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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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Tortilis Camp, Amboseli National Park

Though it hasn't exactly been around as long as the snows of Kilimanjaro, Tortilis Camp is every bit as much an East African icon. The 17 luxury tents look...more

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Editors' Pick
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Solio Lodge, Solio Game Reserve

Situated within a mosaic of grassy plain, marshland, and stands of yellow-fever acacia, Solio Lodge has the only guest lodgings within the private 16,800-acre...more

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Editors' Pick
Shompole, Masai Mara National Reserve

Since opening in 2000, Shompole has been at the cutting edge of eco-chic in Kenya, turning a harsh, remote region into one of the country's hottest...more

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Editors' Pick
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Serena Mountain Lodge, Mount Kenya

The forest setting of this timber lodge comes with Mount Kenya views. It's "a wonderful place to relax." Staff are "warm and solicitous," and even if the lodge,...more

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Editors' Pick
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Sanctuary at Ol Lentille

The Masai community has joined forces with conservation tourism organizations and private investors to convert 6,500 acres of arid cattle range into a wildlife...more

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Editors' Pick
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Olonana Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve

Olonana offers an elegant reminder that you can be in the bush and a long way from the bush in the same breath. The camp's 14 luxury tents front the winding...more

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Editors' Pick
Olerai House, Hell's Gate National Park

Olerai House is set on a private game sanctuary on the shores of Lake Naivasha, a freshwater refuge ninety minutes from Nairobi. Accommodations consist of five...more

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Editors' Pick
Ol Donyo Wuas Lodge, Chyulu Hills National Park

Ol Donyo Wuas lies in the foothills of the Chyulu Range, halfway between Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks, on 300,000 acres of communally owned Masai land....more

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Editors' Pick
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Ngong House, Nairobi

Most travelers think of Nairobi as a quick stop-off on their way to the safari lodges, but the elegant Ngong House could make the city a destination in its own...more

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Mara Intrepids Camp, Masai Mara

Situated above a bend in the Talek River, this camp is comprised of tents set on raised platforms and furnished in "classic grand African safari style." Dinner...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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