From The Bull to The Buffalo Part 2 Nairobi The Sarova Stanley 20 & 21 Sept.
The British Empire, much criticised by the chattering classes and politically correct, bequeathed to the 21 century great communications roads, railways, air travel and fantastic hotels The Stanley opened in 1902 is itself a living testimony to both Empire and Independence.
Our flight by Kenyan Airways from Heathrow was as it should be comfortable, good airline meals, and peaceful sleep. We passed through Visa Control a little surprised by computer photos and electronic fingerprinting and reached the luggage carousel then The Pollmans desk in reasonable time.
We were soon whisked into Nairobi and greeted by The Mustard Coated Concierge outside The Stanley Hotel. We had to pass through an airport style metal detector upon entry. It looked totally out of place in a Victorian entrance, but it was a real statement of Sarova Management‘s intent to keep us safe. Mundane matters like check-in were processed by the Pollmans Team. We were given our itineraries in a smart folder. Dariusdave requested the Karen Blixen and Giraffe Sanctuary visit for the afternoon this was arranged.
We were eventually escorted to our room. Corridors inhabited by painters and landings by security guards. Original looking wood door opened and again the WOW what a room. Best described as L shaped what a shame we only stayed for one night. The window view is best not described. But our room had plenty of furniture, was large and had a first class bathroom. There may have been a television etc, but Dariusdave travels to Africa to see real life and TV was not switched on.
A brief sort out in our room, shower and change from airline clothes, then down to lunch. Lunch in the ground floor facility also used for breakfast reminded me of a typical 1950’s boarding school dining room. Furniture utilitarian, fine pictures and a friendly welcoming staff .Food was wholesome and we were all aboard the Pollmans Minibus to Karen Blixen Farmhouse Museum. Those of us who enjoyed both book and film “Out of Africa” treated this part of the trip as a pilgrimage to our shrine. Proof that whatever criticism there may be of Kenyan Governments in the western media, the Kenyan People have a sense of heritage. The superbly maintained building and grounds are a tribute to the tender loving care from a dedicated staff.
We then visited The Giraffe Sanctuary and photo should show how much Dariusdave enjoyed feeding the giraffes. The afternoon was a chance to start acclimatising and for our Safari Party to get to know each other.
Collective agreement was that the Images of Africa Safari Party would dine together, at the Stanley Hotel’s Thai Restaurant. A 3rd WOW was achieved, the ambiance at this restaurant was”manifique.” Dariusdave enjoys many eastern cuisines perhaps Sri Lankan would be top choice. However Monday 20th September provided an outstanding meal for all participants ranging the full width of the menu, rounded off with the very best Kenyan Coffee. I believe the collective happiness that lasted throughout the Safari. was very largely due to the foundation laid at a really great Thai Feast. There were no “plastic” ingredients food was real and worth every Kenyan shilling.
Yet again a Sarova hotel allowed Dariusdave and good Lady to sleep like African mahogany logs. Bed & bedroom were still wonderful come sunrise.
Tuesday 21 September we were up early, enjoyed a Mount Kenya sized breakfast, juice, fresh fruit or porridge or cereal, full “English Grill” lovely bacon and eggs toast with real marmalade accompanied by copper coloured Kenyan tea or coffee. The Sarova Bull could and should learn from The Kenyan Stanley how to serve breakfasts and run a busy restaurant.
We had come to Safari, but were sad to leave the splendour of Sarova Stanley behind. This historic hotel was indeed a great starting point for our Safari and would occupy a higher position in the Dariusdave Sarova League Table than The Bull. Would we return again? Yes happily would love to return.
Next stop Sarova Shaba Game Lodge.