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“Great Business Hotel - But Now I Want to Bring My Wife” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Fairmont The Norfolk

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Fairmont The Norfolk
Ranked #4 of 156 Hotels in Nairobi
Certificate of Excellence
Clifton Park, NY
Level Contributor
52 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Great Business Hotel - But Now I Want to Bring My Wife”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

This is my third trip to Nairobi. First visit I stayed at the Fairmont Norfolk. Second was at the Intercontinental. I'm back at the Fairmont for good reason. While the Intercontinental seems to be a more prestigious hotel, it's rooms are smaller and it has an antiseptic feel to it. Very business-like, but no personality. The Fairmont is the opposite.

You get the feel for the Fairmont when you drive up. It feels more like you're entering a lodge or a big residence than a hotel. The security staff, while compulsory in Nairobi at most hotels, always has a smile and a good word. Inside the hotel, I only need to say my name once. From then on, everyone calls me by my name. I'm not sure how they spread the word as they don't wear headsets like I've seen at other hotels that pull off this feat. They just seem to recognize me...even though I have met most of them only once.

Checkin has always been seamless. The staff is friendly and they go out of their way to make sure guests feel welcome and informed about the property. After checking in, the walk to the rooms takes you through a courtyard with beautiful native plants and trees. There are exotic birds chirping from sunrise to sunset.

Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Beds are large and mattresses are of high quality. Being one that can experience back problems in a bad bed, I greatly appreciate the quality of the mattress. There is always a selection of pillows from firm to soft. Televisions are large, HD, and have 20+ channels - not that I watch much TV while here (except for the occasional sporting event that I can get on ESPN, one of the channels they receive).

Since my last visit in 2012, the rooms have been upgraded to include multi-national electrical outlets (so I don't need my adapter), video and iPod/iPhone inputs, S-video, USB data and USB charge and audio. Very convenient. The bathroom is new and shiny. Everything works well and even the temperature control is better than my last visit. Plenty of wardrobe space and a small living area to kick back after work. The desk is big enough to hold my computer and allow me to do some writing. And WiFi is free if you signup (for free) to join the Fairmont President's Club.

I got room service and the food was excellent. The breakfast buffet is as good as any place I've been. Eggs, food cooked to order, breads, fruit, fish, Indian cuisine, fresh juice and the coffee is fabulous. Breakfast is a bit on the pricey side if purchased separately. It's free with my room package - which is equal to the base rate at the Intercon. I've had dinner at the grill in the lobby and the steaks are almost as good as you'd get in a US steakhouse.

The area around the hotel is a bit depressed although the entire hotel compound is enclosed and secure. It's like an oasis. I've had several business meetings in the outdoor bar, which has couches in the open air with attentive service (for tea, drinks, snacks). Wait staff is friendly and there when you need them.

I've used the gym and it is much better than most hotels and certainly among the best of the business hotels at which I've stayed. The pool is nice, clean and secluded. There are ample lounges and tables with umbrellas on the apron around the pool. The staff in the fitness center are also very attentive, bringing towels when you need them and offering assistance with equipment when needed.

What I just described is a very nice business hotel. However, I can't help but look forward to the trip my wife and I will eventually take together to Nairobi - to stay at the Fairmont. I'd recommend this hotel over almost any hotel at which I've stayed...not for the luxury. There more luxurious hotels. Not for the value. Certainly there are less expensive, very good hotels. But for the pleasant experience at a reasonable cost. This place is a gem. If you're in Nairobi, at least give it a try. I expect you'll be back.

Room Tip: Get a room overlooking the courtyard.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PeterKalish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, April 4, 2013
Dear Peter Kalish,

Thank you for choosing Fairmont The Norfolk for your business destination and for taking the time to leave a review.

We are delighted to hear that you had a wonderful time and enjoyed your overall experience during your recent stay with us.

We appreciate your highlights of our rooms, excellent food and we echo your sentiments with regards to our exceptional security and service team.

Once again, many thanks and we look forward to welcoming you and your wife in the near future.

Kind Regards

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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837 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (180)
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English first
Amman, Jordan
Level Contributor
76 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

Checked out before a while from the Fairmont, the Norfolk, Nairobi. This is maybe one of the most beautiful and elegant hotels on earth! This has been my second visit to Nairobi, and the Fairmont made it a memorable one. The property reminded of the movies where stories take place in the 19th century - my wife described our stay as a fairy tale. The hotel is clean, tidy, elegant, well-maintained - considering it's more than 100 years old - and everything just feels and smells majestic. It has an African feel, starting from the paintings in corridors to toilet accessories. Food was excellent, staff were very hospitable and friendly, and the service was professional and fast. The whole ambience provoked a feeling like it was heaven on earth. The hotel gardens are just so colorful and unique, and the style/theme is from the colonial era - very nice and cozy. Coming to Nairobi anytime soon - this is the place to stay! P.S. one last thing - the hotel is in the heart of Nairobi

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 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
Helpful?
4 Thank YousefOmar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, March 19, 2013
Dear Yousef,

Thank you very much for sharing your memorable stay at Fairmont The Norfolk.

It’s a joy to receive positive feedback from our guests, and especially as it pertains to excellent customer service and food. We pride ourselves in providing outstanding service, and we work each day to enhance the guest experience even further. We’re elated that you also enjoyed the whole ambience, beautiful gardens and the prime and convenient location

We look forward to welcome you back again in the near future.

Warm regards,

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Hotel had all the bellman whistles but in an understated way and has that old charm. The room was luxurious and was on the court side part of the hotel so was very quiet. Loved the bar area and the food in the restaurant was good, they make the best burgers! Breakfast was served on the verandah which was lovely but could easily get hot. It's next to the national university and it was graduation time during our stay. Traffic is terrible in Nairobi, graduation made it worse. I would certainly go back to this hotel again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 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
Helpful?
Thank Tumesecha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, March 19, 2013
Dear Tumesecha,

Thank you for your positive feedback.

We're glad you enjoyed your stay with us and are definitely looking forward to hosting you at Fairmont The Norfolk in the near future and making your stay exceptional, once again.

Warm regards,

Richard
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I had been away during the week of the election due to tribal tensions. It was so lovely to return and find the city a very different place - calm and peaceful. I treated myself to three nights at the Norfolk Hotel and was able to completely relax. I was celebrating my birthday alone as I have been traveling alone for 2 months. When Jemimah Kakindo, Food and Beverage manager, found out it was my birthday, she went out of her way to ensure the day was special. I was welcomed and she introduced me to Richard Kimenyi the General Manager who greeted me warmly as well. The restaurant staff were wonderful (robustly singing happy birthday) and gave me cake!. It was a very special treat and I highly recommend it. Elizabeth in the spa gave me a brilliant pedicure.

Room Tip: Rooms away from the spa and facing the central gardens are great.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
Helpful?
Thank Sarrah D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, March 19, 2013
Dear Sarrah D,

We’re delighted reading your review; thank you. We couldn’t be more thrilled or honored that you had such a wonderful experience at the Hotel. We’re so proud of our warm, welcoming and cordial staff, as we know that service is what makes the difference between a good stay and a great one.

It was also our pleasure to celebrate your birthday with you.

Many thanks once again for choosing Fairmont The Norfolk; we look forward to welcoming you back in the future for another special stay.

Warm regards,

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Honolulu, HI
Level Contributor
40 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

This hotel has everything, absolutely everything. The rooms are beautiful, wonderfully cool, comfortable to the hilt with nice baths and all amenities. Fully stocked fridge contains bottled water ($7.00 US for the small Avia bottle and ironically the larger bottle costs less). Nice large pool good for lap swimming but opens later in the morning around 8 AM. The breakfast buffet has absolutely everyrthing with a full selection of foods and pasteries, nothing lacking. The hotel layout is a little maze-like with a central courtyard and requires some thinking to find your room but plenty of staff around to help you orient yourself to the whole facility. I was turned around a bit each time I tried to return to my room. the pool is somewhat remotely located, not within the central courtyard. I can't imagine any disappoint with this hotel, not even for the most discriminating.

Room Tip: Might ask for a room closer to the front lobby with easier access and less maneuvering within the ma...
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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
Helpful?
Thank paulyduckduck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear Paulyduckduck,

Thank you for taking the time to write a positive review in regard to your recent stay at Fairmont The Norfolk.

I was delighted to see that you enjoyed your stay with us here at the hotel. Thank you for your feedback in relation to our beautiful rooms, excellent breakfast and helpful staff.
I apologize that you were not able to access our pool which now opens same time as our gym - 6:00am daily.

Once again, thank you for recommending Fairmont The Norfolk to fellow reviewers and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Best Regards,
Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dakar, Senegal
Level Contributor
126 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

This is a fine hotel, though not worth the prices they charge. And they charge for everything. Service is uneven. Some staff go the extra distance while others seem bored. Service by the pool is particularly easy going. The breakfast buffet - again not cheap - is served until 1000 though it seems staff stop replenishing things about 0900. We had to ask three times for a glass. Overall, for a hotel charging $300+ a night, it falls short of the mark. There is nothing wrong here, but I didn't get the impression that they were trying all that hard.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank wrightone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, March 4, 2013
Dear Wrightone,

Thank you for your feedback regarding your recent stay.

I note that our service delivery fell short of your expectation and I apologize for this shortcoming. I will look into pricing of our menu and share your service comments with the Restaurants Manager and Executive Chef in order to ensure service satisfaction of our guests in the future.

Your review helps us to identify the areas we fell short of your expectation and we take every measure to correct each area.

Hopefully you will give us another opportunity to serve you again and regain your trust.

Kind Regards,

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

I have been staying at the Norfolk regularly, say between five and ten times a year for the past eight years.
Since Fairmont took over it has become world class
in terms of comfort and above all service, which is exceptional, with genuine hospita
Ity and welcome from all staff.The rooms are spacious and comfortable, the grounds are a real oasis in a busy city, and the food and beverage choice is outstanding, the lunch buffets great and Tatu would give many high end steak restaurants in SA, London or New York a good run for their money.there is an ethos of continuous improvement and a real energy about how the staff go about their work.I have stayed in other so called high end hotels and Nairobi and they are WAY off the pace compared to the Norfolk.
I apcannot believe some of the negative comments belwo, thankfully they aroe in the minority, but some people love to moan.I have stayed here enough timekeeping sto say it is excellent
, and CONSISTENTLY excellent. Well done everyone.

Room Tip: 1937 block is where it's at !
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • 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
Helpful?
1 Thank Steven P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard K, General Manager at Fairmont The Norfolk, responded to this review, February 26, 2013
Dear Steven P,

Thank you for choosing Fairmont The Norfolk as your preferred Hotel of choice. We greatly appreciate the time you took to share your detailed and valued feedback with us.

It was a pleasure receiving your compliments about our rooms and services. I have also noted that you had an opportunity to dine in our restaurants and you had a memorable experience.

It is our goal to consistently offer superior service and satisfaction to our guests.

We look forward to another opportunity to be of service to you.

Kind Regards,

Richard
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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 Fairmont The Norfolk

Property: Fairmont The Norfolk
Address: Harry Thuku Rd, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Luxury Hotel in Nairobi
#6 Family Hotel in Nairobi
#7 Romantic Hotel in Nairobi
#7 Business Hotel in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont The Norfolk 5*
Number of rooms: 170
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just minutes from Nairobi's best attractions, including the home of Karen Blixen, from the Academy Award winning film 'Out of Africa', Fairmont The Norfolk offers luxurious guestrooms and suites, set amidst tropical gardens. It features plush furniture, flat screen TV, minibar, rainfall showers, and tea and coffee maker. Built in 1904, the hotel has been completely refurbished with a heated outdoor swimming pool, health club, sauna and steam rooms with massage facilities, tropical landscaped grounds, and award winning restaurants and bars from steak and seafood at Tatu restaurant, afternoon tea to Lord Delamere Terrace for international cuisine. The hotel is walking distance from artisanal craft shops, modern shopping centres, Sheldrick's Elephant Sanctuary, National Museums of Kenya and is the launch point for 'bucket list' worthy safari tours, which can be organized at the 24 hour concierge desk. A free shuttle bus is available to and from Jomo Kenyatta International airport, located 11 miles away. Business Guests are also offered a complimentary return shuttle ride to their office with free WiFi on board. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel Nairobi
Fairmont Hotel Norfolk
Norfolk Hotel Nairobi
Fairmont Hotel Nairobi
Norfolk Nairobi

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