As Tanzania specialists, we deal with all properties in the country and can make bookings at any hotel, lodge, or camp... Having personally experienced almost all of the country's leading properties, however, there are some that we favor over the others. But, how do you know that a luxury lodge is not only good but great? Anonymous review websites swamp you with metrics, stars, ratings, and comments. They boast that a hotel is 5*, but the reviews – all too often – are unreliable, or anxiously contradictory. But we don’t use ratings – and we don’t rely on anybody else except ourselves when it comes to testing their quality. After all, it’s up to our directors and safari specialists – people like Mark, Walter, Ney, etc – to sleep in the beds, try the spas, and taste the dishes [a quite thankless job, as you can imagine].
To meet our exacting standards and qualify for the Shrike Portfolio, properties must display a number of characteristics. In the first place, they must offer something special and unique to the eastern African experience, something that travelers could not encounter anywhere else in the world. In this regard, location is crucial, and only properties enjoying choice locations in Tanzania's most exceptional areas qualify for the list. But good location means little if the property does not make the most of its setting through the services that it offers; here we look for a broad range of services led by highly qualified and knowledgeable staff. Inconspicuous personalized service and attention to detail are correspondingly vital to ensuring that special African experience. We have found, almost without hesitation, that the smaller camps and lodges have a distinct advantage in this respect.
A wonderful sense of privacy and intimacy with the surroundings is another great advantage of the smaller camps and lodges. Finally, we look for style and comfort, favoring lodges, camps, and hotels that are luxurious without being opulent. We have hand-picked properties that are tasteful, simple, and elegant - those which complement their surroundings instead of overpowering or detracting from them. Recognizing the importance of appropriate ambiance, we paid close attention to the "little things," the details which can make such a huge difference to a traveler's experience.