Expensive valentine: Tough times, what tough times?
What you need to know:
- A number of high-end hotels are asking lovers to fork out millions of shillings for an ultimate romantic experience on Valentine’s Day.
- One couple paid Sh4 million to reserve a space for a three-day Valentine’s stay at a luxurious hotel at the heart of the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
- In an alternative international destination package, Expedition Maasai Safaris is charging Sh8 million for a trip to the Maldives for Valentine’s.
Tough times, what tough times? That is the question one couple is likely to ask you after they paid Sh4 million to reserve a space for a three-day Valentine’s stay at a luxurious hotel at the heart of the Maasai Mara.
They will spend Valentine’s Day at Mahali Mzuri, a luxurious hotel owned by British business mogul Richard Branson. It is one of the top vacation destinations in the world.
Mahali Mzuri aside, a number of high-end hotels are asking lovers to fork out millions of shillings for an ultimate romantic experience at some of the most exquisite destinations in the country and even abroad, the global economic turmoil notwithstanding.
The couple bought the package through tour firm Expeditions Maasai Safaris, which was marketing the offer.
The firm’s marketing manager Joseph Maina told the Sunday Nation that the offer – which has caused a buzz on social media – has seen buyers make bookings from Tuesday to Thursday, with more customers still lining up for a taste of the luxury.
“A couple has already booked for Valentine’s Day and we are trying to negotiate with the hotel for an extension throughout the month of February because more customers have expressed interest,” Mr Maina said.
Besides being an exquisite facility in one of Kenya’s most renowned tourist destinations, its exclusivity and touch of class are the key selling points that have contributed to the princely price tag.
“Mahali Mzuri is a prime hotel in itself and an exclusive one. So, that has been factored in,” Mr Maina said.
The Sh4 million price for three days and two nights will also cater for private chopper rides from the customers’ home to Maasai Mara and back. It will also cater for accommodation in a luxury tent for two nights, all meals, and a private hot air balloon ride over the Mara as well as unlimited access to the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, complete with private game drives.
The guests will also be flown on a helicopter to the luxurious Cottars 1920 Camp for lunch on Valentine’s Day and a private bush dinner later in the evening.
In an alternative international destination package, Expedition Maasai Safaris is charging Sh8 million for a trip to the Maldives for Valentine’s.
The trip is inclusive of first-class flights and accommodation on a private island.
In a similar deal, Pride Inn Paradise Beach Resort is offering a Sh2.5 million package for Valentine’s weekend.
The package is inclusive of two nights’ accommodation complete with a butler and chef.
Couples will also enjoy return business class flights from Nairobi to Mombasa and a luxury transfer ride from the airport to the hotel with outriders.
An eight-course candle-lit dinner, serenaded by classical saxophone players, awaits couples as part of the package. Couples will also enjoy jet skiing as part of the lined-up exercises for the weekend.
Meanwhile, hotels in the Mt Kenya region have started registering full bookings ahead of Valentine’s Day, with luxury facilities like Loisaba Conservancy fully booked.
Hoteliers have expressed optimism for Valentine’s holiday, noting that a calm atmosphere and improved security is a major boost to the sector.
“Laikipia is so prepared for Valentine’s season. Peace is in place. We are proud to say that most of the animals have moved from the north to Laikipia as a result of the prolonged drought. Our conservancies are well protected. Hence, there is plenty of pasture despite the drought,” Laikipia Conservancies Association Chairman Kip Ole Polos said.
Also, in a bid to establish accommodative and pocket-friendly experiences, hoteliers and tour companies have tailored packages that will go for between Sh15,000 and Sh69,000. For instance, Expedition Maasai Safaris has announced package deals of between Sh52,000 to Sh69,000 per couple for three days at the Maasai Mara during Valentine’s holiday.
In Laikipia County, Il Ngwesi Community Conservancy, which sits on 9,471 hectares, is charging domestic tourists Sh15,000 and foreign guests Sh30,000 for a Valentine’s getaway.
This package will cover accommodation, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, soft drinks, guided bush walks, and local game drives within the conservancy.
Guests will also be treated to a hike to the Maroroi hills, bush breakfast and sundowners, a visit to the rhino sanctuary and cultural manyatta, and traditional goat skinning and roasting.