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.
- 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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