For Short Stays - Hotel
Since its construction in 1902 when Nairobi was nothing more than a remote railway depot built in a brackish African swamp, the Sarova Stanley flourished into an enduring legacy offering elegant accommodations that provided a level of sophisticated comfort that was uncommon in the early 1900s and is unmatched today.
“That celebrated establishment [Sarova Stanley] has been so long a popular rendezvous of the colonists that it has acquired an individuality entirely of its own,” describes an article in The East African in 1930. The historical importance of the Stanley is aptly summed up in that abbreviated phrase. Burnt down in the Great Fire of 1905, the hotel’s prompt rebirth is a reflection of its enduring spirit. As the country’s premiere luxury hotel, Sarova Stanley has played host to royal safaris and a long line of living legends, including the American writer Ernest Hemingway, who recuperated for several weeks in his hotel guestroom after a serious illness. It was during these convalescent weeks that Hemingway penned themes for stories that most likely introduced the Swahili word “safari” to the English language, and several of which mention the Stanley.
The timeless elegance and precious comfort offered here also enchanted classic Hollywood stars such as Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, and Gregory Peck. In recent times, the charm and elegance of this treasured hotel has seen international celebrities stroll past its discriminating walls, including Isabella Rossellini, Barbara Streisand, and Sean Connery.
Add to this list notable guests Former Kenyan President, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, Queen Nnaabagereka Sylvia Nagginda of Buganda, and Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Mathaai, and it is clear to see the broad expanse of distinguished guests who have etched themselves into Sarova Stanley’s history.
For over a century, the Sarova Stanley has proven to be much more than a luxury hotel. It has been a welcome refuge to Allied troops in World War II, a lavish host to royalty and dignitaries, and, for its guests, a landmark destination that continues to leave an eternal impression on the mind, heart, and soul.
Here, a spacious foyer, with its patterned marble floors, chesterfields, old clocks, and ancient photographs all come together to transport guests to another era. The elegantly furnished guestrooms reflect this same welcoming and historic ambiance.
217 individually appointed guestrooms couple the hallmark elegance of the Victorian Age with the modern amenities of the present. The 160 deluxe guestrooms and 32 club guestrooms offer the most spacious accommodation, having been built when sprawling land was abundant in Nairobi. Each room is designed in a classical style and reflects genuine Kenyan hospitality.
The suites are an intimate enclave within the Stanley and outshine all else in Nairobi, with each stately room named after a distinguished person or location in Stanley’s history.
The opulent penthouse Windsor Suite commemorates the 1928 ball honoring the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Gloucester. It’s private terrace, expansive sitting room, and royally furnished rooms create the ideal space for entertaining.
The presidential suite, named the Stanley Suite, carries the name of the explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, and features period furniture pieces, antiques, old etchings, and exemplified heritage elegance.
To commemorate the Baroness Blixen—a Nairobi resident between 1914 and 1931, and author of Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass—the Blixen Suite is decorated with photos spanning Blixen’s life in Kenya along with reproductions of her famous paintings.
Popular with honeymooners, the Lamu Suite takes the name of the exquisite Swahili/Arabic archipelago and island of Lamu off the coast. Boasting a four poster bed, antique Lamu-style furniture, Lamu chests, and Persian rugs, the suite evokes the island’s romantic ambiance and is a favorite with honeymooners.
Double Suites are also available and each includes extra bedrooms, historic furnishings, and Executive Suites are perfect for long term visits. All have been appointed names that pay homage to Sarova Stanley’s distinctive past.
Resident guests enjoy complimentary wireless Internet access in all guestrooms, restaurants, meeting rooms, and the hotel lobby.
Thorn Tree Café
Named after a single, centrally located Acacia tree of yesteryear, the Thorn Tree open-air café is in the heart of Nairobi. Its original tree shadowed guests like Ernest Hemingway who sat beneath it to “watch the world go by.” The tree became a makeshift post box for travelers who left mail pinned to the trunk. The café serves wood-fired pizzas, deli selections, and continental dishes.
Widely recognized as the most authentic Thai cuisine in East Africa, Thai Chi award-winning restaurant serves delectable specialties prepared by Thai chefs.
The Exchange Bar
Once the site of Nairobi’s first Stock Exchange, The Exchange Bar also famously took delivery of the first regional beer from the newly formed Kenya Breweries in 1922, which is now the largest brewery in the country. Retaining the atmosphere of a traditional English Gentleman’s club with its warmth and charm, this is the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing beverage at the end of the day.
Pool Deck Restaurant
To catch a glimpse of the coast while grounded in the heart of the city, guests enjoys al fresco dining by the swimming pool at the buffet-style Pool Deck Restaurant. Authentic Kenyan specialties as well as continental and Asian cuisines are served here, along with a special barbeque lunch on Sundays.
Meetings & Groups
In a setting of legendary glamour, guests of the Sarova Stanley discover highly personalized service and conferencing facilities that outshine all else in Kenya. The largest, the Churchill Room, seats 250 for dinner and 350 for conference, while the Barden Powell Room opens out onto an exquisite central courtyard for open-air lunches or cocktails. The hotel’s nine meeting rooms, modern business center, state-of-the-art technology, and resourceful support staff are equipped to service world travelers.
Activities & Events
In the never-sleeping city of Nairobi, exciting events for guests are endless. Guests are welcomed to request a personalized, cultural tour of the hotel to view old photographs and heritage suites. The hotel also organizes a fascinating heritage walk around the city center to view some of the oldest and most historical buildings in the area.
The heated swimming pool and adjoining health club are the perfect complement to any stay at the Sarova Stanley. For those guests eager for a challenge, the gymnasium offers an extensive range of exercise equipment, in addition to qualified instructors for guest assistance. To calm the soul before the beginning of a new day, guests head to the studio for yoga or, when ready to be energized, they have the rare opportunity to learn the traditional art of Chakacha African belly dancing.
In March, golf enthusiasts from around the world head to the Kenya Golf Championship, which is part of the European Challenge Tour and features over 100 professional players. June brings the annual international rugby tournament, and the Kenya Music Festival in August each year features champion regional musicians from across Kenya.
Sarova Stanley, a charter member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2011, dates back to 1902.