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Magic in the Mara: Reviewing the new JW Marriott Masai Mara safari lodge

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The world’s largest hotel chain manages over 8,000 properties in more than 135 countries, ranging from palatial luxury resorts to enormous conference hotels to limited-service lodgings and nearly everything in between.

But until now, there’s been one big gap in Marriott’s far-reaching portfolio: a luxury safari lodge.

While the chain owns some Protea Hotels in South Africa, Marriott has lagged behind some competitors, including Four Seasons and Kempinski, foraying into the market for high-end travelers going on safari.

However, that changed earlier this year with the official opening of the long-awaited JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge.

The lodge, in Kenya’s famed Masai Mara National Reserve, opened in April, and it’s since garnered lots of attention from the media (TPG ranked it among this year’s most exciting new hotels) and from Marriott Bonvoy loyalists since you can both earn and redeem points here.


Those who aren’t necessarily loyal to Marriott will also find plenty to love at the new JW, which was designed by Dubai-based Kristina Zanic — but more on that later.

Safaris are among my favorite type of trips; I love seeing animals in their natural habitats. Combine that with a brand-new points-friendly luxury lodge, and I’m sold.

When the property started taking reservations in February, I was among the first to book a stay. That turned out to be a great deal, and it also meant I’d be among the first to try the new property.


So how was it? I just returned from the bush, and I can confidently say that this is no doubt the nicest JW property in the world. Read on to learn why.

JW Marriott Masai Mara booking

No matter which safari lodge you stay at, there’s lots of advance prep work that needs to be done, which begins with actually booking your stay.

Reserving a room at the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge is pretty straightforward. You can simply go to Marriott’s website or app, search for the property and check the rates. (Alternatively, you can also book a room via a trusted travel agent or possibly even American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts down the line if it joins that program.)


While the booking flow may replicate any other Marriott stay you’ve reserved, there are a few things to consider.

For one, the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge only offers all-inclusive packages, which comprise the following:

  • Accommodation and meals on a full-board basis.
  • Most alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Game drives.
  • A pair of Vortex Viper binoculars for use during your stay.
  • Wi-Fi.
  • Return airstrip transfers from Keekorok Airstrip (more on that below).
  • Five items of laundry per person per day.
  • All statutory taxes.

Many luxury safari lodges operate on an all-inclusive basis (after all, you can’t really shop around for restaurants and activities once you get to a game reserve), and the JW Marriott Masai Mara’s inclusions are pretty standard for top-tier safari lodges.

Note that there are still a handful of pricey extras that you’ll be on the hook for, including:

  • Masai Mara National Reserve entrance fee of $80 per person per night.
  • Spa treatments.
  • Gratuities.
  • Additional activities, such as cultural village visits and hot air balloon safaris.

Secondly, this might just be the most expensive JW Marriott in the world: Rates start at around $1,400 per night based on single occupancy and $2,342 per night based on double occupancy in the offseason (around November-May) and jump to over $2,000 per night for single occupancy and over $4,000 per night for double occupancy during summer in the Northern Hemisphere. These prices are no bargain, but luxe safaris are always a splurge.

Finally, you can book a stay at the JW Marriott Masai Mara using Marriott Bonvoy points, and it can even represent a fantastic deal.

Points redemptions, which are sold on an all-inclusive basis, start at 98,000 points per night (double or single occupancy), worth around $823 according to TPG’s valuations. Compared to paying $1,400 or more for the cash rate, this represents a great redemption.


Just note that points availability is largely limited to the offseason (winter in the Northern Hemisphere), and many redemptions are only available in one- or two-night increments, which means you can’t necessarily take advantage of Marriott’s fifth-night-free award perk.

As for me, I snagged perhaps the best Bonvoy redemption I’ve ever made. When the hotel started selling rooms earlier this year, most nights were priced at just around 20,000 points apiece, before the fifth night free.

Because of that, my five-night stay cost just 92,000 points. Although it seemed to be an error, the hotel honored these reservations, and reflecting back on my remarkable stay, I’m so glad it did. As you might expect, this 20,000-point deal is no longer available.

That said, I ended up traveling with two friends, and all rates only cover two people. The hotel charged us $1,690 per night for the third guest, which certainly wasn’t cheap, but was still well worth it.

Getting to the JW Marriott Masai Mara

Not only is this likely the priciest JW Marriott in the world, but it’s also perhaps the hardest one to get to.

Before I get into the overview, note that the hotel’s reservation team can help arrange guests’ transportation needs before and after their stay.

First, you’ll first need to get to Nairobi. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) is served by a slew of international carriers, including a daily nonstop from New York on the country’s flag carrier, Kenya Airways. From there, the lodge can arrange a six-hour drive for you, though the roads are rather bumpy, for $400 each way.


Most guests arrive and depart via air, though. There are a few airstrips in the nature reserve, and the closest one to the lodge is called Mara-Keekorok.

A handful of primarily domestic carriers operate service to Keekorok, but all of these flights depart from Nairobi’s other airport, Wilson Airport (WIL).

Driving between NBO and WIL takes about 30 minutes if traffic is light, and the JW Marriott Masai Mara can arrange round-trip ground transfers for $140. (You’re also free to arrange your own transportation; Ubers start at just $8 between the two airports.)


Once you’ve arrived at Wilson Airport, you’ll need to check in with your domestic carrier. This works similarly to most commercial flights. There’s a cursory security check at the entrance to the terminal, followed by a formal check-in process.

Just note that your bags will be weighed, as most of these carriers only allow 15 kilograms (roughly 35 pounds) of luggage per person.

Fares vary for these short internal flights. We asked the hotel to arrange them for us, and we ended up being booked on AirKenya Express for $400 per person round-trip.

These internal flights are operated by a range of (aging) turboprops, so don’t expect much in the way of amenities during the flight, though they are nicely maintained.


Flights from Wilson to Keekorok take just 30 minutes, but note that many of these trips are operated as “milk runs,” which stop at multiple airstrips in the nature reserve to pick up and drop off additional passengers.

You don’t really know what route you’ll take until just a few hours before the flight, but you’ll definitely want to allow plenty of time if you’re making a connection at NBO.

The Keekorok airstrip (really just a gravel runway in the middle of the bush) also doesn’t have too many amenities other than a bathroom (with running water, on some days), so don’t arrive here too early before your flight back to Nairobi.


Your all-inclusive rate with the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge begins once you arrive at the airstrip, as your 45-minute car transfer from the plane to the lodge is included with your rate. (Keep your eyes peeled on the road during this drive, since it won’t take long to catch your first sight of wildlife.)

While I took a plane from Wilson to Keekorok, I might consider the drive in the future, especially if I’m traveling with lots of luggage (or with a large group).


Flying can no doubt be the fastest way in and out of the park (when things operate on schedule), but it’s also the most expensive, and it comes with a few restrictions that could sway you to book a car transfer instead.

JW Marriott Masai Mara check-in and lobby

Once you pull up to the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge — a true oasis within the Masai Mara reserve — you’ll immediately start forgetting about the trek that it took to get there.

When we arrived at around 12 p.m., we were greeted by a traditional welcome dance from members of the local Masai ethnic group who are employed by the hotel.


The Masai invited us to join in on the dance, and by the end, smiles replaced the exhaustion on our faces from the nearly 24 hours of nonstop travel it took to get there.

Once the dance concluded, it was time to check in and freshen up.


To enter the hotel, guests cross the so-called dancing bridge, aptly named because it “dances” (moves up and down) as you walk on it.


The bridge is suspended over the Talek River, which runs adjacent to the property. (The river wasn’t really flowing during our July stay in the dry season, but I imagine that the current is much stronger during the reserve’s rainy season.)


After crossing the bridge, you’ll find yourself in the main common areas of the property, which are all elevated from the ground on a wooden deck.


We were ushered into the beautifully decorated welcome tent, where we were provided with warm towels and a choice of Champagne or fresh fruit juice.

Our bags were taken directly to our room, and Thelma, our check-in concierge, invited us to take a seat on the terrace to complete some formalities.

This process took just a few minutes, and Thelma then gave us a brief property overview before dropping us off at our tent.


All in all, it was a flawless check-in process, and it turned out to be a harbinger of what was to come with our stay.

JW Marriott Masai Mara tented suites

While you might be familiar with JW Marriotts that have thousands of rooms in major business destinations, this property couldn’t be more different.

There are just 20 individual tented suites at the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, all overlooking the Talek River. The suites are arranged in a single line from west to east, with the lodge’s common areas dividing the 20 tents into two sections.

The suites on the western side go from 1 to 11 and those on the eastern side go from 12 to 21 (you won’t find an unlucky Tent 13 at this JW). As such, if you have a preference between sunrise and sunset views, let the hotel know beforehand and hopefully, it can accommodate you with an east- or west-facing suite, respectively.

Our suite, No. 20, was a standard king-bed suite that had been turned into a triple room.

The suites themselves are elevated freestanding structures with plenty of privacy and space to spread out — after all, they measure around nearly 1,100 square feet of indoor and outdoor space.

Before you enter the room itself, you’ll be greeted by a large terrace facing the river featuring two chairs, a small circular table and a built-in Jacuzzi (just be sure to let the hotel know three hours in advance if you want the Jacuzzi filled and heated.)

I enjoyed spending time each evening on the terrace, but I just wish that the Jacuzzi got a bit warmer than the 93 degrees that my Apple Watch measured.


As for the suite itself, well, it was simply stunning. From the spare, modern design and neutral palette to the locally inspired touches (like the “Do Not Disturb” sign that was a Masai spear) to the sloping roofs, the tents at the JW most definitely fit into the glamping aesthetic.

You’ll find many of the modern conveniences that you’d expect from a newly built hotel, including universal power outlets, an ergonomic desk with a chair, two comfortable couches and a well-stocked complimentary minibar.

What you won’t find, unfortunately, is air conditioning or televisions. While I had no trouble forgoing the latter during my stay, I was a bit uncomfortable during the day without air conditioning due to high midday temperatures.

The tents each feature two powerful ceiling fans, and the hotel is happy to arrange additional portable fans, but no matter how many blades are spinning, it gets hot in the room during the day. (That was one reason why we stayed out on full-day game drives throughout the stay.)

When the outside temperature drops at night and in the morning, it’s a very different story. I had no trouble getting comfortable and snuggling under a thick duvet at night.

In fact, the hotel even placed padded hot water bottles in our beds during turndown service to warm us up each night. If you are too warm at night, you can also ask the hotel to open one or more of the tent’s flaps.

Speaking of the beds, they’re some of the most comfortable I’ve ever experienced on safari.


To convert our king tent into a triple, the hotel placed two individual beds just in front of the two dressers. That made the room a tiny bit cramped, but unless you’re also a group of three, you’ll have plenty of space to spread out and unpack your items into the wardrobes.

While many aspects of the suite were impressive, the highlight was the spacious dual-vanity bathroom.

Not only did I appreciate the wood paneling and fixtures and the dramatic lighting, but I also loved the cornucopia of amenities waiting for us, such as dental kits, liquid and bar hand soap and more from Rituals and Healing Earth.

In addition to a walk-in shower, each suite also features an outdoor shower. My one complaint about the bathroom is that there isn’t a door separating it from the bedroom, which might not be private enough if you and your traveling companions are on different sleep schedules.

As far as safari hotels in Africa go, I found the water pressure and water temperature to be the best I’ve experienced. There was never a lag for a strong stream of hot water.

Moreover, I found the monogrammed JW Marriott towels to be incredibly thick and absorbent, and I’m already missing them.


All in all, the suites at the JW Marriott Masai Mara are some of the best I’ve seen in all of my safaris (I’ve been on five of these trips, ranging from mid-tier to ultra-luxury). As a new property, the suites boast many of the modern amenities that you’d expect from a top hotel, even though you’re in the middle of the bush.


The lack of air conditioning could be a deal breaker for some travelers, and while I thought it would ruin my sleep, I was pleasantly surprised that I woke up chilly five nights in a row.

JW Marriott Masai Mara amenities

Even if you never venture out for a game drive, there are plenty of amenities to keep you busy at the JW Marriott Masai Mara.


It starts with the pool, spa and gym area, which is just a few steps from the lobby via a tree-lined path that stretches all the way to the end of the property.

The central part of this area is the infinity pool, which is surrounded by a handful of comfortable loungers and chairs, some of which are shaded by a wooden pergola.


I never saw another guest at the pool throughout our five-night stay, possibly because the infinity pool isn’t heated. That said, the strong African sun brought the temperature up to 73 degrees, which was quite refreshing in the hot afternoons.


Though the pool has an infinity edge, it doesn’t really overlook much. That’s likely to change in the coming years, as I saw the groundskeepers planting new shrubbery and plants near the pool (and throughout the property, too).


Next to the pool is the lodge’s spa, which features a few common-use areas, such as a sauna, a steam room, showers and a cold plunge pool flanked by two loungers.

Thanks to some small water fountains and a pleasing aroma, I found myself relaxing here on some evenings.

The spa has two treatment rooms, one of which is designed for couples. Treatments aren’t included in the nightly rates, and they start at $170 for a 60-minute massage (before tip) — right around what I’d expect to pay at a luxury hotel.

Opposite the spa in a separate tent is the gym, which is a bit spartan. Inside, you’ll find just a simple treadmill, a bike and a rowing machine for cardio exercise.

There’s also a bench, a rack of free weights up to 20 kilograms and a NOHrD exercise wall that can be used for multiple strength exercises.

I used the gym three times during my stay — a must with all the gourmet meals I was eating — and found it perfectly fine but unmemorable.

Note that the gym doesn’t feature any TVs and it’s completely open-air, so the temperature inside is at the mercy of Mother Nature. That said, I did enjoy a cool breeze in the morning, afternoon and evening when I used the gym.

The rest of the amenities are near the lodge’s welcome area.


Here you’ll find a game room (with classics such as Scrabble and chess) that can theoretically double as a conference room, as well as the hotel’s gift shop stocked with Masai-made souvenirs.

There are gender-specific public restrooms with African design accents next to the small reception desk.

Many visitors, myself included, make sure to bring their fancy big cameras on safari. After all, you really need a powerful long lens to capture many of the sights along the way.

While these cameras often cost over $1,000, the JW Marriott Masai Mara has an innovative amenity that I’d never seen before: a Canon-branded camera studio.

Moses, the hotel’s photographer, can loan you a Canon EOS R6 Mark II with a 100-to-500-millimeter lens for free for the duration of your stay. These are very powerful cameras, so if you’d like a tutorial, Moses can show you all the basics in the photography studio and can also join you on a game drive for an additional fee.

The rental cameras come with an SD card, so if you’d like to save your photos easily to your own device, be sure to bring a laptop on the trip. (I imagine that Moses could load your photos onto a USB thumb drive or potentially to the cloud, but I’m not sure if there’s a fee associated with that.)

Speaking of internet, Wi-Fi is available in the room and throughout the resort, but the speeds are not great – they measured just about 8Mbps download and upload for me. That’s fast enough to stream TV and maybe make a FaceTime call, but it wasn’t speedy enough to upload my pictures and videos after each day in the bush.

This performance might be expected due to the lodge’s location in the middle of a nature reserve, but it was interesting that my phone’s five-bar Airtel LTE roaming network provided faster speeds than the hotel’s Wi-Fi.

As an animal and nature enthusiast who wanted to be out in the bush all day, if there’s one downside to having all of these amenities, it’s that I wish there were more time during the day to enjoy all the lodge facilities.

JW Marriott Masai Mara safaris and activities

While the lodge has plenty to keep you occupied, you shouldn’t come to the Masai Mara National Reserve simply to relax by the pool. (I can recommend plenty of resorts for that vacation vibe.)

Instead, the highlight for guests will likely be the game drives each day. Like most lodges, the JW Marriott Masai Mara offers two daily game drives, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.


To maximize your chance of seeing animals while they’re most active, game drives depart about 30 minutes before sunrise and then return to the lodge once the heat of the day sets in. Guests depart again late in the afternoon and return to the lodge about 30 minutes after sunset.


If you’d like to customize a safari schedule that works better for you, the lodge is happy to accommodate. We wanted to do a few full-day game drives to maximize our wildlife sightings, for instance. Not only did the lodge happily oblige, but it also packed us breakfast and lunch to go.


If this is your first safari, expect to be transported around the park in a four-by-four Toyota Land Cruiser. The JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge operates a fleet of about 10 vehicles, some of which feature four seats and some six. All are branded with JW Marriott logo decals around the car and on the seat headrests.

Our vehicle had a removable roof to allow you to stand up when you spotted something interesting.

In each vehicle, you’ll find a few amenities to make bouncing around the park more comfortable. These include a fridge stocked with complimentary drinks, universal power outlets and USB-A ports, complimentary sunscreen, hand sanitizer and Vortex Viper binoculars.


The lodge also provided blankets designed in Masai prints for the cool mornings and evenings. (This allowed me to wear shorts during the day, but also stay warm before and after the sunrise and sunset, respectively.)


Whether it’s your first or hundredth safari, there’s always lots of anticipation about what you’ll see in the park. In my case, I was eager to see the Great Migration of wildebeests, one of the largest movements of animals in the world.

In the Masai Mara, this typically happens around July and August, and we saw some incredible migration crossings during our drives.

Some days were more exciting than others, but that’s how it goes in the bush. This isn’t a zoo — prepare for an hour or two at a time without seeing any of the “Big Five” animals (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo).

That said, the guides do generally communicate via the radio when they see something interesting, so you may end up sharing a viewing of a pride of lions with other safari vehicles. (Also note that the Masai Mara National Reserve isn’t a private conservancy like you might find near other luxe African lodges, and there is no off-roading allowed in the park.)

A good guide can also make or break your experience, and this is another area where we lucked out with Albert. He took us around the park, and I’d highly recommend asking for him if you stay at the JW Marriott Masai Mara. His knowledge of the park and its inhabitants was impressive, and he did a great job spotting some impressive game (without the help of the radio).

Just scroll through some of my highlights below.

Other guides that come highly recommended by family and friends who recently visited the property include Nicholas and Philip. I’ve heard that the JW lured some of the best guides away from top nearby lodges, including the Kempinski and andBeyond.

Just note that the JW Marriott Masai Mara doesn’t guarantee private game drives for your party (that costs $450 extra per day), so you might have to spend them with other guests. However, the lodge does seem to try to provide private drives, assuming that there are spare guides. (We didn’t pay extra for a private vehicle, but we got one anyway.)


In addition to game drives, there are two other optional activities that the lodge recommends.

The first is a visit to a nearby Masai village, where you can learn about the group’s culture, practices and way of living. It costs $30 per person paid in cash to the village elder upon arrival.

I visited a Masai village on a previous safari, but I went back with my friends this time and thoroughly enjoyed seeing one again. Just prepare to be ushered through a gift shop at the end of your tour, and note that prices are negotiable.

The second activity is a hot air balloon safari, which costs $400 per person when booked through the hotel.

I did a hot air balloon safari in Tanzania during my honeymoon two years ago, and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t think it was worth an additional $400 and a very early morning wakeup this time around.

JW Marriott Masai Mara food and beverage

At some all-inclusive resorts, it feels like the food and drinks are an afterthought. But at the JW Marriott Masai Mara, the dining experience is an integral — and delectable — part of your stay.

You certainly won’t go hungry for more than a few minutes; there’s tasty, fresh and wholesome food wherever you turn.

When you wake up in the morning, the hotel sets up a small coffee and pastry bar. I don’t drink coffee, but my friends said that the local coffee was some of the best they’ve ever had.


You have two options for breakfast and lunch. You can eat at the lodge or out on a game drive, weather permitting.

If you choose the former, you’ll enjoy your meal in either the Fig Tree Bar and Lounge or the Sarabi restaurant, both of which are in the lodge’s central welcome area.

They’re both tastefully designed with African art sourced from nearby villages and feature a mix of indoor and outdoor seating, some of which is shaded.

Meanwhile, if you choose a to-go meal, the chef will pack a fancy picnic box for you to enjoy while on a game drive. Your guide will set up a makeshift dining area, complete with a table and folding chairs, under a tree somewhere in the park.

There’s no doubt that the picnic meals (think sandwiches, salads, breads and desserts) are more basic than the multicourse meals back at the lodge, but it’s pretty special to enjoy a meal or two out in the middle of the park.

Also, this way you don’t need to drive back to the lodge each time you want to eat.


If you do elect to eat at the lodge, you’ll be in for a treat. The breakfast, lunch and dinner menus rotated daily. There was typically a choice of a vegetarian soup or salad, followed by one of four entrees and then a daily dessert selection. (Don’t be scared to order multiple entrees or refills — the servers were always more than happy to accommodate any requests.)

We ate our way through the menus during our stay, and looking back at my notes and pictures, I can’t even pinpoint one dish that I would’ve done differently. This was some of the best and freshest food I’ve ever had at a resort, no less on safari in the middle of a game reserve.

Perhaps the dish that stood out most was the red snapper that we had for lunch on the first day. It was prepared with just the right amount of flakiness and seasoning.


Suffice it to say, you will not find a massive and unappealing all-inclusive buffet at this 20-tent property.

If there is one area of improvement, it’s with the bread basket, which included the exact same types of bread every lunch and dinner. It got quite stale after a while (no pun intended).


However, the kitchen does bake fresh naan bread on some nights, and it was always a highlight.


The complimentary alcohol selection included a wide range of wines from all over the world, as well as some top-shelf liquor, including Grey Goose vodka and Hendrick’s gin.


The lodge provides a wine and cocktail menu during each meal, but you’re also encouraged to ask the bartender to whip up your favorite drink.

Speaking of cocktails, I enjoyed some refreshing and balanced drinks throughout my stay, including the Mara Garden and the African Bee’s Knees.


Alternatively, you can opt for room service, which is included in your room rate. I couldn’t find a printed menu anywhere, but we didn’t even bother inquiring since the restaurant food was so good.

Finally, the lodge is growing its own “JW Garden” near Tent 17. The garden itself is already quite impressive, and its produce will soon be used as ingredients in different dishes.


The garden also features a wooden pergola under which you can enjoy breakfast or lunch.

Every afternoon, the restaurant prepares sundowners (drinks and some light bites) around a fire underneath the big fig tree on the main terrace.

While this was always a great way to unwind at the end of the day, the lodge took the sundowner experience to the next level on our last night, when it set up a bonfire, makeshift bar and lawn chairs underneath a tree in the middle of the reserve with a front-row view of the sunset.

This proved to be a magical way to end our trip.

JW Marriott Masai Mara service

While the lodge’s “hard product” (tents, amenities and property) greatly exceeded my expectations, what really set the JW Marriott Masai Mara apart was the service.

For one, the staff-to-guest ratio felt like it greatly exceeded 3:1, even when the lodge was fully booked during some of the nights we were there.


Wherever we turned, an employee was there to greet us, ask how we were doing and see if they could get us anything. Furthermore, by our second day, every single employee addressed us by name. That’s some impressive service that I’ve only seen before in top Four Seasons and Aman resorts, among a handful of other top-tier luxury brands.

While we enjoy personalized service at every interaction, the restaurant waiters really went above and beyond to ensure that we were doted on as if we were eating in their own homes.

Speaking of the restaurant, my friends and I have some unique dietary restrictions, but executive chef Rajiv Ranjan, who came to the hotel with 15 years of experience at various luxury hotels, couldn’t have been friendlier or more accommodating.


During and after every meal, he asked for feedback and helped plan a menu that worked with our preferences. Chef Ranjan specializes in Indian food, and after we told him we enjoyed his signature dishes on the second night, he happily cooked us some more Indian delicacies on the other nights.

His thoughtfulness extended right until checkout, when he showed up as we were leaving with some nibbles (freshly made energy bars, macarons, doughnuts and more).


Our guide, Albert, struck the perfect balance between being professional and friendly, exactly what we were looking for during our game drives.

And then there’s Fairman Muhingi, the lodge manager. Fairman oversees the entire property, but he’s not leading from some back office. He is out helping guests and staff every single day.

Fairman checked in with us multiple times during the day, and he even shared his WhatsApp details to contact him directly if we needed anything.


No matter how small the request, it was handled with a “yes” and a smile — the real mark of a world-class resort.

Bottom line

It’s finally here: Marriott’s long-awaited luxury safari lodge is now open in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.

Though the world’s largest hotel chain is branding this property as a JW Marriott, it couldn’t feel more different from what I tend to think of as a typical JW Marriott.


If you’ve ever stayed at a JW Marriott in the U.S., you’ve likely experienced a cookie-cutter business-focused resort in a major city with a high room count and amenities that can feel generic.

But the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge couldn’t be further from this image. The stunning, tented, all-suite property with top-notch food, impeccable service and impressive amenities went beyond even my high expectations and is even more exciting because you can earn and redeem points while experiencing it.

Coupled with its prime location in the heart of the world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve, this camp is bound to be considered one of Marriott’s most distinctive properties yet.