Nairobi has never been synonymous with luxury hotels and it still has its challenges. However, a few new hotels have opened over the last couple of years offering more choice to the international traveller.
Hemingways Nairobi is located in the affluent suburb of Karen, named after Karen Blixen, author of the colonial memoir Out of Africa. Her farm occupied the land where the suburb now stands, about 40 minutes from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and about 20 minutes from Wilson Airport, used for light-aircraft and domestic flights within Kenya. Hemingways is a great stopover hotel and provides lovely accommodation in a safe and tranquil environment.
Situated within close proximity of the Karen Blixen Museum, the Giraffe Centre, Nairobi National Park, and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which looks after and hand-rears orphaned elephants and rhinos, you can easily spend a couple of days here exploring the area. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens, with a large pool and outdoor dining venues with views of the Ngong hills from all rooms. With just 45 rooms and suites, Hemingways is a boutique hotel full of colonial charm and smiling faces.
I was pleased to hear that the hotel participates in conservation methods and as such, is active within the local community, something so essential in a country like Kenya. The hotel runs on an ingenious internal eco-system of water and energy conservation, plus sustainable waste management. All of the produce used is locally sourced. Another effort, and my favourite, is the initiative which supports the orphan elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which you can visit and, to stay in touch forever, foster a baby elephant.
Staying here, however, is not an overly slick experience, and the hotel does sometimes feel like it lacks a bit of personality and ambiance (it didn’t seem lived in yet), but it is warm and friendly and in a beautiful location; a super place to stay whilst transiting through Nairobi. Best yet, not being located in the heart of the city is a major bonus, as Nairobi suffers from horrific traffic jams and a lot of noise pollution throughout the day.
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