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“Distinctive and 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 194 Nairobi B&B and Inns
Loughrea, Ireland
Level Contributor
42 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Distinctive and special”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2013

We stayed here on our last night in Kenya so that we could be close to the airport for a next day flight. It truly is a unique place to stay and hard to believe that you are staying so close to the city! The views overlooking Nairobi National Park are terrific with a clear view of the infamous 4 knuckles on Ngong Hills ('Out of Africa' movie). The food was sumptuous, delicious and every meal felt like a special occasion. We had lunch when we arrived, which the staff especially prepared for us, as we hadn't pre-ordered, dinner was served at 630am, when proprietor Alan O'Donovan joined us and he entertained us with lovely stories about the house and surrounds. Only downside was that lights-out seemed to happen around 8pm, we would have loved a 'night cap'! While the double bed was also quite small, we had a great night's sleep in the most unusual bedroom we have ever stayed in. All in all, this is definitely a place to stay while in Nairobi, Alan also arranges a reputable taxi to collect and return guests to the airport ($20 fare).

Room Tip: If you like a King or Queen double bed, you will need to ask, although we are not sure if the beds a...
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  • Stayed October 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
Helpful?
Thank eddieore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 reviews from our community

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Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Level Contributor
119 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

We were so fortunate to be booked into this guest house since it is convenient to Tambo Airport. The term 'guest house' doesn't begin to describe the museum that Alan Donovan has made his home into! Original sculpture, tribal art and costumes, jewelry, musical instruments and furniture abound in each room of the incredible home on a beautiful setting overlooking national parkland. Your eye literally does not know where to begin or stop.

His staff are attentive, and prepare excellent local cuisine. Alan will regale you with tales of his personal story, his acquisitions, and his current projects. He loves to conduct a 90-minute tour of the house and grounds -- including your room and bathroom! He know the local guides and will arrange for you to be picked up and returned to the house. In our case, we arrived late one evening, had dinner, spent the next day touring, and returned to the house for dinner and to freshen up before a late night departure. All pre-arranged, of course.

Room Tip: Be sure to be at the house for Sundowners, and if Alan offers to serve them on the roof -- say YES!
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Donna31522
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi
Level Contributor
47 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013

A trip to the African Heritage house is definitely very informative and it is quite interesting to listen to Alan Donovan speak about his adventures and expeditions all over this lovely continent. I however would recommend a day or afternoon trip as opposed to spending the night there. The rooms are cold and dark with tiny beds. I kept waking up in the middle of the night, afraid of falling of my high bed. Also the bathroom had cobwebs and dust all over. But all in all, it is a lovely place to visit

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Grace I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

Alan Donovan's African arts and crafts collection is legendary and to be able to actually stay at his unique house and live amongst these treasures is an out of this world experience!

His personal tour, with stories of his past exploits is amazing and his staff are very friendly and prepare great meals.

The best time is early evening sitting on one of the West facing terraces with a sun downer, the sun setting over the Ngong Hills and the wild animals clearly visible in the Nairobi National Park.

This is a homestay not to be missed!!!

Room Tip: All rooms have their own particular charm!
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  • Stayed October 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Arshad K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Morecambe
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
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
Helpful?
Thank compostmaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newdelhi india
Level Contributor
763 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 715 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
Helpful?
2 Thank MARGDARSHI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thomasville, Georgia
Level Contributor
513 reviews
102 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 369 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
Helpful?
4 Thank Smiles4miles
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 194 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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