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“wonderful, and surreal, slice of paradise” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hemingways Nairobi

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Hemingways Nairobi
Ranked #1 of 161 Hotels in Nairobi
Certificate of Excellence
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
42 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“wonderful, and surreal, slice of paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2014

Hemingways is not the normal sort of place I stay at when I'm in East Africa - but in a really good way!

From the tall airy ceilings, the sloping manicured lawns, the tasteful aesthetic, and the amazing food to the tight security and unobtrusive but attentive staff, this was the nicest place I've ever been to for a 4-day development assistance workshop!

It's about 45 minutes to an hour from the airport, and essentially outside of Nairobi in the hills above it - which at the moment seems like a reasonable sort of way to be in Nairobi, but not IN Nairobi.

The area is named Karen, after Karen Blixen, the Danish author who wrote Out of Africa, and the hotel captures the sense of colonial Kenya of which her book is so redolent. There are black and white photos on the wall of Karen and others with all manner of animals, large colour painting posters of African savannah sunsets, and the whole building structure hearkens back to an earlier time. The question of whether that era should be lauded in this manner at this uneasy time in Kenya's history is an entirely different matter - the fact is, Hemingways does it, and they do it in style.

There is also a clever blending of a sense of this time gone by with lovely high-end technology; my favourite example is a UHD TV which springs out of a large leather trunk at the push of a button!

I didn't get to try either the pool or the gym (the pool looked lovely nestled amongst trees and fountains) but two other highlights - Wednesday night is steak night and they do AMAZING steaks, all cuts and from the best provenances (only minor criticism - constructive of course! - is that you do have to emphasise very clearly how you want your steak cooked - I'm a blue kinda guy, and the kitchen needed a couple of goes to get this right); and you get your own assigned butler, who will unpack and pack and iron and and and - again very un-PC, but VERY lovely.

So, should you go there - of course you should! Should you take a moment - or many moments - to think about what is happening outside of this lovely oasis? Up to what sort of person you are I guess, but life in Kenya is not all beer and skittles, as they say, and alot of the current dramas could be attributed to the very period this wonderful place harks back to.

Room Tip: get one on the ground floor - to be honest they're all awesome, but the ones on the ground floor...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Spiceoflives
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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399 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (91)
Date | Rating
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English first
Nairobi, Kenya
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 17, 2014

Lina and I would like to thank Johnson and all the staff helping to make Lina's stay on her birthday extra special. We were both thrilled about the numerous pleasant surprises. The mini conference with Lina's colleagues from several countries in Africa, which was the reason she spent her birthday there, was also a great success and all nine visitors were very impressed by the hotel and its offerings.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BjornHallberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
185 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 15, 2014

I say low expectations after our high expectations before going to hemming ways Watamu last year, where we had heard all sorts of good things about the place before going. So, again, we were expecting the same kind of feeling this time but, thank goodness, we were very pleasantly surprised. Location, layout, interiors, food, service were all exceptional. Nairobi needed a place like this - well done! Prices a bit too steep, but I'm sure they'll align with the rest of the up-market places of Nairobi in a year or two. Wonderful otherwise.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Amrita J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon H, General Manager at Hemingways Nairobi, responded to this review, June 16, 2014
Dear Amrita J

We are glad we have raised the bar in terms of standards in Nairobi as well as with your expectations for your next visit.

Please do visit us again and let us know how it went; feel free to ask for me on your next visit; would be great to meet.

Regards

Simon H
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 14, 2014 via mobile

Piece of heaven. Great suit rooms, great butler service, just in a wonderful garden. Close to karen bilsen s house museum and farm.
There is a pick up service if you donat want to walk! The spa and open swimming pool, what else one may ask
Im so spoiled here, dont want to go back home.

Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank DYGS_2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon H, General Manager at Hemingways Nairobi, responded to this review, June 16, 2014
Dear DYGS_2011

We are so glad you enjoyed your stay and hope you will visit again soon. Thanks for your kind sentiments.

Regards

Simon H
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
54 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 14, 2014

Stayed at Hemingways before and after a week in the Serengeti. Rooms were very nice and well furnished. Grounds were well kept and nicely manicured and food was very good. Service was somewhat inconsistent. It was very good on the arrival day stay but was botched on return visit - fruit setup in room was missing the fruit (by that I mean the napkins, cutlery, etc. were provided, but the fruit was missing- and never delivered). Housekeeping arrived to do the turn down service at 10pm- inappropriately late. Morning wakeup call was missed. Improving service consistency would make this a great place to stay,

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ajmia111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon H, General Manager at Hemingways Nairobi, responded to this review, June 16, 2014
Dear ajmia111

Thank you for your feedback and your repeat visit. It is much appreciated. We have noted your comments regarding the fruit, turndown and wake up call. Please accept my apologies for this and at the same time my assurance we will address this going forward to ensure your next stay with us will be as good as your very first one.

Regards

Simon H
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
218 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 13, 2014

Hemmingways certainly have high standards not only in all their staff, who are professional and very helpful, but also in their rooms and services. We had a great suite that had all the amenities and more. The bathroom cum in-built wardrobe is a real luxury as are the surroundings. A lush garden with greenery all around. The piece and quiet is something quite rare in big hotels and it was a real treat. The food is to die for, everything we had on the menu was delicious, well presented and made with love. Thank you Hemmingways for a beautiful time and experience!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank smatlock10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon H, General Manager at Hemingways Nairobi, responded to this review, June 16, 2014
Dear smatlock10

Thank you for your feedback; it is our great pleasure to have you return and we are delighted that as per your previous visit all aspects of your experience were of our usual high standard. Many thanks for your custom and we look forward to serving you next time.

Best Regards

Simon H
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2014

I am not sure why Hemingways was not on my list to visit as I pass it daily. I think it was the soulless look from the outside and the mixed (at best) reviews from friends and colleagues. I decided to give it a go. As a previous hotelier, I was hopeful. I like Hemingway's in Watamu. The service was very friendly, but excruciatingly slow. It took almost 40 mins for one coffee and a lemonade to arrive. The coffee was expensive for Karen, and not good. The milk was boiled and it was average at best. It was served with 3 very dry brownies. This was a quiet time in the afternoon. A manageress was walking around, but as usual for Kenya, no approach was made to any guests. I want to like this hotel, but please get some atmosphere in there, and work on the service and the product; you are charging five-star prices but not, sadly, delivering. I love that the complex is clean and fresh. The staff are lovely, just need direction, as does the kitchen and that comes from the top. I will go back and I'd love it if Hemingway's could look at this, as it comes up a lot in conversation with locals. I would have chatted to someone had I have been able to get someone's attention.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bluecharlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simon H, General Manager at Hemingways Nairobi, responded to this review, June 16, 2014
Dear bluecharlie

Thanks for the feedback. 40 minutes is certainly too long a wait; please accept my apologies for that. I am glad to hear you will be back and would be grateful if you would ask for me on your next visit for a chat?

Regards

Simon H
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hemingways Nairobi

Property: Hemingways Nairobi
Address: Mbagathi Ridge | Karen, Nairobi 00502, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Nairobi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 161 Hotels in Nairobi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hemingways Nairobi 5*
Number of rooms: 45
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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