A Maasai Mara tented camp, Mahali Mzuri, owned by British tycoon Sir Richard Branson has been ranked as the number one hotel in the world.
The Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards released on Monday shows that people love the hotel for its rooms, location, service, food, and value.
The 12-tented luxury safari camp is among the five hotels located in Olare Motorogi Conservancy, a 33,000-acre private conservancy, teeming with wild animals.
What lures travellers to the camp?
“As human beings, anything that draws us back to nature or to our origin like the Garden of Eden, we will pay for it. People will pay even more to come to a place like this where they are in touch with nature more privately and intimately. Nature takes you back to where it all started, to your roots,” said Wilson Odhiambo, the General Manager of Mahali Mzuri in a previous interview with Business Daily.
Mahali Mzuri charges Sh104,000 per person, per night for guests visiting during low tourism seasons, Sh167,000 per person for peak seasons, and Sh157,000 for a tourist seeking a wilderness escape in December to early January. At times, a family or a group of friends can rent out all the 12 tents for Sh3.8 million during the festive season.
Two years ago, the camp started courting local travellers at discounted rates.
“We came up with a rate that would be affordable for nature and wild lovers to come and experience it. We are not just here for the international market, we are opening it up to the local market, to Kenyans and especially for those who love nature and appreciate nature,” Mr Odhiambo said.
Nayara Tented Camp at Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica came second in the awards, followed by The Opposite House in Beijing, the Capella in Bangkok, Capella Ubud in Bali, Indonesia and Grace Hotel, and Auberge Resorts Collection in Santorini, Greece.
India had the most hotels appearing in the Top 100 ratings with a total of 12 properties.