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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.