BACKGROUND: AccorHotels completed the acquisition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in September, in the process adding Mövenpick’s network of 84 properties to its portfolio. That’s together with Accor’s existing portfolio of more than 4,500 hotels, resorts and residences and 10,000 private homes around the globe. The Mövenpick Hotel & Residences Nairobi is one of the newest hotels in Nairobi, having opened in April.
WHERE IS IT? In the suburb of Westlands, Nairobi’s commercial, retail and entertainment suburb about 20 kilometres from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The CBD is just a few kilometres away, but as with the airport route, beware the infamous Nairobi traffic if you’re travelling in rush hour, either in the morning or afternoon/evening. The airport trip can take you a couple of hours.
ROOM FACILITIES: The hotel has 276 rooms, suites and residences (172 currently open and 94 due to still open at the time of writing). Superior, Deluxe and Executive rooms and suites come with a mixture of city or pool views. All rooms feature large walk-in closets, a bathroom, TV, complimentary tea and coffee, laptop safe, air-conditioning, work desk and mini-bar, from which I grabbed some crisps and nuts. Guests in Executive rooms get access to the Executive Lounge. I was accommodated in a Superior room, which, at 46m2 was large and seemed much like a suite, save from the fact that it consisted only of one large room. With it, a small but functional glass work desk near the door facing the room and a walk-in clothes area with hanging space, a shelf, safe, iron and ironing board. In the centre of the room, a comfortable king-size bed with nearby couch, armchair and coffee table. The bathroom, also large, with big bath and walk-in rain shower with good pressure, and a double vanity.
RESTAURANTS & BARS: The hotel’s food and beverage offering is extensive. Baluba is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and here I enjoyed a couple of breakfasts. All the boxes were ticked, with the wide variety of pastries a real standout. I stuck with these, along with fruit, yoghurt and some scrambled egg and delicious streaky bacon on one occasion. The View restaurant on the 24th floor is unique for its revolving nature (it takes about 80 minutes for one revolution) and worth a try just for the stunning views of Nairobi. It serves Swiss cuisine. I also enjoyed a drink at La Mesa on the 15th floor, which also has amazing views and is the hotel’s Latin-themed tapas restaurant. It’s apparently a popular weekend drinks spot. You can also enjoy cocktails and music at the elegant Kijani Bar, with pool views from the open terrace, whilst the Pool Bar is a great chill-out spot with jazz and cocktails on offer while you soak up the sun. Lastly, there’s the Lobby Café, which serves a selection of coffees, teas, pastries and light snacks.
BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: The hotel has positioned itself as one of Nairobi’s premier events venues. The 700m2 Almasi Ballroom features a built-in stage and pre-function area, while the 1,033m2 Hall of Africa with its private access and control room can accommodate up to 1,200 delegates. The outdoor Cocktail Terrace is ideal for groups of around 200. With 16 individual indoor meeting venues and breakout rooms, ranging in size from 13m2 to 440m2, the hotel’s events offering is also extensive. The meeting rooms are spread out in clusters on multiple floors and come with complimentary wi-fi.
LEISURE FACILITIES: Like the View and La Mesa restaurants, the hotel gym on the 22nd floor has great views of Nairobi. An onsite spa will soon open and it promises to offer a wellness menu with massages, facials, body polishes and beauty treatments. If you’re happy to get out of the hotel, head to Nairobi National Park, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Karura Forest and the Giraffe Centre. Alternatively, visit the Karen Blixen Museum or hike in the Ngong Hills. Discover Nairobi National Museum and shop for souvenirs in one of the numerous shopping malls or traditional Maasai markets.
VERDICT: An impressive newcomer to the competitive Nairobi scene, with big rooms, a diverse food and beverage offering, good wi-fi and a useful location,