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“awesome hotel--bad location”

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Fairmont Mara Safari Club
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“awesome hotel--bad location”
Reviewed June 5, 2010

the tents were absolutely beautiful and the service excellent---food was good too. I would have given it 5 stars but the location ruined it. It is not inside the Mara reserve so you have to drive really far in your bumpy jeep to get there---waste of time and not good on your butt!
we had a 2 hour hell ride from our balloon company at 4:00am in the dark over boulders most of the way---we actually were bumped out of our seats several times---not for the faint hearted. the wildebeest migration was great once we got there and so was the balloon ride but it's now 2 years later and we still have awful memories of that ride. stay in the mara reserve--not at this hotel---PS--my 15 year old was freaked out at night by the hippos noises--my daughters had their own tent but we had to switch so neither of them was alone---might be scary for young kids (and nervous teens!)

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank shac1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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525 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed May 26, 2010

I stayed at the Mara Safari Club in January. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. The first night I was there, there were a few other visitors. The second night, my guide and I were the only guests in the camp. It is very quiet, except for the 'hippo speak' during the day. At night, they go elsewhere to graze. There are some dogs that belong to locals across the river that can get to barking but they didn't disturb me. The staff was extremely friendly, food very good. My best dessert of the trip was here - a warm macadamia nut torte with ice cream. Tents were amazing.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank MichiganLaurena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2010

It is lovely to stay in luxury tents which are so perfectly designed in a quiet setting (if you don't mind no door on the ensuite loo - be careful who you share with!). The service and staff are very attentive but it is certainly the most expensive place I have ever stayed in.

The Fairmont is the parent owner and their online booking system is deliberately obscure. For example a room that starts of at $309.00 on the first booking page actually ends up costing you approx $650.00 per night! It will not tell you this final rate until you input your credit card details. I rang the American head office afterwards to complain; interestingly no member of staff could work out the price either - they were bashing away on calculators in the background adding on all the extra taxes and levies that are not clearly displayed. Staff at the Club itself have absolutely no idea how much it costs to stay in their hotel either - so its all a very frustrating and expensive experience.

Bear in mind that the park where the safaris take place from the hotel is not the Masai Mara per se - it is a reserve on the northern edges....You still pay $60 per person per day to go in. It's fine of course; if you are lucky yes you will spot the Big 5 but there is not an abundance of animals.

Kenya is a very expensive country - and known as being one of the most expensive places in Africa for a safari - but I still think you should be able to find cheaper accomodation at similar quality than the Mara Safari Club.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank LondonLuckyDucky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taiwan
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2010

The hotel was simply beautiful, it's situated right next to the Mara River so all tents are spread along the river, where Hippos swim by all the time. The staff were all super friendly and helpful. The buffet was amazing as well. We saw all big fives in our safari trip and our driver, Cosmos, was just the best! The only complaint I had was the unstable water temperature (oscillating between hot and cold) in the morning. But I seemed to be the only one with that problem among my group. Despite that, I'd still highly recommend Mara Safari Club to anyone!

  • Stayed March 2010
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Helpful?
Thank iciecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shrivenham
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2010

We have just returned from a 3 night 4 day break at the Mara Safari Club. Our holiday has exceeded all expectations, the whole expereince was fantastic. Tented accomadation was indeed luxurious, you could easily forget you were under canvas, spotlessly clean and bug free! The reception rooms and dinning areas were tastefully designed and t he food excellent. All the staff were friendly and helpful. However the highlight of our holiday was our driver ROBERT. He made our drives so exciting and informative. His knowledge of the terrain and animals enabled us to see 37 varieties of animals and birds, including the Big Five.
We feel we should mention that we booked this holiday independently, flying from Heathrow to Nairobi, then onwards to Mombassa, where we stoped with friends in Kilifi prior to going on safari. Our flights were with Kenyan Airways which we can recommend. Plenty of leg room and adequate food and drink. Flights to the safari lodge were with Blue Sky a 20 seater aircraft which flies over the plains and close to Kilamanjaro to land at an airstrip conveniently close to your chosen lodge.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank JUDIShrivenham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wirral UK
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed January 29, 2010

Very relaxing stay in a top notch location. Tents were stunningly luxurious and the outside shower was fun (inside one if you prefer). The food was of a high standard for Kenya, and the staff were amazingly kind and attentive all the time.
Loads of wildlife in the conservancy, we had seen leopards, cheetahs, lions, elephants, hyena, ostrich, buffalo and many more after just 2 drives.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank redletterday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 216 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2010

The scenery you see in the Mara is like you are watching a National Geographic high-def program --but it's real--and you're part of the show! Coupled with the luxury rooms and service at the Mara Safari Club, this trip was one of the highlights of my travel experiences! Going during Migration Season was a treat. After a two hour wait in the hot sun, we saw hundreds of tentative zebra and wildebeest storm the river. It was magical. The crocs weren't on their game; there was only one casualty. We saw many animals and most of the Big 5 except for a leopard.

Arrival:
We left wilson airport and arrived via small plane (actually series of planes) onto a basic the dirt airstrip a five-min drive from the resort. "Jambo" excitedly proclaimed the security guard as we were whisked through the front gate in our rugged land cruiser. As you walk up the entrance into the main lodge, you're offered a cool, scented towel and freshly squeezed mango juice. Even though we get there around 11am, check-in is quick and painless.

Location:
Located along the meandering mara river, the property is picturesque. You feel safe at all times. When Fairmont acquired the property (along with the Norfolk and Mt Kenya Resort) three years ago, they undertook a major renovation. The property, lodge and rooms are exquisitely appointed with tasteful, authentic decorations.

Staff/Service:
The staff at this resort are the most genuine, thoughtful and kind individuals I've ever encountered at a hotel. Within hours, most of the staff knew our names. The staff at this property have now become my benchmark. Many have been with company long before it was a Fairmont and seem genuinely happy in their roles. Upon asking the staff about their situations, they mentioned that Fairmont was one of the best employers in the region...who knows...

Food:
Oh the soups; I LOVED the soups at lunch and dinner. You'll know what I mean when you go. All meals have great selection and offer tastes for every preference. With no alarm clocks in the rooms, each morning the hot chocolate/coffee wake-up just added to the whole authenticity of the experience.

Rooms:
Who wouldn't want to stay in a luxury tent? The rooms were comfortable with a rustic-elegance feel. They were the kind of rooms that made you want to curl up and read a book when you weren't on a game drive or eating....We took the 4pm flight back to Nairobi. After our 11am check-out, the hotel staff was nice enough to give us an older room to change and freshen-up in prior to departing the resort (since the resort's new rooms were at full capacity).

Tips:
- keep your tent zippers closed at all times, i came within milliseconds of sharing my tent with a baboon
- bring earplugs --the hippos are amazing to look at but can be loud at night. actually, while falling asleep we giggled at the noises that came out of their mouths and noses.
- bring warm clothes--it can be chilly for the morning or afternoon (when the sun goes down) game drives
- bring a good camera, we only brought a point-and-shoot sony digital and i'm wishing we could rewind and go back with a better camera
- become a fairmont president club member--you get free wireless
- you MUST go on an all-day game drive, that was the highlight for us in terms of seeing more territory and animals.
- not sure if they do this for everyone, or just people who stay 4-nights or more, but the entire staff brings you a cake and sings you a song the night before you leave. it's a nice touch and I can still hum the tune.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank tripstyler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fairmont Mara Safari Club

Property: Fairmont Mara Safari Club
Address: C14, Keekorok | P.O. Box 58581, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Fairmont Mara Safari Club 4*
Number of rooms: 50
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Mara Safari Club Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Fairmont Mara Safari Hotel
Mara Safari Club
Fairmont Masai Mara National Reserve
Masai Mara National Reserve Fairmont
Fairmont Mara Safari Club Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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