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“A Gem” 4 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 162 Nairobi B&B and Inns
Sydney, Australia
1 review
“A Gem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

The African Heritage House is a gem not to be missed. It overlooks the Nairobi national park if you wish to have a unique experience this is an excellent choice.
Alan's passion and his life works are represented in this unique home which houses remarkable artefacts of African art, history and fashion.
Each room is a space created to experience the true beauty of Africa . There are many indoor and outdoor spaces to experience the animals in the national park, relax and enjoy the sunsets. The monkeys were regular visitors .
I choose to have dinner and lunch where possible at the house as the food was exceptional and delicious. The evening sunsets were a perfect way to wind down the day.
Alan is a very gracious host who's advice and suggestions were always spot on.
Thank you Alan for creating and sharing this beautiful space.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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46 reviews from our community

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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 (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

Anyone intersted in African culture should not miss a chance to visit the African Heritage House. Every room and nook and cranny of the house contains history and fine examples of African art. Following a tour of the house and the impressive collection Alan has put together, we had the opportunity to have an excelent dinner with Alan during which we were treated to stories of his efforts at bringing African culture to the world and some of the unique life experiences he had as a result. Alan's ability to recall details about his extensive collection is impressive. Our visit for dinner was a remarkable experience that provided a finish touch to our ten weeks in east Africa.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
mountain view
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2012

Staying at AHH affords us an intimate and comfortable introduction to African art. Alan's 40 year museum quality, art collection from all over the continent is displayed throughout the house and bedrooms. What a beautiful, tranquil house he has built for himself, and for his guests to enjoy. And Alan's gracious hospitality is much appreciated. Being near the airport is such a convenience for arrivals or departures. And the local driver he uses, (Gideon tel. +254 (0)720-170754) to ferry us to the airport, charged us $20 each way - half the fare we paid to our tour operator, when we came back later to Nairobi for our safari. Breakfast is included in the rate, and lunch and dinner is on offer, taken on the terrace overlooking Nairobi National Park. Try looking out for game in the park, if you spend time on the terrace. Extensive grounds, a swimming pool and lots of places throughout the house to hang out and read a book, or just to rest and contemplate.
Wish there was a fan in the bedroom for the warm nights we were there.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hobe Sound, Florida
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

This is a must for those who like out of the ordinary. Alan's home is on the edge of the Nairobi National Park and one of the coolest places that I have ever stayed in. Our room was on the third floor, we had several beds to chose from all with mosquito netting, we chose to have dinner there each night and enjoyed wine as the sun set. The house is filled with artifacts from all over Africa and Alan is so gracious, after 3 weeks on Safari we really enjoyed a day relaxing around the pool and watching the animals from the decks. Alan also arranged a driver to show us the city for our last few days in Africa.

Room Tip: Ask for the room where you can hear the lions roaring.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Kaydn215
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

We used African Heritage House as our base during our travels throughout East Africa - we stayed 4 nights over a 3 week period. Firstly in making arrangements i dealt directly with Alan (before he took his holidays) and he was very responsive and helpful. It is a very unique place and very interesting to see. As many have mentioned it is like a museum of African history - Alan's recall of all his collection is impressive. One of the main reasons to stay here is to get Alan to give you a tour (with your drink of choice in hand!) - but allow a few hours to really do it justice.

Alan's staff provide very good personal service with very good meals served in a variety of different spaces in the house depending on weather conditions. The house is located very handy to the airport and is very quiet being set well back from Mombasa Road.

The rooms are all pretty unique and interesting as well as spacious. Ours had an open air bathroom which was still pretty functional. Mosquitoes can be a problem so be prepared. The beds are a bit small being antique frames around the size of a modern double bed. Electricity may not be available overnight but this tends not to be a big deal i think. There is no aircon or fans but there is good natural ventilation mosquitoes not withstanding.

If you have one or two nights to spend in Nairobi and want a unique experience then this a great alternative to formulaic hotels.

Room Tip: I'm not sure if there are rooms with larger beds - best to ask Alan.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Arusha, Tanzania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2012

First, the house itself is unbelievable. It has grand proportions and interesting architecture everywhere you turn. Alan has furnished and decorated the place with 40 years worth of collected art from across the continent. Though the term "museum" comes to mind, the house is absolutely comfortable and we never felt as though we couldn't sit on furniture, touch the sculptures, or examine the art.
Second, the setting was gorgeous. My mother took the amazing Lamu Suite. It has a small garden/greenhouse inside the bathroom! I took the upstairs room on the roof. From the ample balconies and terraces we looked out over the Nairobi National Park as we had morning tea and sundowners. Somehow, we were 15 minutes from downtown Nairobi, but in the middle of a huge open park. The house is a much more convenient journey to and from the airport than any "in-town" hotel and far more relaxing.
Third, Alan is the consummate host. No details are overlooked. His advice on logistics (travel times, places to see, etc) were spot on. Meals were ample and delicious whether taken on the terrace, by the fireplace, or in my room on the top floor. The tour of the house, which took us about 2 hours, was really interesting and far from a "canned" speech. Alan put us in touch with a fantastic driver, Gideon, who was, himself, a font of valuable information. Alan also directed us toward some excellent wholesalers of African textiles and crafts. We skipped uncertainty of searching out over-priced shops and the mayhem that is Nairobi shopping. The icing on the cake was the private concert Alan provided. A group of 20 or so guests were having a professional retreat for the day and we got to join them as Alan's long-time friend Ayub Ogada played and sang on the roof deck at sundown. It was picture and pitch perfect.
African Heritage House is the type of place you can stay if you are doing just a few days travel in and around Nairobi, or if you are looking for a base for an extended tour of the area. It was just perfect.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Padre Island, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

How does one describe an experience that is magical, for that is what it seemed like when I visited and stayed in African Heritage House. I had just returned to Nairobi from a week-long safari when a volcano in Iceland prevented me from returning to the USA. My local travel agent, Maggie Gachie-Maina of Double Eight Tours & Travel, located at the nearby Nairobi National Airport, shepherded me to African Heritage House for the best stay of my three weeks in Kenya. Beside the fact that Alan Donovan is the ideal host and an expert on African history, art and crafts, I believe he personally has one of the best collections representing all of Africa. Each room is a cultural immersion of the places and textures and patterns of African life, making your stay as much an experience of being IN Africa as it is about LIVING the african way. His substantial library and personal memoir, "My Journey Through African Heritage" provide invaluable information about the continent and all its treasurers. Alan's understanding and knowledgable advice about places, people and things throughout Africa is encyclopedic, making him the perfect host and resource for all your travel questions.

The stunning placement of the colorful, styleized adobe house exudes warmth with its multi-level verandahs and balconies all with views looking down across the open, pale green, expansive Athi Plain and Nairobi National Park. The site provides a profound sense of space and peace, even though the compound is located a short distance from downtown Nairobi. The aroma of morning coffee on the balcony with the energizing glow of sunrise is not to be missed, especially if herds of zebra or majestic giraffes slowly promenade across the horizon. Each room and private bath is an exquisite collection of architectural features, fanciful furniture and colorful textiles adding sensual pleasure to the gracious, unhurried environment. A light breeze wafts through the rooms carrying the sweet fragrance of acacia. Try relaxing in the aqua pool set about with lush tropical plantings interspersed with sculpture or seek the shade of the cabana. Both provide a welcome retreat to float and look at the cerulean sky or read and write in the shade of the cabana. It is an ideal environment to entertain friends over drinks and hors d'oeuvres while you watch another spectacular sunset take place.

African Heritage House is the best place to relax and rejuvenate, breathe the air and inhale the color all around you; sense the fragrance of life and let time stand still. Such a place will intuitively teach you the origins of man and reconnect you with the person you were born to be. How could you not want to be here in this beautiful place with this amazing host and rich cultural heritage? Book now because space is limited!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 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
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 162 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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