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“A Spectacular Gem in the Serena Group Portfolio!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp

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Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp
4.0 of 5 Specialty Inn   |   Soysambu Conservancy, Lake Elementaita, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A Spectacular Gem in the Serena Group Portfolio!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2012

Lake Elmentaita Serena Camp is truly a spectacular gem in the Serena Group portfolio of hotels & lodges.

We had tried to book a few months ago, and could not get any availability. So we were very pleasantly surprised when a few weeks ago, on a last-minute whim, we decided to try get a booking to celebrate a birthday & Father's day....and we managed to find availability just days beforehand!

We had been to the same spot sometime in the 90's when it was "Delamare Camp"...so we were very curious to see what Serena (my favourite group of hotels) had come up with in its place. It is now ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR!!! Turning off the Nairobi-Nakuru highway (be careful not to miss the sign board - which is really hard to see at night), you get a bit disoriented because the turn off is on the opposite side of where the lake is! But after a short drive on a gravel (once tarmaced) road, you go under a small bridge which puts you back into the right direction of the lake. Once you enter the main gate, you feel like you are miles away from civilisation - which is great! Nature has really been protected within their gates, and it was wonderful to see that nearly two decades later since we were first there! It is an easy - less than 2 hour - drive from Nairobi.

It is set a few metres from the shoreline of Lake Elmentaita. Lush thick 'carpets' of beautiful green grass, trees and wonderfully planted gardens surround the front of the property. It is an exquisitely and elegantly built and furnished property that seamlessly combines canvas, wood and stone for the structural aspects. When you walk into the bar/lounge area, it has a luxurious "old-world" feel. Along the walkways from the reception area through the bar/lounge and to the dining areas, there are beautiful water gardens that are very "zen". In the evenings, there is a lovely lady in the bar/lounge who plays the piano. There are lots of pictures and various "old-world" artefacts for your eyes to feast on. The lighting is mainly provided by lovely chandeliers.

Dining: There are several dining areas split into small, intimate sections which is just lovely. In keeping with the high standards of Serena food, there are set menus for all the meals (not buffet! Phew!) which provide you with a good variety of options. If you are not used to eating 3 ridiculously full meals per day, you may want to opt to book half board instead of full board. Although, the lunch menu gives you the option of a "lighter lunch" - which is great. The quality and variety of the food was superb for the duration of our 2 night stay.

Extras: I had asked for a birthday cake to be prepared on the evening of our arrival to be presented the following day. The presentation was AWESOME and the cake delicious :-) Upon check-out, we found that our car had been washed :-)

Accommodation: One of the best things about this property is the fact that it is 'small'....there are only 24 tents beautifully spread out across the property. Walking into my tent, I was blown away by the sheer size and beauty of it all! Amazing!!! We were in two tents next to each other, and the layouts were very different - which I thought was great! The tents have a huge wardrobe and dressing area; a coffee/tea making area (with a complimentary fruit basket); a beautiful huge patio overlooking the lake (only improvement would be some hammocks); HUGE, elegant bathrooms with a double shower - a rain shower on one end and a wall shower on the other end (given the amount of space in the tent, I would have gotten rid of the dressing table area and extended the bathrooms even more to include a bathtub...I think it's only the suites that have bathtubs/jacuzzis); the bedrooms are spacious and well laid out; excellent sleep quality; a great feature is the adjustable reading lights on the headboards.

Service: Elizabeth (the Assistant Manager) and her team gave us EXCEPTIONAL service! It was a wonderful experience as Kenyans to receive such great service from our fellow Kenyans! (Unfortunately, this is not always the case for Kenyans in Kenya!)

WIFI: Is available in the rooms and the main areas - but is charged as an extra (either per 24 hours or per hour). I had an issue connecting to the WIFI, but Eric - the IT guy - quickly and graciously sorted it out for me (Eric said that some Mac users have similar issues).

Gardens: It is great to see how hard, diligently and lovingly the team of "Garden Art" tend to the beautiful gardens on the property.

Rest & relaxation: if you just want to unwind in luxurious, naturally beautiful, tranquil surroundings, then this is the place for you! Many places to lounge about - your room, your patio, by the pool, in the gardens, in the main lounge... You can treat yourself to a spa treatment situated in a tent by the pool. Unfortunately, you cannot just take a stroll by the lake :-( You have to pay extra to have a guide take you... I think Serena should really review this! Given how much you end up eating during your stay... it would be good to be able to walk off and work up some more appetite as you wish. I have no problem going with a guide - given that there are wild animals in the area (there is an electric fence surrounding the camp)...I just have a problem having to pay for the guide...given that the cost of a stay here is not exactly "pocket-friendly"!

All in all, it was a wonderful wonderful experience. I have no hesitation in HIGHLY recommending Lake Elmentaita Serena Camp! Thumbs up Serena Group!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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27
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2012

Hi am from ghana and i had nice planed itinery from my travel agent based in kenya ,she planned for me two nights elementaita serena and two nights mara serena and one night serena mombasa .
the rooms are very nice and the food to .At elementaita the place is very quite and the nature its beutiful with lots of birds while the lake is salty any way i loved the luxury camp .mara was wonderful i saw so many animals went to massai village jumped with the massais .the serena mombasa loved the rooms and the beach was nice freshair to .My kenya travel agent cant wait to come at August for the world beast immigration .
Thanks twinkle travel for wonderful itinery cheers

Room Tip: Hi all i love to give u my holiday at elementaita its was beutiful the place has wonderful nature a...
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  • Stayed June 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2012

It's hard to complain about the Serena Lake Elmentaita. The huge tented rooms are immaculate, comfortable and well appointed. Four poster beds with good reading lights, a comfortable veranda overlooking the bush towards the lake, a large shower built for two, lots of storage and all the right amenities. The food was some of the best we've had in Kenya -with multi-course meals - very tasty soups and perfectly cooked meats, a nice variety of options, all served fresh and with attentive service.

The disappointment was that the hotel is about 300 meters from the lake, and there is no access - except by paying $30 per person for a guided walk. From the hotel's distance, Lake Elmentaita looks very inviting - mist rising in the morning, cliffs above the nearby shoreline, pelicans said to be breeding on the rocks. But there is no chance to go walking by its shorelines or sit quiety on the banks. In fact, the hotel grounds felt a little claustrophic - I had hoped to go running on the dirt roads, but it is prohibited. Of course, this is for one's one security - as buffalo roam these woods. But we thought the hotel could have a (perhaps elevated?) walkway to the water's edge, or just a guard to accompany guests to get a fresh breath of the lake air.
Bottom line is that if you are an activity seeker, this might not be your kind of place. But if you are looking for a quiet few days of lounging, Serena's created an excellent spot to unwind.

Room Tip: There are 25 rooms in an arc parallel to the lake. The restaurant & lobby sit between rooms 9 &a...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2012

Everything was good. Service, Meals, especially Tent. It does not look like tented camp. Each tent has sitting area, veranda. We stayed at No 22 and was able to see the lake. Some of tents were covered by trees so they would not able to see much view of lake from their veranda. Swimming pool is very small and was not maintained. Although the manager told us it became dirty due to too much rain. Hope they will maintain well. It is good to just lie down on sun beds for relaxing instead of swimming. We went for game drive but not much animals and the conservancy does not allow people to walk near the lake. It is not worth to go for game drive at all. It is better to go Elementaita lodge side so that we can walk near the lake.

Room Tip: No 22 is good to able to see the view of lake. In the morning it reminded us Ngorongoro, Tanzania be...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 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.
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2012

A beautiful spot in very easy reach of Nairobi and Lake Nakuru Park and Lake Bagoria. In the great rift valley. Stunning Camp. Great food and service was excellent. The bird life is amazing. A wonderful place to relax before or after long safaris.. The tents are world class and very defiantly worth a visit...

Room Tip: All Rooms are great. Honeymoon suite or deluxe room is amazing.. Away from it all..
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 4 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.
Nairobi
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2012

Spent a weekend at the facility with my husband and our experience was great and memorable. The staff were very friendly and always ready to go the extra mile to ensure that our stay was pleasant. The food was great and our room comfortable. I have always known Serena to be synonymous with excellent service and Lake Elementaita Camp definitely did not disappoint!

  • Stayed April 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.
Uppsala, Sweden
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

The camp is beautifully situated, bungalows="tents" comfortable and beautiful, pool and restaurant-bar areas also beautifully set. For smaller business meatings very OK. Nice, guided bird-watch walk just nice, but camp area is rather small and varieties not so impressive. Food OK and service very attentive - sometimes just a little bit too much. All in all, I can well understand people who go to this camp within easy reach from buzzling Nairobi for a short stay with a good book, but would find it a bit boring if visitng there with eg family.

Room Tip: "Honeymoon suite", nr 1, I believe is closest to lake shore, quiet and spacious.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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 Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp

Address: Soysambu Conservancy, Lake Elementaita, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Lake Elementaita
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Lake Elementaita
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 24
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