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Reviewed June 14, 2017

After sitting down with the General Manager and discussing these problems, he asked that I send him a list so that he could use it and also send it to the Owners. He agreed with me that I should receive a refund for the day I was leaving early. To date, that has not happened. The booking company (Phoenix Safaris) has been involved all along and they stepped up to the plate and refunded me for the last day on their own nickel. They are still waiting (and hoping) to hear from Mpata about the refund. Here is the email that I sent to Mpata:

As you can well imagine, a 'credit note' is of no value to me. You and I discussed a refund and at the time, you agreed with me that a refund would be appropriate.
I also mentioned that I would send more detailed info on why I was disappointed with Mpata. Here is that info.

-we came from Tawi Lodge in Amboseli and it was amazing. It was extremely professionally run and we sort of wished we had just stayed there. (Head Guide Julius should be voted best in Kenya; his talents and love of the job were amazing.) Tawi's level of service sets the standard. Upon arrival at Mpata, within 5 minutes of arrival, we felt that this place was waaaay below that same standard.

-while it's not your fault that we were 1 of only 2 couples staying there, it naturally felt empty. No help then that the huge common area building had no music playing to fill that void. You could hear crickets chirp (if there are any in Kenya.)

-taken to the room. Initially an OK feel but it went downhill from there. We must have arrived after the morning generator run so there were naturally no lights. Fine, we were used to that by now. The decor was 1970's but OK, not a deal breaker. It was an unusual layout in that the main room had a bar with a sink in it but no cooking area; why, I don't know. The mini fridge was not built-in but just pushed under said bar. It's an odd area.

-bathroom area had a lovely sit down vanity but not enough lighting when the lights worked. There was a "secured drawer" with a lock for your valuables but not only did our key not work, it didn't even fit in the keylock. The toilet was behind the bathroom door; in order for the door to open but not hit the toilet, a floor-mounted door stop was installed right in front of the toilet. Don't know how many times I hit my toe on that. Same goes in the bedroom; a door stop in the middle of the floor. Very weird.

-the bathroom had a door leading out to the jacuzzi. We were shown the jacuzzi by the bellboy. He didn't know how to work it and just started pushing buttons, eventually finding the right/only one that worked. Later that night, we thought a jacuzzi might be nice. Opened it up and it was so bloody hot, we couldn't get in it. We have a jacuzzi at home and keep our very hot (40 degrees) and this was quite warmer than that.) Wouldn't want to have gotten in anyway because the amount of chlorine in it could have removed all the hair on my body. So scratch that plan.

-after showering, my wife went to put on some available slippers and found them to be dirty.

-pillows on bed were of the "12-year-olds at summer camp" variety. We requested different ones so they brought 5 more of the same. They were the definition of 'lumpy' and some were yellowed with age. Throughout our stay, you never knew where they would end up. Sometimes there were 3 on Betsy's side and 2 on my side with several put on the shelf behind the bed....you just never knew.

-time for drinks. I took a picture but it doesn't really justify. The bar top itself was very nice, the rest of the bar looked like badly painted plywood. It was decorated with 7? bottles of alcohol. Uncomfortable chairs. Not a place anyone would want to hang out.

(I included a picture here in the original email)

-so we left the bar and went to what would be our 'Go-To' spot....the library. It smells like your great grandmother's house; very stale and faded but I digress.

-to dinner. The first night, we both had the pork and both did not eat it as it was dry as the Sahara. Weren't hungry as we had other things so didn't say anything. Next meal, same thing so Betsy started ordering salads instead of main courses. The standard of meals was well below Tawi. I asked Ken (the Manager) if the Head Chef was even on the property and he said no, he was on a month's break. While that's perfectly fine and I don't know if it would have made a difference, the quality was more like a free buffet than a high-end Lodge.

-lunch was served outside the first day. They placed the dishes and silverware, etc on top of the canvas cover that goes over the table to prevent sun fade. I ate a lot of bread these days since it was more edible than the other foods.

-at lunch, we're looking at the pool. The entire edging of the pool is rough, bare concrete. Maybe it was planned that way, but wow..... really? The waterline had not been washed for weeks, though the water looked clear and we saw someone attending to the pool with chemicals daily.

-I mentioned the library. We went there because it was close enough (sometimes barely and sometimes not close enough) to pick up internet service. So we spent a large part of our time there. Upon arrival when we asked about the internet, we were told to sit right in front of the reception desk on benches. No sexy lounge chairs for our guests! This turned out to be because their true server had failed and they were currently using a household unit that needed to be near the office so everyone could use it. EVEN THOUGH MOSES (at the Home Office) SAID THE INTERNET WAS GREAT!! Sitting in the library during the day, I had plenty of time to look around while waiting for a document to load (the internet speed was lightning fast,.... like a camel.) So looking around, the wall above me had mold coming through the paint, something was leaking in from the roof, and the window frames had growth on them. I'd imagine the last time those windows were washed was when they were installed.

-which leads to.... maintenance was lacking. Parts of the sidewalk/walkway were missing, each window could use a razor blade to clean the paint edges off, cracks in wood, lack of paint or varnish in spots. It's just not getting the attention it needs.

-the road from the airport to Mpata was not very good. Apparently, once a year they 'repair' it but unlucky for us, it was scheduled a few weeks from now. It's pretty tough in parts. Older folks or anyone with back issues just aren't going to make it.

-lastly, the staff. There needs to be some training and some English lessons if they want to pull in the English-speaking tourist. I really don't mind trying to communicate with people whose English is a second language. Frankly, I'm happy I didn't have to learn Kenyan to go on safari. But if you're going to offer it, a standard should be required. And then there was the one guy who was just plain dumb. I'm guessing a relative of the Owner or something but either way, he was useless in so many ways. Staff often missed the point of what we were trying to say or ask for, so we would end up with a new problem when the original issue was trying to be solved.

-kudos to Faith our dining server. She did a fair job and was pleasant. Our driver whose English was very tough DID find us some great animals but I'm going to suggest he slow down while off road and while going up the return road. He was pretty pleasant once we yelled at him to slow down and turn down the bloody CB radio!

You told me that you weren't getting the support from the Owning Company to keep the place up, but frankly, that's not the biggest problem here. I manage in my job as well. A broken light or a spot of paint aren't going to be as big a problem if the staff are taking good care of guests.

Room tip: bring a tent
Date of stay: May 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank captmac44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 2, 2017 via mobile

Stayed for 2 nights. Have been to Mara before and stayed in a 5 star hotel. When we arrived we were greeted warmly and all smiles around. Loved that!
Rooms had the most breathtaking views of the valley. To wake up in the morning and go out just to feel the sun on you and hear the birds chirping is awesome. The excitement of hearing wildlife at night also adds to a plus point here . Short walk from room to reception is through luxurious foliage and exotic vegetation.
Food was really good and as it is low season we felt we had privatised the beautiful lodge! Chef always came out to ask if everything was ok and if we fancied anything else. Loved the personal touch. Big portions were served.
The lodge us about 15 mins from the Mara gate and we found an abundance of giraffes and zebras just leaving the lodge!
Saw all the big 5! More game in this side of the lodge definitely!
Recommend it highly

Date of stay: March 2017
Trip type: Travelled with friends
1  Thank Rani S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 5, 2017

Perfect stay. The food, staff, service was excellent! We took the package with transfer from Kenyatta airport and it worked perfect!

We only stayed 2 nights next time we will stay at least a week.

Looking forward to come back!

/ Johanna and Josef from Sweden

Room tip: Pick a room with view over masai mara
Date of stay: April 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Josef H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 28, 2016

If you are Japanese, I strongly recommend this hotel since it has a Japanese speaking staff and other guests are mostly Japanese. They serve European style dinner so you dont have to worry about the tastes.

Date of stay: December 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank hoko45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 30, 2016

My two friends and I travelled to Mpata at the beginning of January this year and we are the only guests at the time. The welcome and the care we received while in Mpata Safari Club was out of this world and our every wish was catered for. I thought we got specialized attention because we were few but the hotel assured me that we would get the same wonderful treatment if there were a hundred of us. We were really touched when we stayed out late one evening and the hotel kept calling us to check on us and to make sure we did not have any problem. Our rooms had great panoramic views as far as the eye could see including the meandering Mara river and I managed to capture a wonderful sunrise with my camera while still lying on my bed.

The food was excellent and I visited the hotel garden that provides fresh vegetables for the hotel kitchen all the year round. The vegetables are planted in a way that when one patch is exhausted, another one is ready to start harvesting.

On the flip side, the long drive on bad roads was extremely tedious and I would advise that one takes a flight and use the hotel fleet for game drives. I have been to Masai Mara a number of times but staying at Mpata Safari Club made this particular visit really special.

Date of stay: January 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Gachiri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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