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“A chance of a lifetime” 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 177 Nairobi B&B and Inns
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“A chance of a lifetime”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

I have stayed in November 12 and April 13 and am going again next month . From bring collected from the airport by Gideon having a ten min drive to a place of wonder . It is a mixture of a home , a museum and a place of African luxury . Alan's collection of African art , artefacts and textiles are a joy to behold .
When I say this is a chance of a lifetime .... It is ..... So there is no where in Africa like it . His home contains a lifetime of collecting African beauty .
Your rooms are overlooking the reserve and are beautifully decorated and atmospheric .
The food is great and Gideon can take you wherever you want to go if you arrange it with him .

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 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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48 reviews from our community

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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 (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Newdelhi india
Top Contributor
322 reviews 322 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
486 helpful votes 486 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013

This magical place is perched on a hill just opposite the Nairobi National Park.It has residential rooms to stay where one can feel like living & dining in a museum or like me book a table for dinner! Its owner Alan Donavon is a fascinating American who traveled all over Africa & collected with loving care & taste a treasure trove of sculptures,antiques & other art pieces.

The garden, the pool & the sorrounding lush areas are all dotted with beautiful intricate artifacts.Sitting on top of the terracce with a glass of Rum & Coke in hand, one can watch the animals of the National park roaming around with the beautiful sunset over the Athi plains & the Nagong Hills in the back ground!

I was over whelmed with the feeling of being lucky to be sitting like this in this architectural gem with great food on the plate! It rounded off my fabulous first day of my trip to East Africa! Worth the visit!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Thomasville, Georgia
Top Contributor
445 reviews 445 reviews
97 hotel reviews
Reviews in 157 cities Reviews in 157 cities
337 helpful votes 337 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

There are so many reasons to stay at this beautiful property that I don't think I can name them all but I'll name some of the best.

1. Outstanding architecture: the design of this house belongs on the pages of Architectural Digest...and yes,...it has been deservedly featured in that publication, among others. It's eye-popping and the terraces alone, with their colorful blooms, will have you transfixed so allow yourself plenty of time to relax and take it all in.

2. Alan Donovan. He's fascinating, an absolute treasure and so are his stories. He can describe every piece of art and jewelry, every antique and his passion for what he does is compelling. He loves animals, does not love the traffic congestion and is driven to accomplish a myriad of tasks. I'm not sure how he does it all but he does and he does it with loving care.

3. Beautiful antiques, sculpture and art....everywhere.

4. Delicious food that will make you shed tears of joy. Alan's chef knows what he's doing. Make sure you arrange to have your meals here...and the enjoyment of your meal will be heightened by your conversation with Alan. The best meals of our entire African journey were served at African Heritage House. Pumpkin soup to die for!

5. Easy access from the airport. The traffic in Nairobi is horrific but this secluded house is only about 15 to 20 minutes away from the international airport, depending on the time of day. Don't underestimate the amount of travel time you will need if you stay in the city. Staying here is a much more relaxing option. Alan arranged for Gideon, a very nice driver who's also quite a safe driver, to pick us up. He was waiting for us when we walked out and also returned to Alan's to pick us up. The cost was $20 one way for both of us plus tip. Well worth it! Book the pickup through Alan. Some of the local drivers do not know how to find African Heritage House and are not the best drivers I've seen.

6. Relatively close to the Sheldrick elephant orphanage (don't miss) and the giraffe center. Alan will arrange for transportation to these places too. In our case, Gideon was once again at the ready and was a wonderful person to talk to. He had lots of helpful hints at each location and we appreciated his inside knowledge. He charged us about $70 for the tour, plus tip and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know a little bit about him.

7. African Heritage House terraces overlook Nairobi National Park, where we got our first look at zebras and giraffes. Lovely!

8. Swimming pool if you need to cool off, once again, surrounded by art and sculpture and flowers.

9. Peaceful, quiet, serene, relaxing. I am one of those people who wish we had scheduled more nights here. Bring a good book and sit on your terrace and enjoy.

10. Very reasonable price. VERY! You get what you pay for and this is an unforgettable lodging.

And to you, Alan, thanks for making the beginning of our journey to Africa so memorable. Our entire trip was the most amazing of our lives and African Heritage House is a major part of that memory. A very special place and a very gracious host.

  • Stayed July 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Galivants Ferry, South Carolina
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

After a grueling flight from the US, we were welcomed into Alan's beautiful home with open arms! The house itself is full of interesting African art and it is a delight to just soak it all in. Alan gave us a tour of the house and it is amazing just to imagine the life he has lived. The staff is always eager to please and prepared us a lovely brunch upon our arrival to eat out on the veranda that overlooks Nairobi National Park. Our first five minutes out there we saw an ostrich, some giraffe and some gazelles grazing in the distance. Our only regret was that we did not have enough time to enjoy it more.....we only spent one night before heading out on our safari. The evening meal was so delicious and we ate out on the veranda and watched the sunset....it was a lovely evening with Alan who is a gracious host. If you want an experience above and beyond any place you have stayed before, book here. You will be making a memory that will last a lifetime!

Room Tip: We stayed in the room that had three beds....the views are spectacular. All rooms looked amazing h...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guangzhou, China
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

It feels like staying in a museum in African Heritage House. It is a wonderful place to take photos with a raw taste of Africa. The decorations and collections in the house are just exactly looks like my imagination about East Africa tribe. The Nairobi National Park is just in front of the house, you can sometimes see or hear wildlives at the veranda. On the day I checked out, 2 lovely monkeys broke into my room and ate my bananas and apples, they escaped through the big tree in the courtyard when they found that I saw them.
The location of the house is 15 minutes drive from airport but a bit far from centre. It is good for tourism, but not for business if you want to go to the centre or industrial zone.
All staffs in the house are helpful and friendly. It is a good experience to stay here while you are tired with common mordern hotels.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

My husband and our family of 8 just stayed at the African Heritage House for 3 nights. What an amazing experience! if you want way more than you will ever get from a bed and breakfast or most definitely from a hotel, this is the place to be! When we arrived there were 3 giraffes right out on the open field! The accommodations are lovely with fabulous views and our family thoroughly enjoyed listening to Alan Donovan's (the owner) stories of all the beautiful things in his home. The staff were very kind and attentive. Unfortunately, while we had read up on his place before travel, we had no idea how wonderful it would be and did not a lot enough time to truly enjoy it! We will be back Alan and hope to stay for much longer! Do yourself a favor and pick this as your place to stay in Nairobi. You will not be disappointed!
Mark Bush and Kellie Wile-Bush

Room Tip: All rooms were amazing with wonderful views!
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  • Stayed June 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

My husband and I stayed in this wonderful place for one night+++
We were looking for a place close to the airport to spend our last night and the next day ( which was our anniversary day ), after our safari holiday in the Maasai Mara. We did not wish to go into Nairobi but wanted a nice place to stay the last day, where we could relax and stay till late at night before our international flight which left in the middle of the night.
I was lucky enough to find this gem on tripadvisor and sent a mail asking for availability and if we could stay untill late the next day. We received a quick and very positive reply from the owner , who wished us welcome to his place, he could give us full board and we were welcome to stay until midnight the next day!!!!!! We were very happy about this and booked it, we did not realize then what a fantastic place we were privileged to stay at!!!!
When we arrived we were really overhvelmed by the beauty of the house and its perfect location, with an awesome view over The Nairobi national park and surrounding hills.
We arrived just in time to see the beautiful sunset over the park and a full moon rising from the other direction - magical!!!! We sat on the roof terrace with the owner and were spellbound by the scene!!!
After this we were lucky to be accompanied by the owner of the house Allan Donnovan for dinner in the rooftop room, where he filled us in on some of the history and details about the house. The house is his home and also a museum, both himself and his house have a fascinating background and it was very interesting to read his book about it the next day!!!!
We were shown to our room - the Lamai suite which was just amazing, it was like living in a museum, but not cold.....very personal and warm with a wonderful atmosphere and history in every corner!!! The bed we slept in was a 200 year old bed from the island Lamu, there were antiques and art all around us, and they were not just on display - they were to be used by the guests!!!! The bathroom was great, with a outdoor garden on the side and lovely details with a stone bath and shower and of course antiques and art everywhere!!!
We had our own terrace overlooking the savannah of the park with a cosy couch with lots of lovely pillows that we could relax on and look out at the animals in the park. In the morning when the sun came up we saw lots of animals just down from the house, we even thought we saw a lion - very exciting!!!!!
We were served coffe in our room and then breakfast on one of the big sun terrasses by the wonderful staff working in the house. Even the dishes and glasses they used were pieces of art, so delicately decked out. We spent the day lazing in the sun on the terrasses and by the pool, we also wandered around the house and gardens and marvelled at the different rooms and pieces of art!!!! We stood under the romantic " wedding tree " and felt very lucky for having chosen this place to spend our wedding anniversary and our last day in Africa!!!
We were served a delicious lunch in the pool house and afterwards we sipped wine and dozed on the sunbeds and took in the wonderful view !!!
In the evening the owner gave us a guided tour of the house which was very interesting and informative, we had read a lot of his book during the day so it was extra interesting to hear about the different pieces.
He also showed us some of his jewellery that he makes, and I was of course tempted to buy a piece, African inspired and right in my taste, I should have bought more......well next time!!!!
In the evening we ate again in the rooftop room with our host, he is a well of information and a really nice guy to spend time with, a lovely way to spend the evening.
After dinner we used the opportunity to take a long lovely bath in the fantastic bathroom of our wonderful room, and then gaze out at the park and the stars until our taxi came as ordered at midnight to take us to the airport.
What a perfect way to spend our day and evening , instead of waiting in the Nairobi airport for hours!!!!
Thank you so much Mr Allan Donnovan for giving us the opportunity to stay with you in your amazing home and museum, you have a truly unique place which has a wonderful warm and friendly atmosphere, its a place where it is a pleasure to spend time......and we hope to come back in the future and spend even more time in your lovely oasis!!!!!
Monica and Knut

Room Tip: All rooms are great, and all are different. We stayed in the Lamai suite which was wonderful with a...
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 177 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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