Irritating though I often find Instagram to be, usage of it feels like a professional necessity if you’re in the luxury-travel industry: for better or worse, there are so many hotels and resorts that can attribute much of their popularity to it. In Nairobi, Giraffe Manor is a prime example. Wannabe influencers from the world over pay from $800 a night to stay there, all of them keen to capture the money shot of gregarious giraffes poking their heads through the window of the 1930s property’s restaurant to pilfer guests’ breakfast.
The hotel is conjoined to a sanctuary for endangered Rothschild’s giraffes who amble the property’s grounds at dawn and know free food will be presented when guests get up. I saw the spectacle for myself when I visited the resort with Abercrombie & Kent back in 2018, and I got one of those coveted captures too. In terms of likes, it remains the most popular post of the 900-odd pictures I’ve shared on the platform.
Prior to Covid, securing a reservation at the 12-bedroom boutique was immensely difficult despite those high prices (for comparison, stays at the more conventionally luxurious Hemingways Nairobi costs from about $450 this autumn). It’ll likely still be difficult to get a room in the main house when things normalise, but experiencing Giraffe Manor at least peripherally has now become a bit easier with the launch of The Retreat.
Set just 80 metres from Giraffe Manor, this new facility incorporates a café, wellness facilities including a steam room, saunta, hot tub and gym and private day rooms with beds and shower facilities, and a centrepiece 21-metre pool (erroneously described as an infinity pool in marketing material).
The Retreat will only be available for usage during the day – those bedrooms are intended to serve jet-lagged travellers who are keen to have a bit of a kip rather than holidaymakers who want to settle in for a few nights – and access will only be granted to customers who are booking a more extensive trip with The Safari Collection, the company that operates Giraffe Manor alongside other luxury properties in Kenya such as Sala’s Camp and Solio Lodge.
Allowing for full complimentary use of the facilities but with food, drink and spa treatments costing extra, access costs from $250 per day so it’s significantly cheaper that visiting Giraffe Manor itself (Giraffe Manor guests have gratis access to The Retreat included in their room rates), but there’s one crucial distinction that Instagrammers will need to consider before checking in: those gentle giraffes don’t stick their heads in at The Retreat for breakfast. When ambling the sanctuary’s grounds, they might make their way to the border of the infinity pool but interactions with the animals aren’t at all guaranteed. Potential guests keen to up their follower count will need to spend significantly more for a spot in the main property if they want to be sure of securing that money shot.
You can learn more about The Retreat at Giraffe Manor here.
LUTE is a luxury-travel consultant and content agency that works with hotel groups, tour operators, tourist boards, airlines and more. You can learn more about LUTE here.