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All reviewshippo breakfastgame drivesrooms are smallthe riverhippo poolrock hyraxhill tophill overlookingsmall hillthe reservesitting areareception areachampagne breakfastlunch and dinnermigration seasongift shopmosquito net
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Reviewed 24 August 2011

I had a small group of 7 with me and we stayed for 2 nights at this lodge. The rooms are nicely appointed, clean and nice. But, it is the view that is amazing at this property. Each room sits up high and looks down on the wonderful Mara! Animals graze and even come up below where the rooms are. Water holes are below and with your binoculars you can sit for hours watching, even if off in the distance. I found the dining room noisy due to the size of this lodge, but the buffet was great with lots of choices and good stations. The bar area is very small and poorly laid out, but if it is nice weather you can sit outside on the terrace above the lovely swimming pool. Nice Gift Shop as well at this property. For me the downside is the size, and business. After escorting four groups to Kenya and Tanzania, I prefer the small intimate lodges and tented camps. This property also gets very busy on the weekends, as many local people will fly out to the Mara for the weekend and stay at this property.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tanzaniatravel_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2011

We (four adults) stayed at the Mara Serena for two nights and upon our arrival we were greeted with a hot towel and fruit drink. But the question you all want answered – what was it like – is easy – we loved this property – with one exception.

The hotel itself is built along the lines of a Masai village, individual rooms disguised as huts. The rooms can best be described as stepping into a Flintstones movie – AND – this is not a bad thing. They are large with a sitting area and each one overlooks the Mara. When we arrived a hippo was just out front. By the next day we saw, giraffes, hippos, and the general cast of characters such as buffalo, zebras, wildebeests, etc. all from the pool or room.

Out on game drives we saw numerous lions, elephants, giant crocodiles, two male hippos on their hind legs fighting over the school of females, and some of the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets you would ever see –and I am a guy………

The main areas are very well set up. The lobby leads out to a patio overlooking a great pool and fire pit. Beside the lobby you have a little lounge and then the dining area. Food is buffet style but not a traditional buffet. Chefs are at individual stations barbequing various meats and joking with you.

The staff is very accommodating and make sure that you enjoy yourself. You can easily waste several hours in the evening by the fire pit – they even have a guitarist to provide background music.

The one point that wasn’t expected, nor appreciated, was with the manager and in this one instance, the front desk staff. When we first booked our trip – November of 2010 – we set up a private bush dinner. Upon arrival we checked with the manager who told us that we should wait in the lobby the next night and we would be taken down to the dinner area. We arrived in the lobby the next evening prior to when we had been told, and were told to wait. Ten minutes later I asked once again and was told to wait. Twenty minutes later we were still waiting and asked for the manager. Now to be fair, the front desk staff was very friendly, they just didn’t provide much in the way of information. Enter the MANAGER. He proceeds to tell us we were late – that our safari guide was responsible for taking us out to the bush dinner!!! After explaining that this was opposite to what we had been told – many times – he then decided to take us down to the dinner himself. On the drive he continued to blame everyone but himself and his front desk staff – our evening that we had planned for months was quickly becoming a nightmare. We told the manager that we were done with his act and that we wanted to cancel the dinner and return to the hotel. He convinced us that the dinner would be as advertised and we continued to the site.

Upon arrival the bush dinner was very intimate and the evening started to live up to its potential. Roaring fire, two chefs grilling meat on an open flame, dinner table set with white linen – well it was spectacular. Quickly forgotten were the manager and his blame game. The chefs and waiters could not have made us feel any more special. The dinner was going great and then – you guessed it – enter the MANAGER. Apparently he felt that he should go get our driver and then interrupt our dinner to have our guide apologize to us for not showing up to take us. You could tell that the guide felt intimidated by the Manager and started to apologize to us. We asked him if he had not asked the same questions as us – and was told the same thing as us – that the hotel would take care of the dinner, and he said yes. We then asked why he was apologizing and he told us because he had been told to………… At that point we felt compelled to invite him to join us at our very expensive private intimate dinner. We couldn’t leave him to believe that we agreed that he was at fault. Thank you Mr Manager – not only did he ruin the dinner before it started, but then completely wrecked it once we started to enjoy it. Oh – he did try to make it up to us – gave us a t-shirt.

Now that my rant is over – back to the hotel. Other than a manager who has no idea about how to take responsibility, this is a great place to stay. Kenyans are by nature friendly and wish to please, but the staff at the Mara Serena provides 5 Star plus service that you may not receive in many so called 5 Star hotels.

Whatever you decide to do - remember to tip those who make your safari special. A couple of bucks to your waiter, porter or guide are appreciated along with a few Asante's (thank-you's).

We stayed at Serena properties throughout our two weeks. They do a great job with their service and the food is always good. Each property provides bottled water in the rooms.

We stayed in July and the temperature was around 26 in the day and 12 at night.

We thoroughly enjoyed our two night stay with the “Flintstones”………………..

Room Tip: All the rooms have excellent views - but if you have mobility issues you may wish to ask for a room close to the lobby.
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank rlk33853
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2011

When we first went out to the Mara we used to split camps and stayed at this Lodge several times.

It is located at the very centre of the Mara Triangle set high on a bush hill with views over the plain and the Mara river.

The lodge has rows of individual twin rooms or rooms with king sized beds and each room has has its own view of the Mara river.

The rooms are en-suite and each room is set slightly in front of the next which gives uninterrupted views of the Mara river.

There is mosquito curtaining,marble bathroom with walk in shower,writing vanity unit and a jutting outside seating area.

This lodge also provides toiletries in the bathroom, ceiling fan,complimentary water and hairdryers and safes from reception.

The dining area overlooks the rooms and the pool and superb views down to the river and open plan seating.

Near to the dining room is a welcoming bar area which also gives seating around the pool.

Breakdfast and lunch are buffet style and a full English breakfast as well

There are also theme nights pasta night- Kenyan night and live bands and traditional dancers

The dinner is table d'hote and we did a sundowner after an afternoon game drive - many wildlife around and of course the gnus making the strange noises - all a sea of black

.We arrived at the site for the sundowner as the sun was setting.
A camp fire is lit and a full bar is set up beside safari chairs and cocktails and bitings are served with music in the background. Usually a guitarist.

You are than driven back to the lodge for dinner.

Staff are so friendly and helpful and we were asked if our room was as we expected.

The room was great but there was a large branch of a tree which interupted the view which I casually mentioned.

After our late game drive we came back and they had cut down all the branches - was quite embarassed as had mentioned casually in the conversation.

Game drives were always excellent and once again we managed to see a crossing from the other side of the river and many lions elepjhants and also I think it was at this lodge we saw Honey the cheetah with her cubs filmed by The Big cat Diary.

Certainly Jonathan Scott was around and came up in his van to speak to us.

The last day as usual we had the bush breakfast by the hippo pool after setting off on the early morning drive. Tea and coffee are provided before leaving and you are taken to the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro River where a full English breakfast is cooked and served with a glass of bucks fizz. It was lovely to relaxax and watch the hippos in the river..

Would certainly return again to this lodge - staff friendly and courteous. Showed us the presedential suite - out of this world and our league!!!!

Management were excellent and the driver was suoerb pointing out a lot to us.

Took us right up to the border on an early morning game and boy was it cold - luckily he had Masaai blankets for us to wrap around ourselves.

Asante to all especially Edwin the GM and the assistant manager.

Room Tip: Try to get the rooms to the left as not so many as the rooms to the right of the lodge.
  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank malaikascotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2011

My husband, son and I traveled along with 2 other families with 3 more kids to this paradise last year. Was one of the most memorable vacations ever. We were received at the airstrip, after a rather scary but uneventful flight from Nairobi, by friendly staff from the resort. After a short ride, we were welcomed by more friendly faces at the resort with warm towels and an unbeatable view. We relaxed in the viewing area while we were checked in with our welcome drinks.
Our room had a massive bed with an additional single bed for our son, each bed well covered by a mosquito net. The bathrooms are small but ample. They also have adjoining rooms with common doors for larger families. The evening service in the rooms is discreet and welcome.
The safaris were thrilling and the drivers were knowledgeable. The evening bonfire, the guitarist serenading us with local songs, watching thunder and lightning over the Mara was spectacular. The view from every part of the hotel was fab. We could see herds of elephants, many impala, boars, the wilder beast, giraffes and also the hot air balloons.
The pool was not too and did not look inviting but who has time for a dip when there is so much to see.
It was a very safe, friendly, comfortable hotel and a great place to go to with kids.

Room Tip: All rooms have great views but if you are old or have strollers, ask for rooms at the top of stairs. There are no ramps.
  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank lollas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2011

We stayed at the Serena in July for 2 nights. The rooms were really nice, clean and comfortable. Staff were very helpful and accommodating. The food was pretty good for buffet style food. The breakfast and evening fresh pasta was probably the best. Lovely atmosphere, very relaxing although we didn’t really lounge around the hotel pool since we used our full day for a full day drive (which I recommend).
The view from our room was second to none, we were facing the river. One morning we saw a lion from our room and then our driver took us down.
The location is a huge plus as you’re not spending an hour from the gate to the inner part of the mara.
There were 4 of us 2 mums and 2 daughters and everyone had a great time.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank nha1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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