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“Outstanding Experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Olonana

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Sanctuary Olonana
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C14, Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Outstanding Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

Me and my husband went for our honeymoon in East Africa as i have mentioned before. We stayed at Olonana Sanctuary for 3 nights! Olonana is amazing place for honeymooners! Super relaxing place in front of the Mara river, and the fact the they have a great relationship with the Maasai is great too.

The SPA was great too, in front of the river super relaxing and the quality in my opinion better than NYC. Since Olonana is relative small you feel at home right away and the rooms are so cute and in front of the Mara River.

The team ran by Mr. Maurice is amazing (special kudos to Philip, Isaac, Cristine and of course Maurice.) and me and my husband loved what Maurice told us when we arrived: 'our job is to make sure you are smiling'. We certainly did smile during our stay and we plan to go back to Olonana in the future.

  • Stayed June 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.
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180 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    165
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    2
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Vail, Colorado
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
61 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2013

This was my first time to Kenya and the Masai Mara and the whole tented camp experience. I had been to luxury game lodges in South Africa but nothing like this. I absolutely loved it. Being from the mountains of Colorado and loving camping and nature and the African bush, it was just a perfect combination of everything. I have always said that I can be just as comfortable in a tent in the woods as I can at the Four Seasons, and the Luxury Tented Camping experience gives a fantastic combination of that.

All the tents are on the river and the river provides lovely music that helps to conceal any noise from other travelers or things that might otherwise disturb your sleep or peace and quiet while relaxing on your deck over the river.

I loved everything about this place—the tents, the location, the main lodge, the food, the staff, the game drives.

I also had a facial and pedicure (at the same time!) at their lovely private spa deck at the end of camp. It was amazing and the gals are fantastic. I have had hundreds of spa treatments over the years and these ladies were definitely world class. They even do Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, having been trained in Nairobi by a woman who went to Hawaii to learn how to teach Lomi Lomi.

I actually stayed here only two nights and moved to the place next store, just down the road Beyond the next hill. It has a much better and broader reputation than Olonana and I have to say that Olonana trumps them hands down in every way—location, tents, staff, service, food, etc. When I return to the Mara I will stay at Olonana again but not at the other property.

The only thing I wish they would do differently is to have an open fire on the lodge deck on the edge of the river to sit under the stars at night. Or if that is a logistical issue due to the deck, then perhaps building a fire pit in the circular lawn area at the entrance to the lodge, or even by the pool. An African safari experience is just not complete without Bush TV under the starry African sky.

Room Tip: If you are in a tent without plugs, you can charge your items in the lodge while you dine and they w...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 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.
Wisconsin
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

O(for outstanding)lonana Tented Camp, located on the Mara River, is a "small luxurious camp with stunning river views". The river was so high and rushing that it upset the Hippos and babies, who loudly protested! We watched and heard them all night. I think it was my favorite place to stay on the safari. The food and detail of everything was perfect! The staff was wonderful. Our deck had comfy couches to relax, drink our wake-up coffee, read or just relax and watch the hippos!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, April 24, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you so mch for this lovely review, much appreciated!

We are so happy that you enjoyed your stay with us.Thank you for your kind comments about the food and especially the staff, they absolutely loved hosting you.

We look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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Big Sky, MT
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

Last month we spent a week at Olonana on the Masa Mara in Kenya. The lodge was outstanding, the food excellent, and the equipment in good condition. The most impressive part of the trip, other then the wildlife drives, was the operation led by Mr. King. He and his staff (Mr. Nixon, Phillip, Ambrose, and Kristine) made us feel at home. I could tell by all of the staff that Mr. King motovated them. The were clean, prompt, and pleasant.

Another bonus of the trip was our driver and guide, Joseph. Last year he was selected as the top guide, out of 700 guides in Kenya, in the entire country. He was knowledgeable in all the flora and fauna in the area. He constantly found the big five as well as many species of birds and smaller mammals. Joseph provided bush breakfasts and lunches out with the wildlife.

Room Tip: All rooms in this tented camp have wood floors, bathroom, and a view of the Mara river 25 yards awa...
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  • Stayed March 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, April 18, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for this lovely review,much appreciated!

We are absolutely thrilled that your experience with us was such a positive one. We shared your feedback with King and the team, they loved hosting you and are very happy that you enjoyed your stay.

Thanks once again and we look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

I pretty much agree with the reviews already written on here, we had a fabulous couple of days, very attentive staff, food standard and quality was of a very high standard, the tents were well equipped and it was a bit cool in the evening and the hot water bottle in the bed was a lovely touch. We wanted for nothing the whole time we were there, we loved it and plan to come back. Thank you to everyone who made our stay fantastic.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Dear Sharon,

Thanks you so much for the lovely review.

Delighted that you and your family had such a fabulous time with us. We shared you feedback with the rest of the team, they were thrilled with your comments.

Awesome that you planning to come back,we looking forward to seeing you again.

You can follow all the latest news from Sanctuary Retreats and Olonana by liking us on Facebook. Just search for ‘Sanctuary Retreats’

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats
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Naples, Italy
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

A friend recommended Sanctuary Olonana to us, and we learned firsthand that Maurice and the friendly team at Sanctuary Olonana run a first-class establishment with excellent service. We stayed in two tents during our stay: one night in the standard tent, which was quite nice; and two nights in a honeymoon tent which can only be described as exceptional. Very roomy, outdoor showering option, extremely private, and an excellent view of the river and a sizeable, but not overly vocal hippo family. The food was fantastic, with three-course lunches and dinners, good quality South African wines, and we really appreciated that the produce used at the camp is grown in the camp's garden. The camp also has a good partnership with the local Masai villages, and we enjoyed the visit to a nearby village to learn about the Masai. The game drive vehicles are quite versatile, and our guide (a Masai) was knowledgeable on all the flora and fauna and was very accommodating. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, February 5, 2013
Dear CTB78

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience at Sanctuary Olonana on Tripadvisor. We are definitely pleased about your friends recommendation and even more pleased that you decided to stay with us. Maurice and the rest of the team were delighted to learn that you appreciated their efforts.We are very glad that you enjoyed your stay with us.

We look forward to welcoming you once more and making your next stay with us as enjoyable and memorable as this one.

Warm regards
Sanctuary Retreats
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New Braunfels, Texas
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 94 cities Reviews in 94 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

All of the previous reviews are pretty much spot on as far as the hotel being beautiful, the staff gracious, the roaring rapids and the rejuvenating spa by the river. We had a wonderful time during our short visit, but I would have given it an excellent rating had our particular room been cleaned more thoroughly. We were really the only ones in our group that felt like our room was not properly taken care of - we had many dead bugs around our sink and on the vanity as well as on the floor. We found a really nice pair of sunglasses on the floor by one of the trunks (the rooms are somewhat dark) so easy maybe to miss a dark pair of sunglasses when cleaning. I wonder how long they had been there though? Otherwise, we loved the hot chocolate and cookies brought each morning with our wakeup call, the hot water bottles brought every evening and nestled in the sheets, the wonderful hour at the spa by the river and the meals nicely served. We were in #9 and it was located right by the rapids. The rapids were quite loud and it was hard to discuss the day's adventures without appearing to yell at each other. I think two of the units actually had outdoor showers plus those units had more of a view of the hippos in a pool of water in the river. These were located on the opposite side of the main building from #9. I don't know if there was a price difference in those type of rooms. Overall a great experience!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Olonana, responded to this review, January 14, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review on TripAdvisor.

We are happy to hear that overall you had a great experience, however we would like to apologise for the substandard housekeeping, rest assured this has been discussed with the team.We are actively working to improve our standards and your feedback has proved valuable.

Thank you for your honest feedback and we hope to welcome you here again soon.

Warm regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Olonana

Address: C14, Keekorok, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #27 of 117 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sanctuary Olonana is an award-winning tented camp on a private stretch of the Mara River, at the foot of the impressive Siria Escarpment close to where the famous last scene from "Out of Africa" was filmed. Located close to the border with Tanzania, the game concentration is high - and during the annual wildebeest migration, the action happens right on the camp's doorstep. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sanctuary Olonana Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Sanctuary Olonana Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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