The Ultimate in Family-time & Relaxation … The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, Laikipia

At The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, the scenery is exceptional, nature is natural, the private villas allow for unspoiled family-time, memorable activities & serious relaxation.

Our adventure began in the farming town of Nanyuki. The drive to Ol Lentille from Nanyuki is indeed beautiful and un-challenging; achievable in under a couple of hours and when you arrive, the views are enough to bring tears to your eyes (seriously!). At the reception they have a very well-placed ‘slide’ for the kids, whilst you can just breathe & take in your incredible surroundings.

Firstly, I would love to share the story behind this unique place. Pioneering indeed, The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is the only all-villa property i.e. it’s not a lodge where you have to eat with or even speak to other guests, you have your gorgeous villa all to yourself (happy husband)!!  Secondly, it is a community and conservation experience unlike anything else in Kenya. The team along-with (not bossing them around, along-side) the local communities, have created, conserved and protected over 40,000 acres of wilderness as well as supporting the local community, since the lodge opened 10 years ago they have raised over USD5 million!! A rare example of how private partnerships with a community can work. Having been in the Kenyan safari industry for 24 years, it’s not often that I admit someone has changed my way of thinking. John and Gill have.

I digress, back to our weekend of family-fun. We were allocated the Colonels House (the best of the houses in my opinion) as our home for two nights, a two-story house with a little plunge pool, a verandah, dining room, sitting room, two huge bedrooms both with massive baths … and did I mention the views? We were then introduced to our butlers Bonny and Rose … I confess, I immediately thought that this would be annoying having people hanging around, NOT A BIT OF IT, they are the most charming, helpful and unobtrusive pair of delightful people.

Staying here, in this environment, with these people was indeed a “holiday”, yes I have two toddlers and we rested … together! Imagine that? I felt uncomfortable with the downtime initially as I’m just not used to it but after sniffing out the board games, we sat playing games, plunging in the little plunge-pool, swimming in the swimming pool, playing boules, croquet, sunning, eating cake and telling stories whilst admiring the wonders of our surroundings, the wildlife footprints, the resident Rock Hyrax (no we still can’t take one home Billy), a weaver-bird weaving his nest, the Verreaux’s eagles ‘acquainting’ themselves with the Hyrax, a Leopard Tortoise came to visit us, the caterpillars rearing their beautiful hairy-selves with the rain, the camels on the opposite hill, we even fed the resident Kudu orphans … heaven on earth!!

Then the serious activities began.  May I add there are endless activities for those travelling with kids a little older than ours; walking safaris, Quad bikes, mountain biking, horse & camel riding and unlimited spa treatments. We booked ourselves into the more toddler-friendly game drive (beautiful with the charming and interesting Timothy), the most exceptional sundowner/kids supper I have ever been on where we were quite literally on top of the world with space for the kids to charge around and release any energy they may have remaining! Plus a Manyatta visit at the end …. hmmm, so this didn’t happen because the accident-prone three year old decided to slice her chin open which resulted in Mummy having to steri-strip a 2 inch chin opening .. so rest and relaxation ensued again, heaven.

With a philosophy of “Having fun, doing good”, it’s a perfect family holiday. we can’t wait to return to Ol Lentille!

Practicalities

The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille – Very special times. Having your own personal home, with no other guests, no wifi … where you get to spend valuable time together, as a family. …. whilst benefiting a community and conservation area. We loved it, but it is even more ideal for those with older kids (over 16) so the horses, camels, quad bikes etc. are utilised properly!
Laikipia, Kenya – This is the ultimate if you are looking to experience Laikipia at its finest. The rugged, unspoilt landscape whilst staying in a lodge of extreme beauty, this is up there.
For those travelling to Kenya with kids – For honeymooners or family who live a busy life, this is the perfect first stop on a Kenyan safari. If you are looking for privacy and the finer things, whilst being comfy, I highly recommend you spend some time here.
Weather – The weather was beautiful with cool nights and clear, warm days.  The hottest month is usually December, January. The wettest month is usually April.
What to Pack? – Shorts for the day with a shirt, a jumper and jacket, trousers and jumpers for the evening …. and swimming costumes for the brave and lots of suncream.
Price – In Laikipia, you pay for exclusivity … a 4 night all-inclusive stay starts at USD1,500 per person for 4 nights (yup, staying in stunning villas with private activities and unlimited spa treatments). For Kenyan residents, the rate is Kshs20,000 including everything!!! For rates or to book, please contact me.
Awards – Andrew Harper Readers’ Choice 6th best safari lodge in the world and number one in East Africa & Ecotourism Kenya Community Conservancy of the Year 2016
My advise – Stay here, with your kids. Not only is it amazingly beautiful, you are supporting a positive community project, a successful conservation project and you will spend proper valuable family-time….. a rarity in this day and age.

AtholPlace, The Best Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg … & Ideal for Kids

AtholPlace Hotel & Villa, the best Boutique Hotel in South Africa and the best Restaurant in Johannesburg whilst being 100% family friendly! Contemporary-classic glamour, understated elegance, extreme comfort and incomparable service… it’s all true!

AtholPlace Hotel & Villa wins ‘the Luxury City Hotel, Country Winner 2016, World Luxury Hotel Awards.’ & ‘Best Restaurant in Johannesburg at Restaurant Week 2016’. Having seen these headlines, having seen the ratings, 9.7 exceptional on Booking.com and 5/5 excellent on tripadviser, my expectations were sky-high and sleep levels low … how embarrassing would it be to stay here with two crazy toddlers? I was excited to stay at this incredible place, but dreading it at the same time because of my children’s energy levels!

Our Stay

Situated only a short distance from Sandton, north of Johannesburg, AtholPlace was easy to get to from the airport (1/2 an hour) and we arrived in the quiet neighbourhood of Atholl into our gorgeous and comfy room, heaven. They had arranged our room perfectly with a cot and a kids bed, next to which was a box of everything you would ever need for a baby including nappies, de-tangle conditioner, toys, bath toys; lots of snacks and drinks including the most beautiful plate of cheeses and cold meats were also here for us, they had rightly assumed we would be hungry, but in no place to sit in the dining room.

After a wonderful night sleep, we enjoyed simply the most delicious breakfast I have ever eaten (truffle infused scrambled egg with smoked salmon, rocket on rye .. mmmmm!), yes the kids were happy too with their fruit lollipops, cereal, creamy yoghurt, eggs and sausages!

We spent the day at the Montecasino Bird Gardens,  Smile Cafe and a bit of retail therapy for Mummy, returning ‘home’ to a beautiful afternoon perfect for splashing around in the pool and charging around the garden until we were all ready for bed, well the little ones were (we didn’t waste much time on the gym, but there is a great little gym here). A perfect day for families, ending up with Billy (4yrs) stating ‘I want to live in Johannesburg Mummy’.

Kids asleep, it was time for us to experience Johannesburg’s Best Restaurant’s set menu, properly. It didn’t disappoint … trout amuse bouche, incredible breads with dips to die for, we had pork belly, salmon, melting duck and tender, tender fillet steak followed by mouth watering Creme Brulee (If I remember rightly, the meal cost about USD30 each!!). I would dine here every night if I lived in Johannesburg! Oh and they do offer a babysitting service.

What an incredible place to stay with such fantastic staff, professional and all wonderful with kids. The cherry on top of the cupcake was when the kids were presented with a foot diameter ‘cookie’ as a ‘take-away’ gift!

Practicalities

AtholPlace Hotel & Villa – I love it, we loved it. It is simply the most elegant place but perfect for children of all ages.
Atholl, near Sandton, Johannesburg – As a personal preference I would suggest staying in Fourways if you are in Johannesburg with a young family because all the great activities are here, but I also suggest you DO NOT miss staying at AtholPlace, maybe for part of your trip. If you are in Johannesburg alone, as a couple or with kids, even if only for a couple of nights, stay here.
For those travelling to South Africa with kids – If you are looking for privacy and the finer things, whilst being comfy, I highly recommend you spend some time here.
Weather – The weather was beautiful with clear, warm days when we were here in November 2016, turning rather chilly soon afterwards.  January is the hottest month in Johannesburg with an average temperature of 21°C (69°F) and the coldest is June at 10°C (50°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 11 in December. The wettest month is January with an average of 130mm of rain.
What to Pack? – the same you would pack to travel to any city, but remember to include sun-cream and clothes for all seasons. The weather changes overnight here.
Price – There is a current special rate of USD215 per night for a beautiful Superior suite going up to USD1,650 for a four bedroom villa with a private swimming pool. There are five superior suites and four deluxe suites, all with en-suite bathrooms, are extremely spacious, ranging from 45-55 square metres. For rates or to book, please contact me.
My advise – Spoil yourselves, stay here, it is a really great place, it’s comfortable with children of all ages and you will dream of being back there afterwards. If you want a reduced rate, contact me.