Diani Beach, it doesn’t really matter what your accommodation is like: you’re still going to be one happy beach babe. But fortunately, the Sonrisa is also a very good hotel where you can drift lazily from your elegant, Swahili-style four-poster bed to the bougainvillea-draped terrace and then on to a giant swimming pool with views out over the turquoise Indian Ocean. You won’t want to leave.

Severin Safari Camp, for glamping in Tsavo West National Park

A grand canopy over a bed in a huge glamping tent at Severin Safari Camp
Courtesy of Severin Safari Camp /

In a land of parched acacia woodlands, in the heart of the Tsavo West National Park, the Severin Safari Camp is a classy – though large – camp. Accommodation is either a spacious safari tent with ensuite bathrooms, proper beds, a sundowner deck and all the extras you didn’t think you’d get while “camping” – or if you prefer something a little more solid, you can stay in a stone cottage with a similar internal layout. There’s a pool, and in-house safaris are available.

Tribe Hotel, for wetland views and a seasonal menu near Nairobi

A large bed in front of a red feature wall and beside a large mirror at the Tribe Hotel
Courtesy of Tribe Hotel /

At an ideal juncture for visiting Nairobi National Park, the Giraffe Centre or Karura Forest nearby, the Tribe Hotel sits on the outskirts of Nairobi. Returning to the core fundamentals of boutique hotels, it offers a tailored seasonal menu at the on-site restaurant, Jiko, friendly staff and rooms suitable for VIPs, with custom art and large bathtubs. The decked-out suites overlook protected wetlands. A particular highlight is its 929sqm (10,000sqft) spa with Thai massages and a rasul chamber – for a traditional body treatment involving mud and steam.

Villa Rosa Kempinski, for numerous dining options in Nairobi

Easy chairs and a drinks trolley on a terracotta balcony overlooking Nairobi at the Villa Rosa Kempinski
Courtesy of Villa Rosa Kempinski /

Villa Rosa Kempinski is a top choice for anyone looking for a plethora of dining options – whether it’s a buffet at the Cafe Villa Rosa, kicking back in the K Lounge or enjoying Chinese or Italian food, or sushi, from room service. As for amenities, the inner-city hotel has you covered with an outdoor heated pool, a jacuzzi and a spacious rooftop terrace perfect for lounging.

House of Waine, for easy sightseeing in Nairobi

Palm trees and shrubs surround a pink building at House of Waine
Courtesy of House of Waine /

Family-run House of Waine sits in the coveted Karen district of Nairobi. Originally a family home, it was converted into a boutique hotel in 2004, fulfilling a lifelong dream of the family’s maternal grandfather. You can expect rooms thoughtfully furnished, complete with a well-stocked minibar and fresh flowers. Enjoy easy access to the Karen Blixen Museum and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Anga Afrika, for solar-powered glamping in Nairobi

A pool hidden among trees and shrubs at Anga Afrika
Courtesy of Anga Afrika /

At Anga Afrika, luxury tents are the order of the day. As Nairobi’s answer to glamping, this family-owned site has an in-house bar, a heated pool and ensuites. The cosy restaurant is popular with locals, serving up food from around the world. It’s a good option for the eco-conscious traveller, as it runs solely off solar energy.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp, for lion tracking in Nanyuki

A large bed and carved wooden furniture and decor in a large tent at Sweetwaters Serena Camp
Courtesy of Sweetwaters Serena Camp /

If you’re in Kenya to see the famed Big Five (elephants, rhinos, lions, buffalo and leopards), you can’t go far wrong with this luxury safari camp in the foothills of Mount Kenya. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy allows you to try your hand at lion tracking, drop in on the rhino information centre or book in for a night game drive – an activity rarely seen in many of Kenya’s other national parks.

Sawela Lodge, for flamingo-spotting in Naivasha

Striped sofas in a lounge at Sawela Lodge
Courtesy of Sawela Lodge /

Fans of The Lion King this one is for you. All African clichés aside, this hotel is on the doorstep of Hell’s Gate, the real-life national park the beloved Disney film was based on. It also offers unfettered access to flamingo spotting at Lake Nakuru. Those staying closer to home can take a dip in the swimming pool or fill up on some fresh, locally sourced produce in the restaurant.

Ziwa Bush Lodge, for birding and fishing in Nakuru

A rustic four-poster bed on a wooden floor at Ziwa Bush Lodge
Courtesy of Ziwa Bush Lodge /

Know your pink-backed pelican from your fish eagle? You will by the time you’ve left Ziwa Bush Lodge. The huts are a short walk from Lake Nakuru, a thriving ecosystem and host to a variety of birdlife. The lodge is also a good spot if you are keen on fishing, as it has a man-made dam. Each room is made from local stone and canvas with makuti-thatched roofing and has a private veranda.

Enashipai Resort and Spa, for a Maasai museum in Naivasha

A wooden-floored bedroom with a ceiling fan leads to a lounge area at Enashipai Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Enashipai Resort and Spa /

Suitable for business trips, families and travellers, this resort is a crowd-pleaser. Alongside sightseeing trips and wildlife tours, it offers a healthy dose of heritage, with a Maasai-focussed private museum. It also boasts large bedrooms with balconies, hot water bottles on request and a nightly turn-down service. With bikes, a children’s playground and a nightclub for the teens, it might be difficult to drag your family away.

Planning a visit to the capital city? Discover our guide to the best hotels in Nairobi, and book your stay on Culture Trip.

Stuart Butler contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on January 27, 2022 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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