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JW Marriott, a name synonymous with luxury and exceptional hospitality, has made its debut in the luxury safari segment by opening its latest venture – the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge. Nestled in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve in southwestern Kenya, this lodge offers transformative experiences and meaningful connections with nature.

The Masai Mara is widely regarded as one of Africa’s most renowned wilderness conservation regions, and the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge has been crafted to provide guests with a sanctuary from which to discover nature and breathtaking vistas in harmony.

With guided game drives, guests can observe the “Big Five” that the Masai Mara is home to, including lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinoceros, and elephants. In addition, between June and September, guests can witness the annual great wildebeest migration from the Serengeti, an unforgettable experience.

The lodge is located at River Talek, a water source and habitat for many wildlife species, allowing guests to observe wildlife from the comfort of their rooms or while enjoying a meal at the on-site restaurant. With its stunning location, luxurious amenities, and unparalleled hospitality, the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge promises to be a game-changer in the luxury safari segment.

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The Design of JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge

The JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, designed by Kristina Zanic Consultants, blends the savannah inwards, drawing inspiration from the natural elements that surround it. The lodge’s soft, warm tones, natural materials, textures, and native colours thread through its design, creating a sense of harmony and tranquillity.

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge's Tented Suite

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge’s Tented Suite

JW Marriott Masai Mara's Tented Suite

JW Marriott Masai Mara’s Tented Suite

The lodge comprises 20 private tents, each with a private terrace overlooking the River Talek, providing guests with a peaceful sanctuary to relax and soak up the stunning views. For those seeking a more exclusive experience, the tented honeymoon suite has a private plunge pool, perfect for a romantic retreat. Families are also catered to, with two interconnecting king and twin suites available.

Culinary & Wellness Journeys at JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge

At the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, culinary journeys are integral to the experience. The lodge’s signature restaurant, JW Garden, offers outdoor dining in a lush garden setting, where guests can enjoy farm-to-table cuisine with organic ingredients sourced locally. In addition, the live cooking stations, interactive cocktail mixology, and chef-led talks make dining at JW Garden an interactive and unforgettable experience.

For those looking for a more relaxed setting, the Fig Tree Lounge offers panoramic views of the surrounding plains, with indoor and outdoor seating options available. The lounge serves a range of refreshing beverages, including cocktails, and is the perfect spot to unwind and soak up the stunning vistas.

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge's Fig Tree Lounge

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge’s Fig Tree Lounge

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge's Spa by JW

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge’s Spa by JW

The Spa by JW at the lodge offers a range of signature treatments that blend locally inspired techniques and therapies, using products by the renowned African skincare brand Healing Earth. Guests can indulge in a relaxing massage, facial, or body treatment while surrounded by the sounds of the wilderness, creating an immersive and rejuvenating experience.

Sustainability & local engagement at JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge

When it comes to engaging with the local community, one of the lodge’s ongoing initiatives is the Apprenticeship Programme, which invites young women from the surrounding community to diversify their skills and broaden their experience, kick-starting their careers in the hospitality industry.

The lodge also supports local organizations that protect the environment and its wildlife, such as The Mara Elephant Project and The Mara Protector Conservation Programme. Guests can learn more about these initiatives and the local culture from the lodge’s Head Guide, a lifelong conservationist who offers talks and guided walking tours.

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By prioritizing sustainability and community support, the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge offers a luxurious safari experience and plays an essential role in preserving the natural beauty of the Masai Mara and empowering the local community. Guests can feel good knowing that their stay at the lodge is positively impacting the environment and the lives of those who call the region home.

“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.”

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge is a 30-minute drive from Keekorok Airstrip and a 25-minute drive from Sekenani Main Gate. ◼

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© This article was first published online in Apr 2023 – World Travel Magazine.