Hotel check: Hemingways Nairobi

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Background

The Hemingways Collection is a group consisting of three luxury Kenyan properties. Hemingways Watamu is a beach resort on the Kenyan coast, whilst Ol Seki Hemingways Mara is a private tented camp bordering the Masai Mara. Hemingways Nairobi is a 45-room boutique hotel overlooking the Ngong Hills. It opened in 2013.

What’s it Like?

On the outskirts of bustling Nairobi, this stunning mansion-like estate welcomes visitors to its ‘oasis of calm’. It is unlike any other hotel in town, offering a resort experience only a short drive from the business centre. Security is noticeably present, which is comforting for first-timers to town, although it is hardly needed.

Where is it?

In the quiet and upmarket Karen neighbourhood of Nairobi, it sits beside residential areas and is less than an hour’s drive from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The trip is approximately 40 minutes, but that time does, of course, depend on the notorious Nairobi traffic.

Rooms

The accommodations here, classified as junior suites, look over the lush gardens and distant Ngong Hills. The rooms are big at 80m2 and come with a private balcony. Butlers escort guests to the rooms, where they explain the in-room amenities and proffer unpacking service. There is no missing the massive photographs that line the walls upon entering the rooms, which are from the National Geographic collection and depict scenes from the surrounding area. Each room is named for a notable personality, and another wall in the room is dedicated to telling their story through historic photographs and short summaries of their life. Free wireless and wired high-speed Internet is available in all rooms and public areas. High-tech, dual-line speaker phones, adjustable desk lamps, swivelling chairs, and international power ports are found by the oversized work desks. King beds are wrapped elegantly in mosquito netting and Egyptian cotton linen. Perhaps the most impressive feature, however, are the immense flat-screen cable TVs that rise electronically from what appears to be a vintage safari trunk. Antique cabinets hold mini-bars, French press coffee makers with Kenyan coffee, and complimentary bottled water. Marble bathrooms feature deep soaking tubs, double vanities, rainfall showers, immense cotton towels, and verbena-scented Anne Semonin Spa products.

Restaurants & Bars

The steakhouse menu provides some of the best cuts of meat in the region, while also providing a continental choice of seafood, pasta, and vegetarian dishes. Charcoal oven pizzas, homemade gelato, and hand-crafted cakes and pastries await. Lining the walls of the dining room are numerous movie posters and photographs from films produced in, around, or about the region, creating quite the conversation piece. A cooked-to-order breakfast is often served on the outdoor terrace overlooking the garden and distant mountains, and it can be delivered en-suite by personal butlers if one prefers. Room service is also part of the proud butler’s duties.

Meeting & Conference Facilities

Business functions can make use of the latest audio-visual technology and gather in private boardroom or reception settings. The speedy Wi-Fi signal even works by the pool and in the garden. Social events may find it more enticing to use the outdoor terrace as a scenic venue.

Leisure Facilities

The outdoor swimming pool is ringed with lounge chairs and umbrellas, and fronts the small spa and 24-hour fitness room. Massage and beauty treatments can be arranged, and locals often pop in to pamper themselves.

Verdict

This bespoke design hotel offers all of the comforts of a modern business hotel within the confines of a resort on the edge of town. It has an ‘Out of Africa’-type atmosphere, which makes it the perfect jumping off point for a safari, particularly for those guests travelling from beyond the African continent. In fact, numerous high-end tour companies make this a first stop before heading into the bush on a luxury jaunt. Business travellers, too, will find this to be an ideal and serene location far from the bustle of downtown Nairobi.

Ramsey Qubein

Contact
Address:
Mbagathi Ridge, Nairobi
Tel:
+254 711 032000
Email:
info@hemingways.co
Web:
www.hemingways-nairobi.com