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“Great place, friendly staff, excellent food” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sunbird Lodge

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Sunbird Lodge
Off Nairobi - Nakuru Highway | Nakuru, Lake Elementaita 20100, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great place, friendly staff, excellent food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

We stayed for four days with two kids (4 and 6) during the short rainy season. The service was excellent, the food delicious, the room cosy, spacious and clean, the view (over lake Elementaita) from the dining-room / reception as well as from the cottages magnificent. We booked two excursions (safari to nakuru NP and a hike to "sleeping warrior") both time we had a really competent and patient guide.
Apart from the distant traffic noise from the highway (500m away) it's a quite place with no tv and wifi in the cottages (which we really appreciated).

Room Tip: Rooms on the slope are quieter.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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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174 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
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English first
Dhaka City, Bangladesh
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

The property is very utilitarian which is something I was really looking for. It was such a nice (short) escape from Nairobi and so easy to get to. You can easily walk around the property and check out the lovely garden where the food is grown, also we happened upon a small herd of impala.
The pool is a nice size also and one of the few places where we noticed there were other guests. The property was so quite and relaxing and the staff were pleasant and helpful, not intrusive at all leaving us to enjoy the scenic views right on the lake and the many beautiful birds from our hammocks.
the breakfast buffet was one of the best I have ever had in East Africa!

Room Tip: the cottage on the top of the hill require less walking but also have a bit less privacy. as long as...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Marbella, Spain
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013

We stayed here over the New Year 2012/2013.

On New Year, for the New Year Dinner the chef found it easier to make a buffet (!!) than ala carde food - I've never, even when I was a teenager, had such a corny new years eve dinner! Loads of different nationalities around one buffet with over cooked meat and almost empty salat trays - I would have paid a lot more to get real food!

And after searching the site of Sunbird Lodge, we never found any information about the New Years Dinner being a buffet (which we plain hate and in that case, we would never had chosen Sunbird Lodge for New Year!) We went straight to our rooms and spend the rest of the evening eating chips and drinking beer.

The winelist is not only poor but truly lacking any kind of quality - it was impossible to order a decent Champagne (for New Year!!) It was like this event came as a surprise for the owners!

The place is suppose to have WiFi, however there is only WiFi in the lounge area, where people tjeck in and out all the time (loads of noise if you are looking to work) and even there, the WiFi did't work - so the owners told us that we could use the computer in the office, however we needed to work for hours and not just browse Facebook, so that is really not an option.

We stayed in the cottage called Hornebill (again, with no WiFi which we asked for when we made reservation and were told was present) and was truly supriced when we tjecked in at the same time as another white couple, who paid more than half the price we paid, because they had resident papers and we did't - I really DO NOT like that kind of discrimination!!

The rooms/cottage were very nice, with huge mosquito net, clean bath and toilet, clean floor and stunning view and great bed.

However, for us really looking for a get-away weekend over New Years the price (resident - non resident) the buffet on New Years Eve (!) the lack of champagne and wine, the lack of WiFi and the traffic noise from Old Nairobi Highway really pulled things down and I would't want to stay here again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Sunbirdkenya, Inhaber at Sunbird Lodge, responded to this review, April 7, 2013
First of all thanks a lot for your comments. We very much appreciate your feedback.

We usually have ala carte menu throughout the year. For the Christmas / New Years time we decided to have a special buffet with a big variety of food in order to meet everyone’s taste as much as possible. Our staff replenished food and salads etc. till everyone have been satisfied. When our clients left the restaurant there was still plenty of well cooked food available. We are sorry that we did not meet your taste although at the very same time we have very positive comments (“…the food we had was very good, with adequate variety and excellent quality…”).

Our wine at that time list consisted of 7 different bottled red wines (South Africa, Chile, California, Kenya) along with 2 red house wines and 6 different bottled white wines (South Africa, Chile, California, Kenya), along with 2 house white wines. Further 2 rose’ wines and 5 sparkling wines (South Africa, California, Italy and France). So in total we had 17 red and white wines and additional 5 sparkling wines to be chosen from. For a small Lodge with 14 rooms only we think this is quite a good variety and this is also reflected in other guest comments (…”the food and bar facilities are fantastic & we loved the small range of wines from all over the world…”). But sorry, we did not have any Spanish wine….. Of course we can never offer the same variety like at your home place Marbella/Spain which is well known as a party place with lots of bars and restaurants (and it is very beautiful I have to admit).

We do not offer WiFi in the guest cottages. At our remote place this is technically not possible. However, we offer unlimited WiFi free of cost in the bar/lounge area. We are in Africa and in a remote area. The speed and reliability of internet (kindly do not make us responsible for that) is not like we are used to in highly developed areas like Europe. I as one of the owners was around at that time but was never introduced to you and never allowed and asked you to work with our computers in our office. Again, kindly remember the location of this Lodge. I am pretty happy that we have internet at all these days although at times the quality is not good. Our reservations office does not give the information that internet is available in the cottages.

I agree with you that the price structure in Kenya is not the way we are used to in Europe. There are slightly different Resident and Non-Resident rates. However, a difference of approx. 50 % is not the case. Kindly note that i.e. the entrance fee for a Kenyan National Park is US$ 80 whilst for a Kenyan Citizen it is only approx. US$ 6. I hope you have complained to KWS about this. I am also not happy with this method but on the other hand many Kenyans would never have the chance to enjoy anything in their own country. One can name it discrimination, others call it support for residents. Sorry, this is the system we have to accept in Kenya if we like it or not. I would be happy if you could change it all over the country.

I understand that it will never be possible to make everyone happy and to meet everyone’s taste. However, we are proud about the quality and service level of our highly motivated and trained staff which make Sunbird Lodge a very good value for money and which is reflected in very many excellent Trip Advisor reviews and repeat clients from all over the world.

Again, we are very sorry for any inconvenience.

Günter Schabus, Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013 via mobile

We loved the few days we spent here having come down from Samburu on our way to the Masai Mara. Our tour company Wildlife Safari chose it on our behalf & couldn't have picked it any better. The lodge rooms are very well appointed and the view from the veranda is out of this world.

The food and bar facilities are fantastic & we loved the small range of wines from all over the world. The staff can't do enough to make sure you enjoy your stay. The owners are on site and take the time to talk & add to the friendliness of the place.

The barman is very creative and it is the kind of place you never felt rushed & could just sit and read or have another cocktail.

We highly recommend this experience and would certainly think there is no better accommodation in the Rift Valley and 20 minutes to Lake Nukuru.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Arusha, Tanzania
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

This place is very nice. The beds are comfortable, the rooms are decorated nicely, the staff was very professional and the food was great. It is nice to know that the food comes from their onsite garden so that they can control every aspect. Views of the lake and the pelicans were a nice addition.

I will come again and send my friends.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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.
New York City, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

I stayed at the lodge for two nights for a safari at Lake Nakuru National Park and Hell's Gate. The lodge is very welcoming and confortable. It has a lot of charm and warmth. Austrian owner Othmar and his Kenyan staff make you feel at home right from the start. The bungalows are build and decorated in local style with materials and colors which add to the African touch. Each one has a veranda. There a two types: Single bungalows with a large king size bed and a bigger veranda and semi-detached bungalows with two twin beds and a slightly smaller, but still spacious veranda. Each one has a hammock. Some of the bungalows are closer to the pool but need a fairly steep hike up the stairs to the main building. I had booked half board (breakfast and dinner). The former consists of a well sized buffet, the latter of a menu with two options for the entrée and the main course (the same applies if you eat the lunch at the lodge). For lunch, I received a lunchbox which was ok, but nothing special. I can understand some of the comments that there may be room for improvement. Overall, I was very impressed with the location, the quality of the amenities, the service, and the friendliness of the staff. A nice and original touch is the warm water bottle which you will find in your bed at night. I first thought an animal had slipped under my sheets :-) .

Room Tip: If you are of older age or you have issues with climing stairs you may consider choosing a bungalow...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Nairobi
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

The Lodge is just off the Naivasha - Nakuru rd, and in a neighbouring plot to the hospital (But that is quite far away. Traffic noise is distant. Rooms have superb views & are very beautifully furnished. There are 2 sets of rooms - some up on the cliff near lodge house and some down by the lake near pool. Quite a slog up and down. Food good, Wine list poor. Pool is too deep for young children so we would not go again - until the kids grow up!

Room Tip: Upper rooms are near the lodge. Lower rooms near the pool but a lot of steps between the two.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Sunbirdkenya, Inhaber at Sunbird Lodge, responded to this review, April 7, 2013
First of all thanks a lot for your comments. We very much appreciate your feedback.

It is correct that we have 7 rooms on the upper level and 7 rooms at the lower level. The difference in height is approx. 25 m or 110 steps. At the Sunbird Lodge elevation of 1.870 m above mean sea level it is important to climb slowly because of the thinner air.

Our wine at that time list consists of 7 different bottled red wines (South Africa, Chile, California, Kenya) along with 2 red house wines and 6 different bottled white wines (South Africa, Chile, California, Kenya), along with 2 house white wines. Further 2 rose’ wines and 5 sparkling wines (South Africa, California, Italy and France). So in total we have 17 red and white wines and additional 5 sparkling wines to be chosen from. For a small Lodge with 14 rooms only we think this is quite a good variety and this is also reflected in other guest comments (…”the food and bar facilities are fantastic & we loved the small range of wines from all over the world…”).

The pool has a depth of 1,50 m at the deepest point and it is less next to the stairs. Die to the small size of the Lodge (14 rooms only) we are not in the position to have an extra plunge pool for kids.

Again, we are very sorry for any inconvenience.

Günter Schabus, Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunbird Lodge

Address: Off Nairobi - Nakuru Highway | Nakuru, Lake Elementaita 20100, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Lake Elementaita
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Lake Elementaita
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sunbird Lodge, an eco-friendly luxury lodge is located in the Great Rift Valley, one of the natural wonders of the world. We are less than 127 km (1 ½ hours) from Nairobi and a few minutes off the new and superb Nairobi – Nakuru highway on a very good, private access road at the shore of Lake Elementaita, bordering and overlooking Soysambu Conservancy. Located on private land there are no park or conservation fees in addition to our very competitive rates. On excellent roads it is only 20 minutes to the famous Nakuru National Park and only a few minutes to Soysambu Conservancy where you can experience a balloon safari every morning. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunbird Hotel Lake Elementaita

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