Spent 4 nights here with my family. Overall, very nice place. Location was wonderful for safari. The grounds/resort are a bit "touristy" which for me is a plus (we like comfort and familiarity). Staff was consistently lovely and helpful. Our family tent (king-bed room with en suite attached via a living area to a 2-bed room with their own en suite and with 2 patios overlooking the river) was well-appointed.
Our safari guide, Simon, was amazing. Very accommodating, knowledgeable, and took a real interest into what we wanted to see. Never felt we were his job for the day. Plus, it was very nice the hotel placed my family of 4 in a safari vehicle by ourselves. We could easily have been combined with another small group/family which would have been potentially awkward and certainly less personal--we don't get enough family time as it is while we are home. Plus we had the same guide from start to finish (picked us up from the airstrip and kept us everyday until he dropped us back at the airstrip). By the way, it was unfortunate but the airstrip was under repair so we couldn't use the one 5 minutes from the hotel but had to travel about 40 minutes...no big deal it was just extra safari time.
So why not 5-star?
1. Facilities/amenities: Electricity is not 24/7 as it is as some safari camps. It is off from midnight until 5 am (and they turned it on early for our arranged sunrise balloon ride and gave us such lovely tea, hot chocolate, and cookies to our tent). And yes, they do let you know they can turn it on with advanced notice if you request...but that's not 5-star. Hot water is limited to certain times (at my other safari camps it was on 24/7) and took quite a while to start up. Plus, the times were limited to (if memory serves me) 6:30-8 am and pm. That either conflicts with early morning safari or with the naturalist talks in the evening. And 5-star diva travel families require a near Broadway production in their daily bathroom routines, right? The towels which were always plentiful were thin and tired. The mattress was quite hard. The outdoor patio furniture was dirty (yes I know it's outside). My children's shower door needed to remain closed as it consistently smelled of sewage. Several tents do not have good views (fortunately ours did). Our rooms were really far away from the main entrance/dining facility. Wifi was limited to certain public areas and was frankly lousy (so slow and inconsistent as to be at times worthless).
2. Meals: Never had breakfast as our guide recommended to get breakfast boxes so we could just picnic and spend more time out on the game drive. Very smart idea. And the boxes were huge with good quality and selection (and even potato chips...my kids were thrilled). Lunch was ok. Dinner--I always found to be good. Here's my big pet peeve. They actually charge you for bottled water (the same free stuff they give you in the rooms) and for soft drinks. This is not 5-star especially when you have no other options. It frankly makes the place seem cheap. Have one server the entire time...nice personal touch and makes for easy tipping. Ours (Paul) was very nice.
3. Have to pay extra for anything including bush breakfast and sundowners. This was included at my other safari places.
4. Our rooms did not have any way to communicate with the hotel staff. No phone. No walkie-talkie. Nothing. This made me very uncomfortable especially at night if we were to have an urgent matter or a security issue. And of course, the electricity would be off and our room was about 10 minutes from the front desk.
Now that I've sufficiently complained...I would like to emphasize that we had a lovely time, our glamping accommodations were certainly higher end and comfortable (with certain flexibility required for such a vacation spot), and our game drives (the most important part) were amazing. But for 5-star Diva Family travel, I want electricity, hot water, better towels, better wifi, and included water (and usually soft-drinks too). Given the price point, I thought I was paying for it and had I been charged an extra $50 dollars or so per day to cover it I wouldn't even have noticed.
Management is very responsive to tripadvisor reviews and concerns. Unfortunately, I have noticed these similar concerns in several other reviews and these issues remain.
Of course, I would recommend the place but with the above caveats to those who typically travel 5-star.
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- Also Known As:
- Mara Intrepids Club Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Mara Intrepids Luxury Tented Camp Kenya/Masai Mara National Reserve