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Adam Eisen
Fairmont Mara Safari Club
Mara Safari Club, Aitong, Kenya
5th February 2018

Deep in the heart of the unspoiled Kenyan countryside lies the Masai Mara region – home to incredible wildlife, expansive landscapes and some fantastic remote safari lodges. RASK Travel’s Adam Eisen ventured to The Fairmont’s beautiful Mara Safari Club to experience one of the best lodges in the country.

Location
The Fairmont Mara Safari Club lies within the protected Masai Mara region of southwestern Kenya. Almost all arrivals are done via the Ngerende airstrip which has daily flights to Nairobi (45mins) and other safari airstrips in the area. All guests are entitled to complimentary transfers to the airstrip which takes under 15 minutes.
Who stays?
During my stay the majority of guests were North Americans and Brits, will few children spotted among them. The guests were extremely friendly, greeting one-another in passing and making conversation during game drives, mealtimes and in the bar area. This created a truly warming atmosphere.
Style and Character
The main buildings are tastefully designed with strong local touch and a strong emphasis on dark woods and earthy tones. There’s a large gorgeous fireplace by the bar area which is perfect to relax in when the sun sets. Being a lodge in such a remote area, it was nice to see that care was taken to not be overly imposing on the natural surroundings, despite its size and level of comfort.
Service
Waiters and housekeeping staff were fantastic, and the wonderful upkeep of the facilities and gardens are a testament to its management and maintenance team. We loved waking up to tea and coffee served on our veranda overlooking the hippos, and returning from the afternoon game drives to discover hot water bottles tucked into our beds.
Rooms and Suites
The luxury "tents" are decorated beautifully, with Masai Mara print blankets and cute safari-themed touches throughout. The tents are very spacious, comfortable and have their own private decking area, where you can look out onto the river and watch the hippos bathe whilst monkeys leap from tree-to-tree in the surrounding scenery.
Food and Drink
Breakfast was lovely without being excessive, but hardly memorable. Our favourite mealtime during our stay was the lunch buffet (especially the South Asian dishes). The à la carte dinners were rarely exciting. Desserts were bland and disappointing at all mealtimes unfortunately, although this is something we experienced at other hotels in Kenya.
Features, Wellness, and Amenities
The main draw is of course the safari game drives. There are two drives per day which take place in comfortable Land Cruisers or Land Rovers - two of the most robust and sturdy cars ever manufactured on a commercial scale. Driving in and out of deep muddy ditches was a breeze for our skilled driver (his maneuvers could put most F1 stars to shame). Within our first three game drives we had seen lions, rhinoceros, elephants, and buffaloes - which constitute four of the "Big Five". Zebras, hyenas, gazelles and giraffes were spotted on each drive. Although we were unfortunate to not spot a leopard, we did see its close cousin, the cheetah.

There is an outdoor pool and a spa - both of which were very quiet as most guests were busy with game drives and other safari activities. The Wi-Fi (available only in the lobby and dining areas) was truly terrible but this bothered me less than usual as I was more than happy to disconnect and truly appreciate my surroundings. There is an option of a morning hot air balloon ride, but at USD 450 per person and with a 4am wakeup, we decided to give this activity a miss.
Perceived Value
During high season the rates here do get quite high, especially when there are many chic and intimate alternatives in Kenya and neighbouring Tanzania. However, the service was truly five-star and we saw so much wildlife with so little effort. Extras, such as massages and drinks are not included, but were priced very fairly.
Verdict
The Fairmont Mara Safari Club is a fantastic experience for those heading to the Masai Mara region, and is perfect for families and couples alike.