My first exposure to an article about the hotel Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya was followed by a flurry of emails to friends with an all caps WOW in the subject line. There are unique hotels all over the world, but the list narrows quickly when you identify truly one-of-a-kind experiences.
Unless you know of other hotels where giraffes can and do literally poke their head into open windows in the morning, Giraffe Manor qualifies.
Built in the 1930, the property turned into a giraffe sanctuary after it was purchased by Betty Leslie-Melvilles in 1974 and she learned that the last remaining Rothschild giraffes in Kenya were in danger; the manor was transformed into a boutique hotel by her family in 1983.
Unfortunately, I ran out of time during recent family safari to East Africa and was unable to stay the night. However, I did manage to spend a wonderful afternoon having tea and touring the property with the delightful General Manager, Jessica Pattison.
Meet Helen. The star of any visit is the herd of Rothchild Giraffes who roam through the gardens and grounds.
Although we had been on a safari for a week and saw many giraffes, it’s another experience all together to stand so close to them, let alone feed them!
With just seven rooms on 12 acres of private land, the manor house is an oasis from busy Nairobi. Moreover, it’s a mere 15-minute drive from the main safari departure airport (Wilson), so this location is also ideal for a night or two before or after heading out into the bush.
Giraffe Manor looks somewhat formal and imposing on their website. It is indeed grand, but it is much more approachable — i.e. kid-friendly — in person that I thought it would be. Public areas and guest rooms are homey and comfortable.
Grounds and gardens are expansive to say the least, although kids need to be monitored at all times given the onsite wildlife.
I can’t speak to more guest details yet as I haven’t stayed there — but what I experienced was compelling. I’d go back in a heartbeat! You need to book early given the very limited capacity, but living with giraffes for a night or two in a place so strongly tied to wildlife conservation is an experience to remember for all.
Photos courtesy of Giraffe Manor and Amie O’Shaughnessy