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Experience: Sarova Stanley, Nairobi

A review of Sarova Stanley, Nairobi, Kenya during the trip, The Great Eastern Summer.


  • Elegant historic property.
  • Classic opulent rooms and facilities.
  • Central location in downtown Nairobi.
  • Well trained and take charge staff.


Tracing back to 1902, the Stanley is a landmark as Kenya’s first luxury hotel. The property has become a legend partly due to the guests that have stayed here such as Ernest Hemingway, who mentioned the hotel in several short stories. There is a long list of past and present celebrities and VIPs that have stayed here including Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Frank Sinatra, Richard Branson, and the Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, among others.

The hotel housed explorers and pioneers of the continent such as David Livingstone, missionary and explorer, Ewart Grogan, the first man to traverse the length of Africa from Cape Town to Cairo, and of course Henry Morton Stanley, who found the source of the Nile.

Though a historic hotel, the Stanley has gone through several renovations to upgrade its facilities to modern standards while maintaining its reputation as the classiest luxury hotel in Nairobi.

We decided to stay at the Stanley after reading the reviews and learning about the heritage of the property.

From the Mara, we were picked up from Nairobi Wilson airport in a new black Mercedes. Arriving at the Stanley, we checked in and were greeted by a manager who showed us our room.

They have several categories including Heritage Suites, Executive Suites and Club Rooms. The Heritage Suites are all individually named and unique.

We stayed in a twin Club Room with a city view. Two beds faced the flat screen TV and desk against the wall. In the corner of the room was a seating area with a small round table. A basket of welcome fruit was laid out.

The bathroom had a red granite sink countertop with colonial British style fixtures. The bath and shower was located behind the sink, next to the toilet.

Near the entrance of the room was the minibar, coffee making facilities and safe.

Once we got settled in the room, we went for a tour of the property. With 217 rooms spread over eight floors this is a sizable hotel with a lot of history to explore.

The exploration included a Historical Tour of the hotel complete with legends and old photographs.

We visited the several dining outlets offered. The historic Thorn Tree Cafe was known to have a tree on which travelers would pin messages to and in effect became the first makeshift post office of the town. A tree has since replaced the original one, but the tradition of leaving messages lives on. This cafe is also were the buffet breakfast is served in the morning.

Thai Chi Restaurant has been said to be the most authentic Thai restaurant in East Africa and serves thai cuisine in a fancy atmosphere.

Nairobi’s very first stock exchange use to be conducted in the Exchange Bar, thus the name. The bar is still open today adhering to the traditional design with mechanical waving fans and plush leather furniture.
On the top floor next to the pool is the Pool Deck Restaurant serving food and snacks.

The open-air heated pool is next to the gym and spa which is open to guests.

The hotel also offers all the necessary business facilities like conference rooms, business centers and secretarial services.

The staff at the hotel are very enthusiastic and friendly. Every team member we met was eager to help and always served with a polite smile.

For tourists, the Stanley is right in the middle of the action of downtown Nairobi and near the major city sights. The concierge can arrange tours around the city. Shopping can be done right in the arcade of the hotel, or venture out to the stores in the area.

The Sarova Stanley is a landmark in Nairobi in terms of historical significance and the heritage of the property. If you value a unique and luxurious stay when visiting the city, there is no better option than the Stanley.

I highly recommend the hotel to all travelers, tourists, and business guests!

Sarova Stanley
Address: Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Telephone: +254 20 276 7000


About David

Founder and writer at, David is on a mission to travel to every country in the world and has less than 10 countries left! He loves new adventures, unique cultures, historic landmarks, and luxurious hotels. Follow along as David shares a journey of a lifetime!