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“If you love Africa, you love it this place!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of African Heritage House

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African Heritage House
Mombasa Road | Box 17871, Nairobi 00100, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 154 Nairobi B&B and Inns
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“If you love Africa, you love it this place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

Well, I had seen this place many years ago on photos in a book and always wanted to go and have a look at it.
Finally, in December 2010, my Mom and I drove there after a visit in Nairobi and ... The house was closed. Alan, the owner, was on vacation.
So, I still had to be patient until February 2012, then it finally worked out to at least have a drink there and dinner before going to the airport! Back in April 2012 we also stayed there overnight.
So, how can anyone describe such a beautiful place? It is magic, you feel Africa once you see the house and then enter it.
It is full with wonderful art from the whole continent and Alan Donovan, the owner, can tell you details about every little piece.
Actually meeting Alan is also a wonderful experience, an American who has spent so many years in Africa and then built this fantastic home. When you go there, ask Alan about his life, and you will be amazed, how he got to Africa, how he got into the Jewellery and Fashion business, how his house was featured in many magazines, like Archtectural Digest, etc.
Even better, buy his book like I did and a wonderfull necklace. He is a wonderful host and the hotel is perfectly located close to the Nairobi International Airport where you can spend some time to drink or even have dinner before flights depart.
It only takes 10 minutes to get there. But instead of sitting at the airport, you can enjoy a wonderful view while drinking your sundowner over the Nairobi National Park when the sun is about to set. Breath taking.
If you stay a few days in Nairobi, stay at Alan's place as we did and enjoy his hospitality. You will enjoy it as we did!

Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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37 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Nairobi
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2012

This house will take your breathe away... Alan's passion for the house and his willingness to host and make you feel at home is baffling. The sights from the balconies (yes, in plural) is to die for... the Mugumo tree...the sunken baths, the 'stone' swimming pool and even the railway line. I cannot describe this place enough. It is amazing!! The chef is diligent and will cook to your specifications. Truly a gem in Kenya. A story that deserves to be told over and over :-) I even had my 25th birthday celebrations here and Alan organized everything...even the cake!

Room Tip: Depends on your style...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012

The architecture, the decor and of course, the setting make African heritage house one of the most magical places for a getaway you could imagine. From the moment you pull up to the stunning house no matter what your eye falls on , you will be awestruck and delighted. Alan s collection of artefacts is stunning and his warm welcome make you just sit back, relax and enjoy your every moment in his enchanted home. Thanks, from Julia and hesham.

Room Tip: Every single room is as breathtaking as the next.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Sussex
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2012

We stayed at the African Heritage House for a day night and night and loved it so much we came back at the end of our holiday! It was our first time in Nairobi and needed somewhere to stay over night. This was the most perfect place, it's close to the airport, and is in the most amazing location (away from the hussle and bussle of the city) and looks over the whole of Nairobi's national park - where I saw elephants giraffe and rhino from our bedroom! The house is breathtakingly beautiful down to the tiniest detail. We were completely blown away when we arrived, and our bedroom (and every other bedroom) was beautiful - I felt like I was staying in complete luxury! We arrived very early in the morning so when we got there we went straight to sleep and then Alan arranged for a light lunch at mid day. We had lunch, dinner and breakfast there and i have to say the food was very fresh and absolutely delicious. During the day we relaxed by the pool which is completely hidden away by beautiful flowers, plants and trees - it was perfect after our long flight! We then had a tour around the house by Alan, which is a must, the house is full of so much history it's fascinating. In the evening we went up to the roof and had sun downers and supper with Alan. The view from up there was breathtaking - as you can see by the photos! In the morning we were served a delicious breakfast and then Alan arranged a taxi for us to take us back to the airport to fly to the coast.
I cannot recommend the African heritage house enough, the hospitality was perfect, we were made to feel very welcome and we were looked after very well! It was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday - and we loved it so much we returned at the end! It was absolutely beautiful there and completely inspiring, we definitely hope to return again soon. Thank you Alan!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2012 via mobile

On our last day in Africa, we found ourselves with a few hours layover before our flight to London. My sister and brother in law had the pleasure of spending a couple of nights at African Heritage House and suggested that we have dinner there. What a beautiful and interesting evening we had. Meeting Alan is quite an experience and we so enjoyed having dinner with him. We started out with iced tea by the restful and beautiful swimming pool surrounded by interesting African artwork. We took a tour of the house and it is amazing and filled with priceless treasures. Dinner was served on the third floor with an unbelievable view of the sunset. Dinner was delicious and he even had a birthday cake and candles to celebrate my birthday. If you have the chance to visit with Alan at his beautiful home, you should definitely do it. The guest rooms will transport you to another plateau with their antiques and unique furnishings. He has some beautiful jewelry, fabrics, books, etc. for sale, but does not take credit cards. So, I would suggest you bring some cash, so you can go shopping. His home is very close to Jomo Kenyatta airport and Alan will even send a driver to pick you up. Can Hardly wait for my next visit with Alan at his lovely home.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Johannesburg, South Africa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
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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Karlsruhe, Germany
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
40 helpful votes 40 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.

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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 #3 of 154 B&Bs / Inns in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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