MAASAI MARA, Kenya, Feb 6 – In the previous article “Breakfast with Koffi, in the park” I promised to take you through the stylish, recently-refurbished Fairmont Mara Safari Club which hosted a couple of journalists for a weekend in the “eighth wonder of the world.”
After a morning game drive during which we encountered Koffi, (a baby rhino named after the grey-haired former United Nations Secretary General), we were back to the club.
The daring orange wall, a beautifully decorated lobby, blending both the traditional and modern style is the hallmark of this luxurious hotel.
Unlike other hotels that have the traditional long desk reception, here you find tastefully decorated stations that usher you to the bar, dining areas and the kitchen. The dining area leads out to a raised patio where drinks and bitings are served as patrons watch hippos and crocodiles in the Mara River.
Serenity is the feeling that surrounds you as you take in the trimmings of this camp. General Manager Munene Ngotho confirms this to be their major selling point. It is surrounded by lush gardens and trees; an oasis of greenery that makes you feel like the individual next to you could almost hear the thoughts running through your mind.
The camp is located on 40 acres of the 100 that the Fairmont group operates. It consists of 51 tented rooms – 26 of them regular and 25 deluxe. By regular, they mean spacious, fine-looking canopied beds, complemented with nice pieces of ornaments, hand woven rugs and a large shower. Nothing in terms of cleanliness, order and a sense of personal touch has been left to chance.
The deluxe rooms provide for an outdoor shower ideal for honeymooners who could take a shower under the sun, stars or in the rain. The camp further boasts a heated pool with a massage parlor right next to it.
It is no wonder Fairmont Mara was awarded the third most luxurious camp by the Travel and Leisure magazine from the UK. This is the kind of place one would like to retreat to during those times you need total rest and no interference from the outside world.
Among those who wanted to ‘hide from the world’ according to Mr Ngotho, include; retired President Daniel Moi, Desperate Housewives star Terri Hatcher, Superman Star Dean Kane, actors Roger Moore and Louis Gosset Junior. I mean, with such a guest list which manager would not want to share!
Mr Ngotho told us the story of a client from the Netherlands who shipped a banner from his country to the Mara, printed “SASHA WILL YOU MARRY ME?” The instructions were for the camp management to have the banner laid out at the Ngerende airstrip, and the pilot was to circle the airstrip when the client and his beau arrive.
Well, you can guess how this tale ended. Since then, Mr Ngotho says, the couple has made the lodge their annual holiday destination. “They are actually bringing their first born daughter for this year’s holiday,” he boasts.
The hotel has employed a creative charging concept called ‘Bar Rates’ which is dynamic dependent on the global market rates.
“Our high season begins on December 20 to end of March, while the low season runs from April to end of June. The other peak season is between July and August during the wildebeest migration,” Mr Ngotho explained.
A year ago, the lodge underwent Sh400 million renovations with more developments planned in the future including the construction of a modern spa.
The recommended minimum period of stay at the facility is at least three days for one to see all the big five. Which include the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo.
Fairmont Mara Safari Club is a five-hour leisurely drive or a 35 minutes flight from Nairobi.
Air Kenya Aviation, Safari Link and Fly 540 offer daily flights betwen the Masai Mara and Nairobi. Private charters also provide flights to the Masai Mara. The hotel operates courtesy vans to the Ngerende airstrip, which is four kilometers away.