Tucked away in the lush, leafy suburb of Karen, Hemingways Nairobi feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. The 45-room boutique hotel is spread out on manicured lawns surrounded by horse farms and trees, so it feels more like a country escape than a city hotel.
All class and ornate elegance, Hemingways Nairobi impresses on first sight with an imposing entrance in a manor house with two curved staircases, gleaming marble floors, whirring ceiling fans and colonial-style furniture leading out onto a deep wraparound veranda overlooking the lawns and a big swimming pool. Rooms are spaced out along the length of the garden and feature private balconies, spacious bathrooms with his-and-hers sinks, romantic four-poster beds, and lounge areas decorated in an understated style with lots of dark wood, antique prints and touches of leather.
Everything about the hotel is top notch, from the polished and professional staff – including the attentive butlers – to the excellent food (try the afternoon champagne teas) and the spa. The only downside is that it does all seem a little too grand and a tad stiff.
While it’s a 40-minute drive from the city center, there are a few attractions on Hemingways’ doorstep, including Nairobi National Park, where you can have the unusual experience of spotting wildlife such as buffalo, zebra, leopard, lion, giraffe, rhino and cheetah with a backdrop of Nairobi’s skyscrapers in the distance. Also close by is the Karen Blixen Museum, the house of the Danish author who penned Out of Africa. If you’ve seen read the book or seen the movie, it’s well worth a visit to get a taste of colonial life of early 20th century Kenya. The hotel is a convenient nine miles away from Wilson Airport, where you can catch flights to other destinations in Kenya, including the camps in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, and Mombasa on the coast.