Fodor's Expert Review Sarova Stanley

Kenyatta Ave. at Kimathi St, CBD, Nairobi, Nairobi Area, Kenya

The city's oldest hotel was established in 1902, but has switched owners and undergone major upgrades through the years; the Stanley was named after the journalist Henry Morton Stanley who immortalized himself by discovering a long-lost Scots explorer with one of the best sound-bites in history: "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?" A lot of history lies within these walls which have hosted African presidents, author Ernest Hemingway in the 30s, Frank Sinatra and his wife, Princess Elizabeth just before she became Britain's sovereign, and even a young Barack Obama. A Heritage Tour provides insight into Nairobi's history (Nairobi's Stock Exchange was, for instance, established in 1954 at the once popular Long Bar which is now The Exchange Bar). At the hotel's famous outdoor Thorn Tree Café, named for the acacia tree at its center, early travelers would pin notes and messages for fellow travelers to the tree, and it was regarded as Nairobi's first post office. Today, there's an Internet café where the communication tradition continues, and you can get light meals and live music. Public areas retain a trace of the elegance of times past and rooms offer all the standard amenities of a modern business hotel—soundproofing (useful in central Nairobi), blackout curtains, satellite TV, and coffee-makers. Rooms vary in price, from the basic right up to presidential suites in the VIP wing.


  • Security is good
  • The Swahili breakfast buffet is a delight
  • Good choice of well-priced restaurants and bars


  • Standard rooms are small
  • There's often heavy traffic around the hotel since it sits in the CBD
  • Service can be slow at busy times




Phones: 0709-111–000


217 rooms
Rate Includes: No Meals

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