Fairmont The Norfolk
What We Love
- A reputation as the hottest spot in town for locals and visitors for more than 100 years
- Tatu steakhouse, with its open kitchen and signature beef, brings the hotel into the 21st century
- The sumptuous rooms vary by wing, reflecting the hotel’s history
- The marble bathrooms come with Miller Harris toiletries
What To Know
- Joining the Fairmont President’s Club is worth it for perks such as Reebok workout gear you can borrow, and welcome wine and cheese
- Need to relax? Spa services such as massages are available at the health and fitness center
- The Norfolk provides a good jumping-off point for safari vacations
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Opened as the first luxury hotel in Kenya (then a British colony) in 1904, the Norfolk Hotel has a lively history as a wartime meeting place and an African escape for a century’s worth of the world’s glitterati. The 170 rooms and suites marry old and new with historic furnishings and 32-inch plasma TVs, while the marble bathrooms come with Miller Harris toiletries. A heated outdoor pool, set amid verdant gardens, is the ideal place to escape the bustling metropolis. Of the Fairmont’s five restaurants, Tatu stands out with its signature Morendat Platinum beef, which comes from specially fed crossbreed steers and is dry-aged for 21 days. Enjoy a glass of Moët & Chandon in the Cin Cin Wine Bar’s stylish Champagne Bar. The Lord Delamere Terrace has been the place to see and be seen in Nairobi since 1904.
In the Area
Ask the concierge about must-see attractions, such as the Karen Blixen Museum, which commemorates the author of Out of Africa, or the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, which rehabilitates elephants and rhinos so they can be released into the wild. The Nairobi Safari Walk provides a taste of Kenya’s more remote safari parks, with white rhinos, big cats and antelopes. Links enthusiasts will want to schedule a round at the Royal Nairobi Golf Club; it’s almost as old as the Norfolk Hotel, so it’s as much about the history and the scenery as it is about the golf.
How to Get There
While I did not expect the Norfolk to be the charming colonial hotel of my childhood, it was a little disappointing to find much of the charm has been lost in subsequent renovations (probably following the 1980 bombing) and with the need for security being paramount.
We used the Norfolk as our base with a bit of coming and going over our stay in Kenya and experienced a variety of rooms from the soulless modern wing to the lovely old rooms. On the whole they were comfortable (although the pillows were unaccountably lumpy!). Food was good and as to be expected in a hotel of this star rating, pricey, and unfortunately there are no convenient food options nearby.
The security staff were friendly and helpful but we did encounter a couple of staff (reception desk and in the restaurant) who appeared to be trainees and really didn't know what they were doing.
The ability to store luggage while we were 'out bush' was greatly appreciated.
However it was lovely to be back at the Norfolk and to find this tiny corner of history still extant and remembered through the lovely Timothy Brooks artwork.
The Norfolk has a history, long tradition, the name – and nice helpful, caring staff as well. Unfortunately the hotel is really worn out and needs serious renovation.
We stayed at The Norfolk for 1,5 week and felt kind of comfortable, but far from luxurious. At first we got a room (upgrade from de luxe king thanks to Accord loyalty program, with which I a very happy) in one of the newer wings, a rather ghastly two-level junior suite with dirty carpets, no warmth or style, air condition blowing into your face in the bedroom part and old, broken, falling apart lamps, picture of which I have attached. The bathroom was ok, but the rest maybe functional, but unpleasant. Next day we moved to the oldest, original part f the hotel, which though not perfect, was much nicer.
Nice: old colonial part of the hotel, beautiful green inner yard, nice bar, quite good fine dining restaurant (but really pricey), good souvenir shop (do not leave your last souvenir shopping to the airport, there’s nothing there), smiling and helpful staff.
Not so nice: most rooms that badly need renovation, noisy air condition difficult to regulate, closet doors that do not close, small and not very clean gym with mosquitoes.
All in all, not a disaster, but I expected much more. Next time I will probably choose brand new and shiny Radisson or so.
A beautiful old school colonial hotel
Very peaceful in the centre of this busy city.? A calm little oasis and it’s like stepping back in time with beautiful decor and furnishings
The room was very comfortable and the service is very friendly but professional
We ate in both restaurants and the food was very food
The buffet breakfast was also very food as was the service
All the staff we met were warm and friendly