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“Unique and Very Special” 5 of 5 stars
Review of African Heritage House

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African Heritage House
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Mombasa Road | Box 17871, Nairobi 00100, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 182 Nairobi B&B and Inns
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Unique and Very Special”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2011

The African Heritage House (AHH) is Frommer's #1 Tourist Attraction! It's been featured in numerous architectural magazines and fashion shoots. This unique and special place is a revered landmark in Nairobi! Living in South Africa, my Kenyan friends tell me so! It's open for tours and lunch, but why not stay? AHH has so much to see that you definitely can't see it all in one tour! I have stayed twice-- with my sister in October 2011 and originally in October 2010 after a business trip and on our way to the gorgeous beaches south of Mombasa. AHH is so conveniently located to the Airport in this very busy city that it was great not to deal with the added traffic of coming from the City, but was close enough to go into the city when we wanted.

All of the suites at AHH are also unique in decor and design. They're very comfortable and all rooms but one have views out to the Nairobi National Park (that room, however, is huge!). I slept very soundly, but my sister very excitedly could hear lions roaring in the Park at night! You can definitely be transported back to the days of Karen Blixen's OUT OF AFRICA! (Her plantation is a neighbor.) Alan Donovan, owner and host, tells how the annual wildebeast migration would pass right in front of his house! Nowadays too many fences have diverted this amazing phenomenon, but he has photos for you to imagine it! Meals served on the terraces overlooking the Athi Plains and Park are a real treat.

Alan is another reason to go to the African Heritage House. He's a local legend. He's lived in Nairobi for 40 years and made a name for himself there and internationally. He's written his life story in a fascinating book, MY JOURNEY THROUGH AFRICAN HERITAGE. Alan is welcoming, accommodating, interesting and extremely knowledgable about all the incredible arts and crafts of Africa. His home is a testament to his love for this heritage, elevating even the everyday functional item to artform in this amazingly distinctive place!

Don't be dissuaded to visit because it's noted to be the #1 tourist attraction; it's not overrun with visitors and it doesn't interfere with your own visit. We had one couple come while we stayed there-- the Kenyan Chief Supreme Court Justice and his wife. Even the locals know what a treasure the AHH is! If internationally acclaimed guests such as Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives) and Roland Joffe (Killing Fields director) among others, are any indication, you're in good company here! I'd defnitely recommend this as your best and most extraordinary choice in Nairobi.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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52 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    44
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Karlsruhe, Germany
Level Contributor
119 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

If you are flush with money, this is an amazing place to stay. Alan Donovan has been one of the foremost collectors, promoters and sellers of African art and crafts over the past 40 years. His incredible house is like a museum, full of superb African sculptures, textiles, paintings, clothes, furniture, masks, etc etc. And as a guest, you get to wander, eat, and sleep in the house/museum, looking out over the Athi Plains and Nairobi National Park (Not sure why TripAdvisor has the address as Central Island National Park). Alan himself shows you around the house, and usually eats with you.

It is not cheap, but it is worth it if you love African architecture, crafts, and art.

Room Tip: They are all amazing
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
34 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2011

African Heritage House is more than accomodations- it's an experience. Not only are the rooms spacious and comfortable, the view over Nairobi National Park is second to none.

My sister and I stayed here for 5 days, 4 nights. Alan had a driver pick us up and take us back to the airport which was only a short distance away. We had a hot dinner ready for us when we got there, and every need anticipated for us in advance (beds turned down with netting in place, bottled water in our rooms).

My room was the Lamu suite which has a veranda overlooking Nairobi National Park. The bed was comfortable and I had a private bath with a beautiful stone tub and shower. At night I could hear lions in the park (amazing!) and by day I could see zebras and giraffes grazing a short distance away.

There's a beautiful pool house and pool for relaxing by, and we enjoyed a glass of wine there one afternoon. Getting into Nairobi proper is a bit difficult, as traffic in Nairobi is horrific, but again, Alan arranged for a driver to take us into town. Besides going to Nairobi National Park, we visited the Karen Blixen House and grounds, the animal orphange at Daphne Sheldricks, the giraffe manor, and the Murumbi Gallery for some Kenyan history, all a short distance away.

But most amazing of all is the collection of African artifacts that Alan has collected here. Carved gourds, bakuba cloth, jewelry, African buffalo shields with lion tails, beaded aprons, and all sorts of historical carvings, headdresses and such. Mr Donovan is interesting, knowledgeable, and unforgettable.

Room Tip: My room was on the second floor, and I could hear lions in the park at night. My sister was on the...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2011

We met w/ Alan for lunch (fabulous) and a tour of the property (eveyr room amazing) prior to flying out - and regret not staying at his place during our layovers in Nairobi. I recommend stopping for at least and meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and tour. Oh how I wish I could have spent a day at that pool, drinking cocktails and enjoying the view.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about African Heritage House

Address: Mombasa Road | Box 17871, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 182 B&Bs / Inns in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The African Heritage House overlooking the Nairobi National Parkis described by the prestigious Architectural Digest as " a vision of usefulness informed by the African genius for decoration" Designed by American Alan Donovan, the house is a combination of architectural styles from across the continent. Tours of the house interior reveal the beauty of Africa's art and crafts. ... more   less 

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