AND THEN THERE WERE TWO …
(Posted 25th March 2016)
Kenya’s latest hotel, resort and lodge classifications have determined that only two properties in the Masai Mara Game Reserve and the adjoining conservancies deserve a full five stars, and it is no surprise, not for the informed travel trade and certainly not for this correspondent, that the Olare Mara Kempinski and the Mara Serena Safari Lodge are the two which took the honours.
Another Serena property, the Lake Elementaita Serena Camp, located in the South Rift area also surveyed by the Tourism Regulatory Authority, was also granted full five star standard, again, having recently stayed there, entirely justified.
The Kempinski Olare Mara Camp is located on the Olare Motorogo Conservancy, one of several providing a crucial buffer zone between the main reserve and the commercially used areas further outside the park. The words ‘Small but Oh la la‘ come to mind when describing that camp, where no luxury is lacking and where the food matches the superbly appointed accommodation of suites under canvas.
The Mara Serena Lodge, located on a ridge overlooking one of the main migration routes over the Mara River, too has captured the imagination of visitors in the past, again providing an award winning combination of service excellence, A1 world class facilities like a Maisha Spa and food of a variety and quality which temptation no diet can withstand.
The Lake Elementaita Serena is located in the Rift Valley between lakes Naivasha and Nakuru on what was for long called the Delamare Estate, now turned into a conservancy by the name of Soysambu. Described here in a recent travel article and reviewed on TripAdvisor has Serena set its own standards several notches higher and the luxurious camp and their dedicated staff deserve the five stars which have now been officially awarded to them when the Kenya Gazette Notice 1832 published the findings of the rating and ranking teams.
Next on the agenda of the Tourism Regulatory Authority is the Kenya coast and it remains to be seen how the Mombasa Serena Resort and Spa will be doing, alongside other much fancied places along the beaches of Diani and Watamu.
‘Tourism recovery must go hand in hand with an upgrading of the quality of our safari lodges, city hotels and beach resorts. The results published show that the inspectors were determined not to waste five stars on places which do not deserve them. Our visitors can now trust when they are told a place is five star that it is really five star. It will go a long way to help us reclaim our former glory as East Africa’s top destination‘ said a regular contributor when passing the information for publication.