You'll find nostalgia, history, and romantic surroundings at this family-owned boutique hotel. Set in lush gardens, it's 20 minutes from downtown Nairobi in the quiet suburb of Karen. It was here that the notorious Danish womanizer, man-about-town, and wannabe coffee farmer, Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke, brought his lovely young wife, Karen. It was also here that Karen met and fell hopelessly and helplessly in love with the English hunter and adventurer Denys Finch Hatton—their
tragic romance was brought vividly to life in the movie Out of Africa, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Colonial ambience mixes comfortably with modern luxury in the beautifully appointed guest suites, each uniquely decorated in vivid colors with elegant furniture and a marble en-suite bathroom. Kids under 2 are free and those 2–11 are half-price. The Karen Blixen Museum is just next door if you want to find out more about this extraordinary woman writer.
Jan 20, 2010
I stayed at the House of Waine in August of 2007, so my review may be a little out-of-date. We stayed in Malaika, which is the best room in the house! It’s so enormous--like a grand ballroom with the hardwood ceilings and floors. There are two separate seating arrangements, each with two sofas and a chair, huge four-poster canopy bed, large terrace with two lounge chairs (the cushions are in the closet), enormous closet and dressing room. The
bathroom is huge, too, with separate shower and soaking tub and double vanity (no separate water closet for the toilet). I don’t recall a bidet. Basic toiletries were provided, along with robes and slippers, also a hairdryer with a diffuser (I’ve never seen a diffuser in a hotel room, but since I use one daily at home, I was overjoyed to find it). There is a complimentary non-alcoholic mini-bar containing water, juice boxes, and a chocolate bar. There are also some bagged snacks (not sure if they were included, but I believe so), a fruit plate, and a dessert plate (cookies and bread, replenished daily). We spent two nights here, arriving around 9:00 pm on the first night but still eating dinner in the restaurant. The food was wonderful and plentiful. Breakfast is included, but the half-board plan (which includes dinner or lunch) was another $30 per night. Well worth the money--we could never have eaten an multi-course dinner (appetizer, salad, entree, dessert) for that amount of money on our own. There are separate dining rooms for dinner and breakfast, and a small bar area. Drink prices (not included) were very reasonable, so don’t be afraid to enjoy. The pool is lovely, but we didn’t have a chance to use it. There is a nightly fire in the living room area. We didn’t see any afternoon tea even though we looked around at the appropriate time, but supposedly one is offered. (Perhaps you have to request it beforehand?) There is a nice terrace on the second floor that can be used by all rooms, where smoking is allowed (this was the same size as the separate terrace for Malaika). The rooms have old-fashioned keys, which were a unique touch (but hard to get used to!). Security around the property is tight (not sure if it’s needed), and it is centrally located to KWS, Sheldrick Orphanage, Langatta Giraffe Center, Karen Blixen Museum, and Wilson Airport, yet still quite remote to other hotels and restaurants (I would definitely take at least the half-board plan if staying at the HoW: it didn’t seem easy to pop out to another restaurant for a meal). I think it took about an hour to get there from the Kenyatta Airport (JKIA). Roads in Nairobi (in the suburb of Karen) were reasonably good. Would recommend the House of Waine highly! It was necessary to do a bank transfer (telegraphic wire transfer) to pre-pay, however, since they couldn’t take a credit card without us being present (we did use a credit card to pay the incidentals/bar bill, though, while there). They arranged our transportation from the airport, which cost about $30 one-way. That was a great idea, for JKIA was a bit of a mob scene upon our arrival, and seeing one’s name on a placard is a comforting way to begin one’s journey rather than waiting for a cab. There was 24-hour electricity and hot water here, as expected. Don’t forget an adapter (you will need the 3-prong English/Great British adapter for all of Kenya and Tanzania--not the Africa adapter); a converter was not necessary.