I stayed at King Post for 7 months from January to July 2009 while doing a consultancy with the UNHCR.
King Post will charge you nightly, or monthly (and yearly as well I think). There is very significant savings to at least paying monthly as the charge for one night is about 3X the charge of 1/30th the monthly rate. As I said I stayed for 7 months but was not able to negotiate any discount because of my extended stay.
The compound is located on Rhapta Road (one block off Wayaki Way). It is near the western end of the road which makes it a bit quieter. At this location you are 30 minutes walk from Sarit Centre or 20 minutes walk from ABC place which I recommend for your grocery shopping needs (Zucchinis has the best vegetables I found).
Nearby there are several gyms - I used the Muscle N Motion gym at Liza Apartments which is a 10 minute walk away.
This area of Rhapta Rd. is as I said, a bit quieter. You are surrounded by other apartment complexes of the same type. Also on Rhapta Rd. there are two UNHCR offices dealing with refugees. For part of the time I stayed here refugees were sleeping in front of one of the office but near the end they were no longer there.
They say you should not walk after dark and I never did so I can not comment on the security of the area in the dark. But during the day I walked everywhere and it was never any problem. Rhapta Rd. is not the nicest for walking on due to there being no sidewalks and very agressive and bad drivers abound. But it is better than other roads because it is not as busy (and worse than others which are still quieter).
Recently they chased all the kiosks out of the area. So now there is very little roadside shopping if you find you have run out of eggs or something. But nearby on Church Rd. there is an area with fruits for sale and you can also get roasted corn on the cob (maize on the cob) and down the road at Njema there are some other necessary items (10 minute walk) such as veggies and sodas etc.
Now as per the compound itself:
This is quite a big compound and it does look like a swahili castle! In fact the landlady recently told me they have 53 units now. The compound is still under construction and during my stay several buildings opened up which were not open when I Arrived due to them being completed.
There are studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom,. and (I think) 3 bedroom units available. I had a tiny studio apartment which was perfect for 1 person or 2 people who are quite fond of each other.
My apartment was beautifully outfitted. I would not say the proprietors were stingy at all in this respect. I had my own little water heater so I never had cold showers. The apartment came with almost everything I could need including the dishes and silverware, cooking pots and pans, wine bottle opener, various spoons and spatulas etc. I did purchase a few things that were not in the kitchen such as a vegetable peeler and an additional mixing bowl. But you could definitely get by on what they put in there quite easily.
The kitchen had a microwave with lots of power, a medium sized fridge, an electric kettle, a toaster, an oven with stovetop elements.
Some touches are very nice - such as the enormous king sized bed (aparently not available in the bigger units but I'm not sure) with 4 posters and mosquito netting decoratively hung. Also the tv was a medium size flat screen model with a dvd player attached - nice! (And you can rent dvd's for 150ksh at ABC Plaza coincidentally).
These places are fully furnished and equipped including a large towel and a hand towel, sheets warm blankets and pillows, and dish clothes and sponges for the kitchen. Also the maids change the linens two times a week and make your bed every day (except Sunday).
Yes, the maid comes 6 days a week to do your dishes, clean your floor, dust your stuff, and make your bed. This is a very thurough service and I rarely found a speck of dust or grime in my apartment in spite of Nairobi being a generally dusty place. On Sundays you are on your own.
My apartment came with two big wardrobe cupboards with locks on them. I was advised to keep my valuables in these cupboards during the daytime to reduce the temptation for the maids. I did this. That said I left LOTS of stuff lieing around including small change and non-gold jewellery and nothing every went missing so I have very positive things to say about that.
The apartments come equipped with landline telephones and you can buy calling cards to call your loved ones. You can also use these phones to call the guards or the office if you need to on the internal free line.
My apartment had 2 decks and I think some even have 3. One deck out front was for enjoying myself - two deck chairs for sitting in. The one out back is enclosed and is more for utility and has an outdoor sink in it and a plug. Back here you can hang your laundry to dry or do other more messy activities.
I think the apartments are very secure. Nairobi has SUCH a bad reputation and I was worried as I was living alone but I never had any trouble. All windows are steel barred and the doors are locked with a strong bolt-lock in their heavy wood.
Guards are on duty 24/7 at King Post without exceptions (multiple guards). There are also cameras and electrical fencing. There is a certain system also for if you are approaching in your car to decrease your risk but I won't go into details here. As I said I had no security problems at KP but I do think there is a bit more they could do. There compound is not up to UN security standards. And I know that some buildings in Nairobi have panic buttons but KP does not. And by the way - the guards seem very good. They are friendly and welcoming while at the same time always keeping their critical eyes open for trouble. If I heard a noise in the night I would call to the guards and they would send someone to investigate - even if I didn't think the noise was necessarily a threat I still called them and they would check it out.
KP provides wireless internet at a charge. I found this to be quite low quality and I stopped using it. I think in some buildings it is better than others but in my building it rarely worked well enough for effective internet usage. Also it seemed to constantly be going offline and the management blamed the hot days for overheating the system. I don't know what the truth is about the problem with the internet but I do know that for the price they ask for for this service you can buy a lot of internet through one of the cell service providers which is (in my experience) better quality. Try Safaricom mobile internet for example.
As per cell phones - my particular unit had extremely bad service on the Safaricom network but nearly perfect service on the Zain network. Many people were suprised that I lived in westlands and couldnt' use my safaricom phone in my apartment.
I would like to say that the management at KP runs a very tight ship and I enjoyed this a lot. When there would be noisy party's (which there weren't very often) the very next day a reminder would be sent out about the noise level restrictions. The tenancy agreement lays out a lot of rules which I felt generally led to a more controlled and respectful environment for all tenants. I also credit the good management for keeping the maids so honest. I never had any trouble with the management and I got my damage deposit back in full without any difficulty a few days before my actual departure which made me very happy indeed. I definitely know other people who have had difficulty at other apartment complexes getting their deposits back at the end...
The KP provides a hotel-style laundry service where you leave your clothes in a basket and fill out a form and two days later your clothes come back clean and ironed for you to wear. This is such a good system if you can afford it but I would complain that it is a bit pricey. Even one days worth of clothes can easily add up to about 1000ksh which can add up really fast over weeks or months! This is also a bit disappointing because generally in Nairobi it should not be difficult to get your laundry done much cheaper either by hand or at the laundrette (ABC place). Most people I know were paying their cleaning ladies to do their laundry for them by hand however at KP you are not allowed to do this so you must either a) wash your laundry by hand yourself or b) pay their high priced service or c) take your laundry out to the laundrette or d) find someone who is not a KP maid to either come to your place to do your laundry or take it away.
Another unfortunate thing was that near the end of my stay KP raised the rent by 26% citing the change in exchange with the US dollar as justification. I wasn't sure (I'm not American) what the USD has to do with an apartment in Kenya but nonetheless that's the way it happened. The good news is that because I was coming to the end of my stay KP was very accomadating in not forcing me to have this rent change or move out - I got to keep my old rate for my last few weeks. Thanks KP!
At the new rental rates I think KP is not as competetive as it was previously. But you can decide that for yourself.
Another thing I will mention is that in my entire time at KP the water only ran out twice (water rationing happens all the time in Nairobi). This means that without my knowledge the KP management was doing a really good job at keeping the backup tanks full. Also a few months ago they put in an enormous generator so I no longer know when the power goes out (which I understand it does relatively frequently).
Disappointingly KP has no additional benefits on the grounds. There is no pool and no excercise room and no garden area where you can sit to relax (the small amount of grass says you should keep off it). This was especially disappointing because the website says there is a pool - but there is not. The pool has been under construction since I arrived and at first they said it would be ready to go by February but it is July and still not ready. This is part of why I think KP is not as good a price as some other buildings because for the same price at other buildings you get a pool and an excercise room.
The actual compound of KP is laid out in one big courtyard with all the cars in the middle. The many units are arranged into different buildings with about 6 units per building. Having the cars in the middle can cause quite a lot of noise especially at night when people arrive and slam their car doors or when they depart early in the morning and accidentally set off their car alarms. But overall this is a nice layout. It is also nice in that every unit has 3 sides with windows so it is very light inside the units.
Overall I highly recommend KP - I had a secure and happy visit without problems and living in comfort with no concerns.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The King Post offers fully furnished and serviced Studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments available on daily basis and long-term. It reflects the timeless beauty of Swahili Architecture, the mystic coastal warmth and intimacy, with the charismatic entrance and gateway inviting you to a Swahili village! Narrow alleyways lead you to the tranquillity of your apartment. The intricate Swahili craftsmanship within the apartment brings alive the romance of a long forgotten era. ... more less
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