Nairobi’s 5-star hotels offer such sophistication and class that it’s challenging to pick the best of them. The service is princely, the food is to die for, and all of them are located in unique locations that offer differing but equally memorable experiences.
The hotels near JKIA are pitched right next to Nairobi National Park, so they are convenient for quick stays and give you a preview of Kenya’s favourite offerings – the wildlife. The hotels further into the city are flanked by some of the most thrilling or serene locations Nairobi offers.
I’ll let you know what you get out of each. Here are the best 5-star hotels in Nairobi.
Quick Guide: The 4 Best 5-Star Hotels in Nairobi
- Best hotel for business travellers: Sankara Nairobi
- Best hotel for families: Mövenpick Hotel and Residences
- Most romantic hotel: Hemingways Nairobi
Villa Rosa Kempinski
- Go out of their way to create a romantic atmosphere
- Wide range of international restaurants
- Magnificent staff and customer service
Villa Rosa Kempinski is a classic blend of business and recreational luxury. Several designs of their lounges give off very different atmospheres, and the rooms are both simple and elegant, taking cues from Eastern European design.
Villa Rosa has 7 dining areas, one of which we consider among the best restaurants to have brunch in Nairobi. Whether you’re having a simple cup of coffee or a full 5-course meal, there’s a restaurant for you with incredible food.
The customer service is very professional and welcoming, always going the extra mile to accommodate guests.
Mövenpick Hotel & Residences
- An indoor-to-outdoor pool with a poolside bar
- Closed-off location in Westlands provides tranquility and exclusivity
- Rotating restaurant with a 360-degree sky view of Nairobi
Mövenpick has a sort of futuristic African look. The lounges are set up differently for families, parties, or one-on-one meetings.
Some of the smaller rooms are cluttered, but the larger ones are perfectly furnished. Some have mini-offices, others have mini-bars and all the beds are thick and comfortable.
There’s one restaurant and bar, and you could always take your food and drink to the poolside. Mövenpick is also set in Westlands, the heart of Nairobi, so you have your pick activities and service centers all around.
- Multi-cuisine restaurants
- Spacious rooms with calming views of Westlands
- Loads of unique art pieces to pick out all through the premises
With a mall 5 minutes away, a flea market a walk away, an open-air market just across the road, and food stores all around, Sankara has one hell of a location.
The hotel has an ultra-modern finish and is littered with random art on every corner. The rooms are sparsely furnished and very clean, maybe because almost everything in them is white. Some rooms have a small office, but it’s much better to work out of the lounges.
There are six dining and refreshment establishments, with Graze especially notable for its fantastic steak. Let us know what you think when you try it.
Nairobi Airport (JKIA)
Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport
- The spa, Euphoria, is a welcome comfort after a long flight
- Located right next to the airport with a free shuttle departing every hour
- Soothingly homely decor in rooms
Just 3 minutes from the airport terminals, you’d expect Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport to be a little uncomfortable. But soundproof rooms and black-out curtains make sure that’s not an issue.
And they’ve gone further to make the stay elegant. The rooms are simply furnished, and the beds are comfortable. The meeting rooms are exquisite, and there’s a business centre to get some work done.
In my opinion, Crowne Plaza caters more to business travellers than casual, but the hotel does a brilliant job at both.
Fairmont The Norfolk
- Beautiful, serene gardens
- The early 20th-century architecture and personality takes you back in time
- Exceptional meals
It might be one of the oldest hotels in the country, but The Norfolk is still a hidden gem within Nairobi’s CBD. The hotel maintains an early 20th-century feel, touched up by modern comforts.
The rooms are spacious and comfortable and set around a beautiful, soothing garden. The hotel has six restaurants and watering holes, with the Lord Delamere terrace being one of our frequent recommendations.
The Norfolk is also close to several of Nairobi’s landmarks, including the National Museum making it a brilliant base for vacations.
- Central location in Nairobi CBD is preferred for business travellers
- Classic look and feel from the concierge to the rooms
- Friendly, attentive staff
The Stanley is almost dead-centre in the middle of Nairobi, making it a perfect hotel for conference visits. The location is also central to different attractions, including the National Park and the National Museum.
The rooms, lounges, restaurants, and meeting halls are classy and spacious. The bathrooms are especially outstanding. And speaking of restaurants, there are three, and all are built for fine dining.
The Stanley’s service is also top-notch. There’s a warm greeting when you come in for the first time, and you immediately feel familiar with everyone. It’s a heart-warming stay all around.
Nairobi Serena Hotel
- The vibrant, colourful interior is both relaxing and exciting
- Huge pool right next to the restaurant and a bar at the side
- Extensive international buffets
Nairobi Serena Hotel has a fantastic buffet – let’s start there. It’s not region-specific, a little mix of everything. But there are many more African dishes than usual for a 5-star hotel.
The rooms are ok, a bit traditional, and slightly less spacious than others on this list, but they work. The amenities make up for them, however. The spa is cosy and relaxing, the pool is enormous, and the meeting rooms are palatial.
Serena might be due for a bit of modernising and decluttering, but it’s still a fantastic hotel.
Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Nairobi Arboretum
- Quiet and peaceful environment
- Nairobi Arboretum is right next door for picnics and strolls
- Extraordinary futuristic architecture
Radisson Blu is the most chill hotel I know. The whole place is built like a spa resort. It’s spacious and delicately furnished, and there are design choices that are simply brilliant to behold. For example, the swimming pool also serves as a water feature.
The staff makes the experience even more calming with their welcoming manner and at-hand service.
Dining is pretty standard for a 5-star hotel within Radisson’s two restaurants, and the infinity pool bar is a glorious place to take a load off. But the main attraction is the environmental experience.
Nairobi National Park
The Boma Nairobi
- Affiliated with the Kenya Red Cross Society
- Sun-bathed interior in the common areas.
The Boma is a marriage of African and modern themes. The large open halls in the lounge, meeting and common areas are draped with plants to give a refreshing feeling.
The rooms have wide windows for a dramatic view of Nairobi while the decor inside is kept clean and essential.
The Boma has 4 restaurants, each serving a different purpose: a grill house, a coffee shop, an all-day dining restaurant, and a cocktail lounge.
What’s more, The Boma is associated with the Red Cross so a good chunk of your experience there goes towards helping others.
Karen and Langata
- Comprehensive spa treatment and therapies
- Among the top brunch restaurants in the city
- Vast, perfectly manicured gardens
Hemingways is the most personalised hotel on our list. There are only 45 suites in the hotel and you get a dedicated butler when you arrive.
Besides that, Hemingways is set in leafy Karen, with plenty of fresh air and a large garden.
Residential areas are split into standard rooms and suites that are essentially mini-mansionettes. Both are comfortable and well decked out.
Hemingway’s restaurant is brilliant. The brunch is one of our favourites, and their regular menu covers all diets. A wine cellar also hosts special tastings paired with a complimentary meal.
This hotel is an absolute guaranteed delight.
- Located right next to Karura forest for hikes, cycling, and quick runs
- Kaya spa is among the best in the country
- Borders Village Market, a mall with lots of excellent stores and restaurants
The Tribe made quite a stir when they first opened, pushing luxury beyond what was known in Kenya. The hotel had a pool table – an actual dining table within the pool. And that’s just the start of it.
The rooms are so pleasantly unnaturally designed that you feel excited the moment you walk in. The Jiko Restaurant is inspired by local cuisines, with some dishes even served on banana leaves. And the spa is magnificently tranquil.
The Village Market, next door to Tribe Hotel, is one of the region’s most highly regarded malls, so you won’t need to go far for any need.
These 5-star hotels are the absolute best in Nairobi. And even though there’s a rigid standard, they each offer something unique in their location, food, or overall package. A rooftop view of the city could be as thrilling as a sunset view of the savannah.
We want to know your experiences at these hotels and whether they lived up to their 5-star billing. Let us know below.
If you’re at one of these hotels and are looking for romantic ideas or the very best spas, we have these two pages of suggestions for you.