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Wellness gets wild as JW Marriott safari retreat opens in Masai Mara National Reserve

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JW Marriott has branched into the luxury safari segment with a wellness-forward retreat property in one of Africa's most renowned wildlife and wilderness conservation regions.

Sitting within Southwestern Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge is a brand new property featuring 20 tented suites, a spa and wellness centre and a selection of culinary offerings.

Marriott's vision for the property is to provide a relaxing sanctuary which immerses guests in the majesty of the savannah offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as guided game drives to observe the "Big Five" that Masai Mara is home to, including lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinoceros and elephants.

"Fostering meaningful connections and nourishing the soul is at the heart of the JW Marriott brand, so entering the luxury safari segment is a natural next step," said Bruce Rohr, global brand leader, JW Marriott.

"JW Marriott Masai Mara balances the thrill of a game drive with thoughtful opportunities to switch off and take it all in. We’re excited to welcome travellers to a transformative and wellness-forward stay delivered with JW Marriott's legacy of extraordinary hospitality."

Wellbeing and mindful practices

Capturing the essence of rejuvenation, the lodge is home to a Spa by JW that emulates the serenity of the reserve and offers tailored experiences and signature treatments which blend locally-inspired techniques and therapies.

These are complemented by natural and organic products by African skincare brand, Healing Earth, also available as in-room amenities.

Guests can enjoy spa treatments from the comfort of their tented suite, accompanied by the sounds of the wilderness. Extending beyond body to mind and spirit with guided yoga, treatments include a 'Masai Celebration' incorporating local botanicals and therapies.

Spa facilities include a plunge pool, a steamroom, saunas, a therapy bath, men’s and women’s changing rooms, a fitness centre and an outdoor pool.

In keeping with JW Marriott's ethos of mindfulness, the lodge is also home to several thoughtfully-designed spaces, from the cosy Adventure Lounge full of books and a nook for young adults to take time for themselves, to the Cultural Deck where guests can gather around the fire pit to share tales of the day's exploration.

Inspired designThe lodge's interiors, designed by Kristina Zanic Consultants, blend the savannah inwards, drawing inspiration from the elements with soft, warm tones, natural materials and textures, and native colours thread through its design.

Each of the lodge's 20 private tents features a terrace overlooking the River Talek, a water source and habitat for many wildlife.

Connection to the locale and sustainability

Developed on land committed to a tourism project so as not to unduly disturb the surrounding environment, much of JW Marriott Masai Mara's construction was undertaken by local experts overseen by technical specialists, with build materials sourced from sustainable suppliers.

The lodge has rehabilitated access roads to the property, installed power to the area, and provided access to clean drinking water for locals through a water treatment plant.

Emphasis on waste reduction and recycling is also integral to daily operations. The lodge's water treatment plant provides recycled and sanitised water; food waste is placed at the lodge's compost site; and water wells are dotted around the lodge for animals to quench their thirst throughout the day.

In addition, the lodge facilitates community programming to provide insights into meaningful local projects, including The Maa Trust, an organisation empowering local people by promoting small business start-ups. The lodge donates a percentage of the nightly rate per person to the organisation and provides a space for craftspeople to retail Maa Beadwork and produce.

Guests can also visit The Maa Trust to meet with local artisans and forge a deeper connection to the people in the area.

Currently, 60 per cent of the lodge's team are locals, with plans to reach 70 per cent, ensuring the hotel's contribution to the socio-economic development of the region.

By supporting local organisations such as The Mara Elephant Project and The Mara Protector Conservation Programme, JW Marriott Masai Mara contributes to protecting animals and their habitat across the greater Mara ecosystem.

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JW Marriott has branched into the luxury safari segment with a wellness-forward retreat property in one of Africa's most renowned wildlife and wilderness conservation regions.
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