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“An Enjoyable Stay” 4 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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 122 Hotels in Nairobi
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Nanaimo, Canada
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“An Enjoyable Stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

This hotel is a gem in a tough city. Once you manage to fight your way through the crazy Nairobi traffic and you arrive, you are treated with smiles and staff who seem to always go the extra distance. We felt like nothing was too much trouble for the friendly staff. It is them that make this hotel stand out above the rest!
The breakfast buffet is outstanding and great value for money. We also ate dinner at Tatu and thoroughly enjoyed our meal with great service. The wine list could be improved a bit, with too many overpriced entry level wines. We also ordered room service and had an outstanding meal (best room service meal I have had in many years at any hotel)
The grounds are immaculate and we used both the gym and outdoor pool. This is probably the best equipped gym we have used at any hotel. The heated pool was also a nice touch in a great serene setting. Poolside service was friendly and efficient.
One area that need attention is housekeeping. Sometimes we had to call three or four times to get something taken care of. I get the laid back culture, but it can be frustrating when you are waiting for something and a few hours go by before it is dealt with.
Also, the concierge really needs to have an ear closer to the ground of what is going on in the city. A recommended 30 minute drive to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage turned out to be an hour and 20 minute nightmare of a drive and we missed the baby elephant feeding. They don't control the traffic, but should be aware of happenings in the city, or am I asking for too much?
Overall, a great experience and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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547 reviews from our community

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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
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (128)
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Adelaide, Australia
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

We stayed here on 2 occasions on a recent holiday to the African game parks. Flying from Australia we were a little dismayed when told on parts of our safari (we did Kenya and Tanzania) we would be flying in small planes which only allowed us 15kg of luggage in soft bags (no wheels) each.
Fairmont The Norfolk helped us here. We stayed here for one night before we caught the plane to Kiliminjaro Airport (and our Tanzanian safaris) and left most of our extra clothes and our hard suitcase at the hotel. After 10 days on safari we returned to The Fairmont, picked up our 'left luggage' and stayed again for one night before flying to Zanzibar for a week of R & R. Listening to other traveller's stories we think it is safer to return to the hotel and collect your luggage yourself rather than rely on the hotel to send it to the airport for you to collect.
The Fairmont has an aura of past colonial times and we enjoyed our stay here. The buffet breakfast was one of the best we had in Africa but their upmarket Tatu restaurant was overpriced and disappointing.
Before entering the hotel your hand luggage is checked and you are personally frisked (for guns we assumed). Security is tight and even though we have travelled widely we had no desire to leave the confines of the hotel at night. Nairobi has a poor reputation for safety and the contrast between the hotel and the dirty, dusty street outside was immense.
We enjoyed the daytrips to the Karen Blixen Museum (we had a surprisingly very good lunch there at the café), The Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre but downtown Nairobi is best avoided. As we kept being told, Nairobi was built for 200,000 people and now there are 4 million people living and though it's nearly impossible to travel in East Africa without visiting Nairobi make it a transit stop and not a destination.

Room Tip: choose the king room over the twin room.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

Context: overnight to the start and end of an African safari

Pros: beautiful grounds, great breakfast buffet, reasonable size rooms, nice bathrooms, good computer access since I didn't bring my IPhone.

Cons: rooms on the south side facing a loading dock can be noisy, hotel is resting on it's historical laurels and not really 5 star, front desk understaffed and slow (plan on 20 minutes to check in or out).

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Morristown, New Jersey
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

We began our 12-day safari at the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel. After being among the first to fly in to Nairobi after the airport was closed due to a fire, we arrived jet lagged and amid chaos. Being taken to the Fairmont Norfolk was like finding an oasis. The hotel is beautiful! Our rooms were extremely comfortable. We returned again mid-safari for another quick stay. There was a wedding taking place -- all very beautiful. We ate at the main restaurant where the food was high caliber. The breakfast buffet had a huge offering -- everything you could imagine and all delicious. For a serene and restful break between game preserves, I would recommend the Fairmont Norfolk.

Room Tip: Our rooms faced the inner courtyard which has an abundance of beautiful flowering plants. We also bo...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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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Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

We stayed on the 2nd August 2013, on our way to the Masai Mara. It was my first time to Nairobi and I expected a little more history from what I understood to be one of the oldest hotels. That said, the welcome from the bellmen and porters is great and the lobby area and front terrace restaurant and bar at the back have good atmosphere.
The room was clean, comfortable and with a good bathroom. Don't stay in Room 22 - it has a sliding door on to a small courtyard but is right opposite the hotel's central airconditioning tower and the accompanying noise sounds like you're still in a plane, all night.
Food and drinks were good but expensive, but I understand quite standard for Nairobi.

Room Tip: Don't take room 22. Request a ground floor room on to central courtyard.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Stewartsville, New Jersey
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

As part of a Collette Safari tour we stayed here 1 night at the beginning of the tour, a night towards the end and then spent a couple of hours (no room, just lobby and bar) between the end of the tour and the trip to the airport.

There is a beautiful garden area to get to the rooms. Note it is historic so there are steps to get to most rooms.

The lobby and bar are nicely arranged with very comfortable chairs.

On the last day we had bar snacks, samosas which were tasty.

Breakfast buffet was excellent, lots of choices, well prepared including made to order omelets.

Amenities you would expect at a luxury hotel. Everything clean and well maintained. It is a historic hotel so the decor is fitting with the history. Everyone was friendly and welcoming.

WIfi is free if you join the frequent visitors club - if you know you are staying, I suggest you sign up in advance so you do not have to apply when you check out.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Milan, Italy
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

Very good service with nice pool and bar. My wife also had a nice massage at the SPA. Conveniently located in a safe area. Quiet and clean. Rooms of nice size with very confortable beds. Nice crowd with a mixture of tourists and business. Only thing is that it is a little old...

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, August 22, 2013
Dear Andrea N,

Thank you for taking the time to share your positive experience with us on Trip Advisor. We hope that you will return again soon.

Best 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

Address: Harry Thuku Rd, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
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:
#7 Business Hotel in Nairobi
#7 Romantic Hotel in Nairobi
#10 Luxury Hotel in Nairobi
#10 Family Hotel in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont The Norfolk 5*
Number of rooms: 170
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just minutes from Nairobi's best attractions, including the home of Karen Blixen, from the Academy Award winning film 'Out of Africa', Fairmont The Norfolk offers luxurious guestrooms and suites, set amidst tropical gardens. It features plush furniture, flat screen TV, minibar, rainfall showers, and tea and coffee maker. Built in 1904, the hotel has been completely refurbished with a heated outdoor swimming pool, health club, sauna and steam rooms with massage facilities, tropical landscaped grounds, and award winning restaurants and bars from steak and seafood at Tatu restaurant, afternoon tea to Lord Delamere Terrace for international cuisine. The hotel is walking distance from artisanal craft shops, modern shopping centres, Sheldrick's Elephant Sanctuary, National Museums of Kenya and is the launch point for 'bucket list' worthy safari tours, which can be organized at the 24 hour concierge desk. A free shuttle bus is available to and from Jomo Kenyatta International airport, located 11 miles away. Business Guests are also offered a complimentary return shuttle ride to their office with free WiFi on board. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel Nairobi
Fairmont Hotel Norfolk
Norfolk Hotel Nairobi
Fairmont Hotel Nairobi
Norfolk Nairobi

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