If you want to imagine yourself back in colonial Kenya, this is the place to stay. Situated outside the city center, on the same hill as the University of Nairobi, the Fairmont the Norfolk Hotel looks like a British settler’s estate, from the white pillars on the front porch to the overhead fans to the enclosed garden courtyard resplendent with bougainvillea, hibiscus and other flowering plants in a riot of colors.
Service is thoughtful and personal: staff actually address you by name once you’ve checked in (not sure how they accomplish this magic, but it’s quite nice to be greeting after a day of sightseeing with, “Welcome back, Susan”).
The breakfast buffet is especially lavish. In addition to the eggs-cooked-to-order, you can also request pancakes or waffles. The hot choices include a section of East Indian favorites. Breads range from plain white (you can toast it if you’d like) to croissants and glazed doughnuts. Fruit juices include an especially refreshing pineapple/mint blend.
There’s a bar, tea room, an elegant restaurant — Tatu — requiring reservations, and the Lord Delamere Terrace, where there’s food service from breakfast through dinner. A pool (where there’s yet another eatery), a health club, spa and sauna also await guests.
The well-appointed rooms have pillow-top beds with focused reading lights, and the bathroom has a separate bathtub and shower.
Use of the business center (where you’ll want to print out your boarding pass if you’re here the night before you depart) is free. INSIDER’S HINT: Sign up before you leave home for the Fairmont President’s Club and you’re eligible for free in-room WiFi. Prices start about $300 per night.
The Norfolk can arrange transfers via their van to and from the airport. You’ll need taxis to journey into town or to restaurants. The doorman will summon one that the Fairmont has vetted and confirm the fare with you before you depart.