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“Best Steak in Nairobi...or anywhere else for that matter” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hemingways Nairobi

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Hemingways Nairobi
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Nairobi, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 96 hotels in Nairobi
Nairobi, Kenya
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Best Steak in Nairobi...or anywhere else for that matter”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2013

My wife and I live in the area and stopped in for an early dinner at the new Hemingways last night. First impressions of the hotel itself were very positive. Great security at the gate, complete with having our name on the restaurant booking.

The entrance is spectacular, modern and inviting. Once the surrounding gardens mature, the exterior will also be similarly spectacular.

But onto the main event: dinner at the Brasserie. We each started out with a caesar salad. It was dressed perfectly and the request for extra anchovies was accommodated. Producing a good caesar is always a simple test of a kitchen. It passed with flying colors. It also went nicely with a Sicilian white wine on the menu

Now...the steak. Finding a world-class steak in Kenya has been impossible. Until now. I had a 450g rib-eye. It came with a choice of two sides and a sauce. I couldn't pass up the thrice-cooked truffle fries...and nor should you. Best I've had anywhere in the world...and I spend months every year in Europe, Asia and the U.S. eating in top restaurants. For a dose of greens, I went with green beans. They were cooked perfectly and served in a cast iron ramekin to keep them warm. There are many more choices. Mac and cheese, spinach...etc.

I had requested the steak medium-rare (the way I like it, but with some trepidation since medium rare in Africa is often interpreted as rare!) But the steak arrived to perfection and melted in my mouth. A nice char on the outside and moist inside. I just returned from holidays in the U.S. where I hit some of the big (and expensive) steak meccas. This was better. Way better. On top of that, it was about a third of the price you'd pay at those U.S. steak meccas. Plus, you have a view of the Ngong Hills instead of a mall parking lot!

This place deserves to be full every night. The service was attentive and the staff delightful, though still a little tentative in their approach. That will change with practice. The hotel is still very new.

We were too full for dessert, but they all looked great. We'll be back soon to sample the burgers, BLTs and other offerings on this very cool menu. Even better, it is open for lunch and dinner.

Room Tip: You can book a table direct from the hotel website.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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107 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
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English first
Blaricum
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

Boutique 5 star hôtel with really great suites instead of rooms, lovely swimming pool.
We loved our two night stay here after coming from the Masai village stay.
The hotel is brand new and beautifully decorated.
The bathrooms are ballrooms, so big! And the people were really kind.

  • Stayed July 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

My wife and I had a 2 day stay here after a safari in Kenya. Upon check in, it was apparent the staff were welcoming and friendly. We immediately met the Executive Chef, Barry Tonks from London. Chef Tonks explained that the hotel has acquired their own private herd of cattle special bred using Angus cattle (for flavor) and local cattle (to prevent disease). He also explained how they just completed the custom kitchen that he designed with a 1,000 degree oven in order to prepare the steaks properly. He offered us a tour of the kitchen and explained the entire history of the lodge which has just been completed. Dinner that night was incredible! The sweet corn and mascarpone with truffle oil soup was so incredible, we ordered it both nights for dinner! The triple cooked truffle fries were delicious, and the au gratin potatoes were out of sight! The steaks were some of the best we have ever had, and I've been to some of the best steak houses in the United States (Del Frisco's Orlando, Burn's Tampa, Nick & Sam's Dallas)! Chef Tonks has some amazing recipes and runs an quality operation! The next day we both had a 1-hour massage and were treated like royalty with an after-the-massage fruit platter, and fresh squeezed orange juice in the relaxation room. We also had time for a one-hour personal training session with Vincent. He is an American certified personal trainer and just opened the state-of-the-art workout room. Vincent was very personable and nice, but pushed us hard at the same time. The breakfast was great as well. I had eggs benedict with smoked salmon, and my wife had a vegetable omelette with cheese. There were all kinds of fruits, fresh squeezed juices, and an awesome pastry platter from their own pastry chef, including a chocolate croissant which my wife loved! The room was as expected...clean, huge, traditional decor yet with modern conveniences such as a TV that pops up out of an old safari trunk! The bathroom was enormous, and the cedar lined walk in closet had a light that turned on when you walked by it. The canopy bed had 2 long stemmed roses and a bottle of wine waiting for us upon entering the room. The wifi was reliable and fast, which allowed us to catch up with family after our safari. After staying the Nairobi Hilton a week earlier (worst Hilton in the world, never, ever stay there), we were so happy to be pampered in Nairobi at Hemingways!!! We look forward to experiencing all of Hemingways' properties (beach, bush and city).

Room Tip: Every room is equally as good at this hotel, but the second story has lofted ceilings.
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  • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kampala, Uganda
Top Contributor
178 reviews 178 reviews
97 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
169 helpful votes 169 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

Hemingways ... the name rings in the ears and brings tales of adventure, daring, intrepid travellers and more to mind. Hemingways Nairobi, located along Mbagathi Ridge in Karen, certainly does the name justice as it incorporates English countryside mansion architecture with a winning decor, a setting in the woodlands of Karen and then some more, considering the presence of a star rated chef by the name of Barry Tonk.
But first things first.
Once through gate security, a state of the art secure entrance, where booked guests need to give their name for admission while the car is being thoroughly checked, the entry into the foyer is impressive. Look not for a conventional reception, there is none. The guest is greeted by name, called in by the gate man, a key handed over to the butler who then uses an electric cart to drive guests to their suite, where they fill the registration form while, if so wanted, the butler unpacks the suitcases and bags, hangs up suits - and I guess dresses too though that was beyond my purview - and where needed takes items for a quick ironing job.
Once the signed form is handed over, the room's technology is explained and then the butler discreetly withdraws, without the hesitation seen in many other places indicative of 'tip me already' ...
The rooms are complete with all one needs, four poster bed with fluffy pillows, warm duvets needed for the cold Nairobi nights, a bathroom which offers couples each their own basin at opposite ends and, the ladies will love it, a walk in wardrobe with an automated light, which goes on as one steps inside it. Luxurious toiletries, soaps, shampoos, lotions AND bath salts are found in ample supply and anything, ANYTHING one may have forgotten, used up or lost along the travels, will be supplied by the butler on short notice.
A back lit minibar fridge shows the contents when opened and the availability of fresh milk in a jug, supplied by the butler on request, relegates the use of creamer to lesser hotels than Hemingways, And yes, tea supplied is of the Kericho Gold class, arguably the best quality of teabags on the market.
Extensive gardens invite for walks, a pond at the lower end of the estate is getting ready and the view into patches of forest and on to the famous Ngong Hills are underscoring the setting of this unique hotel.
Spa, gym and pool are available for treatments, work outs - with or without a personal trainer - and are much needed, considering what treats await a client in the restaurants.
Breakfast is an a la carte affair, where a guest orders her or his choice from the menu. There is nothing like for instance a dish of scrambled eggs, freshly prepared with say some slivers of smoked salmon and dill - not taken from a buffet where it perhaps has overstayed and the sheer sight of it already turns off the cravings of the palate. It gives time to leisurely read the newspaper, while order after order is delivered, although the freshly baked pastries and croissants are available from a table in the middle of the dining room, to go and pick as one chooses.
Lunch and dinner too are a la carte affairs, no buffets but swift service nevertheless and those sitting down for a meal at Hemingways are in for a treat. Chef Barry Tonks 'celebrates' food, not just cooks and serves it. A Michelin rated chef from the UK, he brought a new vision of cooking with him and extended the present food horizon in Kenya exponentially. His soups made instant friends with my taste buds and his meat, cut inhouse from specially reared herds in the Rift Valley, is so tender it can melt on the tongue. Eating a four course meal as I attempted is a serious overkill, considering that even the small portions, available besides the regular portions, are already large. Barry clearly believes in feeding his guests the best quality AND large portions, not the itsy bitsy tiny pieces of food spread albeit creatively over a plate like a painting but leaving a diner hungry for more ... here you get the best there is found in Nairobi , arguably for sure ,and plenty of it.
The foyer twin stair case leads to the upper level where the fine dining is located, the bar, some meeting rooms and the business centre and an elevator takes care of those with disabilities.
Downstairs in the main entrance lobby is an adjoining all day restaurant, a residents lounge with a huge fire place and outdoor terraces around a pond, where guests can be served anything from breakfast over tea to dinner.
Apart from the 'classic' key concept - personally I'd prefer state of the art swipe cards - the place, young as it is - still in the soft opening phase to iron out a few back of house issues and complete the landscaping around the pond - is already making an impact. When matured, it will no doubt be one of Nairobi's highest ranked boutique hotels, with 43 suites and 2 presidential suites small enough to earn that attribute. I left not wanting to leave but my waist line had started to expand over the few days I stayed and ate my way through the menu, that even a day more might have burst my trousers. Truly an exceptional addition to Nairobi's luxury hotel segment, out of town, away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD and yet, when the new highways and bypasses are ready, only a short drive from the airport or across the city.
Well done to Simon Hodsen, the General Manager, and his entire team. Expect me back soon for another dose of their unique brand of hospitality.

Room Tip: As all the 43 suites are more or less identical, the only choice to make is to be nearer to the main...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 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.
Nairobi, Kenya
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

I appreciate hotels that take the time to correct any bad impression by their customers and i believe Hemingways is one of them.

I have previously reviewed the Hemingways Restaurant but i finally got a chance to put up at the hotel.

The word that comes to mind is luxury....its all around in the small details. The leather crafted trays and in room accessories, the recessed lighting and motion lighting int he wardrobes, the beautiful and spacious shower stall, the butler service (including a butler for every guest)....luxury.

I agree with a previous reviewer the spiel about the room and all the in room amenities can be abit long winding, may i suggest a small booklet which would serve the same purpose?

I enjoyed the golf carts (an i drove one but i think that may be a secret).

I was at the hotel with a larger group of people and the check in and check out experience were second to none. No documentation to sign, staff members knowing my name on arrival, instant service at the reception.

Special appreciation to Justus Mwanza who continues to be a service delight in the restaurant.

The spa is set to open in the coming week and i am eager to try it out.

I had an in suite breakfast and it was great, everything was exactly to my specifications.

Hemingways did not skimp when creating this hotel, first class buildings, first class accessories, pillows that are to die for (seriously!! I made a point of checking where they were from), television sets recessed in large decorative trunks, enough toiletries in the room to keep anyone happy, lovely elegant in suite decor and of course....your very own Jeeves.

Hemingways is NOT cheap.......but you do pay for what you get.

Room for improvement? But of course:

1. Towelling robes are sized for the smaller people ..........robes need to be large and warm and snuggly and luxurious
2. The duvet (or the spare duvet provided) is very very VERY linty......the lint will get unto your clothes and hair to watch out.
3. The restaurants take away packaging still needs work, i took away a slice of cake for dessert and it was packed in a HUGE container that could have easily held another 7 slices.
4. A previous reviewer mentioned the breakfast menu and i am in agreement. Its a confusing breakfast menu and making selections from it is abit difficult.
5. I was in a room on the lower floors and with the curtains open i felt like anyone walking along the grounds would see in. This of course affected my balcony reading (the robe also played a role in this) and serenity...maybe management needs to think about natural privacy aides such as leafy trees near the rooms. I watched a guard walk around the grounds and felt that if i could see him so clearly.....Food for thought.

I had a relaxing and decadent time (they kindly ceded to our request for late checkouts)

I will be back....

Room Tip: Get a room on the higher floors, that should help with privacy issues.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

I recently stayed at Hemingways in Karen and ate on 4 occasions - the food was awesome and Chef Barry Tonks knows how to cook. I have been to many restaurants and stayed in many hotels however have never seen so many different cuts of beef - my steak was seasoned perfectly and the truffle oil chips a lovely accompaniment. Highly recommend it. The hotel needs life but this I am sure will come....

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 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.
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

It was my first time here and so far it was good.

The ambience and the waiters were really great, ready to serve you and making sure you're ok.

I am yet to try out your food so that will wait, though my nephew did enjoy his ice cream which was done in way we never expected.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Hemingways Nairobi

Address: Nairobi, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 96 hotels in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hemingways Nairobi 5*
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