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“MIGRATION KENYA SAFARIS MADE OUR STAY MEMORABLE” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mara Serena Safari Lodge

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Mara Serena Safari Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   C14, Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
abu dhabi
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“MIGRATION KENYA SAFARIS MADE OUR STAY MEMORABLE”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

We thank Migration kenya safaris for a wonderful stay in this resort and thank them for booking us in this resort. Also thanks to Michael maina for a wonderful driver /guide...we were very lucky to witness one of the wonders of the world..the Migration. Truly like the comapny baseline " a safari that stays with you" a promise that was full filled. Now coming to the resort it's an awesome location high on a hill and a magnificient view of the Mara...from the pool area. But if you are a family of three the rooms are small but for 2 it's just right... i would rate this 4/5 'cos the food spread was ok not as good as sarena amboseli..the stay was very comfortable..a must stay if you are in masai mara...but the drive from nairobi to this resort is very tiring...it's a very long drive and you have to cross the border and enter tanzania...as it's the last resort in the line of other resorts...

Room Tip: request for the rooms closer to the dinning rooms after 50 and after 60 are good room with views...a...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

We were a family group of 11 (6 adults and 5 children) staying at the Mara Serena at the end of October. Let me start by saying that if you choose to stay here you will no doubt have a brilliant time - the safaris are out of this world and the Serena really does have the prime location in the Masai Mara. Our game driver (Nicolas) was fantastic and the rooms and food at the Serena are both excellent.

However, and it is a significant however, the Serena could do so much more to make your holiday a holiday to remember. On our second day I logged on to Tripadvisor to read the other reviews which had persuaded us to book there and, sadly for us, they didn't quite match our experience. The Serena is charging premium prices and at these rates you expect a little bit more when it comes to customer service and attention to detail. Perhaps it was simply that we were staying at the end of high season and everyone was ready for a break or maybe our expectations were too high but we felt like we were missing out. Let me give some examples.

As a family group of 11 who had booked together and were on a holiday of a lifetime together we obviously wanted to eat together but for the first day we were told that we had to eat on two separate tables as another group was using the big table. This would have been understandable if it wasn't for the fact that the restaurant was full of tables which could have been pushed together to accommodate us but we weren't allowed to slide them together - we don't know why. Three times we asked the restaurant manager if we could just push the tables together but we were told that we have to wait until the following day when the larger group had gone. It isn't a biggy - but it wasn't the best start.

Our frustration was compounded on our first game drive. We started in 2 separate vehicles (which is worth noting if you're a large group - other lodges have larger vehicles) and the heavens opened. One of the vehicles only had canvas sides and the occupants were getting cold and wet and wanted to head back. The other vehicle was far better and the occupants wanted to push on. Our drivers were excellent offering to give us an extra game drive the following day if we headed back but the young children wouldn't have coped with three drives on the same day so they wanted to keep going - some of the adults wanted to head back and take the extra drive the following day. The problem was that we were told that as we were a single group both vehicles had to do the same thing. I honestly can't see how it made a difference whether we were one or two groups but given the dining room experience (being treated as two groups) we were less than impressed.

The reception desk epitomised the lack of customer service. You are given information packs which say you can borrow binoculars from reception but when we asked reception seemed mystified and told us that there were no binoculars. Whenever you went to speak to reception staff members were often too busy speaking with colleagues to actually speak with customers so you slightly felt as though you were in the way.

One other niggle worth mentioning is that the rooms are quite noisy. If someone down your row flushes the toilet then you hear a rushing noise for four or five seconds. Not a problem in the day but quite a pain in the middle of the night. It seemed to be every 20 minutes or so that we were disturbed.

I could give loads more examples but you get the impression. There are plenty of positives I could give you too. I spoke with the Assistant Manager Dan about my concerns and he listened brilliantly and made sure we got the big table in the restaurant but a free bottle of wine on our table or a small token of an apology wouldn't have gone a miss. There are free bottles of water in the rooms and they are replenished twice a day which is a nice touch (particularly as you have to pay for water in the restaurant - no free tap or filtered water) the free WiFi was a bonus (although a pain that you had to call reception for a new password every 24 hours) and the rooms were kept immaculately clean (thanks Richard). The pool area is stunning - great views over the park where you could spot hippos, lions, elephants etc. (although the pool itself was a little chilly). It really is a great place.

I guess the bottom line is that you aren't going to the Serena Mara for excellent customer service - you are going to see the wildlife, and wildlife you will see. On the first morning drive (after the flood the day before) we saw a black rhino, leopard, buffalo, giraffe, elephants and plenty more. The location at the corner of the Mara triangle means you can quickly get to the river and escarpment and find the usual haunts of all the animals. Our guide was excellent and they are in radio contact with other guides to help them find the animals you want to see. It does mean that when you find a rhino you are suddenly surrounded by 3 or 4 other vehicles but it's better that way than just tree spotting all day.

We chose the Serena Mara because it seemed the best option for kids (interlocking rooms, children's menu in the restaurant, swimming pool etc.) and it certainly was. We would probably even go again for the same reason but it could have been so much more with 10% more effort. Perhaps someone will read this and give the staff the rallying call they need.

Room Tip: Rooms out on the left hand side of the hotel (60-78) get great views of the park from their windows.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

Everything about this place bring great memories. The food was good, the staff very friendly...the view and experiences incredible and amazing. Very comfortable, clean and pretty. I saw elephants outside my balcony, and the sunrise and sunset were just glorious. Hope to get back someday.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Moscow, Russia
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2012

I was booked into this lodge by Plan safari ltd company after a lot of searching for a children friendly lodge. We arrived in a not so big airplane from Nairobi and we were met at the airstrip and transferred to the lodge. Some warm refreshing towels and a glass of fresh juice was offered to welcome us. The check in was fast and we spent the next two hours sleeping after a long flight from Moscow that morning.

We were allocated rooms connecting to each other, one with two beds for the children and the other with a king-size bed. The rooms are not so big but sufficient and very neat, clean with good African décor, mosquito nets and stunning views to the vast plains and the maasai mara river.
We could see animals wondering about from the very comfort of our room, this was very special, we saw herds of elephants, zebras and giraffes even before we could go for the safari drives.

Food was plenty and a wide variety was available to choose from with the children having their own Menu. The kids had their food served before. The breakfast by the Hippo pool was great and the kids loved it there seeing hippos.
Service was of the highest standards we have had in all the places we have stayed at in Africa. Staffs there are very friendly and warm hearted and they did everything they could to make our stay the most comfortable one.

We were allocated one guide for the entire four days and only shared our vehicle with two other people. We had two safari drives every day and we saw everything including a leopard which our guide said was very hard to come by. Our guide worked very hard and made sure that we went to the best locations for game viewing and photo taking. The lodge is well located, in the middle of the maasai mara and there are animals right within and we didn’t spend a lot of time driving before we could see animals and we went a different direction every time. Good base to have your game drives.

With only two drives each day, we had a lot of spare time and the swimming pool was the best place for the kids to pass their time. The swimming pool was very important as the drives were early morning and late afternoon. Other things we did when not on safari drives was a walking safari to see the many birds and a visit to the maasai village.

This lodge is wonderful and we really enjoyed the stay there much as our kids did.
Only downside, we had only four days there, wish we had more time.

Would stay there over and over again.

Kharitonova
Moscow

Room Tip: If travelig with kids, ask for an interconecting room.
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  • Stayed October 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Tennessee
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

Amazing location, amazing facility, amazing wildlife. Loved every minute. Enjoyed the spectacular views of the migration. Experienced some river crossings also and the grans spectacle. Loved relaxing by the pool sipping margaritas. Food was excelent. Staff very professional. Rooms more than adequate. The game drives were fantastic. Cant wait to go back someday.

Room Tip: Get a suite with a good view of the river below
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  • Stayed August 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Netherlands
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

This is more a hotel than a lodge. It is quite big so there will be a lot of people during dinner. The good thing is that once you’re out on the plains you will not notice this anymore. It is the only hotel in miles so other cars will have to drive quite a distance to come there. We have stayed in the Serena before and it never fails. The staff is very friendly and will do their absolute best to make your stay unforgettable. We like the rooms a lot. We read that some people thought the rooms are small but we think it has everything you need. The room is clean with a nice bed that has a mosquito net. A little area were you can sit and have a nice view over the savannah. We just love the view from the lodge it is amazing. From the hill you can see all the animals walking over the plains. If you want a breathtaking view, go up the hill next to room 78 and go pass the little couch and you just want to stay there!

The food is very good. At breakfast they have so much to choose from and there is a chef who can make you any sort of omelet or pancake you like. At lunch and dinner there is a pasta chef that makes the most wonderful pasta’s (Thank you Bernard Santore and your colleges!). There is always coffee, tea and hot chocolate that you can take any time of the day. When arriving back from game drives you can have some snacks.

The lodge has a nice little shop where you can buy souvenirs. The T-shirts are very good quality, we bought two T-shirts two years ago and there still in excellent shape.

This lodge is the best choice if you want to see the migration. All the crossing points can be reached in 5 to 25 minutes and 3 of them can be seen from the lodge itself. Since it is so close to these points you can see all the action. If you want to see the wildebeest migration go to this lodge and it will not fail. Do spent enough night though. Some people believe they can see it all in a 1 or 2 night stay. If you want to see the crossings you need to spent at least 4 nights here and you will have a memory of a lifetime.

Room tip: If you do not mind to walk ask for room 78 this one has the most beautiful view of them all and since it is on the far corner you won’t hear any noises but the once that come from the plains.

Going to the Maasai Mara it is very important which camp you pick. There are a lot of camps in this area and not all of them have a good location. A lot of camps are outside the gate. Of course you will see a lot of animals in these areas but the best changes of seeing the big cats and the wildebeest migration is inside the park. If you’re out of the park it can take you a long time to get to the river to see the migration which means that you have to leave early in the afternoon again to be on time at the gate. The gates opens and closes at 6:30. We stayed in several camps in de Mara and all were inside the gates which will give you the best changes of seeing what you wanted to.

Room Tip: Request for room 78. This is the last room in the row and have a great view. Also there is a small p...
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  • Stayed September 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

Stayed here for 3 nights during my visit to Masai Mara and absolutely loved it. The lodge is located near the Mara Triangle making it an excellent location to explore Masai Mara in general and experiencing the migration in particular. The rooms are excellent and very comfortable. The staff at the lodge are extremely courteous and helpful. The restaurant serves great food and caters to all dietary requirements.

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Mara Serena Safari Lodge

Address: C14, Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #49 of 108 Specialty lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Mara Serena Safari Lodge 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mara Serena Safari Lodge, set on a saddle of a hill, overlooks the 1,800 square km of rolling plains at an altitude of 1625 meters at the Masai Mara Triangle, one of the world's richest wildlife sanctuaries. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mara Serena Safari Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Serena Safari Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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