- She prefers a hotel that is strategically located with open views of nature. It can be by the ocean, a forest, and in the wilderness.
Joy Ireri has slept in many most-luxurious hotels in the world. An addict of luxury travel, which stemmed from her scouting hotels for discerning travellers, she almost exclusively stays in 5-star hotels.
Hotel experiences; the fine beddings, exquisite decor and experiential food excite her. The most she has ever spent for a night is more than $1,000 (Sh100,000) at Overwater Villa in the Maldives.
“Luxury hotels are worth it because the experience is memorable,” says Ms Ireri, who also looks out for hotel bargains and mostly travels during low season when the rates are almost half price.
Her first international travel was to London in 2005 for work. She now travels for leisure and to scout for her travel company, Luxe Travel Managers, which she founded in 2018.
She has been to Barcelona, Ibiza, London, Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, Bali, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Santorini, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dubai, Morocco, Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam and Arusha.
Some of the hotels she has stayed in include Canaves Hotel OIA in Santorini, Mahali Mzuri in Kenya, Sofitel Guangzhou in China, Hilton Northolme in Seychelles, and Waldorf Astoria in Dubai.
“I am a holidaymaker; I get a lot of satisfaction from hotel experiences. The beach and nature are my main motivation to visit a destination,” says Ms Ireri.
Her most memorable hotel was the Sofitel Hotel which has sophisticated décor and the most comfortable bed, she says.
“The most beautiful beach that I have been to was Anse Georgette in Praslin in Seychelles. I had never seen such white sandy beaches, turquoise blue water a postcard backdrop lined with the smoothest, largest granite stones, and a forest of greenery to complete the look,” she says.
She likes a hotel where almost all the staff greet her by her name. “I like a room with a private pool and a view. Most luxury hotel rooms have comfortable beds with smooth linen and a pillow menu or options, upscale décor, butler service and a chic bathroom with a modern bathtub,” says Ms Ireri.
She prefers a hotel that is strategically located with open views of nature. It can be by the ocean, a forest, and in the wilderness.
Her current favourite hotels are Mahali Mzuri and Sir Richard Branson’s Camp in Maasai Mara.
“They have great game drives and the beds are super comfortable, the views are stunning, great personalised service and fresh delicious meals. The rates for Kenyan residents are now at Sh33,800 ($338) per person per night,” she says.
Her top luxury hotels to visit in Kenya include Finch Hattons Tsavo, Mahali Mzuri Maasai Mara, Saruni Samburu, The Cliff Nakuru, Saasab Samburu, The Hemmingways Collections, The Fairmont in Mt Kenya and Masai Mara, Villa Rosa Kempinski and Olare Mara Kempinski, Sanctuary Olonana and Ol Lentille and Medina Palms.
She says business has been good since August when the lockdown was lifted.
Are Kenyans ready for luxury travel? I ask. “Yes and no. We receive many inquiries for luxury honeymoons. Places like Mahali Mzuri and The Cliff are fully booked every other weekend. There is a growing number of flight charters in Kenya,” she says. However, she adds that some holidaymakers have not yet appreciated the true value of a good holiday.
She adds that a budget traveller can afford a luxury holiday in Kenya’s premium destinations by taking advantage of offers, especially now.
“During this pandemic time, the hotels we thought were untouchable are now accessible to us with good resident offers. Set aside money for one luxury holiday instead of many budget holidays or trips,” she says, adding that an experienced travel agent can help you save money by scouting for discounts.
“Compare the hotels and choose wisely, choose one with more value for money,” she says.