When I want to run away, this is the place you’ll find me Barbara Kingstone January 23, 2011 Africa, Kenya, Safari I’m sure there are times when everyone wants to run away from home. Perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. But where? Some would opt for Australia, Sydney in particular. And since I lived there I can certainly see the allure of that fabulous, unconventional city with beaches and fine restaurants. Of course, there is always Paris minus the beaches but museums galore and known as the world’s culinary centre. But let’s take this a step more exotic. Sure I have my favorite hotels and destinations since I’ve been around the world several times. There’s always Paris. But getting more exotic is India. It seems the best serviced hotels are in Asia. The Taj Hotel in Mumbai, The Imperial in Delhi, the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, The Windsor in Bangalore, the sublime Mogul Sheraton in Agra, La Residence in Luang Prabang, Laos, The Four Seasons in Langawi Malaysia and then there’s Africa. How about La Mamounia in Marrakech or the splendid Cape Grace in Cape Town? However, as I write this, I know where I would opt to spend some time. It’s Kenya, and in particular a permanent suite at The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club with the magnificent view of Mt. Kenya. I like being surrounded by well thought out beauty, I like fine service and the finest amenities, I love good food and wine and yes, I’ve become very spoilt. But since this is a fantasy, I’ll take this to the nth degree. Firstly the stunning setting and the manicured gardens along with the surrounding natural flora. When Bill Holden, in his heyday as a movie star and also the founder, renovator of the then somewhat exclusive club began his remodeling, he must have had some reminiscence and knowledge of the stage sets. The Hollywood style setting immediately had me enthralled. So now you know I’m an urban sort of gal. But there’s more. The various public rooms, like the black (my favorite room color) den with the black and white photos of top 1950 Hollywood stars and of course, the list of celebrities and politicians who must have found this as enticing as I do. Then there’s the bar as a bar should be. As I was saying the bar is long and in dark wood. Over the fireplace is what would now be consider not a good décor item but this is Africa so at the old zebra rug is a perfect adornment. I also like the cluster of tables where it becomes today, a live chat room, to discuss the safari, animal spotting, days activities. I suppose the most telling Hollywood set, is the sheer draping of the outer arcades. I also like the that Fairmont’s take on ‘eco’. They were the first ‘green’ hotel chain and even from the entrance there is a hint of their ‘footprint’. A fountain with a huge elephant made of discarded tin cans is irresistible . The grounds are from an old time MGM Technicolor movie. Walking (or being driven by one of the golf carts) through the gardens are various peacocks and turkeys that seem to know their place and stay away from strangers. I adore the fact that being directly on the equator, each guest after a somewhat endearing celebration of walking the red carpet accompanied by two well decoratged Samburu , there is a presentations of Certificate of Achievement . And then there’s a display of watching the water run in different directions in the same large steel bowl, depending if you’re on the north or south side of the equator. And because there’s a nine hole golf club, I’d finally find time to learn to play this tedious game but pretend to enjoy the dedication to its skill. On this 124 room on 100 idyllic acres hotel there’s also an herb and vegetable garden that is so large, the produce is used for all the meals of the guests. Then there’s the animal orphanage for abandoned and endangered animals. They are so well looked after and what an indication of how the guests are treated. As for my suite, I would opt for one of the ten, Bill Holden Suites, which have their own very spacious living room and large bedroom with an obviously more than adequate bathroom and patio. And the amenities , towels , robes are the best. I also like having a hot water bottle placed each evening between the sheets since during certain months the nights are cold and having a working fireplace to where I could listen to the crackling of the wood, sipping the best Kenya coffee. And there’s no need for wake up calls since the birds all seem simultaneously to start to tweet at 5.45AM on the dot. The food, as expected at an hotel of this rating, is terrific.-often barbecue and always with a great variety of vegetable. So what’s not to like? So if I do disappear, no need to look any further. I’ll be at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club eating, golfing, swimming, bird watching, the occasional safari, meeting foreigners who know about great hotels and just being in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Kenya.