We arrived in Nairobi on December 24, 2007, and our jet- lagged bodies were driven to the Safari Park Hotel. As we exited our bus, the doorman greeted us with the word "Jambo" and the hotel staff with a hot towel and a welcome drink. Taking in the smiling faces at the front counter, I nudged my wife and said that this is the way to start an African Safari.
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This hotel has evolved from a British Army Officers' retreat during the British occupation of Kenya to a world class resort. The Safari Park has 30 deluxe suites and 174 luxury rooms. As we were ushered to our luxurious large room, we passed the swimming pool and couldn't wait to get into our swimming suits and slide down the water slide into Africa's largest swimming pool. The flourishing wild flowers, lush manicured foliage, and waterfalls along the way are spectacular. As the room door was opened for us, the highly polished teak floors, wonderful scatter rugs, and African wall hangings complemented the room. The bed is a hand carved four poster king bed with mosquito nets that the room steward set up when the sheets were turned down in the evening. The room had a large television with CNN and in-house movies, room safe, granite and marble bathrooms with gold fixtures, plenty of lighting, and fully stocked mini-bar. The bathroom has a hair dryer, top end shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, cotton balls, cue tips, and bath robes. The large balcony overlooking the lush African plants and trees was a great place to enjoy a couple of Tuskers and relax. After drinking the Tuskers, the vibrant colors of the plants seemed to me much more vibrant!
The hotel's seven international restaurants include African, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Indian, and Continental. We enjoyed eating at the Nyama Choma Ranch restaurant. The game meat was carved onto our hot plate from huge swords and sizzled as it touched the plate. We are not carnivorous eaters, but this was one memorable carnivorous Christmas eve meal we enjoyed and will remember for many years. During our meal we enjoyed great choreographed imaginative dances and music on the African stage. We also enjoyed eating in the Italian restaurant, and the buffet breakfasts at the Kivuli terrace. The egg white omelettes tasted great and were healthy. The juices, fruits, smoked salmon, and other things at the buffet were world class. It was more plentiful that a buffet on a cruise ship.
The casino has computerized slot machines with the supposedly highest payout rate in Africa. It sure paid out for us as we left the casino with many more shillings than we entered with. The casino games are Black Jack, Pontoon, American Roulette, Baccarat, and Carribean style poker.
The Safari Fitness Club has the latest fitness equipment, aerobics classes, spa, massages, racquet sports on three tennis and two squash courts. Walking around the grounds of the hotel, we stumbled upon a Model T Ford in spectacular condition in an area protected from the elements in one of the buildings. We sat in the car and imagined how it would have been visiting Africa back when.
The 14 shops at the hotel shopping village had similar items that we saw on our Safari at a fraction of the cost. The cute and friendly shop workers made this buying experience hassle free. If you are planning on buying gifts, this is the place to buy them. I bought a couple of old masks there that were much cleaner than ones we saw at the tourist stops at half the price.
If you are looking for a hotel in Nairobi, the Safari Park Hotel in my Epinion is the only place to start a safari!
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