Book this ultimate day pass in Nairobi to unplug and hang out with giraffes
A search for the top photos hashtagged #nairobitravel on Instagram reveals a common, leggy theme.
Lots of snaps of friendly giraffes poking their heads into the windows of the famous Giraffe Manor hotel in the Nairobi suburbs — often helping themselves to a handout from a guest’s breakfast plate (or doing something similarly cheeky).
With the recent opening this month of a new day-use expansion at Giraffe Manor called The Retreat-- featuring, among other amenities, a giraffe-friendly infinity pool -- expect to see photos of the iconic African animals peering down on doggie-paddling guests filling feeds soon, too.
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Available only to guests of Giraffe Manor and The Safari Collection’s other Kenya properties — including three luxury lodges in Samburu, Laikipia and the Maasai Mara — The Retreat is designed to be a place for guests to spend several hours kicking back someplace far more pleasant than an airport terminal at the start or end of an East African safari adventure.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect when you book a day pass at The Retreat (besides the potential for poolside giraffes, of course).
Located on the same stretch of private, forested land outside of Nairobi as Giraffe Manor and just a short stroll from the main property, The Retreat centers around a roughly 70-foot-long infinity pool where guests can spend their Nairobi layover relaxing atop chaise lounges and basking in bucolic views. There's also a sundeck and rooftop garden for alfresco relaxing.
One side of the pool opens through an archway to allow serendipitous visits by the manor’s herd of Rothschild’s giraffes (the same ones that arrive for breakfast and afternoon tea at Giraffe Manor). There’s no guarantee if or when they’ll show up to say hello, of course, but their appearance is sure to make a splash (we couldn't resist).
The property looks similar in design to Giraffe Manor, with arching windows bringing the outdoors in and nods to the original manor's 1930s English Country style throughout.
Four bedrooms on The Retreat's first floor are available for day use only and look like luxurious hotel rooms -- down to their spacious balconies and huge walk-in rain showers.
And while no sleepovers are allowed (the latest you can stay is 10 p.m.), the beds look as comfortable as you’d expect from a luxury hotel. It’s a far more inviting place than an airport terminal, anyway, for catching some sleep before catching a flight, rearranging your luggage or just taking a breather. Also, name an airport terminal with giraffes loping past.
There's an on-site wellness area at The Retreat, too, with two treatment rooms for spa therapies (deep tissue massages, foot massages and the like) as well as a sauna, steam room, hot tub and a fully equipped gym. So you can spend your layover getting a good dose of downtime and self-care before heading off to your next safari stop.
The Retreat also has an onsite restaurant, Daisy’s Cafe, serving “farm to fork” meals, salads, smoothies and the like (food is not included in the day rate).
Layovers at The Retreat don't come cheap
Suffice to say, basking in an infinity pool where giraffes are prone to come sauntering by hardly comes cheap. But depending on how long of layover you have, it might be worth it.
Guests already staying at neighboring Giraffe Manor, which has only 12 guest rooms, get complimentary access to The Retreat’s pool and wellness area (with drinks, meals and spa treatments billed separately).
And for guests arriving or headed to other The Safari Collection properties who wish to spend time at The Retreat, there are a few options when it comes to packages you can book. It's important to note that staying at The Retreat doesn't get you access to Giraffe Manor.
If you don’t need access to a day room but want to spend an entire day on-site, there's The Retreat Pass (from 10 a.m to 10 p.m.). For $250 per person, it gets you all-day access to the pool and wellness area as well as complimentary water. Food, drinks and spa treatments are excluded. Kids two and under can stay at The Retreat with their parents for no extra charge.
The Retreat Early Bird Package (from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.) is good if you’re arriving in Nairobi on an early flight and want a relaxing, scenic place to kill some time. For $250 per person, it includes continental breakfast at The Retreat (note that the giraffes don't show up to breakfast here) as well as access to the pool and wellness area and complimentary water. Again, you’ll pay extra for spa treatments and all other food and drinks.
For maximum comfort at The Retreat -- and especially if you have a whole day to kill and want to get some proper sleep -- consider booking a day room, which starts from $800 per room (based on double occupancy). Extra day room guests will run you $350 per person and kids 2 and under don't count toward in-room capacity. The rate includes complimentary water and soft drinks, a snack and use of all the facilities (again, you’re paying extra for the extras -- and they'll add up).
Whether you just plan to spend the morning at The Retreat or want to pull a 12-hour day on-site or rent a day room to really settle in, you're going to be dropping some serious cash here -- especially if it's not just you on the tab. But a day spent ogling giraffes and sipping something frosty from an infinity pool is also something that doesn't happen every day in this life--and it sure beats listening to boarding announcements drone on in a crowded airport terminal.