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Kenya hotels

From spruced-up colonial mansions to sophisticated safari lodges and tropical bungalows, Kenya's hotel scene is one of Africa's most diverse. The humble campsite gets a thoroughly modern—and modish—interpretation in Kenya's wildlife lodges (think martinis and four-poster beds beneath the baobabs). The best include three meals a day and a broad range of services. Not content to spend an afternoon bumping along in a Range Rover? Guided safaris let you walk with the wildlife, while village visits and community outreach programs offer a chance to give back to the locals.

Before you book, it's worth inquiring what's included in the price of your stay. While daily game drives are part of any lodge package, many perks—from an hour in a hot-air balloon to a day in the spa—will cost extra. Also consider location when booking your lodge. The most exclusive ones tend to be the most remote, so you'll usually have to shell out extra for charter flights onto private airstrips.

Along the coast, most of the action is centered around southern focal points like Diani Beach (30 minutes south of Mombasa) and Malindi (two hours to the north), while the laid-back Lamu archipelago dangles like a pearl necklace in the north (eight hours from Mombasa by road and ferry; one hour by air). Many of the southern resorts are large, boisterous all-inclusives: Though not conducive to privacy, they offer a chance to sample area restaurants and nightclubs and mix with the locals. Kenya's remote island hideaways are a secluded alternative, with quiet strips of sand shielded by palms and mangroves. Here you'll be able to avoid the ubiquitous beach boys who flock to tourist haunts like Diani, offering carvings, curios, and more illicit wares. Activities from diving to dhow rides to kayak safaris can be arranged—usually for an added price—though you still might not find enough to keep the kids busy if you're planning a family trip. Honeymooners will swoon for romantic retreats like Kiwayu Safari Village and Funzi Keys; parents with tykes in tow might want to stick to something centrally located on the mainland.

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Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Amboseli Game Reserve

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...more

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Editors' Pick
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Tribe—The Village Market Hotel, near Nairobi

Nairobi's first hip property is a welcome addition to the respectable but staid choices that have, until recently, summed up the capital's upscale hotels....more

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Editors' Pick
Funzi Keys, Funzi Island

Just a 15-minute flight separates Funzi Keys from the bustle of Mombasa, but it might as well be a world apart. Surrounded by scattered islets and mangroves,...more

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Editors' Pick
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Alfajiri Villas, Diani Beach

You won't spot a sign for these sumptuous villas discreetly tucked away from the tourist bustle of Diani Beach, 30 minutes south of Mombasa. Since opening in...more

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Editors' Pick
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Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Masai Mara

Set along a curve of the Mara River, this tented property offers guests the chance to spy gazelles and lions. The Masai colors are ubiquitous in the "light,...more

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Editors' Pick
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Joy's Camp, Shaba National Reserve

Hemmed in by the rugged, red-faced cliffs of Shaba National Reserve, Joy's Camp is one of the newest additions to the Kenyan safari scene. Built on the site of...more

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Editors' Pick
Kichwa Tembo Bateleur Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve

They were being a bit modest when they decided to call this place a "camp." The 1920's colonial elegance of Bateleur's 19 sumptuous tents (part of the larger...more

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Editors' Pick
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Isiolo

Lewa is a private reserve run by a nonprofit conservation group that aims to protect regional wildlife, notably the Grevy's Zebra (the ranch has seventeen...more

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Editors' Pick
Little Governors' Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve

With 17 intimate tents set around a busy watering hole, Little Governors' occupies some of the choicest real estate in the Masai Mara. A steady parade of...more

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Editors' Pick
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Manda Bay Resort, Lamu

Crowning a quiet strip of beach backed by mangroves and palms, Manda Bay is Gilligan's Island with a luxury twist. Its 16 thatched-roof bungalows are bright,...more

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Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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