12 Best 5-Star Hotels In Nairobi, Kenya

12 Best 5-Star Hotels In Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya. Land of the big 5, sun-soaked safaris and the endless beaches of the Kenyan coastline. Visitors pour into Nairobi all year round. They visit on honeymoons and ‘once in a lifetime’ trips to the Maasai Mara. They come to the city on business and on their way to the white sand beaches of Watamu and Diani. The wealthy Nairobi upper class, the influx of affluent expats and huge numbers of tourists mean that there is tremendous demand for 5 star hotels in Nairobi. 

Luxury hotels in Nairobi are located in wealthy suburbs such as Karen, Lavington, Gigiri and Westlands. In Nairobi CBD, 5-star hotels are more business-focused but still thrill with high-end facilities. 

Explore my list of the best 5-star hotels in Nairobi.

Villa Rosa Kempinski 

Villa Rosa Kempinski is one of the newer luxury hotels in Nairobi. Opened in 2013, The Kempinski is renown for being one of the most luxurious 5-star hotels in Nairobi.

Located about 15 minutes from Nairobi CBD along the frantic Chiromo road. Its position near the hubbub of shops and restaurants that makes up Westlands that makes it convenient for business people and holidaymakers.

Notable for its pale pink exterior, this hilltop hotel is decadent in its frills and furnishings. It has 200 rooms, a spa, fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool and 4 restaurants. The fabulous Tamourin – a rooftop bar and restaurant is one of the best places to dine and catch a drink in the city. 

Each of the 200 spacious rooms is elegantly furnished and come with minibar, desk and a flat-screen TV. Some rooms have balconies and all have far-reaching views across Nairobi city.

Best Parts?

The Kempinski is one of the most extravagant hotels in Nairobi. Visit Villa Rosa Kempinski if you are looking for over the top indulgence in one of the finest hotels in town. 

Worst Parts?

Sited along a busy road the hotel can be a little noisy, particularly when outside at the pool or the rooftop bar. Bear in mind this is a city centre hotel and Nairobi is a hotpot of traffic jams and building sites all hours of the day. 

Summary?

At the upper end of luxury hotels in Nairobi. A fabulous, centrally located, hotel that is dripping in opulence. The restaurants are excellent and the spa and pool area sumptuous.

The Giraffe Manor

I am mid-level miffed with The Giraffe Manor. All the other luxury hotels in Nairobi have no problem with me having a little snoop around, but the Giraffe Manor refuses to let me past its hallowed gates. To rub salt into the wound, I live next door and drive past it every day. Perhaps the privacy and secrecy demanded by this famous Nairobi hotel make it all more irresistible. This hotel so beloved by Instagrammers that it claims to be one of the most Instagrammed properties in the world. 

The Giraffe Manor is a beautiful colonial-era building in Hardy. It is attached to the Giraffe Sanctuary, where tourists flock to hand feed wild giraffes. While we peasants can feed Giraffe at the sanctuary for a couple of dollars the rich and famous can sleep and eat with the rare and endangered Rothschild Giraffe. Set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, the Giraffe Manor is one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings. The original manor was built in 1930 and is an ivy-clad, stone-built beauty. In 2011 a second building was built using original materials and in the same inimitable style. 

There is a restaurant, bar, terrace and excellent spa. All prices are full board inclusive of alcohol.

There are 10 incredibly beautiful rooms and 2 suites at the luxury hotel. Each piece of furniture is unique to the room, individually hand chosen and often antique. 

Best parts

The Giraffe, of course. The giraffes are wild but used to humans and will poke their heads in the manor windows to pinch your breakfast or glide elegantly past as you sit on the terrace. 

As the hotel is adjacent to the Giraffe sanctuary you can enjoy guided walks through the local woodland. With the high possibility of bumping into a giraffe, warthog or bushbuck, or even the occasional leopard and lion.

Worst parts

The cost. Your wallet will haemorrhage cash, but it may be worth it for a truly once in a lifetime hotel experience and that, oh so precious, Instagram photo. Read the full blog from The Battered Suitcase, here. She examines whether the cost of the Giraffe Manor is worth it (and decides that yes, it is)

Summary

Possibly the most unique hotel in Kenya. Bespoke 5 star luxury in a 1930’s Nairobi hotel located close to the bars and restaurants or Karen.

Hemingways Nairobi Hotel 

Mbagathi Ridge is the best road in Karen and its crowning jewel is the exclusive Hemingways Nairobi Hotel. This plantation-style hotel exudes quiet splendour in a rural setting. Karen is 15km away from the city and probably too far for business meetings in Nairobi CBD but it has a leafy charm that is not to be dismissed out of hand. Karen is the best place to base yourself for Nairobi National Park, the Giraffe Centre and the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.

Hemingways Nairobi has a spa, outdoor swimming pool and five star restaurant, serving contemporary European cuisine, and their famous Jopur steaks. The hotel has an elegant cocktail bar and several meeting rooms.

Rooms are decorated in light breezy colours and have a seating area, balcony or terrace, and en suite bathroom. The suites have a dining area and well-equipped kitchenette. Free WiFi and parking. 

Best Parts?

The setting overlooking the Ngong Hills and the countrified elegance of the hotel transport you from Nairobi city into a bygone era. Dress for dinner, sup cocktails on the terrace and watch the sun sinks into Karen Blixen’s famous hills. 

Worst Parts?

Not suitable for children. The idea of my kids screaming up the quiet hallways is enough to bring me out in a sweat. 

Hemingways 5 star hotel is for romantic nights and business treats only.

Summary?

If you don’t need to be in the city centre this is the luxury hotel in Nairobi that I would stay in. Refined, rarified and rural. 

Nairobi Serena Hotel

The Nairobi Serena Hotel is a 5 star hotel in Nairobi CBD. Located right in the middle of town, it has great access to the central business district as well as the shops, restaurants and bars that dot central Nairobi. The Nairobi Serena hotel is the No. 1 choice for visiting business people and is equipped accordingly with executive suites, meeting rooms, global connectivity, business support and conference facilities. This luxury hotel is a member of the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ group.

The Nairobi Serena hotel is decorated in pan-Africa style with art and design from across the continent. 

The facilities include a fitness centre and spa, an outdoor pool located next to the Askum bar. The Mandhari restaurant offers a fine dining experience to the hotel guests. 

Room are executive style decorated in bold African colours and come with TV, air-conditioning and a private bathroom. Free Wi-Fi is provided.

Best Parts?

The central location and business facilities make this Nairobi hotel the ideal place for business meetings, conferences and visiting executives. The hotel is efficient and caters to all your business needs. 

Worst Parts?

Nairobi Serena Hotel is a business-focused more than a high-end luxury. Whilst the pool with its towering palms and cocktail bars mimics luxurious escapes it’s hard to forget you are in the centres of Kenya’s bustling capital city. 

Summary?

Great Nairobi business hotel in the centre of town. 

Fairmont at the Norfolk

A national treasure The Norfolk opened its doors in 1904 and has been keeping its guest in sartorial style ever since. A celebrated Kenyan landmark this colonial-era building is set in tropical gardens and located just 3km from the CBD. While it doesn’t have the pomp and glory of newer buildings, the hotel has a full range of facilities including a health club, fitness centre and sauna, heated outdoor pool and 6 restaurants. The restaurants include a steak house, wine bar, poolside restaurant and the historically evocative Lord Delamere Terrace restaurant with a full a la carte menu.

The 27 suites and 143 rooms are plump with high thread count sheets, colourful artworks and bright styling. Each room has a flat-screen TV, marble bathroom, and views of the lush garden. Suites have a seating area and many rooms have terraces that lead out to the gardens and pool. 

 Best Parts?

Staying in a piece of history. In the early 1900’s Nairobi was still a frontier town, filled with wooden buildings, The Norfolk advertised itself as the only stone-built, tiled roof hotel in the city. It was the epitome of luxury, attended by dignitaries from all over the globe and serving as basecamp, and a retreat for those wishing to explore Kenya and build a life here. Staying in the Norfolk is to experience a piece of Kenya’s colonial history. 

Worst Parts?

It’s old. Is that a negative? Not in my book but it does lack the finesse of some of the newer hotels.

Summary

Stay in a colonial-era hotel in the centre of town. A brick and mortar story, telling tales of a frontier town.

Radisson Blu Hotel

The Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi is located in Upperhill, a wealthy enclave close to the nightlife of Westlands and the business venues of the central business district. Those visiting Nairobi and looking for a recognisable name can rest assured that the Radisson group continues to deliver its brand of upmarket décor, service and facilities within this recommended hotel in Nairobi. 

The hotel was built in 2015 and has contemporary interiors and modern conveniences. It is located next to the Nairobi Arboretum a vast forest that hosts a variety of indigenous trees, animals and birds. The Arboretum offers hotel residents the chance to escape the Nairobi high rises and spend an hour experiencing Nairobi as it was 100 years ago. This five star hotel in Nairobi has a swimming pool, spa with sauna, steam rooms and a fitness centre. The hotel has extensive business facilities with a vast 500 square meters of event space including a ballroom. 

The Radisson Blu Nairobi has 122 rooms and suites most of with views over the Nairobi Arboretum. All rooms come with Apple TV, a work desk, down feather blankets, 24-hour room service and free WiFi 

Best parts 

Its position next to the Arboretum allows residents to experience some of the wonders of wild Kenya without travelling far from the city.  

Worst parts

Nothing really. It is just a bit dull by Nairobi standards. I’ve not slept here and the few negative reviews on TripAdvisor are nothing to be concerned about. It’s Radisson. It does what it says on the tin

Summary

A global brand name hotel that will reassure new visitors to Africa of its continued standards.  

Sankara Hotel 

Sankara hotel is one of the top luxury hotels in Nairobi. Sankara is part of the Marriot International Group, more specifically their Autograph Collection which is their luxury hotels arm. Slap bang in the heart of Westlands which is one of the best places for restaurants in Nairobi. 

Sankara Hotel Nairobi is close to the business district and is an ideal choice for someone looking for a well-known brand name hotel in the middle of town.  

The Sankara has 6 restaurants including Graze an award-winning steakhouse, a Parisian themed restaurant and the signature Sarabi rooftop bar which has expansive views of Nairobi and a pool. 

There is a gym, outdoor pool and free parking and Wi-Fi throughout. Sankara Nairobi is decorated in a classy, elegant style: dark wood, walls and floors with the odd pop of colour and works of art by famous African artists.

The 168 rooms offer posh bedding, marble bathrooms, smart TVs, ergonomic workstations and free W-Fi. Guests in concierge-level rooms and suites enjoy access to the yummy Club amenities (Trust me, I’ve sunk more than a few cocktails here in my time). 

Best parts 

The rooftop bar and pool are divine. In fact, for a chain hotel (not my favourite) I really like Sankara which standard apart from its competitors with more individualistic styling and some great restaurants. 

Worst parts 

It’s a chain. I’m such a snob. There is nothing wrong with chain hotels. Chains are great. You know what you are getting, I just feel that Kenya is wild and adventurous and Marriot Hotels… well they aren’t!

Summary 

A reputable brand offering smart, stylish hotel with all the facilities and some really good restaurants. A fab place to drink cocktails and gaze across Kenya’s capital city.

The Sarova Stanley 

The Sarova Stanley is the oldest recommended 5 star hotel in Nairobi, pipping Fairmont at the Norfolk by just two years. The Sarova Stanley, formerly called The Stanley was built in 1902 and occupies a prime spot in the centre of the business district, on the corner of Kimathi Street and Kenyatta Avenue. This Nairobi CBD hotel offers easy access to the shops, markets, bars, restaurants and, of course, the business areas of central Nairobi. 

The hotel has an outdoor pool, a fitness centre and spa, ballroom. boutique shop, chemist and optician. There are nine meeting and conference rooms with audio-visual equipment, and a business centre.

This 5 star hotel in Nairobi CBD has 3 restaurants: the Thorn Tree Café; the Thai Chi Restaurant; and the Pool Deck Restaurant. The Thai Chi restaurant has been voted one of the most authentic Thai restaurants in East Africa and is worth a visit.  

The Exchange Bar, named for the Nairobi Securities Exchange, is the successor to the Long Bar, where local stocks were first traded in Nairobi.

The Sarova Stanley has seen many incarnations, it began life as The Victoria where it was four rooms above a shop. The café is named after the Naivasha thorn tree in its centre. Travellers used to pin messages for friends onto the thorns of the tree. The current tree is the third of the same variety.

Its 212 rooms are large, sumptuously decorated, have stunning views over the city and all come with free Wi-Fi.

Best parts

It’s a colonial landmark, a living piece of history that has evolved with the city and grown into a formal, elegant and well-equipped hotel in a prime part of Nairobi. The restaurants are top-notch and worth a visit even if you aren’t staying in the hotel in Nairobi.

Worst parts

The Nairobi CBD isn’t the safest area of town, particularly at night, so you may want to think twice before strolling around the area. The centre of town location means the traffic is hectic and noise is continuous.

Summary

Beautiful, elegant, hotel with fine restaurants and well-appointed rooms. Convenient city location if you don’t mind noise and traffic.

Dusit D2 

You will find this immaculate Nairobi hotel in the luxurious Riverside Drive development, a place that houses offices, expensive cosmetic surgeons and some delightful spots to eat. Riverside Drive is a hidden gem in the hoi poloi of Nairobi’s central Westlands area, a place of cool stone buildings, marbled floors and chunky crystal glasses of whisky. 

Dusit D2 Nairobi has an outdoor pool, the award-winning, Devarana spa and fitness centre. There are meeting rooms, a large conference space and an onsite business centre. 

The Dusit D2’s two cafés are invariably filled with business folk and its bar and restaurant include the well-loved Soko restaurant which serves traditional Kenyan food. 

Dusit D2 Nairobi hotel has 101 rooms classically designed with a muted colour scheme complimented with touches of ochre and mustard. Fairly classic business hotel décor. Free WI-Fi throughout the hotel. 

Best parts

Its clean, elegant lines and location in a business park offer a quieter more serene option for a Westlands hotel. The Dusit D2 is run by a Thai conglomerate and the service, bars and restaurants are as quietly efficient as you would expect.

Worst parts

Lacking in character. If you are looking for a business hotel or overnight for your family then this ticks the box. If you are looking to experience Kenyan history or culture then you might want to look further out of town or head to one of the older hotels. 

Summary

A clean, bright, efficient, all-rounder that caters for business and travellers needs. Offers a quiet retreat from the Nairobi traffic but lacks that Kenyan pizazz. 

House of Waine 

Interesting fact. House of Waine is owned by my old landlord. This boutique hotel in Nairobi is a family-run hotel located in lovely leafy Karen ( just up the road from my old house). They run the hotel with the same quiet efficiency in which they used to collect rent. A great option for someone looking for a smaller, luxury hotel in Karen. House of Waine sits on 2.5 acres of lush garden. You’ll sit outside and spot monkeys leaping through the trees, the hyrax shrilling through the night and sometimes if you are lucky enough, the distant call of a hyena. There is an outside pool, onsite restaurant and bar. 

House of Waine, Nairobi offers a meeting room for 20 people with full AV equipment. 

The 11 rooms are filled with light and immaculately decorated with marbled bathrooms. There is the option to rent a cottage which comes with its own kitchen and two bedrooms, a perfect place to stay with the family.

Best parts

House of Waine’s setting in a typical Karen garden filled with mature trees and wildlife. A great option for families visiting Nairobi who can use the cottage and experience 5 star hotel luxury with the benefit of their own space. Located close to Nairobi National Park, Giraffe Centre and the elephant orphanage as well as the Karen bars and restaurants. 

Worst parts  

House of Waine Nairobi is very much on the outskirts of Nairobi. Whilst we have some great restaurants in Karen you are looking for bright city lights, this isn’t the place for you. 

Summary

High standard, boutique hotel in Karen with onsite restaurants 

Hermosa Garden Hotel

Hermosa Garden Hotel is brand new to Nairobi in 2021. A behemoth of a place built opposite Hemingways hotel, it is modern in style. With sandstone coloured cement, bountiful use of marble and a smashing swimming pool which you can pay to swim in even if you aren’t resident at the hotel. It’s in the same location in Karen as Hemingways but its position on the opposite side of the road means its misses out on the Ngong Hills views.

Hermosa is rated as a Five Star Hotel in Nairobi and it has a wealth of facilities to back this up with 3 bars, two restaurants, spa & wellness facility, swimming pool, Sauna & steam, Curio Shop, Business Center, Executive boardrooms and a large conference that can host up to 150 People. It’s too early to see how people rate it but I’ve wandered around and while it lacks the glamor of some of it’s counterparts it is sleekly efficient in design and service. Perfect for business visits.

Hermosa has 30 rooms, including a presidential suite, and king suite. Rooms have a large screen HD TV, a parlour, kitchen and fridge.

Best Parts

It’s huge outdoor swimming pool set in an abundance of greenery. Mbagathi is a quiet lane giving the hotel a country feel even if the architecture of the hotel doesn’t quite match with the ambience of the garden. Full service, spotlessly clean and functional hotel ideal for business visits or overflows from Hemingways.

Worst Parts

This five star hotel in Nairobi doesn’t make the best of its country location or potential for stunning views. Apart from the quiet garden you could be anywhere in Nairobii

Summary

Neat as a pin, brand new hotel in a lovely rural location.

Emara Ole Serena

The Emara Ole Sereni is the only five star hotel on this list that overlooks Nairobi National Park. The Emara Ole Sereni occupies prime position for animals gazing situated on the park border directly opposite a watering hole. You can take a swim and search for lions or sip a cocktail and watch the sun set over the park and the Ngong Hills in the far distance.

This is where it gets confusing. Ole Sereni is a well established hotel in Nairobi, but recently they have built a second far larger, far grander and far more five star hotel called the Emara Ole Sereni. Its literally bumped up next to the original with the same views across the park and the same proximity to Mombasa Road. As far as I can figure out the Emara caters more to the business crowd with huge conferencing and meeting venue whilst the quieter, less noisy Ole Sereni is more for tourists. Either way the The newer Emara Ole Sereni is far grander with an amazing rooftop bar that is rapidly becoming the place to be seen, the wonderful Acacia restaurant and a cafe. Both hotels have rooftop bars, pools, park views and sumptuous decor. 

Bedrooms at both hotels are ultra modern and contemporary. The Emara offers small apartments for business people who are staying for longer periods of time which come with kitchenettes. Both hotels have suites with jacuzzi’s and balconies overlooking the park. All rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi, large TVs, mini bars.

Best part

The location overlooking Nairobi National Park and the rooftop bars and pools the celebrate this view. The hotels are very convenient for Jomo Kenyatta International airport as they are just 15 minutes (traffic prevailing by car)

Worst part

The confusion between the two hotels. Why build another, better hotel next door. I’m so confused. Can someone clear it up for me please. Plus its location on the Mombasa Road, the hotel has the park on one side but on the other is possibly the worst road in the whole of Kenya. Beset by eternal traffic and roadworks. The soundproofing stops the noise but nothing will stop the fug of traffic fumes.

Summary

The Emara is one of the newest and most grand hotels in Nairobi. Both versions of Ole Sereni are perfect for short term business travellers or people passing through Nairobi that are looking for easy access to the airport and the chance to spot a lion.

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