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“An oasis for before or after an Safari” 5 of 5 stars
Review of House of Waine

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House of Waine
Masai Lane & Bogani Road | Karen, PO Box 25035, Nairobi 00603, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 96 hotels in Nairobi
Athens, Greece
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“An oasis for before or after an Safari”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2009

We spent two nights at the House of Waine in Karen on June 2009. Our tour operator, Duffle and Compass of Chicago, gave us 3 options of where to stay for these first two days, and based on their description we chose House of Waine. This was at the beginning of a 3 week trip through Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, and we wanted someplace were we could just chill for 48 hours. Our 3rd day we were to fly to northern Kenya, to Lewa Conservancy, to begin a walking safari, so getting acclimated from our journey (which began in Chicago) was important.
House of Waine was the perfect place for us: peaceful, comfortable, clean, the perfect balance between bed & breakfast and hotel - with a great friendly staff a large garden area to relax in, and not to much around to tempt us to the outside world.
A responsive and proactive staff turned out to be really important for us, since British Airways didn’t get our bags transferred to our connecting flight in London, and so we arrived in Nairobi without luggage. Being in the hospitality business in Greece we know all about US transfers through London on BA, so we had made provisions to carryon an extra change of clothes should this happen to us. We actually had everything we needed for our walking safari, except my hiking boots. Oooops! When we did not hear from BA within an hour of the next arriving flight from London, the hotel got a driver for us (it was midnight) and the driver took my husband to the airport, where he could see our bags, sitting behind the BA desk, but which he was not allowed to retrieve because the BA employee had left for the day. Bringing my husband back to the hotel around 2 AM, the driver actually then drove to the other side of Nairobi to bring the BA employee back to the airport so he get retrieve our bags. He returned to the hotel around 6:00 AM as we were having breakfast and getting ready to leave to catch our flight to Lewa.
The hotel is much like a very large house, with a central stairway and rooms going in each direction once you reach the top of the stairs. Our room, a double, was spacious with a Queen bed and a loveseat as well as a desk. I appreciated that there was a multi-plug since this is something I often find lacking in hotels : enough outlets, conveniently located, to charge cell phones, cameras and a Netbook. We had a nice little veranda that overlooked the garden – which was a lovely spot to sit and watch the birds (the garden is full of them!) A spacious bathroom with a large glass enclosed shower, was a welcome site after our 2 day air journey.
Meals at House of Waine were wonderful, we had a particularly beautiful and memorable dessert (which I’ve included in my uploaded photos) and though they normally serve afternoon tea in the dining room, we asked if we could have it in the garden and they quickly brought out a table and two chairs, and then followed my husband around as he looked for the perfect spot.
There is a nice pool, and although we didn’t swim the cabana area has seating which was really nice for sitting and working or reading.
We did take a walk around Karen mid day on our first full day there, heading to the Karen Blixen house for a tour. (The Greeks should take some lessons from the Kenyans: admission to the Blixen House was, if I remember correctly, 12 or 15 dollars per person, and it included a private guide. Our guide was a really nice young Kenyan, who clearly and methodically explained what every object was in the entire 4 room house. (Including explaining to us that the grandfather’s clock was just called that, it did not mean that it came from Karen Blixen’s father . After our visit to the Blixen house we went the Coffee Plantation for … coffee. There was a nice art exhibit as well, though this being the beginning of our trip we resisted the tempation to buy anything. I believe there is also an animal rescue center nearby, as we heard some of the other guests talking about visiting there.
As I’m totally smitten with Kenya, I know we will be back soon and House of Waine will be our landing point on our future trips.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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125 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
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English first
London
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2009

To be honest I would find great difficulty to find fault with House of Waine except to say that if you want a city centre hotel - this isn't it but it IS perfect for a quiet rest away from the hustle & bustle of the city (my main reason for choosing it!). As a solo traveller, 2 nights cost as much as my international flight - but for the security & luxury aspect I would do it again in an instant!
The welcome from start to finish was awesome. I arrived very early in the morning, but my room was ready due to an early departure - and I was given the opportunity to have breakfast once I had checked in, which I duly did. My room - The Pwani Room - was fautless. The bathroom was huge, as was the bedroom which was also immaculate. It benefitted from a lovely seating area and balcony overlooking the beautifully manicured gardens.
The hotel organised a car to take me to the 2 sights I wanted to visit (Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage & Giraffe Centre - highly recommend both particularly for the young at heart!). I paid a reasonable amount for the driver to take & wait for me at both places.
I highly recommend this boutique hotel to anyone who, like me, wants excellent service away from the generic city centre hotels.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Atherton, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2009

A very nice beginning and end to our tent safari trip. Safe, clean, very large rooms and bathrooms. My three children enjoyed the pool, getting up early and swimming before breakfast. Lovely gardens. Delicious meals in their restaurant as well. I'd love to go back.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, ON,
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2009

Recently spent two nights here, and was pleasantly surprised. When they discovered we were honeymooning, they immediately sent a bottle of sparkling up to the room. At the end of out trip, we returned for a night, and they bumped us to their best suite. Completely unexpected. When we went down for dinner, we had a drink at the bar, and the bartender whispered to me he had something special planned. After the drink, he led us to a beautiful private room with rose petals, and a fire, and served us a fantastic dinner. Again, completely unexpected. The people here went all out, and it was greatly appreciated. Rooms are nice, food is great. Setting is beautiful. Definitely a great option if you've got a night in Nairobi.

Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
here
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2009

I lived in Nairobi as a child for four years and came back after 30 years this month. Prior to arriving in Nairobi we opted to stay in Karen as Nairobi is quite expensive and I thought Karen would give a nice welcome back to Kenya. The House of Waine is exceptional and truly a prime place to stay while in the Nairobi area. We stayed there two nights and stayed in the Tembo room which was decadent and luxurious - all the while comfortable. It is a good idea to stay in upper end accommodation while in Nairobi and Kenya as a whole if you can afford to. House of Waine is not cheap, but it does deliver and our B&B package worked perfectly for us while we toured around Nairobi for a day. The House of Waine makes a stunning statement and offers all the comforts of home yet the feel and warmth of Kenya is all there with the open doors to the gardens, the stylish Kenya atmosphere and the breathtaking flowers and design of the building. The service is top of the line. Kenyans are kind and gracious by nature, but the staff are also highly professional and attentive and we really enjoyed talking with them. The food was really good as we had a full English breakfast the two mornings we were there. The room was so nice and the bathroom was marble and large. We slept like babies. We were too busy to use the pool, but it was very nice and cleaned with dedication. Karen is an amazing community and drop dead gorgeous. Rather than the traffic and conjestion of Nairobi - stay in Karen at The House of Waine and you will feel miles away when you are there. Karen is an upper end suberb of Nairobi and it "used" to be way out of town when I lived in Kenya last, but now it is not far from anything and only 30 minutes from the airport. Kazuri beads is also in Karen along with the Giraffe Center. Just the perfect place to have as base before or after a safari. The House of Waine has excellent security and you will feel safe and secure and you will be impressed by its standards. I only praise something when it deserves it. The Tembo (elephant) suite is very lovely and yet any room is a hit there. Kenya is an amazing country as a whole and you will so enjoy your visit and you will be forever changed. Congratulations House of Waine for wowing us and treating us so well. We really appreciated it and our 2.5 week safari was out of this world.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
London
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2009

The House of Waine is a colonial style large house in a nice location with beautiful gardens, however it is the staff that make this place stand out.

My husband and I were lucky enough to be put in the honeymoon suite, which was huge. There was a complementary mini bar, home made cookies and coffee making facilities. A good selection of books to read too. Housekeeping was faultless.

We ate two meals at the restaurant. Both meals were very good with great service and a choice of reasonably priced wines.

Breakfast was very generous, and will easily set you up for the whole day. On our last morning we were leaving before the normal breakfast service but the staff knew that and offered to make whatever we wanted before our 5.30 am departure. They waved us off too, which was a nice touch.

Reception organised a taxi driver for us to visit the Nairobi National Park (don't bother) and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant and rhino nursery (do bother as its a wonderful place of hope).

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Top Contributor
174 reviews 174 reviews
153 hotel reviews
Reviews in 150 cities Reviews in 150 cities
241 helpful votes 241 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2009

We stayed at the House of Waine as a special indulgence at the end of our 3 weeks in Africa.

This is a colonial house build in the grounds of what was once Karen von Blixen coffee estate ("Out of Africa"), although she herself didn't have (to my knowledge) anything to do with this house. The prpoerty is very safe, the grounds are large with a generously sized heated swimming pool. The rooms (we stayed in the Pwani room) are huge and convey the atmosphere of a past colonial era. Large beds, spacious bathrooms and more than enough room. Luxury in Africa.

The meals were good - breakfast was very generous and served on a terrace. Dinner, whilst not quiet 5 star dining was more than acceptable. We were pleasantly surprised by the wine list which contained interesting and reasonably priced wine.

Karen itself is well away from downtown Nairobi. It is a peaceful and quiet suburban area, close to the Giraffe Santuary and the Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary, both of which are a must (Sheldrick is only open between 11-12 each day). We hadn't made prior arrangements and asked the staff for a car and a driver for the next morning. That was arranged for a price that we thought to be very fair.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and rated the experience very highly.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about House of Waine

Address: Masai Lane & Bogani Road | Karen, PO Box 25035, Nairobi 00603, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Nairobi
#2 Family Hotel in Nairobi
#8 Business Hotel in Nairobi
Also Known As:
House Of Waine Hotel Nairobi
Hotel Of Waine
Of Waine Hotel

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