The Exchange Bar in The Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, the country's oldest hotel. Photo: Stanley hotel online.

Hotels often form an intricate part of the growth of the country's growth. These are some of the oldest hotels in Kenya.

1. Stanley Hotel, Nairobi

The Stanley Hotel's history is intertwined with that of the Bents, the Tates and the Blocks who were the hotel's early owners. With the construction of the railway in the the country's then capital Mombasa beginning in 1896, it wasn't till three years later that the railway would reach Nyrobe (Nairobi) in 1899.

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Two years later the town had a couple of shops. Mayence Bent, ran the first 'hotel' in the city-it was a boarding house for railway workers. Bent became a lifelong hotel proprietor who proved her dedication after the Great Fire of Victoria Street. The fire burnt down everything in it path-including Bent's hotel. This was in 1902. She her guests into a building on Government Road.  This would be the first true Stanley Hotel. 

2. Norfolk Hotel, Nairobi 

Owned by the Fairmont Group that owns several other properties in various parts of the world, the Norfolk Hotel dates back to December 1904 when it was used by early settlers to escape the "harsh" conditions of Kenya. The hotel was also the base camp for explorers who ventured into the Kenyan Coast. In 1909, the hotel was the temporary home of US President Theodore Roosevelt on his African Safari and Scientific Expedition. 

3. Safari Park Hotel

Over 50 years ago, the hotel functioned as British Military barracks. Thereafter, the hotel placed on the site was known as the Spread Eagle. It was used by locals who wanted to get away, and travellers who needed to get to Mount Kenya as well.  In 1967, the Safari Park Holdings Limited group was established and registered. A British couple, the Boswell's ran the hotel as a family business.  After a fire in 1985, which burnt down part of the hotel, repairs were made and in 1992 the hotel was re-launched. 

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4. Lake Naivasha Country Club

The lodging, that's based on the opposite shore of Lake Naivasha in Naivasha,Kenya. It was built in 1937 using colonial architecture. It currently boasts cottages and rooms of accommodation. It's also located close to a now dormant volcano, Mount Longonot, which was declared a Kenyan national park in 1983.It was known as the lake hotel in its early days. 

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5. Grogans Castle Lodge 

Opened officially in the 1930s, the castle is situated on a hill below Mount Kilimanjaro. It gives travelers a 360 degree view of the mountain, lake Jipe and Tsavo National Park. Currently, the castle has five spacious rooms decorated in a theme that is unique to an era. 

Grogans Castle Lodge . Picture: Grogans Castle Lodge /Facebook


Do you have any memories that you've made at anyone of these hotels? Share them with us on @IOL_Lifestyle on Instagram.