Giraffe Manor is one of the most unique hotels in the world. Just the opportunity to have breakfast with the gorgeous Rothschild giraffes would make this hotel magical. But there are also lots of other extras that make this a once in a lifetime experience. Before I went I had a lot of questions so now I want to try to answer some of them based on my experience.
Where is it?
This boutique hotel in the southern part of Karen which is in the suburbs of Nairobi. It is roughly a 30 minute drive from Jomo Kenyatta International airport.
The hotel is a beautiful English style manor house set amongst the vibrant colours of Kenya. This vine covered building is located close to the Giraffe centre. This sanctuary is currently home to 10 endangered Rothschild giraffes.
What is breakfast with giraffes like?
In one word amazing! This was the highlight of our holiday and there is no other experience like it. The giraffes are so beautiful and the sight of them poking their heads through the window is surreal.
I have so much to say about the breakfast that I thought it deserved its own post: Breakfast with Giraffes: a bucket list experience
Are giraffes just for breakfast?
As well as breakfast there is another chance to feed the giraffes during afternoon tea. Tea is served at about 17:15, so that there is a chance to eat before the excitement of the giraffes. They start to walk over at 17:30 when the giraffe centre closes.
Compared to breakfast this was a lot more relaxed because there were so many giraffes and more space for everyone to interact with them. Also because the giraffes were there for longer there was more time to just enjoy the moment.
I even managed to get some giraffe kisses by tempting them over with a long pellet between my lips. Some are more slobbery than others, but it doesn’t matter because giraffe saliva is antiseptic. The staff are very knowledgeable about the giraffes and their personalities, so you know who you have kissed!
Another way that you can feed them is from the huge swing in the garden. The swing is big enough for two and if your balance is good enough you can stand up.
Are there any other animals at the Manor?
In addition to the giraffes there are quite a few warthogs on the property. They tend to follow the giraffes around, eating any pellets that have accidentally dropped onto the ground. It is funny to watch them kneeling down as they eat. They do this because they have short necks and relatively long legs.
Apparently the real life Pumbas are a lot more vicious than the character depicted in the Lion King, especially when it comes to food. We were advised to keep a safe distance and not to feed them.
What’s included in the price?
The prices are per person rather than per room and start from $620. This price includes all three meals, afternoon tea, alcohol and giraffe food.
You will also be assigned a driver who will pick you up and drop you back to either the airport or your Nairobi hotel. They will also take you to a range of activities. Laundry is also included which is very impressive as most people only stay for one night.
How is the food?
All of the food is delicious and this is from someone who is a picky eater. The menu varies depending on what is available at the local markets. But the chefs adapt the food based on any allergies or food dislikes.
Lunch is served at 13:00 and is eaten in the outdoor area between the two manors. Dinner is at 20:00 and it is eaten in the same area unless it is raining. In which case they have an indoor dining area complete with giraffe candles. There is also the option to have a romantic private meal in the Orchid house.
Is there a giraffe theme?
The decor of the manor is all giraffe themed, from the cutlery to the water jugs. Also the grounds have statues and a giraffe shaped hedge.
There is even an onsite gift shop selling lots of memorabilia, and it’s all… you guessed it! Giraffe themed. I couldn’t resist buying a hot-water bottle cover and a flask to take back home.
How is the service?
Everyone working at the Manor is very kind and helpful. After travelling from England one of my dresses needed to be ironed. I asked the front desk for an iron and they sent someone up from house keeping who took my dress and ironed them for me straight away.
The ratio of staff to guests is high as they try to make sure that everyone is safe around the animals. They know the personality of each giraffe and can make sure that you are acting appropriately around them. They are wild animals and can head-butt. The friendliest giraffe is the only male Edd and it is ok to touch him. But with all of them food equals friendship.
When we came back after dinner the beds had been turned down and a giraffe hot water bottle had been left inside the bed. There were lots of little touches like this and a hand written welcome card on the fireplace in our room which showed how much the staff at the manor care about their guests!
Which part of the manor should I stay in?
Giraffe manor is split into two sections. The older building is the Main manor and the newer building is called Garden manor. There are 12 rooms in total, 6 in the Main manor and 6 in Garden manor.
Garden Manor is only available to guests who also stay at one of the sister properties. In addition to Giraffe Manor, Safari Collection also owns Solio, Sasaab and Sala’s camp.
Which room should I choose?
This depends on which feature is most important to you. The only thing that I wanted from my room was to be able to feed the giraffes from the bedroom window, which is why I went for Jock’s room.
I spent a lot of time researching and wrote a post about the different features of each room here: Giraffe Manor- Which room is best?
Is one night enough?
I believe that one night is enough because you get to experience both the breakfast and afternoon tea with giraffes. The hotel is used to guests only staying for one night so it runs very smoothly.
It is best to make sure that you arrive before 17:00 so that you can have afternoon tea and don’t have an early flight the following day so that you can enjoy breakfast. The check out time is very strict so you need to have left by 10:00.
We stayed for two nights which did mean that we had different experiences on both days. But I could stay there for years and still never be bored.
When should I book?
Ideally as soon as possible. If you want a specific room then it is best to book at least a year in advance.
Can I just come for one of the meals?
All of the meals at Giraffe Manor are for guest only. This not only makes for a better experience but also ensures that everything is done safely.
Is there a cheaper alternative?
If your budget doesn’t stretch to a night in the giraffe hotel then you can visit the giraffe centre that is very close by. It is open 7 days a week from 09:00-17:00 and costs $15 per adult. It is also a good place to learn about the Rothschild giraffes as well as feed them.
Are there things to do during the day?
Your driver can take you to the Karen Blixen museum or David Sheldrick wildlife trust to adopt a baby elephant. There is also the option to go on guided walk to the Giraffe Sanctuary if you miss them too much. The entry is free if you are staying at Giraffe Manor.
If you prefer to stay in the hotel, the Main Manor has an area with books and board games.
Was it worth the cost?
For me it was 100% worth it, it is the most magical and unusual hotel I have ever seen. Although expensive, it is the same as a night in some other luxury giraffe- free hotels. I know which one I would choose.