Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has assumed management of five renowned Kenyan hotels following their purchase by Kingdom Hotel Investments in a joint venture with IFA Hotels & Resorts and Fairmont. The 439-room collection encompasses Nairobi’s city-center Norfolk Hotel; two destination resorts, the Mount Kenya Safari Club and the Aberdare Country Club; as well as two premier safari lodges, the Ark and the Mara Safari Club. Plans are underway for US $25 million in phased enhancements to these properties, which will be renamed under the Fairmont banner in mid-2006.
“Following our recent expansion to Europe, we’re delighted to introduce Fairmont’s ideal of luxury hospitality to Kenya and the safari experience,” said William R. Fatt, Fairmont’s Chief Executive Officer. “This latest continent marks another successful milestone in Fairmont’s management-focused growth strategy, as well as an additional opportunity for our clientele to enjoy unparalleled access to one of the world’s truly exceptional wilderness locales.”
Opened in 1904, the Norfolk Hotel stands as one of Africa’s most talked about gathering places, hosting luminaries like President Theodore Roosevelt and Out of Africa’s Isak Dinesen. Today, the 167-room property continues to serve as a hub of Nairobi business and ideal safari departure point, with four restaurants, an outdoor pool, an elegant ballroom and four function rooms.
Just 190 kilometers (118 miles) to the north, the perennially popular Mount Kenya Safari Club features 115-rooms in cottages, villas and suites on 100 acres of grounds, as well as a nine-hole golf course, pool, tennis and varied opportunities for adventure including horseback riding, bird watching, fishing, and an animal sanctuary, as well as safaris. Founded by Oscar-winning actor William Holden, club membership included Winston Churchill, Bing Crosby and John Wayne.
Described as “Scotland with lions,” the unique 1,300-acre setting of the Aberdare Country Club encompasses forests, moorland and mountain streams. An easy three-hour transfer from Nairobi, this 1930s resort with 48 cottage-style accommodations began as the private residence of English landowners. Nearby, the ship-like Ark safari lodge with 60 cabin-style accommodations overlooks the Yasabara waterhole, an ideal spot for “Big 5” game viewing, including the leopard.
Just northwest of Kenya’s famous Masai Mara game reserve, the 50, tented accommodations of the Mara Safari Club are enhanced by deluxe beds, en suite baths, an expansive lodge and pool area. Guests can choose from a wide range of activities, including game drives and balloon safaris over the Mara plains, as well walks with an on-site naturalist and traditional dancing.
“While maximizing performance, Fairmont is committed to offering the most appealing, and luxurious tourism experience in Kenya’s famous wildlife region,” Fatt noted. “Fairmont’s strong presence in UNESCO and national park environments highlights our expertise in this area.”