The Best Hotels to Book in Nairobi, Kenya

For a plantation-style feel, book your stay at the Hemingways Nairobi
For a plantation-style feel, book your stay at the Hemingways Nairobi | Courtesy of Hemingways Nairobi / Expedia
Photo of Paul Stafford
9 November 2021
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The largest city in East Africa, to which pretty much every road in Kenya leads, is growing fast – it’s also one of the trendiest, most modern cities in the region. The Kenyan capital is the world’s safari capital and an excellent base for exploring the bushland beyond. Unsurprisingly, there are some pretty special hotels in Nairobi – all of which are bookable with Culture Trip.

Tribe Hotel, for simplistic sophistication

Living room at the Tribe Hotel, Nairobi, with a cream-coloured sofa and a glass coffee table
Courtesy of Tribe Hotel / Expedia

Located in an affluent neighbourhood of Nairobi, shared by embassies and the Village Market, the Tribe Hotel fits right in with the sophisticated atmosphere of the area. The walls behind the beds are painted red, bringing a warmth that is felt throughout this property. At the onsite Jiko Restaurant, shelving contains locally made crafts – and the menu is equally inspired by rural customs, with seasonal offerings.

Hemingways Nairobi, for boutique chic in the countryside

Room at the Hemingways Nairobi, with a four-poster bed with mosquito nets and a ceiling with wooden beams
Courtesy of Hemingways Nairobi / Expedia

Southwest of Nairobi – near the Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary – the boutique hotel Hemingways Nairobi is a delightful, plantation-style property with upper-floor verandas and huge suites. Within, you’ll find oval writing desks, four-poster beds dripping with mosquito nets and walk-in closets. Towards the rear of the building, you’ll discover a trellis-covered terrace beside a fountain and large pool – which give way to lawns that sprawl out towards the countryside.

Villa Rosa Kempinski, for a peaceful setting

Mediterranean-style swimming pool at the Villa Rosa Kempinski, flanked by lounges and chairs
Courtesy of Villa Rosa Kempinski / Expedia

Cheery and welcoming, the dusty pink and white façade of the Villa Rosa Kempinski conceals an elegant and chic hotel within. Many rooms are decked out in pastel tones of blue and yellow – with gold brocade headboards and a mustard cushion or two for contrast. This enduringly popular hotel has a heated outdoor pool and deck where you can order drinks. If detox is on the agenda instead, check out the Kempinski Spa – complete with a sauna and steam room.

House of Waine, for a spot of history

Outdoor swimming pool and sun loungers in front of the tree-lined House of Waine
Courtesy of House of Waine / Expedia

The Karen suburb of Nairobi is an affluent and leafy neighbourhood – it’s believed to be named after the writer Karen Blixen, whose memoir Out of Africa was based on her time living on a farm, now a museum, located just down the road from the House of Waine. With only 11 bedrooms, this boutique hotel offers a glimpse of that life. Each one is individually designed, but the Victoria room – with its clawfoot bathtub, wooden writing desk and fireplace – is most reminiscent of that era.

The Sarova Stanley, for rooftop sundowners

Decked dining tables next to the outdoor swimming pool at the Sarova Stanley at dusk
Courtesy of The Sarova Stanley / Expedia

Even though downtown Nairobi has more than its fair share of five-star hotels, the Sarova Stanley still stands out – thanks to features such as the rooftop pool and its adjacent deck restaurant. There’s also a classy bar, where you can order a single malt and listen to jazz – and a Thai restaurant, among other dining options. Green marble bathrooms, red carpets and four-poster beds may sound a little antiquated, but they’re all part of the charm.

Sankara Nairobi, Autograph Collection, for a personalized experience

Elegant dark-wood dining table at the Sankara Nairobi, surrounded by dark-brown leather chairs in front of a wall of piled firewood and a dark wall with black-and-white pictures
Courtesy of Sankara Nairobi / Expedia

Another world-class hotel in Nairobi is the Sankara, part of Marriott’s premium Autograph Collection. The hotel’s mission statement declares that the staff aims to curate each stay to fit the guest’s preferences – but, in truth, that’s only possible because there are so many options under one roof. For example, when you’re feeling hungry, there’s a steakhouse and three other restaurants, after which you can explore the wine bar, champagne bar or patisserie at your own leisure.

Nairobi Serena Hotel, for authentic African design

Outdoor swimming pool at Nairobi Serena Hotel at dusk, reflecting the lights from the palm-lined hotel
Courtesy of Nairobi Serena Hotel / Expedia

Traditional African art and design can be found throughout Nairobi Serena Hotel, highlighting the vivid creativity found across the continent. Ethiopian patterns and paintings and handmade umbrellas fringed with gold lace line the walls of Aksum Bar – which has a garden terrace that is overlooking Central Park in Nairobi. Mandhari is a Kenyan fine-dining restaurant with seasonal menus and a beautiful mural of the Kenyan countryside, while Cafe Maghreb pays homage to North African style and tastes.

Best Western Plus Meridian Hotel, for central convenience

Rooftop pool under a canopy at the Best Western Plus Meridian Hotel
Courtesy of Best Western Plus Meridian Hotel / Expedia

For the budget-conscious, the Best Western Plus Meridian is a great, centrally located hotel in Nairobi. The rooms are decorated using Best Western’s classic burgundy, grey and cream palette – and, although they are on the smaller side compared to other accommodations on this list, they come with plenty of useful amenities, such as a work desk and sitting area. The shared spaces feature two pool types: one for swimming in and one for playing with cues.

Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club, one for the golf lovers

Outside view of the Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club, with potted plants and trees around the entrance and driveway
Courtesy of Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club / Expedia

Close to the northern edge of Nairobi – where the land is dominated by rambling coffee estates – there’s a striking hotel with terracotta roofs and chimneys stretching around the perimeter of an 18-hole golf course. The whole picture looks vaguely like an English country manor in a tropical setting. Today, Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club is one of the most lavish hotels in the city, capable of hosting large events with up to 2,000 people.

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