Hotel classification and grading helps in determining the standard of hotels and the amenities to expect. The grading and classification guides consumers on the quality to expect and differentiate different levels accommodation facilities and services. Classification and grading provides assurance that an establishment has been accessed by a third party and gives an indication of quality of services to expect.

Classification and grading of hotels has myriad of challenges all over the world. This is due to lack of a single international standardization and classification system. The lack of single approach has led to occurrence of different classification system which gives challenges to clients when it come to interpreting hotel classes. The challenges of accommodation classification and grading system is amplified by existence of many quality rating programs that are not linked to any set of standards. There are hotels which grade themselves as high as 7 stars against the universally accepted grading parameter of between 1 star to 5 star.

In Kenya it is the function of the government through Kenya Tourism regulatory authority to give classification to accommodation facilities. Kenya tourism regulatory Authority is supposed to classify the hotels from the lowest level of a 1 star to the most luxurious 5 star. Kenya is no exception to the challenges posed by the grading and classification system and most accommodation facilities remain without the official classification from the government. This has left stakeholders who are mostly tour operators to determine their own way of classifying accommodation facilities when dealing with clients. 

Types of accommodation facilities in Kenya

1. Town Hotels

These hotels are usually located in downtown or business districts. They can be divided into:

-Business hotels which target mostly business people

-Airport hotels that target airline passengers with overnight travel layovers or cancelled flights, airline crews or staff and business clientele or anybody who prefers easy access to the airport.

-Suit Hotels which have which have a living room and separate bedroom. Ideal for professionals who are able to work and also entertain 

3. Lodges

They offer accommodation in Africa wilderness mostly in or around game parks and reserve. They stand out for their architecture and exiting locations. Room share double or with twin beds with private bath and shower. Their standards vary from simple to luxury

4. Tented camps

Most areas around wildlife areas encourage conservation of environment and discourage construction of permanent structures. Tented camps are made up of canvas material pitched on spacious  concrete or wooden platforms. They offer amenities found in a conventional hotel which include private bathrooms. Most have balconies which provide picturesque views. They can be simple or extremely luxury

6.Resort hotels

The are located in exotic locations like a mountain side, beaches or islands and provide enjoyable and memorable experience to the guests.


Normally houses converted into overnight facilities offering services at affordable price.

8. Apartments Hotel.

They can be one to three bedroomed furnished house and can be rented for short term or long term

When visiting Kenyan game parks and reserves you will be accommodated in a tented camp or a lodge. Tented camp is different from the normal small movable tent. Tented camps and lodges in Kenya are generally classified as being Budget, Mid-range and Luxury. 

This article will focus on classification using the parameters luxury, midrange or budget. 

Level of service

Kenya has elegant variety of accommodation facilities to choose from in the parks and reserves. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate the levels of lodges and tented camps because of the amenities and luxury they offer.

 Below are the differences between luxury, midrange and budget classes of safari lodges and tented camps in Kenya.

Luxury Accommodation 

These lodges and tented camps come with a higher price tags and deliver design, quality, spaciousness and excellent services with attention to detail. The fall into the category of 5 star rating. Guests have full services, including 24-hour room service, amenities such as spas, health club , laundry services ,a concierge or even a butler. The property would have a much larger space with more facilities assigned.  Some camps and lodges also have private swimming pools and Jacuzzi. It is about living luxuriously in the wild. Top of the line services tailored to your requests, exotic food options, and other complementary services designed to make your stay as grand as they come. Luxury tented camps and lodges can also have the advantage of being located in the most prominent and best spots in the game park or reserve. This level is about opulence. 

Mid-range Accommodation

This types of tented camps and lodges can fall in the category of 3 star and 4 star ratings. They offer more amenities than budget hotels which include swimming pools but fall short of opulence of luxury facilities. Midrange  accommodation facilities are able to meet guest expectations and provide a pleasant stay and provide perfect value for money. When it comes to locations, most of them are located in good areas. They are the most used accommodation facilities by travelers and ideal for children.

Budget Accommodations in Kenya 

Kenya boasts a wide range of affordable budget tented camps and lodges. If your goal is primarily to view wild life, you cannot go wrong with this facilities as they offer almost the same experience as other classes of accommodation; a nice place to sleep and good food. These are the basic types of accommodation. They appeal primarily to budget-minded travelers who want a room with minimum services and amenities required for the comfortable stay, without unnecessary paying additional cost for costly services.   

Accommodation facility owner ship

A lodge or tented camp can be independent or part of a chain. Independent facilities do not have ownership or management affiliation with other properties. They could be family or privately owned hotel that is not following any corporate policies or procedures. A chain is part of a group of facilities which are run through certain minimum standards, rules, policies and procedures to ensure uniformity of service.


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