Norfolk Fairmont Nairobi


The Norfolk Fairmont is a great spot to rest relax and immerse yourself in East African culture.

Hotel Essence Photography

Norfolk Fairmont Hotel photography

Hotel Essence Photography visited the Norfolk Fairmont Hotel in Nairobi to produce a portfolio of images for an editorial feature. The goal was to convey a first-hand flavour of the five-star hotel. The word hospitality means “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”. This is embodied in every aspect of the Norfolk Fairmont experience – just look at the warm, friendly smiles offered by its staff!

The hotel experience

Among the property’s many highlights are its lush green gardens, with an abundance of hibiscus, roses and bird of paradise flowers, the serenity of the spa, the formal and informal dining options, and the traditional afternoon tea. Together, these offer a perfect balance of atmosphere and comfort.

The Norfolk Fairmont is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, and a real pit stop for adventurers in the city. During their visit, the Hotel Essence team saw travellers who were embarking on adventures into the bush, early-risers departing for hot air balloon flights and private jet passengers preparing for the safari of a lifetime. In fact, many pilots have set up a home away from home in this hotel. Adventuring or relaxing guests alike are met with the staff’s great sense of pride and enthusiasm.

The Lord Delamere restaurant and bar is situated on an open-air terrace and housed with comfortable wicker chairs from which guests can feel the gentle breeze from the overhead ceiling fans. One of the hotel’s more informal dining spots, the restaurant offers both international and authentic Kenyan cuisine and is a magical spot to listen to tales of adventure as guests discover and rediscover Kenya.

The more formal and contemporary award-winning Tatu Restaurant specialises in organic beef and seafood and has a patio for alfresco dining beside the tropical garden, whilst the T Lounge, modelling itself on a manor house drawing room, offers a perfect afternoon tea.

The hotel is a short distance from major Kenyan attractions such as the National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi National Park, and the Kenya National Theatre.

Hotel’s history

Nairobi was a colony of the British Empire from 1895 until 1963. The Norfolk Fairmont was established in 1904, and within its 100 year history has become a landmark property of the Kenyan capital. It was Kenya’s first luxury hotel, and has cemented its place in history. The hotel was used by early settlers who sought a luxurious refuge from the harsh Kenyan climate. It also became the basecamp for African explorers, before and after expeditions into the Bush.

After Kingdom Hotel Investments acquired the hotel in 2004, it was placed under the management of the luxury Fairmont Hotels and Resorts chain. The Fairmont group refurbished the hotel, adding a modern touch to its classic 1900s elegance and charm, whilst maintaining its signature Tudor-style architecture.

The hotel has 27 luxurious suites and 143 rooms set around its idyllic tropical gardens. The rooms are spread out in several “wings”, with some found in the historical part of the hotel and some in the modern extensions, created during the hotel’s expansion in 1999.

Many famous people have stayed at the Norfolk Fairmont, including the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, who took up accommodation in 1909 before and after his famous post-retirement safari. Other notable guests have included actors James Stewart, Ralph Fiennes, Denzel Washington and Michael Caine, actress Carrie Fisher, and musical legend Mick Jagger. Alan Moorehead OBE, war correspondent and author, also stayed at the hotel during his research for his Nile books in 1958.

The East African Professional Hunter’s Association was founded at the hotel in a meeting that took place there in 1934. The hotel also featured in some scenes of the 1985 romantic drama movie Out of Africa starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

This hotel has all bases covered, and best of all it is a beautiful, tranquil spot in the heart of the city in which to rest, relax and immerse yourself in East African culture.