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“Makes you feel at home” 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 115 Hotels in Nairobi
1 review
“Makes you feel at home”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2009

Just back from a week long stay at the Fairmont and I must say that coming "home" to this place each night was a pleasure. The rooms have just been renovated (we were the first to stay in ours) and look very nice and are LARGE. We had two rooms, one with desk and closets and hard wood floors and then another carpeted room with a sitting area and a bed and the bathrooms are very large (bath and shower separate).

I think the reason you may see some slightly negative reviews of this place is because people expect a completely western Fairmont experience in the third world, which, in my opinion, isn't a reasonable expectation. For example, the service in the restaurant is not always consistent, often slow and sometimes borderline negligible, but the food is pretty good (and didn't make any of us sick!!). Our shower didn't work the first day we were there, by day two it worked but no hot water, and by day three we were set (so long as you let the hot water run for about 10 minutes before showering) - to some this would be unacceptable - we were happy to have running water considering the drought.

The location was great - not quite in the city center so very quiet at night but this also allowed for the grounds to be massive. There was a beautiful gym, pool and garden area, and never saw a single mosquito while there.

Only complaint is the price - amazing to us that they can demand a hefty per night room charge - but to get western amenities while in the third world is something you have a pay for, I guess. Enjoy your stay!

  • Stayed September 2009
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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518 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
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New York
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2009

This was a wonderful property - Great restaurants - Great Staff that couldn't do enough for you. They went above & beyond. Beautiful views and rooms. All in all a wonderful
stay I highly recommend this property. This was y second visit and I will definately return again.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2009

This hotel in the center of town is one of Nairobi's first and premiere hotels. After recent renovations its lost a bit of its traditional and historic charm in favour of modern decor. This takes away from what made it special, unique and set it apart. When you are inside you could literally be anywhere in the world. In its favour the food and service are on point but I do feel that the rooms are over priced when compared to the competition.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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20 reviews 20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2009

Most of the bad reviews on the site relate to the renovation programme that has recently been completed. The hotel now looks great - it has a lovely feel and the rooms are well appointed.

The garden is charming and, while the hotel is situated right at the edge of the CBD, it feels suburban (it's right by the university campus).

Service is overall good, but can be a little hit-and-miss sometimes.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Newcastle, Australia
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2009

We utilised the Norfolk before and after commencement of our Kenyan/Tanzanian safari.
Check in for our first arrival went through without any drama's and it was a novelty receiving the warm washer and cool drink on arrival. However we were taken out to the verandah in the garden courtyard for our briefing on dusk and the area was rife with mosquito's.

We continued up to our rooms which comfortably accommodated 2 persons and would be of a 4 star standard. However, both our rooms were full of mosquitoes. I rang reception to have the room sprayed before dinner, which they organised, however when we returned from dinner there were even more mosquitoes in the room. Another phone call to housekeeping and they sent the gentleman to the room again. This time I stayed in the room whilst he sprayed and then realised why we had mosquitoes in the room. The staffs idea of spraying is totally different to us from the West. He gave the room 3 x 1 second squirts. The room needed a good burst of spray. Once the can was left with us, we alleviated the problem.

Breakfast was fine on the Verandah. Dinner choices on the verandah restaurant were ideally suited to families, however being an old-world colonial hotel, I was personally disappointed with menu choices. I don't like to eat what I cook at home every night, when I'm eating in a restaurant.

Our first visit we quite enjoyed. When we returned to the hotel, approximately nine days later, hotel checks in were appalling. Although the bookings had been placed with an agency 6 months prior, hotel reception managed to botch it up and it took over an hour to check in 9 people. When we got to our rooms we swapped the keys around so my brother got the triple room, my parents got the queen bed, and we got the two twins.

We organised dinner again on the restaurant on the verandah, as we thought we could get in and out quickly, travelling with 3 teenagers and a 10 yo. and a 4am departure the next morning. We'd had a big day of travelling, drinks, orders meals were extremely slow and plates remained uncleared.

Within hours, 6 out of 9 us ended up with varying extremes of gastro (from vomiting to being permanently attached to a toilet throughout the night). 6 of us had selected the same meal. This is not expected when booking a 5 star hotel and what is considered the best place to stay in Nairobi. In 4 weeks of travel, throughout 6 countries, this was the only place that this occurred.

When we arrived at our room for the second visit, on dusk, we were again given the same hotel room. The mosquito problem prevailed again, however on checking the window/sliding glass had not been closed and was open several cm's. Again we went through the spray routine.

The room did get very hot during the night, partly our fault as we hadn't utilised the air-conditioning. However, we required drinking water during the night and as you can't drink tap water and we had already utilised our 300ml water supply each, we selected a 500ml bottle of water out of the mini-bar at 3am as my daughters also did in their room.

When I've gone to check-out, I advised about the water and that we had to use water from the mini-bar as there wasn't sufficient water in the room.

I was told that I would have to pay for this. When I let the girl on reception know that I was not happy about this, I was advised I should have rung house keeping at 3am if I required more drinking water. As we waited for over an hour to have the room sprayed, we weren't about to do this in the middle of the night. Plus we were not well.

I'm not tight by any means, but object to paying 5 star prices in US $ for water when there should be sufficient in the room to clean teeth before bed and in the morning, and for a glass of water during the night, especially when one's not well.

The hotel really needs direction from management as it does have the potential to be quite an okay place to stay.

Also if using the hotel for safari commencement, once the airport hotel (I think Inter-Continental or western chain hotel) is complete at Kenyatta, I would consider. It took us 3 hours to drive from the airport to the Norfolk in peak hour traffic (normally a 30 minute drive) arriving in the evening. We didn't see any of Nairobi arriving at this time. The next morning we were collected at 8am, which was again peak hour and had to drive past the airport on our way to Amboseli. The same scenario when we returned from Tanzania. We had to be collected from the Norfolk at 4am to ensure we got to the airport in time for our flight. An airport hotel would have saved us probably 8-9 hours in travelling time.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Calgary, Canada
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2009

It used to be a nice old hotel that was hard to get a room at. This time it was almost empty in the middle of tourist season....hmmmmmm. The rooms are nice (though expect housekeeping to wake you up early if you don't display the do not disturb sign). Be very watchful of your bill. We booked 4 rooms online at a "special rate" but when we tried to check out they tried to jack up the price, even though we had the confirmation numbers and booking receipts. Their first explanation was "well this is the rate that is in our computer"... then it became "well be put you in better rooms" (even though the hotel was virtually empty and we didn't ask for an upgrade). It took 45 minutes of "discussion" just to get checked out and get to the airport. Make sure you convert Shillings to Dollars at checkout, otherwise you may get a big surprise on your credit card bill! I expect many tourists get caught on this one.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
188 reviews 188 reviews
125 hotel reviews
Reviews in 130 cities Reviews in 130 cities
208 helpful votes 208 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2009

I agree with Carpet9. We had not stayed at the Norfolk before but we had expected a grand old colonial hotel. What we found was a dreadful modern place devoid of any atmosphere. We could have been in a Holiday Inn. Moreover the restaurant was closed so we had to eat outside on a chilly night.
I would not stay there again.

Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
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Additional Information about Fairmont The Norfolk

Address: Harry Thuku Rd, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
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:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Nairobi
#8 Business 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):
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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