The new property has 20 luxury tented villas
JW Marriott has opened JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, marking the company's debut in the luxury safari segment.
Sitting within the Masai Mara National Reserve in Southwestern Kenya, the lodge is a sanctuary from which to discover the local wildlife. 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.
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Commenting on the opening, JW Marriott global brand leader Bruce Rohr said: "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.
"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."
The lodge's interiors, designed by Kristina Zanic Consultants, draw the savannah inwards with soft, warm tones, natural materials and textures, and native colours thread through its design.
Each of the lodge's 20 private tents feature terraces overlooking the River Talek, a water source and habitat for animals.
The tented honeymoon suite offers a private plunge pool, while two interconnecting king and twin suites are ideal for families with children (the minimum age of guests at the lodge is six).
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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 used by chefs to craft dishes and cocktails. The garden will also play host to a daily programme of activities, including cooking and mixology demonstrations, and chef-led talks.
A relaxing gathering place, Fig Tree Lounge offers panoramic views of the surrounding plains from the indoor/outdoor bar. Sarabi Restaurant takes guests, and there's also the option to venture out into the reserve for a 'Bush Breakfast' or dinner while sipping sundowners and soaking in the savannah vistas.
The Spa by JW emulates the serenity of the reserve and offers tailored and signature treatments that blend locally-inspired therapies. These are complemented by organic products by renowned African skincare brand Healing Earth, also available as in-room amenities.
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 other products. Guests can also visit The Maa Trust to meet with local artisans and forge a deeper connection to the people in the area.
Currently, 60% of the lodge's team are locals, with plans to reach 70%, ensuring the hotel's contribution to the socio-economic development of the region
As an ongoing initiative, JW Marriott Masai Mara's Apprenticeship Programme invites young women from the community to diversify their skills and broaden their experience to kick-start their careers in the hospitality industry.
Emphasis on waste reduction and recycling is integral to daily operations. The lodge's water treatment plant provides recycled and sanitised water; food waste is placed at the lodge's compost site, and water wells are dotted around the lodge for the local animals.
JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge is a 30-minute drive from Keekorok Airstrip and a 25-minute drive from Sekenani Main Gate.
Prices start from US$1,450 per person, per night all-inclusive. For more information, visit www.marriott.com