Sanctuary Retreats is delighted to announce the transformation of its flagship award-winning Kenya property Sanctuary Olonana, due to open as an exceptional luxury lodge in June 2018.

The upgrade forms the latest part of a major investment programme across the Sanctuary portfolio, with the innovative new lodge set to showcase modern design blended with a distinct traditional African style.

Sanctuary Olonana is set in lush woodland on the banks of the Mara River in the Masai Mara, an area renowned for excellent year-round game viewing and stage to the great annual wildebeest migration. Regarded as the top safari property in East Africa*, Sanctuary Olonana is famous for its exceptional customer experience and individual service and in its new guise, it will set new standards of style in the region.

The new-look Sanctuary Olonana will offer 14 exceptional new glass-sided suites, which will each offer at least 130 sqm of floor space. Combining contemporary architecture with time-tested construction practices, every aspect of the new lodge will maximise the wilderness experience for guests – bringing a sense of the magnificent outdoors inside.

All suites will feature floor-to-ceiling glass folding doors, providing panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and Mara River, whether this is from the comfort of a daybed on the private deck, from the lower level lounge, or even whilst sinking into the deep, freestanding bath. Each will be furnished with king-sized beds and elegant nature-inspired furnishings, with the slate and marble en suite bathrooms equipped with a rain shower as well as the generous bathtub. Three of the new suites will also feature an extra bedroom, making them ideal for families.

The interiors of the main lodge are an extension of the surrounding wilderness, with a Kenyan Greenheart tree growing through the centre, and decorations include handcrafted Maasai spears. Glass doors open out to the extensive terrace, which will offer outdoor dining and relaxation areas, including a new boma fire pit, with grandstand views of both the river and resident hippos.

The wildlife experience on offer at Sanctuary Olonana is truly memorable. Experienced guides regularly win responsible-tourism accolades and are experts in finding the best hidden spots from which to view the extensive wildlife on show in the Masai Mara.  Special experiences and personal touches included range from private picnic breakfasts and lunches to magical bush suppers under the stars. Sanctuary Olonana will continue to feature a pool and spa.

As part of Sanctuary Retreats’ commitment to conservation and responsible tourism, Sanctuary Olonana is one of only a handful of properties in the country to have been rated Gold by Ecotourism Kenya. Initiatives include a natural water treatment system, a tree-planting project and an organic garden where all vegetables served in the lodge are grown. Master Maasai bead-workers regularly visit to create brightly coloured handcrafted jewellery which can be purchased in the remodelled shop, with all profits going back into the community.

Commenting on the new plans, Pieter van der Schee, Global Director Sales & Marketing for Sanctuary Retreats said, “We are very excited about the transformation of our East African flagship Sanctuary Olonana, which is already widely regarded as one of the top safari properties. The new lodge will help our guests to connect to the Kenyan landscape, and will combine modern design with traditional Maasai elements in line with our ‘Luxury, naturally’ ethos.”

*Sanctuary Olonana was ranked number 1 in the top resorts in Africa in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2017.

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