On a whim, my boyfriend and I, along with two girlfriends decided to go for lunch. The Askari at the gate was pleasant and informed us that it was best to make a reservation for future visits, but he let us in anyway. My first impression was good customer service right from the gate! The front desk greeted us warmly and we had a wonderful time seeing the grounds, rooms and spa. Blaise was our guide and he was friendly and informative.
Grounds: I am a sucker for a good view and you will not be disappointed. The lawns are well manicured, and you can see the Ngong Hills in the horizon. Definitely sit outside because there is a grand water feature that may interfere with the view if you decide to side inside. The green patio is my favorite element about this place. I could just sit out there all day!
Food: I was surprised about the menu...for an upscale place as this and how the chef was lauded, the menu is similar to what you get at any good restaurant...steaks, burgers, pastas and salads. I was even more surprised that there were only 2 vegetarian items on the menu (I don't count salads as vegetarian items...we do not exist on salads!). I am a non-dairy vegetarian so the veg lasagna was not an option. So, I ended up ordering a side of truffle fries (nice but just a tad oily), spinach (the best!) and the pear salad. I asked for the dressing to come on the side but when it came it was dressed and overly done that the lettuce wasn't crunchy at all. Such a shame to drown perfectly good veggies in a dressing. My boyfriend had a huge steak (rump, I think) and he loved it. It was done medium, as he had ordered it and he said it "cut like butter"!
Wait staff: The wait staff were polite, smiling and willing to help but we had a hard time figuring out who to tip at the end of our lunch. We were served by 5 different people! That's a little much in my opinion. Also there was some miscommunication due to the number of servers. We started off drinking a Shiraz but when another server came to refill he said that they were out so we called the other server and they said it was still available? I think one server per table is sufficient. We did give our feedback to the guest relations desk at the entrance and she was receptive to the information.
Rooms: although we weren't staying in the rooms, we checked them out. Luxurious! I love the TV chest and the deep tub! I would love to wake up in these rooms!
Spa: We toured the Spa while we were there and went back a week later with 7 girlfriends. They were running a Christmas special (Spasterrie or something) for pedicures and high tea. Basically they booked the entire spa for us that day! Kate, Evans and the team were awesome! We had such a wonderful time! The only feedback we had was that some of the buxom ladies felt that the robes were too small. Also it would be a good idea to get some AC above the lockers/changing section. After using the sauna, steam room and showering, we needed a cool down to dress up (this was also communicated to guest relations).
All in all, a good experience, just some things that need to be tweaked to make it a good value for the money.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Hemingways Nairobi has a sophisticated and tranquil ambiance. Set between Nairobi National Park and the foot of the Ngong Hills, Hemingways Nairobi is an exclusive 5* luxury boutique hotel located in the peaceful suburb of Karen far from the bustle of central Nairobi. An all-suite property providing full butler service, a brasserie, a sunset bar and lounge and a spa, this plantation style property is perfectly placed for trips to Nairobi National Park, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the capital. Each of the 45 suites is a generous size with en-suite bathrooms with walk-in closets, personalised mini bars, and a private terrace with magnificent views of the iconic Ngong Hills. ... more less
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