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Surprise! Where the World’s Best Hotels Are

Tortilis Camp in KenyaIf you’re planning a vacation anytime soon [or ever for that matter], you have to check out Travel+Leisure’s Top 500 World’s Best Hotels. Considering Nduku and I will be traveling to Kenya next year, I was curious to see what Kenya had to offer. Living in Washington, DC, we have 6 on the list. Virginia has two Ritz-Carlton hotels in the DC region listed, and Maryland has, well, I’m sure Maryland has some nice hotels as well.

Kenya doesn’t strike me as a place where you have some of the world’s best hotels. I can see South Africa, Egypt, even Botswana or Zambia on the game reserves or national parks. The magazine grouped Africa with the Middle East, so naturally the sail-shaped hotel in Dubai and a little something in Israel or Jordan would be listed.


I was shocked to learn that it is in Kenya that the top-rated hotel in all of Africa and the Middle East can be found! Seriously? I may have underestimated these East Africans! There were only a total of 33 (out of the world’s top 500) in Africa and the Middle East [South Africa has 12 of them!], but Kenya claims 5 of them!

In her glowing Kenyan pride, Nduku said when we go to Kenya she’ll pay for us to stay a night in one. Of course she said this before looking at the prices [Or maybe she thought the prices were listed in Kenyan Shillings?], but here are her choices, any of which works for me, which I’m gong to hold her to! Kabisa sana!

Mara Safari Club

Fairmont Mara Safari Club in Kenya

The Fairmont Mara Safari Club is the top-rated hotel in all of Africa and the Middle East. For a mere $1,000+ a night you get to choose from one of these:

50 tents with four poster, pillow-top beds as well as a veranda overlooking the hippo and crocodile-filled river. Each of the 50 tents at Fairmont Mara Safari Club is superbly furnished with its own private, three-piece bathroom, including a number of ‘outdoor showers’ in select tents. The location provides a perfect base for visiting the Masai Mara, one of the world’s richest wildlife reserves, and home to an astounding array of animals including zebras, cheetahs, wildebeests, gazelles and of course the ‘Big Five.’ … The main building would house a dining room, bar and reception area for the comfort of our Guests. The grounds would feature winding paths through lush flora and boast a swimming pool and observation areas to gather and gaze at the hippos, the crocs and the incredible bird life that inhabits this part of Kenya.
Tortilis Camp

If the four figure price tag a night is a bit more than Nduku had in mind, I promise I won’t be disappointed in Tortilis Camp:

Tortilis Camp in KenyaTortilis Camp is located in “the Great Amboseli plains with its parched alkaline salt pans, strange mirages and oasis of marshes & lakes, dominated by the glistening majestic snow cap pf Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,894m/19,340ft). This is Maasai country, a proud, nomadic people, who have lived in harmony with nature for centuries. Huge herds of elephant and buffalo are common, together with lions and a host of antelope species. The Chyulu Hills are the natural border between the Maasai & the Kamba [Nduku’s people!] people and perfect for walking and riding safaris. On the far side of the hills lies the Tsavo National Park, bigger than Wales & one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries.”

Tortilis Camp in Kenya

Tortilis Camp in Kenya

Tortilis Camp in Kenya

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