After 21 years, ol Donyo Lodge’s legs were weary. Instead of a refurbishment, it was decided to give her a whole new physique. Upon reopening in July 2008, the immediate feedback was outstanding. ol Donyo Lodge’s new energy was infectious and has received consistently high distinction from guests and the travel industry alike.
The breadth and depth of ol Donyo Lodge's living and dining area is absolutely awe-inspiring. Upon entering, one is immediately struck by spaciousness and yet the intimacy. The entire main area is set high on the hillside, and opens completely to the plains below, with Mount Kilimanjaro ever present in the distance. The use of stone, thatch and wood make for a very tactile experience, which fills the senses. The low-impact gunnite construction (a combination of wire, hessian cloth and minimal cement) creates a contemporary style. The space flows, there are no straight lines and unique architectural details give character to every area. The magnificent iron-ore chandeliers coupled with grand fireplace provide a warm glow, accented by the rich earth tones. Arched doorways, indoor gardens, bronze sculptures, Zanzibari wood doors, Victorian furniture and romantic prose grace the space. It is captivating.
Just below the main area, but also on the hillside is a breathtaking infinity pool, complete with a private lounge and dining area. With views of the lodge’s famous waterhole and luxurious voile curtains and cushions, it's the perfect place to while away the afternoon.
Al fresco lunches on the verandah and or candlelit dinners in the main dining room are wonderful, but we also enjoy hosting breakfasts in the plains and dinners under the African sky; or surprise sundowners and classic English tea in the romantic setting of the bush. Finally, it's a night cap around the cozy outdoor fireplace to round out another perfect day in Africa.
ol Donyo Lodge consists of ten expansive guest suites in six stand-alone villas. No two spaces are of the same design but all have a dramatic view of the archetypal African savannah and its flat top acacia trees with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. The décor is luxurious and opulent, while still retaining the atmosphere and sense of place that is an essential ingredient of an outstanding bush lodge. Art from around Africa coupled with the photography of Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher create a commanding space under the high thatch roofs. The design is contemporary and yet traditional.
All suites have a lounge, verandah, indoor and outdoor showers, double washbasins, flush toilet and bath, and “star-bed”. The rooftop “star-bed” is accessed from the verandah via a winding stone staircase. This is a fabulous sleep-out option, with utter privacy and all the amenities of the suite just below.
All but two of the suites have their own private pools. These two stand-alone standard suites are Asali and Mpya.
The pool suites are four-bedded private villas and are ideal for families or small groups of friends. They are designed to be versatile and function either as family villas or for two couples while still maintaining an element of privacy. An outer central foyer connects the two suites. These are Nyati, Sirra, and El Mau.
Lastly, one of the villas, Sambu, functions more as a bush home intended for families or groups of friends. This villa is purpose built and designed for a couple who want space and seclusion or for parents who require their children under the same roof, but with adequate space and privacy. It has two bedrooms under one roof and one swimming pool. Each bedroom has its own spacious en-suite bathroom, complete with an indoor and outdoor shower, "star bed" and sundowner viewing deck.
A private chef is also available for in-villa catering, and total exclusivity and should be booked in advance, possibly incurring an additional cost.
Laundry is done on a daily basis and is complimentary.
In-room massages are available during the guest’s stay and are at additional cost depending on services requested.
The camp operates on a 240V electricity system powered by solar panels with generator back up. This charges a set of batteries, which in turn pass through an inverter system capable of converting battery power to 240V power. This conversion supplies power 24 hours a day to the entire camp. A set of plug points is available in each tent. It is recommended to bring a spare set of batteries so one set can be charged while the other is out on safari.