The Best Hotels to Book in Nakuru, Kenya

Relax poolside at the Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge in Nakuru
Relax poolside at the Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge in Nakuru | Courtesy of Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge / Expedia
Photo of Paul Stafford
10 November 2021

If you’re hoping to explore the Great Rift Valley and Lake Nakuru National Park – or one of the many other bastions of natural beauty nearby – you’re likely to pass through the region’s main transport hub: Nakuru. This city in Kenya bustles with the workday thrum of the transportation and agricultural industries while steadily growing in stature through tourism as well. Read on to discover the best hotels in Nakuru – bookable with Culture Trip.

Sarova Woodlands Hotel, for minimalistic elegance

Elegant lobby at the Sarova Woodlands Hotel, with a marble floor and a luxurious ceiling chandelier
Courtesy of Sarova Woodlands Hotel / Expedia

From the moment you step into the lobby at Sarova Woodlands, the elaborate, low-hanging chandeliers, thick columns and gold leaf wildlife mural make a strong statement about the quality of the hotel. This elegant theme is continued throughout the 147 rooms – where simplicity and comfort are prioritised. A handful of restaurants serve international cuisine, you can opt to take afternoon tea outdoors, and it’s even possible to organise a sundowner game tour for that special Nakuru National Park experience.

Merica Hotel, for infamous banana bread

Bird's-eye view of the outdoor pool at the Merica Hotel, which is flanked by blue loungers and parasols
Courtesy of Merica Hotel / Expedia

If you are looking to stay in the heart of Nakuru, Merica Hotel benefits from its close proximity to plenty of restaurants and cafes, as well as to parks and shopping centres. The hotel has its own restaurant and Bustani – a patisserie celebrated locally for its banana bread. A bright-blue swimming pool, which is flanked by equally blue sun loungers and parasols, is the highlight on the hotel grounds. There’s an excellent fitness centre here at Merica Hotel, too, with an array of cardiovascular machines and weightlifting equipment.

Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, for getting closer to nature

Terrace at the Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge with dining tables facing greenery
Courtesy of Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge / Expedia

If you are coming to Nakuru for the wildlife, it might be wise to bypass the urban areas altogether and head straight for Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge. The collection of brick chalets sits on the side of the forest-covered Lion Hill, close to the lakeshore. Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as giraffes, buffalo, rhinos and hippos. At certain times of the year, the lake’s surface is completely transformed by thousands of flamingos.

The Ole-Ken Hotel, for a great cup of Kenyan coffee

The glass-fronted facade of the Ole-Ken Hotel
Courtesy of The Ole-Ken Hotel / Expedia

Get a good view of Nakuru from the rooftop lounge of the Ole-Ken Hotel, where buffet lunches are served during the day. Cafe Moran is the place to get a good cup of Kenyan coffee. Besides satisfying the appetite, this city-centre hotel also offers large rooms with rainfall showers and comfortable workspaces. Ask for a room on one of the upper floors for the best views.

The Midland Hotel, for a historic stay

The Midland Hotel at dusk
Courtesy of The Midland Hotel / Expedia

The Midland Hotel has been welcoming guests since 1906, ever since the railways reached the town. The bus and train stations are four blocks east of the hotel – which wears its age well – with pretty dormers and a more modern extension to one side. Rooms have warm mood lighting, while the antique furniture – such as carved mirror frames – is the only thing to suggest that well over a century’s worth of guests have stayed here.

Hotel Waterbuck, for a great selection of cuisine

A scooter whizzing by Hotel Waterbuck
Courtesy of Hotel Waterbuck / Expedia

The entrance to Hotel Waterbuck is guarded by two unusual statues, but don’t let their buxom ferocity put you off – within, the atmosphere is one of quirky cheer. Keep an eye out for various curios dotted about, including one of the first telephones in town. The restaurant offers terrace dining in the presence of caricature art, with a range of international dishes and a good vegetarian section on the menu. Rooms are clean, warmly decorated havens for you to relax in.

Hillcourt Resort and Spa, for a 70s vibe

Turquoise outdoor pool at the Hillcourt Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Hillcourt Resort and Spa / Expedia

Situated beside Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Site and Museum, Hillcourt Resort and Spa has a 70s design motif throughout – from the tinted glass frontage to the orange chairs and floral-pattern sofas. There’s a small kidney-bean-shaped outdoor pool, and the gym is rather impressive, particularly when it comes to weights. The hotel is also located close to the main road to Nairobi, making it easy to reach if you’re travelling in your own vehicle.

Ziwa Bush Lodge, for an authentic bush experience

Room at the Ziwa Bush Lodge with a lot of wooden decor, including two wooden chairs and a coffee table
Courtesy of Ziwa Bush Lodge / Expedia

Southwest of Nakuru, the land is portioned out into a neat expanse of farms – the monotony of which is broken by a small patch of trees and a pond marking the territory of Ziwa Bush Lodge. It’s a delightful escape from the city, with peaceful thatched huts, whose windows consist only of mosquito nets so that you can feel closer to nature without needing to fend off the more annoying parts of it. You can also get an excellent pizza here – straight out of the wood-fired oven.

Eastmark Hotel, for doing business in style

Facade of the Eastmark Hotel, whose front is lined with potted plants
Courtesy of Eastmark Hote / Expedia

If you’re looking for a good business-oriented hotel in the centre of Nakuru, the Eastmark Hotel’s extensive meeting and banquet facilities make for a great choice. Various conference and meeting rooms cater to groups of different sizes – and the proximity to the train station makes it easy to reach for those arriving by public transport. The rooms are unpretentious and modern, with hardwood floors and cheery curtains in bands of white, green and blue.

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