Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp led a number of Serena Hotels properties in being featured at this year’s Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. The awards by the world’s premier travel magazine lists hotels chosen by a team of editors, writers and experts and recognizes them for their best service, location, food, rooms, leisure facilities and ambience & design.
Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp earned three slots after making it to the Top 100 Hotels and Resorts of the World and the Platinum Circle which was launched to celebrate 25 years of Condé Nast Traveler. This circle recognizes the superstars of the Gold List and consists of hotels, resorts, and cruise lines that have made the list every year for the past five years running.
Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp made it’s cut alongside other Serena properties in the Top 25 Resorts & Safari Camps in Africa, which rates the top resorts and safari camps in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Zambia. Amboseli Serena, Serengeti Serena Lodge, Mara Serena Safari Lodge and Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge made it to this list, with Zanzibar Serena Inn and Arusha Mountain Village featuring in the
Top 15 Hotels in Africa, where Condé Nast Traveler readers rated the top hotels in South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, and Kenya. The Zanzibar Island was listed in theTop 5 Islands in the Indian Ocean. Sweetwaters Tented Camp earned a slot Kenya’s Top Hotels and Resorts.
Below is a breakdown of each Serena Hotels property that made it to the Condé Nast Traveler as well as what travelers had to say about the various lodges and camps.
Located between the crocodile-rich Mbalageti and Grumeti rivers, this Edwardian-style camp on a hillside above the plains puts guests in log-tethered stone-and-thatch accommodations full of steamer-trunk wardrobes, brass lamps, and sepia photographs. “We had lions wandering around the camp, but the wonderful staff kept us informed as to how to handle the situation.” Waiters in maroon Swahili robes serve hot English breakfasts and dinners with roast meats, homemade sorbets, and local cheeses. In addition to game drives, perfect-scoring activities include guided nature hikes, crocodile safaris, and excursions to Lake Victoria. The annual wildebeest migration streams past the camp.
Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge
Enjoy gazing at hyenas and “a good view of Mount Kilimanjaro” at this russet lodge designed like a Masai village, where “the lovely decor” includes animal pictures painted on room walls. “Food is similar in quality to any other lodge,” and includes a themed night of local cuisine. Lions, elephants, and giraffes are the lure on game drives.
Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
Perched on a ridge with views over the savanna, this lodge is done in traditional African architecture with grass-thatch huts that resemble the rondavel dwellings of a Masai village. Accommodations with private balconies and natural stone bathrooms promise “wonderful views of the Serengeti.” Take a dip in the infinity pool or unwind with a cocktail on the safari bar’s timbered terrace. The “wildlife viewing is fabulous” and includes sightings of the Big Five and the annual wildebeest migration. “Excellent food and service” are offered in the domed dining room, notable for its carvings made by the Makonde people of southern Tanzania. “It’s a great way to experience the African bush.”
“Great location, excellent service, food and accommodations. Close access to game drives, beautiful scenery and local Masai Mara villages.” – TERRY STEEN, Canada
“One of the most beautiful views in the world. Great location, excellent staff and service, amazing food. It doesn’t get much better than this!”-TERRY STEEN, Canada
Zanzibar Serena Inn
“One of the most incredible places I have ever stayed. The rooms were well-appointed, the staff friendly. It is located in Old Stone Town with easy access to the market, former slave market, and houses with the famous Zanzibar doors. The inn’s beach was beautiful.” – LYNDA DEFOREST, Canada
Arusha Mountain Lodge
Built on the site of a colonial coffee plantation at the foot of Mount Meru, this hotel is “interestingly designed.” Stone cottages are clustered in sixes, mimicking a traditional rondavel (African village), around flower-filled squares, facing Lake Duluti or landscaped gardens. “Rooms are excellent, but the beds are hard,” though they are softened by linen sheets. Public areas reflect the hallmarks of an English farmhouse, with furnishings upholstered in floral fabrics. Anticipate spotting game such as buffalo, elephants, zebras, giraffes, and monkeys. Lamp-lit bush dinners focus on meat and fish.
Sweetwaters Tented Camp
Located at the center of a reserve on the plains of Mount Kenya, this former colonial farm has “a very nice setup.” Tents, all thatched using traditional methods, have private verandas or balconies overlooking a central water hole, where “viewing wildlife is the best entertainment you’ll ever have.” The Rhino Restaurant and fire-lit Kashoggi Bar are in the former manager’s house and offer “fairly good” regional and international cuisine, with most meat and dairy products locally sourced.
Expect to see the Big Five and many chimpanzees on twice-daily drives.