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“Colonial Experience” 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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 111 Hotels in Nairobi
Beirut, Lebanon
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Colonial Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

The Norfolk Fairmont will put you in the mood of your Safari trip; Wonderful Hotel and services.
This colonial style hotel, build in 1904 will, like it did to us, put you in the Safari trip ambiance.
If you have the chance, i also advise you to have a massage in their SPA facility; just wonderful and very relaxing moment.
My happy feet went there and will probably go again in the near future

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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503 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
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (118)
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English first
Chester County, PA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

I stayed at the Fairmont Norfolk for 4 nights in August and found it a very pleasant stay. The property itself is very lovely, and the setting is quiet, away from the hustle of center city Nairobi, and next to the University. The hotel is historic, going back to 1904 I believe, but has been greatly expanded and all of the rooms are modern. On this stay, I had a very modern room. On a prior stay, I had a less modern room, but still very nice. I used the hotel as a "base camp" for my time in Nairobi and for travel to other parts of Kenya. The staff is very helpful. The rooms are clean, the showers are very nice. Free bottled water is provided in the rooms. The restaurants are all excellent (especially Tatu), but expensive. You can expect to pay a little less than Big City (London, New York) prices here for the food, which is way out of market for Kenya, but not exorbitant. There's a nice swimming pool (from the looks of it) and a good sized fitness room with modern equipment. I would return to this property every time I come to Nairobi.
TIP: If you join the Fairmont President's Club (free to join), you can get Internet access for free in all the Fairmont Hotels, including the Norfolk.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Nanaimo, Canada
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
45 helpful votes 45 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.
San Francisco, CA
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
80 helpful votes 80 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
26 helpful votes 26 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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:
#8 Romantic Hotel in Nairobi
#8 Business Hotel in Nairobi
#10 Luxury 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):
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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Also Known As:
Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel Nairobi
Fairmont Hotel Norfolk
Norfolk Hotel Nairobi
Fairmont Hotel Nairobi
Norfolk Nairobi

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