Arriving in a new country can be quite overwhelming, especially when you’ve heard mixed reviews about Kenyan hospitality all your life. But staying at the stylish and glamorous Hemingways Nairobi can change that forever! Welcome to our first Kenyan watering place, a ‘home away from home’ that prides in being one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Set between Nairobi National Park and the foot of the Ngong Hills, Hemingways Nairobi is an exclusive boutique hotel far from the bustle of central Nairobi. Located in the peaceful and upscale suburbs of Karen, this plantation-style property is just 40 minutes away from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
This all suite property houses 45 rooms strung out over several individual colonial-style buildings. On arrival, our personal butler Maxwell, checked us into the Grogan Suite. As the name suggests each room is addressed after a famous persona connected to Africa in some way. A British explorer, politician and entrepreneur – Ewart Grogan was head-over-heels in love with Gertrude Watt; but needed the approval of her beloved, skeptical and aristocratic stepfather. To prove his worth, Grogan set out on an epic quest to become the first person to walk the length of Africa. Black and white frames over the study table in the suite portray this very story. It’s like a piece history, etched into the walls of the room. Opulent features such as the four poster bed with Egyptian cotton sheets work quite the charm. Natural light floods each room through large windows that frame garden views.
Loungers and wicker chairs furnish the private balcony, making it the perfect spot to retire for the day. The spacious, high-ceiling rooms are elegantly furnished in contemporary-chic décor, echoing the classic look of East Africa’s 1920s safari era. Vaulted timber ceilings and touches of gleaming brass add to the luxurious design while natural, earthy tones create sophisticated glamour. There is a mini-bar, a walk-in closet, and a television set that secretly seems to appear from a treasure trunk. Gleaming en suite bathroom adorned with hand-cut marble; complete with beautiful oval bathtub make for sensual sanctuary for the body and mind.
Tip: The stairs and the walking distance from the reception to the rooms can be quite taxing for older guests. While making your reservation, request for a room closer to the main building. Families with kids and lots of luggage – no need to fret. Their golf-cart service will come to the rescue.
The Dining Room serves delectable cuisine from the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef, Barry Tonks. Barry’s culinary creations have placed Hemingways on Africa’s gourmet food map. Expect contemporary European-styled dishes with a modern flair that suits every palate. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner the service is on point.
The décor is Hollywood-meets-Africa, with iconic movie posters and quotes lining the walls. Known for the best steaks in Kenya and equally incredible eggs Benedict, the elegant Brasserie promises a sublime eating experience. Feast on fresh seafood flown in daily from the Indian Ocean’s early morning catches and be sure to try the chef’s signature “Moto Moto” – Marinated Swahili Prawns.
Tip: With not too many options to eat around Karen, the Brasserie gets fully occupied, especially during weekends. We recommend you reserve a table as soon as you check in.
With communal relaxation areas including a brasserie, an open wine cellar, a plush bar and a swimming pool with sundeck; Hemingways Nairobi is known for spoiling you rotten. The much-admired personal butler service sets this hotel apart from other luxury establishments – what greater indulgence can be offered than a personal assistant to take care of anything from your morning wake up call to packing your bags and arranging a private dining experience in your suite?
Indulge your senses with exotic treatments at the Spa where therapists and professional stylists soothe away any long haul stress before you explore the sights and sounds of Kenya. As if that wasn’t enough one can sit back and relax on the bar terrace and take in the views of the Ngong Hills while savoring that Single Malt and a cigar.
The utterly unique Nairobi National Park – offering authentic big game viewing with a city skyline – lies just a few minutes away, while the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage are also nearby.
Afternoon tea is taken very seriously at Hemingways Nairobi. Out comes the cake stand at 3 o’clock, burgeoning with handcrafted miniature cakes, gateaux opera, fruit delice, mini-éclairs and fruit tartlets. Lavish your freshly baked scones, warm from the oven, with clotted cream, homemade strawberry jam and lemon curd. There is an exotic selection of teas and infusions to compliment your tasty treats; and why not add some fizz to your afternoon tea with a glass of sparkling Prosecco.
Tip: All the above experiences come at an additional cost. We recommend that you chart out your favorites for the day, so your butler can have it all organised accordingly.
WHY WE LIKE IT
- Ideal for a pre or post safari stopover after or before a long-haul flight
- Close to Nairobi’s top attractions such as the Giraffe Centre and the Elephant Orphanage
- Stunning views of Ngong Hills
- Luxurious spa and wellness centre that offers both French and custom designed treatments crafted from locally sourced ingredients
- Michelin-star cuisine served in a Hollywood-themed restaurant
- Personalized butler service and large suites with plenty of features
Doubles from USD 325 OR Rs. 21,750 per night including breakfast and wi-fi.
Planning to stay at the Hemingways Nairobi? Let us know – we could hook you onto some great deals!
Disclaimer: We were guests of the Hemingways Nairobi. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.