Opened in 2010, Sankara Nairobi Hotel was added to Marriott’s Autograph Collection in 2019. The Autograph Collection consists of over 200 unique, independent luxury hotels that operate in conjunction with Marriott’s reservations and guest-loyalty systems. In May 2022, I bookended incredible safaris in four Kenyan national parks (Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Kistie-Mpunguti Marine Park, and Nairobi) between a pair of two-night stays at Sankara Nairobi Hotel.
Sankara Nairobi is located in Nairobi’s Westlands district. It is an upscale residential and commercial neighborhood situated two miles (3 km) northwest of downtown Nairobi and 12.5 miles (20 km) northwest of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The hotel has 168 rooms ranging from standard king/twin rooms to suites. Global cuisine and alcoholic selections are available in six restaurants and bars. The hotel has a rooftop pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center. There is no charge for valet or self parking.
To deter terrorists, many government buildings, shopping malls and luxury hotels in Nairobi have implemented a variety of security measures. Some of them were evident on arrival at Sankara Nairobi.
Roadside steel barriers and a blast wall protect the hotel entrance. My taxi entered through a gate that is manned by security guards who questioned the driver and inspected the underside of vehicle with mirrors. Once on the grounds, the taxi pulled up to the hotel entrance via a driveway located behind the front wall. Entering the hotel required going through metal detectors.
Check in was efficient and friendly. The agent described some of the features of the hotel, explained breakfast and lounge hours and locations, acknowledged my status as a Lifetime Titanium member in Marriott’s loyalty program, and offered a choice of welcome gifts. Because of status, on both stays I was upgraded to a junior suite from the standard room I’d reserved.
All four nights were paid for using free nights earned by holding Marriott credit cards or by virtue of being a Titanium member. These stays came at the right time because two of the free nights would have expired the following month. Those free nights saved me a little over $1,000.
A bell hop accompanied me to the room and explained some of its features. Shortly after settling in, a staff member delivered the welcome gift I selected at check in. I selected a bottle of wine on each stay.
Sankara Nairobi’s junior suites are corner rooms that measure 475 sq. ft. (44 sq. m.) in size. These suites have a contemporary design, large windows and tasteful décor accented with wood, leather, marble and African art and fabrics. The immediately following photos are of the junior suite I had for the second stay.
The junior suite featured a king bed, bath with dual vanities and separate tub and shower, a sitting area, wardrobe, coffee and tea service, work desk, flat-screen smart TV with dozens of international TV and movie channels, and international electric outlets.
Sankara Nairobi prides itself in delivering a good night’s sleep. That is probably the most important aspect for any hotel stay. The king bed provided delightfully restful sleep thanks to the Serta Suite Dreams mattress, Hanse down topper, down duvet, and soundproofing that blocked any disturbances from inside and outside the hotel.
To ensure a great night’s sleep, guests could choose from a pillow menu – a first for me. There were 10 types ranging from anti-aging, anti-allergenic, thermal, aromatherapy and neck supporting pillows. I stuck with the standard pillows and slept like a baby.
The bath was outfitted in marble. It had a soaking tub, shower and dual vanities.
The large wardrobe contained the usual accessories such as safe, robe, slippers, iron and ironing board.
The junior suite for the first two-night stay was similar but had a smaller bath.
Westlands skyline views were visible through large windows.
Junior suites came with an impressive array of perks such as nightly turndown service, complimentary shoe shines and laundering and pressing of two items per day, flexibility to check out 24hrs after your check in time, access to the Sankara Lounge and even a free one-way airport standard transfer (non toll road) by taxi.
Speaking of lounges, the Sankara Lounge was one of the favorite aspects of the stays.
The lounge is located on the seventh floor and is open to Marriott Platinum members or above or those who booked a paid stay that includes access in the room rate plus one guest.
The Sankara Lounge is open daily from 06:00 to 23:00. A la carte breakfast in the morning and evening light meals with free alcoholic beverages were the main attraction. Non-alcoholic drinks were also without charge and available all day.
I preferred the variety of the breakfast buffet but made the most of the evening lounge food and beverages.
Soups, salads, small entrées, and enticing desserts could be combined to make filling and tasty meals. A nice selection of wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverages complemented the food.
The downside to enjoying lounge food was passing up the opportunity to try local restaurants. That was a trade I made willingly. I mean the only thing better than cheap food and booze is free food and booze.
Facilities to support business travelers include work spaces and free access to the conference rooms for up to two hours daily. The lounge was an ideal place to read and work during the day.
Artisan Restaurant served a delicious breakfast. Buffet hours were very generous: 06:00 to 10:30 on weekdays and 06:00 to 11:00 on weekends and public holidays.
I appreciated starting each day with a large breakfast/brunch. Eggs, pancakes and waffles cooked to order, and tropical fruits and juices, cereals, yogurt, and pastries, were some of the items on offer. Indian and Asian options were also available.
I usually dined on the outdoor terrace to take advantage of the delightful weather. At 5,900 ft (1,795 m) above sea level, Nairobi possesses a mild subtropical-highlands climate.
The health club is open 24/7. Personal trainers are available to assist. There’s even a sauna and steam room.
Sarabi rooftop bar is a great spot to meet and greet while taking in nighttime views and indulging in light cuisine and a favorite beverage. It was popular with locals as well as guests. The bar has DJs or live music several times a week.
Sarabi shared the rooftop with a lap pool. I think you’d have to be uninhibited or inebriated or both to go for a swim in the evening.
In Sanskrit, Sankara means “source of tranquility”. Tranquility aptly describes my experience at this hotel. Each night provided hours of sound, blissful sleep. The stylish suites, accommodating staff and the outstanding complimentary perks equaled or exceeded the expectations I’d have for a hotel that would cost at least twice as much as the rates at this hotel. I hope I have the opportunity to stay at Sankara Nairobi again.
I invite you to view other posts from the Kenya trip in May 2022.
748 Air Services Dash-8 Q-400 Economy Class Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya Airways 787-8 Business Class Nairobi, Kenya to Johannesburg, South Africa
Air France 777-300 Business Class Johannesburg, South Africa to Paris, France
Air France 787-9 Business Class Paris, France to Dallas, TX
Nairobi National Park Safari
Sankara Nairobi, Marriott Autograph Collection – Hotel Review
Kenya Airways Pride and Simba Lounges Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse – Johannesburg, South Africa
Air France Lounge Terminal 2E Hall K, Charles de Gaulle International Airport Paris