As my title suggests, the hotel was the worst "luxury" hotel ever, but may not have been the worst hotel ever. So in my opinion, this review would be useful for those swayed by the manager's fancy talk, or for those who believe in value for money.
1. Not boutique. Not luxury.
The price charged may have been as high as that of true luxury hotels (Mara Sarova and Mara Simba to name a few; sadly couldn't get a room in either of those hotels this time) but the quality was absolutely abysmal. In this regard, I would say my expectations were far surpassed on the negative scale. The place was quite filthy, with dust and cobwebs clearly visible on the walls and even on the tables. The sofa cushions were terribly dirty; once presumably creamy white at best, now covered with muddy brown stains.
2. Pretentious environmentalists
The lodge did not have electricity during the day, and provided it only at night, claiming that they were being green conscious. Not only was this a huge problem, as they failed to notify us before we got there, but it was also extremely hypocritical as we could see dark brown/ black sewage being discharged into the stream directly below the lodge. Now you may think that there's nothing wrong with returning natural stuff back into the earth, but this was untreated sewage waste, along with kitchen water runoff.
3. Worst quality of service/ infrastructure
Lunch: A greek salad: had 3-4 leaves of lettuce, 2-3 sundried tomatoes, 2 tiny cubes of rubbery cheese (no exaggeration). + a quiche:(3/10) while terrible it was heaven compared to the salad :|
During the day, we were unfortunately stranded cause our guide hadn't showed up. So we couldn't even take a nap in the hut which was out of power, cause the extreme heat of the day simply baked our mud hut, and us inside it. When we tried to contact the management, absolutely no one was there (I am dead serious). The place was as empty as a ghost town. This after the manager gave us a welcome speech about the level of personal attention given to the 10 guests in the lodge.
In the night, since the lodge is in the middle of the Masai and lions/hippos/elephants roam around pretty close to the lodge (a lion was spotted at one of the huts the previous night), guests were told to wait in the rooms till someone came to escort them. It wouldn't have been an issue to walk out by ourselves, but the path was pitch dark, no lights anywhere (again, if this is the sort of thing that works for you, then its an awesome experience, but if you're traveling in a family, chances are you want to be safe). So anyway, waiting for an escort wasn't an issue; the issue was that no one came! We were starving because of the terrible lunch, but we had to wait for an hour past the scheduled time till someone came.
In the evening it rained, and the "suite" hut that we had occupied was completely flooded (3 inches of water everywhere). Luckily our bags were on a table so they weren't affected as badly as they could have been. In the night it rained again and water dripped through the roof onto our beds and it was simply miserable.
Since we voiced our complaints to the manager about the room and whatever else, he was kind enough to arrange for us a half decent meal. The efforts were appreciated, but it was a little too late. We had decided to shift to another hotel the very next day.
Since the lodge didn't have any sort of fences protecting it, it was easier to spot hippos in the stream below. That being said, in the Masai Mara, the beauty of sighting animals cannot be attributed to a lodge. We have been there enough to know that no matter where you stay, the most important factor in making your trip a success is the guide.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Amani Mara is a peaceful haven located in Olare Orok on the the banks of the Ntiak Ntiak river in the World Famous Maasai Mara National Game Reserve. It is a small and exclusive boutique lodge with exquisite accommodation, with each structure beautifully designed to give unobstructed views of the scenery with minimal impact on the environment. Guests are able to view a variety of game right from the comfort of their own rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Amani Mara Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve