This a tough review to write. Tough because all the positive things said about Eden Gardens in other reviews posted here are absolutely true. Especially the wonderful staff.
But, and it's a huge but, Eden Gardens is a death trap. The facility has every window covered by steel bars. The two doors to the outside have steel gates. In the evening these gates are closed and locked with hardware that requires a key to unlock. Note that guest room keys will not unlock the exit doors. There are no smoke detectors anywhere--not in my room, not in the hallways, not in the common room.
The bars on the windows are sufficiently strong that you will not be able to kick your way out. The same is true of the gates on the exit doors.
In the evening there is someone on duty but that person goes to bed sometime after midnight.
What this means is that smoke from a fire having started, for example, in the kitchen or common room, would entirely engulf the place before anyone knew what had happened. If anyone would awaken--most people don't, they die in their sleep from the smoke--the hallway and exit door areas would be filled with smoke from ceiling to floor. There is no way the evening attendant would be able to locate the exit door's locks and evacuate the guests.
Now, I realize this cage-the-bad-guys-out is the "norm" in Kenya for this price point. Nonetheless, at the very least the owners need to install smoke detectors throughout. They should be linked so that when one alarms they all do. Second, guests should be provided keys that will allow them to open the exit doors--they could check them in/out to prevent them from leaving the guesthouse. Third, night staff should not be permitted to sleep.
Ideally, an integrated alarm system, true exit doors that don't require unlocking and operable exits from each room would be best. But, probably too expensive given the size of the place.
If you are intent on staying at Eden Gardens you should bring with you a hacksaw with extra blades (18tpi) and a couple of smoke detectors. Seriously.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Eden Gardens is situated in a homely lush garden in the heart of Lavington just 6km from the centre of one of Africa’s most vibrant capital cities, Nairobi. Eden Gardens is a small haven of peace, intimacy and tranquility. With only 5 rooms, it is more than a home away from home.Whether you’re in Nairobi for a night or a month, Eden Gardens has something to suit your needs.Try us. If you like the sound of birds, wind in the trees, and green lawns with a river running by, yet you need to be close to the action, then Eden Gardens is for you. Conveniently located in the Lavington suburb of Nairobi, Eden Gardens has easy access to the major highways and is less than 2 minutes from James Gichuru Road. What's more, the Lavington Shopping Centre is within walking distance where there is access to banks, hairdressers and a supermarket. ... more less