JW Marriott enters luxury safari segment with an exciting new lodge
Sitting within the Masai Mara National Reserve in Southwestern Kenya, one of Africa’s most renowned wildlife and wilderness conservation regions, the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge is a sophisticated sanctuary where guests can discover breathtaking vistas and animals
JW Marriott has announced the opening of JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, marking the company’s highly anticipated debut in the luxury safari segment.
Exhilarating guided game drives offer guests the opportunity to observe the “Big Five” that Masai Mara is home to, including lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinoceros, and elephants. Between June and September, the reserve is host to the annual great wildebeest migration, which sees more than 10 million animals travel a distance of 1,800 miles from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania.
Fostering meaningful connections and nourishing the soul is at the heart of the JW Marriott brand, so entering the luxury safari segment is a natural next step,” said Bruce Rohr, Global Brand Leader, JW Marriott. “Offering our guests once-in-a-lifetime experiences and a deep connection to place, JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge balances the thrill of a game drive with thoughtful opportunities to switch off and take it all in. We are excited to welcome travelers to a transformative and wellness-forward stay delivered with JW Marriott’s legacy of extraordinary hospitality.”
The lodge’s elegant interiors, designed by Kristina Zanic Consultants, seamlessly blend the savannah inwards, drawing inspiration from the elements with soft, warm tones, natural materials and textures, and native colors thread through its design. Each of the lodge’s 20 private tents provide a peaceful sanctuary to recharge and reset, and feature terraces overlooking the River Talek, a water source and habitat for many wildlife. The tented honeymoon suite offers a private plunge pool, while two interconnecting king and twin suites are ideal for families with children over the age of six.
Well-being and Mindful Practices
In keeping with JW Marriott’s ethos of mindfulness, the lodge is home to a number of thoughtfully-designed spaces, from the cozy adventure lounge full of books to get lost in and a nook for young adults to take time for themselves, to the cultural deck where guests can gather around the fire pit to share tales of the day’s exploration.
Capturing the essence of rejuvenation, the spa by JW emulates the serenity of the reserve and offers tailored experiences and signature treatments which blend locally-inspired techniques and therapies. These are complemented by natural and organic products by renowned African skincare brand, Healing Earth, also available as in-room amenities.
Nourishing Culinary Journeys
At the heart of the camp is the JW garden – an outdoor space for guests to spend time discovering home-grown, organic ingredients, including the lodge’s signature rosemary. The garden’s produce is used by chefs to craft personalized dishes, cocktails, and mocktails. The garden will host daily programming, including live cooking, interactive cocktail mixology, and chef-led talks for a true farm-to-table experience. A relaxing gathering place, fig tree lounge offers panoramic views of the surrounding plains from the indoor and outdoor bar and serves refreshing cocktails and mocktails infused with seasonal ingredients from the lodge’s garden. An indoor and alfresco dining experience at Sarabi Restaurant takes guests on a nourishing epicurean experience guided by JW Garden ingredients and local culinary heritage. Guests can venture out into the reserve with the lodge’s guides to enjoy a freshly prepared ‘Bush Breakfast’ or dinner while sipping sundowners and soaking in the breathtaking savannah vistas.
Connection to the Locale
The lodge’s community programming provides an authentic insight into meaningful local projects, including The Maa Trust, an organisation empowering local people by promoting small business start-ups. The lodge donates a percentage of the nightly rate per person to the organisation and provides a space for craftspeople to retail Maa Beadwork and produce. Guests can visit The Maa Trust to meet with local artisans and forge a deeper connection to the people in the area.
Currently, 60 percent of the lodge’s team are locals, with plans to reach 70 percent, ensuring the hotel’s contribution to the socio-economic development of the region. As an ongoing initiative, JW Marriott Masai Mara’s Apprenticeship Program invites young women from the community to diversify their skills and broaden their experience to kick-start their careers in the hospitality industry. Partnership with the community began during the early development process of the lodge.