From Africa's second highest mountain, Mt. Kenya, to the vast African savannah, home to hundreds of species of wildlife and birds to the coastline filled with sandy beaches and Indian Ocean's warm waters, Kenya is blessed with stunning landscapes.
From Africa's second highest mountain, Mt. Kenya, to the vast African savannah, home to hundreds of species of wildlife and birds to the coastline filled with sandy beaches and Indian Ocean's warm waters, Kenya is blessed with stunning landscapes. You can experience wellness opportunities from safaris, hiking, hot air ballooning, kayaking, mountain climbing, stargazing or just curled up reading a favourite book with a sundowner. Wellness knows no bounds in Kenya.
Wellness also means, to this spa enthusiast, having body care treatments. This was my third visit to Kenya and I wanted to squeeze in some wellness and massages. My body was telling me it needed some good old TLC that only a skilled therapist can provide. One may not necessarily think Kenya scores high on this point, but the training and overall atmosphere, facilities, and skill level of Kenya's spas and therapists have improved significantly in the past few years. This is a testament to travellers’ increasing desire to incorporate spa and wellness on holidays (and business trips) and expectations are higher.
Sarova Panafric Hotel
Centrally located this Nairobi hotel won't win any awards for its 162 rooms but attracts regular business clientele and the staff, especially the front desk, are exceptionally helpful and welcoming - even the security guards.
I was surprised there was a boutique spa here. Calling it a spa may be a stretch but the Tulia Spa offers a fairly comprehensive variety of treatments for only two treatment rooms. I enjoyed the Tulia massage which utilizes many different massage techniques. Jane my therapist knew how to massage and manipulate my body in ways that very few therapists have ever discovered. Her her skill level and technique made me want to pack her in my suitcase and bring her back to Canada.
Don't expect bells and whistles at this spa though they did offer tea or water after the treatment. The treatment room is well appointed with a small but welcoming waiting room. I went back for a second treatment a couple of days later. This time there was an unexpected but I must admit welcome "addition" to my treatment.
I had booked just a simple more one hour aromatherapy massage. I went into the treatment room, disrobed and hopped onto the table facing down staring at the floor. The therapist came in and started applying oil on my back. No surprise there. But then all of a sudden something felt weird. I felt more hands on another part of my back. I stared down to the floor and then it hit me - there are two therapists, four hands. I thought should I ask what's going on? Why? It was pleasurable and why argue with four hands skillfully massaging me. So I just decided to say nothing and enjoy. I did wonder when I was leaving if they were going to charge me for two therapists. Nope it was just the usual price for one. Gotta love that Kenya hospitality!
Mount Kenya Safari Club
The fact that you can have a drink at one part of the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in the southern hemisphere and have a meal in the northern hemisphere is only one unique aspect of this luxury five-star resort. Sir Winston Churchill and entertainer Bing Crosby were members and vacationed here. Actor William Holden formerly owned it and it was a retreat for movie stars to business tycoons.
Nowadays all can enjoy it (ok not budget travellers) -this truly wellness retreat located in Nanyuki is a four to five hour drive or short flight from Nairobi. Many of the 120 suites offer grand views of Kenya's grand mountain - Mt. Kenya. A nine-hole golf course, animal sanctuary, horseback riding, hiking trails, swimming, safaris and more are offered here.
The spa is small - nestled between the locker rooms and the modern gym. It has three treatment rooms. Considering Fairmont's properties are known for some large and well-equipped spas I was surprised how tiny it was. Though there is room to expand in the future and Fairmont only took over the property about seven years ago. What it lacks in size it makes up for with a good range of treatments from facials, pedicures, manicures and body treatments.
I indulged in a two hour spa treatment incorporating an exfoliation and scrub treatment with two herbal heat gourd like compresses made up of 24 different herbs. It was a very soothing treatment that both relaxed and invigorated my body.
This retreat is a full destination resort - it's all here and you feel like you never need to leave the resort.
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Rolling Stone's Ron Wood, British actor Rowan Atkinson have all called it home during their respective getaways.
It actually consists of three private villas - each with their own pool. The view? The Indian Ocean along Diani Beach just a short drive from Mombasa. Here you are in your own private oasis with personal butler service and all the luxuries but without the unnecessary pretentiousness.
An Italian couple own and designed Alfajiri which means "dawn" in Swahili. The incredibly spacious and well-appointed suites have no TV - it's all about escaping the news and madness of the real world and just relax. And relaxing also means being massaged oceanside in an outdoor cabana as a skilled therapist applies aromatic massage oil over my rotund body.
Sirens, horns and endless conversations of the city are now replaced by the melodic sounds of waves rolling in, only interrupted by the occasional chirp of a songbird. Alfajiri truly is one of the best places I have ever stayed in. Luxurious, but not ostentatious or over the top, friendly but not overbearing service, and a chill-out and zone-out attitude and atmosphere. This is an ideal wellness breeding ground.
Kenya will always be the go-to safari destination but those safari vehicles and the roads they travel can be a little rough at times. Kenya can not only fill your camera lens and memory cards with good memories but your body and mind as well with wellness activities and retreats. Let Kenya knead you.