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“Probably the best hotel in Nairobi” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Fairmont The Norfolk

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Fairmont The Norfolk
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Harry Thuku Rd, Nairobi 00200, Kenya (Nairobi Central Business District)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 91 hotels in Nairobi
israel
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
“Probably the best hotel in Nairobi”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

The Norfolk is certainly my favorite hotel in Nairobi and from my experience probably the best in town. I also believe that it competes well with similar class hotels elsewhere in the world. The hotel has a number of things going for it. Above all there is a wonderful fusion of the old British colonial style of the property and grounds with first class modern rooms and facilities. The hotel has undergone a recent renovation (almost completed when I was there) that refreshed and updated rooms and public spaces. I also greatly enjoyed the very polite, friendly and helpful service of each and every staff member with whom I had the pleasure of interaction. During this stay and in the past everyone was thoroughly professional, always greeted with a smile and made one truly feel welcome. The property and gardens are very well kept. The green inner courtyard and the well insulated rooms give one a feeling of calm and serenity. At the same time you are seconds away from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi just beyond the main entrance. Everything in the Central Business District of Nairobi is within reasonable walking distance if one is so inclined (not recommended at night).
The rooms are luxurious and the bathrooms well appointed. In my wing the rooms had both baths and walk-in showers with regular and rainfall type shower heads. My only quibble about the bathrooms was that it seemed to take an overly long time for hot water to reach the shower head. The bed was very comfortable, if a bit soft to my taste.
The public areas are all wonderfully decorated and whether it's an indoor lounge/bar area, an outdoor terrace or a bench on the lawn, they all suit their purposes perfectly.
There is a small business center (often empty) with a few internet terminals and a great little shop with tasteful souvenirs and knickknacks.
On a slight downside I would mention the whole wifi issue and breakfast.
The hotel charges for wifi, which is not unusual but stingy in this day and age. At the same time, if you sign up for the President's Club (free) you immediately get the free wifi perk. I thing it is somewhat of a disagreeable ploy to get people to join the club (I guess they get points from Fairmont for signing people up). I say dump the ploy and give everybody free wifi access, at least for a limited time. Those who want to sign up for the club and plan to access its benefits will do so with or without wifi.
Breakfast is fine and you won't go hungry. It's also great having it on the front terrace. Having said that, I would expect a hotel of this caliber to have a much wider and higher quality selection of offerings and in larger quantities. What there is, is offered in pretty small, seemingly penny pinching quantities. In this category the Serena outshines them clearly. Too bad.
The hotel is well served by the clean well kept taxis of the Kenatco company. Make sure the doorman gets you one of them (always standing by across the street). Don't be tempted by any other cab drivers gesticulating at you from the street - you could be sorry.
Yes the hotel is not cheap, but that is par for the course at hotels of this type and in Nairobi it certainly is worth the price.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Dear Wolfman50,

On behalf of the team here at Fairmont The Norfolk, I want to thank you for taking the time to provide such detailed feedback on your recent stay with us.

We are very delighted that you found our service and facilities to be satisfactory and certainly your observations make us strive harder to maintain and improve our offering.

Thank you also for your comments in regards to our Wi-Fi charges and breakfast quantities & quality selection which I shall appraise with the rest of the team.

We certainly look forward to welcoming you back again should you visit Kenya in the future.

Kind Regards,

Richard
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (93)
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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

Stayed one night here during my 3 night stay in Nairobi and this was the best hotel. The rooms and bathrooms were large and the service was fantastic. I really enjoyed the room looking out to the beautiful courtyard, with the very comfortable bed and large flat screen TV. For a hotel in the downtown Nairobi it was very quiet and offered an excellent breakfast buffet including a great cappuccino! The pool,spa and gym are clean and modern. The only downside to the hotel is you have to be a member of the Fairmont President Club in order to have free Internet. I was able to join and immediately use the Internet service. I also easily walked to Uluru Park, Nairobi University and the surrounding shopping area from the hotel.

Room Tip: Get a deluxe room overlooking the courtyard. Lower level rooms have little outdoor patios on the cou...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paphos, Cyprus
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

I visited the hotel during my recent holiday in Kenya. I lived in Nairobi 30 years ago so this was a re visit. The hotel was in process of renovation but the friendly staff were very helpful and welcoming. We sat in the bar and watched Margaret Thatcher's funeral on the television. The staff very helpfully gave us a table close to the TV and turned it up for us so we could hear the commentary, despite being busy with a lunchtime conference. So we decided to stay for lunch and watched the funeral from beginning to end. The food, service and general attitude of the smiling staff was excellent. The only sad note was the removal of a famous mural from the bar area. This mural, depicted 'Kenya colony' characters such as Karen Blixen, Lord Delamare and Berkeley Cole. This is part of Kenyan history and it is a great shame it does not exist any more. But overall, the Norfolk is just as excellent as I remembered it. It is good to know some things don't change over the years.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

I stayed at the hotel being a basic member of Fairmont President Club program (which still gives free internet access and free gym access to all members, therefore it is worth joining even if you never plan to stay at Fairmont property again).
I was traveling alone on a business trip

Hotel is located in central Nairobi in what I was told one of safest locations as central police is located within 200m from the hotel. The hotel selling point is that it creates an inclusive experience that you feel insulated from the outside world - if your windows face the courtyard you don't see anything or hear anything that goes on around the hotel. Hotel itself have several interconnected buildings (wings) the nicest being the ones around the courtyard. Hotel driver met us at the airport for the price of USD 30 per person one way. Trip took about 45 minutes but can be longer in rush hour traffic. Service is courteous but inconsistent - we were met with very old looking minibus which obviously was parked under the sun for quite long time as it took almost 15 minutes after engine start to bring temperature down to acceptable level. Transfer back to the airport was done by SUV.

Check-in and check-out formalities were handled relatively fast, although at times it appears as if reception people don't exactly know what they are doing. Check-in person was firstly insisting that I will have to pay for the internet, although after consulting with the colleagues he confirmed that it will be free (as a benefit of FPC). Check out was of similar duration with multiple iterations back and forth.

My room was on the ground floor of courtyard wing, therefore had the door outside with small patio. Windows were floor to ceiling, therefore for ground floor rooms little privacy exists and one have to keep curtains closed at all times. If privacy is something that is important for you, seek the room higher up. Room was of adequate size. The only annoyance was loudly ticking mechanical alarm clock which I had to lock in the bathroom each nigh

Bathroom was on the small size with no bath (only shower cubicle). Bathrobe and slippers were provided. Toiletries were of usual Fairmont kind (Miller Harris).

Staff mostly speaks English and was reasonably competent.

Internet access was free due to my President's club membership. It was fast and reliable.

Hotel has a restaurant and 2 bars (Lord Delamere Terrace and Cin Cin). Be prepared - due to captive audience, food is quite expensive. I did not go to the main restaurant but average dinner at either bars will set you back $70-80 per person. Breakfast was served at the Lord Delamere terrace and is also quite expensive at ~$30, but will have reasonable variety of cold items (although for the hotel of this category I would normally expect more), some fruits/vegetables and the egg station. There supposedly also is a tea room and the swimming pool bar, but I did not visit these.

Hotel has fitness facilities and outdoor swimming pool. It was the first time I've seen gym with windows open and air-conditioning off - which was quite hot at times (I don't know if they turned A/C off for winter). There is also business center with couple of computers.

Bottom line - there are not too many hotels from international chains in Nairobi - this one looked reasonably well although quite expensive to my liking.

If anyone has any questions related to this hotel I will be glad to answer (if I know the answer) - just ask.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Dear AX9465,

On behalf of Fairmont The Norfolk team I wish to thank you for taking the time to provide your comments on TripAdvisor.

We are very pleased that your stay with us was satisfactory. All Guest feedback is valued and is shared with the team, good and not so good.

We have noted your concerns regarding our check-in and check-out formalities and our health club air-conditioning which I am very apologetic about and I shall address with the rest of the team.

I am also pleased to inform you that we revised our menu prices effective April 26, 2013.

Please be assured that a warm welcome awaits you should you find yourself visiting Nairobi again in the future.


Kind Regards,
Richard
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WORCESTER
Top Contributor
99 reviews 99 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

At the Norfolk, you do not get the "authentic" African experience, but it is an oasis for everything going on around you. The rooms are well-appointed, the restaurants excellent and the staff professional and anxious to please. You won't see wild animals, but the gardens are relaxing to sit and watch the birds or pet the gray cat who visits. Rooms overlooking the garden are obviously best (the outside views are not as picturesque.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

The title of my review is how the hotel describes itself. Opening in 1904, it is still very "sophisticated", spotless and very welcoming. We stayed for 2 nights prior to leaving on a safari. The rooms and grounds are beautiful and well kept. The location is great and only a short walk to the hectic city center. It has also been described as "a calm oasis in the heart of the city"! The service is 5 star, keeping with the reputation of The Fairmont Hotels.

Room Tip: Our room was over the court -yard and it got very loud one nite, as it seemed like the whole outside...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

Beautiful rooms and grounds in the centre of the city. Meticulously maintained with the expected 5 star service one expects . Tasteful decor and furniture in the fashion you would expect from the countrys oldest hotel .Wish I could have stayed longer!

Room Tip: No bad rooms here
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, April 17, 2013
Dear Fortq,

Thank you for your positive feedback.

We're glad you enjoyed your stay with us and we are definitely looking forward to hosting you at Fairmont The Norfolk and making your stay exceptional, once again.

Kind Regards,

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Fairmont The Norfolk

Also Known As:
Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel Nairobi
Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel
Fairmont Hotel Norfolk
Norfolk Hotel Nairobi
Fairmont Hotel Nairobi
Norfolk Nairobi
Address: Harry Thuku Rd, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi > Nairobi Central Business District
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Luxury Hotel in Nairobi
#9 Business Hotel in Nairobi
#10 Family Hotel in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont The Norfolk 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel has played a leading role in Kenya's colorful history, and continues to be the best-known luxury hotel in Nairobi. The town and later the modern city of Nairobi grew up around Fairmont The Norfolk hotel, which still has its own private tropical gardens. The hotel is still the traditional starting point for safaris and the Lord Delamere Terrace is modern Nairobi's popular meeting place, where drinks and light meals are served continuously from morning till late evening.Fairmont The Norfolk was expanded in 1999 and subsequently renovated in time for its centennial celebrations in 2004. The Delamere & Acacia Wing were refurbished in 2012 to give the rooms a modern touch, whilst preserving their charm and unique personality. The Nairobi hotel now offers accommodations in 170 guest rooms and suites, has eight conference rooms, the largest seating 175 delegates, a heated outdoor swimming pool, health club with gym, sauna and steam room and gift shops. ... more   less 
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