Where to stay in Kenya

A palatial safari lodge bang in the middle of the Great Rift Valley nature reserve, versus a flashy Nairobi hotel.

Shompole, Rift Valley

Ten years ago Shompole opened as Kenya's first designer lodge. It now has plenty of competition, but remains one of the best safari lodges in the country. The rooms are a luxurious, private oasis, slap-bang in the middle of the nature reserve in the Great Rift Valley.

How they rate it

The rooms are "palatial", says Brian Jackman in The Daily Telegraph. Each one is a separate hut with a thatched roof and minimal walls. So you are semi-open to the elements, but safe from the wildlife. Water "flows through each open-sided room, collecting in private plunge pools, to act like air conditioning", says Lucy Gillmore in The Independent. There are "wonderful views all around", says Bruce Parry in The Observer. He describes Shompole as his favourite hotel.

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The menu

The food is "stunning", says Cond Nast Traveller. Guests can eat in the main dining area, which enjoys fantastic views of Mount Shompole and the Rift Valley. Or you can arrange to eat in your lodge, by the pool, or in the bush.

The cost

You can stay for £425 per person per night, all inclusive with To Escape To. For more information, visit www.toescapeto.com or call 020-7060 6747.

Tribe The Village Market Hotel, Nairobi


Most of Nairobi's luxury hotels are non-descript buildings offering paint-by-numbers luxury. Tribe is a bit different. It aims to be luxurious, modern and African.

How they rate it

The hotel is "utterly modern, fusing slick Manhattan loft interiors with an earthy African warmth", says Daniel Metcalfe in The Independent. Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman have both relaxed in the spacious sometimes flashy rooms. Much of the furniture has been designed by local artist Jutta Gavidia-Wilhelm and constructed in the vicinity. This results in furniture that is interesting and unique.

The overall craftsmanship of the place is "impressive", with sofas "so tall they form pods" and "innumerable discreet sources of light". A "profusion of African artwork adorns every corner". An added plus of Tribe is that it is located close to the US Embassy. So "security standards are some of the tightest in Kenya".

The menu

The food is "heavenly" and largely organic. Dishes include asparagus spears with dill gravadlax. However, the chef says he will prepare "whatever the guest wants".

The cost

A double room costs from $355. To find out more, visit www.africanpridehotels.com or call 00 254 20 720 0000.