Lets be honest, Nairobi is a dump. Not a place you want to spend much time in as a traveller. However this place is an oasis, a sanctuary, a refuge and any other superlative you may think of. I got a great rate via booking.com (Paid £120 GBP a night incl breakfast) and from the minute I arrived I felt like a valued guest. I love the history and the colonial feel of the place, the Thorn Tree cafe, the Exchange Bar, to me this place is to Nairobi what Raffles is to Singapore and the Waldorf Astoria is to NYC. My room was lovely, very spacious (although the bathroom was tiny, but who cares, what space do you really need in a bathroom! Good TV with UK/US TV and movies, and all amenities you could require. Lovely pool area, three restaurants and the food in the Thorn Tree Cafe I thought was exceptional for two of my three days. the best Lamb Shank I have ever tasted, in a nice sauce and inexpensive - highly recommended. T Bone steak was poor though (and expensive). Great breakfast too.
Someone earlier posted a special mention to Irene. She is fantastic. She took time to speak to me in reception for a good 10 minutes, and nothing was too much trouble, a truly exceptional member of staff, bubbly friendly and helpful. I would employ her tomorrow as I am sure would others, so hold on to her, Management.
The two downsides, though one was quite fun, was, considering the amount of security to get into the place,even as a guest, how come there were so many hookers in the bar, particularly the terrace/smoking area?. I was propositioned (politely) twice, and when I declined they were more than fine, but are their a few backhanded dollars headed the security staffs way to get them in?
Lastly and this was my disappointment after a truly memorable stay, I had a late flight (2250) and arranged a late check out. The girl on reception told me ' Check out at 6, but if you need another hour it will be fine' For this, I paid what I consider a decent sum (as I was not staying the night nor taking breakfast) of 75% of my room rate. Basically 100 dollars. I went back to my room at 1803 and my room key would not allow me inside. The room guy refused to open my door, and told me to go to reception. The girl I saw there removed all the warmness I felt for the hotel and staff prior. When I told her I could not access my room, she told me ' You had to be out by six!' When I told her the earlier girl had said 7 was OK, she looked at her watch and said ' You can have 10 minutes!!!' She re energised my card and I literally had to throw everything in my bag within that 10 minutes as I really expected if I was not back in reception on the 11th minute she would have hit me for the full nightly rate. She was cold, abrupt and workmanlike and although that is not necessarily a bad thing, in a hotel such as this where service is clearly paramount, she left a very sour taste. Basically I found myself apologising as I dared to take up the offer of leaving at 7, and was told, 'Thank you for staying, goodbye!' Her name was Lucy W and she was the bad apple in an otherwise fantastic bunch.
All in all though HIGHLY recommended. You won't be disappointed as long as you have no dealings with Lucy.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
May 30, 2013
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Thank you for your candid feedback.
We appreciate the kind comments on our spacious rooms, preserved heritage and great lamb shank. We appreciate the special mention of Irene whom you noted as outstanding.
We have noted the downside of our hotel, great popularity but sometimes attracting some unpleasant customers. Our security is very keen to check some of these isolated cases while avoiding mistaking genuine clients. The team member who did not meet your expectation is very remorseful and wishes to correct the situation. We do not foresee a repeat of the same.
We look forward to hosting you again.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.