The first stop on my whirlwind adventure of East Africa was the House of Waine in Karen, Nairobi. Before leaving the UK, at least 3 of my well educated friends asked me if it was safe for me to go to Nairobi. I won’ t deny I was a teeny bit apprehensive as there has been continual negative reporting about the city and Kenya as a whole. However, I was so glad I went as it was reminder what utterly charming, friendly and professional people the Kenyans are. It started with me getting a phone call as soon as I stepped off the plane onto the tarmac from a man who had picked up my bag by mistake. It turned out that my bag got put on an earlier flight from Addis to Nairobi and the gentleman had only discovered his mistake when he got back to his house in Nairobi. He drove all the way back to the airport to give me my bag back (& obviously find his own) However he needn’t have done such an honest act.
House of Waine is a charming 11 bedroomed hotel in Karen. It has a very relaxed family feel to it …..mainly because it is run by a family! The rooms are enormous (70 sqm) and they have thought of everything including a complementary well stocked snack and mini bar. Most of the staff have been at the hotel since it opened 11 years ago and reading the visitors book, the staff were mentioned again and again and I can see why. They were attentive without being too full on and seemed genuinely eager to ensure that you had everything you needed.
After a quick site inspection of Hemingway’s….a faultless, highly efficient hotel, it really hit home that the struggles that Kenya are currently going through are felt by everyone…hotel owners, barmen, taxi drivers, wildlife. These guys not only have families to feed but they have jobs that they evidently love and they seem to have taken it very personally that Kenya tourism has taken such a hit.