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For many visitors to Kenya, Nairobi is little more than a gateway to the rest of the country. However, you may well find yourself spending a night there en route to your safari or beach getaway; or, you may plan to stay a little longer in order to experience the city's most fascinating sights. Either way, we have compiled a list of our favorite Nairobi hotels, including luxury boutiques, handy picks located near the airport and budget-friendly guesthouses. Whichever option most appeals to you, you can rest easy knowing that this list reflects the best in safety, comfort and convenience.
NB: Please note that rates were accurate at the time of writing, but are always subject to change.
This article was updated by Jessica Macdonald on 15th December 2017.
Nairobi Tented Camp
Nairobi National Park was established in 1946, long before the city burst its seams. Since 2010, visitors have been able to spend the night inside the park at the Nairobi Tented Camp. The safari-style eco-camp puts you within a few miles of the city center, and just 30 minutes from the international airport. Choose from nine luxurious double tents, all with en suite bathrooms, a verandah and solar lighting. Gourmet meals are prepared using the freshest ingredients and served in the main dining tent. Don't expect TV or WiFi - this is the closest you can get to a true safari experience without leaving the city. Spend the day sightseeing or exploring the park on a game drive or guided walk, then return for a sundowner and a comfy night under canvas. Rates start at $105 pp/ pn and include breakfast.
Located 20 kilometers from the city center in the suburb of Lang'ata, the Giraffe Manor sits on 12 acres of land with great views of the Ngong Hills. It offers a truly unique boutique experience, thanks to its partnership with Nairobi's Giraffe Centre. The center's rehabilitated Rothschild's giraffes wander the grounds of the manor, and frequently join guests for breakfast by poking their heads inquisitively through the dining room windows. The manor itself dates back to the 1930s, and has been converted into an intimate, upscale hotel with 12 double rooms decorated in colonial style. Besides the resident herd of Rothschild's giraffe, you can also spot warthog and bushbuck roaming free through the grounds. Room rates are inclusive of all meals and airport transfers and start at $550 pp/ pn.
Part of the City Lodge Hotel Group, the 4-star Fairview Hotel is conveniently located in the center of Nairobi, offering tourists and business travelers the convenience of being close to the capital's shops, offices and attractions. Renowned for the quality of its service, the Fairview boasts 127 rooms set amidst beautifully landscaped grounds. Standard in-room amenities include en suite bathrooms, electronic safes, cable TV and WiFi. There are four restaurants to choose from, and at the end of a busy day, you can order a drink from the sundowner bar and enjoy a quiet moment beneath the jacaranda trees at the edge of the swimming pool. If you're planning a longer stay, check out the hotel's modern apartments. Rates start from approximately $180 pp/ pn.
Stylish and contemporary, Eka Hotel is a 30-minute drive from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and just 15 minutes from Wilson Airport. As a result, it's an especially convenient, safe pick for travelers passing through the city in transit. There are 169 air-conditioned rooms to choose from, all with WiFi, cable TV and a king-size bed. All guests have exclusive access to the hotel gym and swimming pool, while the ground floor Galaxy Restaurant features a live show kitchen and an atmospheric outdoor terrace. If you're traveling on business, consider making the most of the hotel's multi-purpose conference facilities. Other hotel highlights include a bar, laundry services and complimentary parking (perfect for those planning a self-drive trip around Kenya). Rates start at $153 pp/ pn.
House of Waine
The House of Waine is a luxury boutique hotel situated on a beautifully landscaped plot of land in upscale Karen. Here, the elegance of the colonial era meets the comfort and convenience of the 21st century. All 11 rooms are individually decorated with decadent fabrics, and offer marble bathrooms, air-conditioning and complimentary WiFi. There are conference facilities on site, as well as a pristine pool and a restaurant serving freshly prepared food and baked goods. Designed to feel more like a grand home than a hotel, personal service and attention are highly valued at the House of Waine. Best of all, you're far from the hustle and bustle of central Nairobi, but still conveniently close to top attractions like the Karen Blixen Museum and Marula Studios. Rates start at $420 pp/ pn and include breakfast.
The top pick for those in search of contemporary loft-style accommodation, 5-star Tribe Hotel channels the best of African chic. It is located in a safe area of northern central Nairobi, in the Village Market - the enclosed shopping center that hosts the famous weekly Maasai market. Expect sleek lines, airy open spaces and an abundance of magnificent tribal crafts. The heart of the hotel is the library, while the rooftop terrace includes a cocktail bar and a restaurant serving the finest modern cuisine. Other highlights range from the heated pool to the Kaya Spa, while business travelers benefit from six on-site meeting rooms. The uniquely decorated rooms (137 in total), offer free WiFi, wooden floors, a bathtub and 300-thread-count sheets. Rates start at around $220 pp/ pn.
Also located in Karen, Macushla House is a friendly, comfortable option set within a lovely garden. The on-site restaurant serves fresh, home-cooked food, while the garden swimming pool is the perfect setting for afternoon cocktails. Throughout the grounds, you'll find peaceful places to sit and reflect, or keep an eye out for Kenya's exotic birdlife. The tranquility of life at Macushla makes it a popular choice for couples and young families. There are just six rooms, including single, double and triple floorplans, each with unique decor and inspiring views of the pool or the garden. Amenities for business travelers include a study and conference room. Bed and breakfast rates start at $145 pp/ pn, while half and full board options are available for an additional $35/ $75 pp respectively.
Miti Mingi Guesthouse
Located in northern Nairobi near the U.S. Embassy, Miti Mingi Guesthouse is a reliable budget option for those looking to stay somewhere affordable, safe and atmospheric. The name Miti Mingi means "many trees", and indeed the guesthouse is set amidst an idyllic garden filled with birds and blooming flowers. With just four en suite rooms, booking in advance is advised. Amenities include high-speed WiFi and a delicious breakfast, served al fresco every morning. There are restaurants nearby; or you can opt to self-cater in the guesthouse kitchen. Rooms start at $45 pp/ pn, and must be paid for in cash.