Review: Tribe Hotel Nairobi

Nestled in the heart of the diplomatic district.

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Tribe Hotel Nairobi
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ANA B787 Business Class NRT-SIN

There isn’t exactly a wealth of Starwood options in Nairobi, which is surprising given its status as a major commercial hub in East Africa. There are two Four Points, one of which is nestled within the airport grounds, and a Design Hotel. That would be the Tribe, and that’s where my travels brought me next.

Tribe hotel exterior

The Tribe is located smack in the middle of the embassy district of Nairobi, near the UN’s Africa headquarters and fancy upmarket shopping centres. It’s not the largest hotel with 142 rooms, but Design Hotels aren’t going for volume anyway.

The hotel’s car service is an outright rip off (US$60 for the cheapest one-way option versus US$20 if you book a third party) so we didn’t use it. It was about 30 minutes to the hotel from the airport, but remember I arrived at 5am so traffic wasn’t really a thing. I took most of the photos below in the morning when the lighting was much better.

Tribe hotel entrance

My early arrival wasn’t an issue since I booked my stay to start from the night before. The staff checked me in quickly so I could get to my room, shower and sleep as soon as possible.

Tribe hotel reception

Tribe’s lobby is really impressive, with high ceilings and lots of natural light. In the lobby you’ll find a cafe with several communal tables for working.

Tribe lobby
Tribe lobby
Tribe lobby
Tribe lobby cafe

My room was on the first floor, some distance past the lobby. Design Hotels don’t offer upgrades for SPG Platinum members, at least not officially, and this hotel didn’t make an exception. There was nothing wrong with the base room, though. It was compact and cozy.


Tribe hotel room
Tribe Hotel room- reverse angle

There was a writing desk in the corner that wasn’t exactly level, so your laptop would wobble on it when placed flat.

Tribe hotel room desk

There were some complimentary snacks on the bedside table- sweet potato and arrowroots chips, plus plenty of free mineral water.

Tribe hotel snacks

The bathroom isn’t physically separated from the bedroom except for a thin sliding glass door panel.

Tribe hotel bathroom

The shower didn’t have very good water pressure, and the toilet flush, er, lacked power, if you know what I mean. Or maybe I’m just too manly.


Tribe hotel shower and toilet

Malin + Goetz bathroom amenities were on offer. These are the same ones that Le Meridien is switching over to.

Tribe hotel bathroom amenities

After napping for a few hours I awoke to a very strong smell of glue in my room. At first I dismissed it as my imagination, but progressively felt dizzier. I then realised the window to my room didn’t close properly, and there was construction work going on outside which was causing fumes to enter the room. I was quite annoyed that they couldn’t even get simple things like properly closing windows done right, but realised after changing my room that this was a flaw in all the rooms- the window still left a small gap even when “closed”, which no amount of pulling could shut. This meant noise also leaks into the rooms, but thankfully the gap is (I think) too small for mozzies.

I went to explore the environs. I started at the gym because I enjoy looking at exercise equipment and feel I get a good workout by just staring at it.

Tribe hotel gym
Tribe hotel gym
Tribe hotel gym
Tribe hotel gym

There were many machines with which you could make exercise.

My workout done, I wandered to the pool area. It does look amazing but I was too paranoid about showing mosquitoes any skin so didn’t try it out. The pool isn’t heated, and evenings in Nairobi can be cold this time of year.

Tribe pool
Tribe pool

It looks even nicer at night.

Tribe hotel pool- at night

Breakfast is served at Jiko. It wasn’t as big a spread as I guess we’ve gotten used to from visiting hotels in Asia, and quality wise it wasn’t anything to shout about either.

Jiko restaurant
Jiko restaurant
Jiko restaurant

The hot options were a mixture of African cuisine and western stalwarts (no prizes for guessing which is which)

Tribe Hotel Jiko breakfast
Tribe Hotel Jiko breakfast
Tribe Hotel Jiko breakfast


The Tribe hotel was a pleasant enough place to pass 3 nights, but the incident with the non-closing windows and glue smell really rubbed me raw. The staff were a strange mix- some of them were completely indifferent, but others were among the most eager to please I’ve seen in any hotel. When I reported the issue the first clerk shrugged it off and said she’d look for another room. She couldn’t find one and asked me to come back again later. The second time I came back, the clerk was shocked to hear what was going on and apologised profusely while opening up another room immediately.

The Tribe doesn’t come cheap at ~US$250 a night, so be sure you scout out all your alternatives if you’re coming to this part of the world.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Is that the fabled milelioness?

Aaron Wong

My colleague is going to vomit blood when she hears that…