Nairobi: House of Waine Review

Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 03:19 PM
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Nairobi: House of Waine Review

Website www.houseofwaine.com)
We stayed in Malaika, which is the best room in the house! Itís 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 donít recall a bidet. Basic toiletries were provided, along with robes and slippers, also a hairdryer with a diffuser (Iíve 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 donít be afraid to enjoy. The pool is lovely, but we didnít have a chance to use it. There is a nightly fire in the living room area. We didnít 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 itís 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 didnít 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 couldnít 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 oneís name on a placard is a comforting way to begin oneís journey rather than waiting for a cab. There was 24-hour electricity and hot water here, as expected. Donít 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.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Good report. Do they have any Internet capability. I have my own laptop.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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I'm not sure about the Internet. I did communicate with them via e-mail, so they obviously have it somewhere. But I don't think it's in the rooms (we had the Malaika Suite). We did use our laptop there to upload pictures, so I think that if we could have checked our e-mail at the same time, then we probably would have (which we didn't). My spouse had limited Blackberry service there once he switched his provider to someone more local (I think it was called Safari something). Eric, the manager, is very responsive to e-mails, so send him a message at [email protected] (his sister Angela is the other manager).
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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Internet service is available and a laptop will be waiting in your room upon request.

The Malaika Suite is actually the honeymoon suite and really very very large. There are other rooms, that I've stayed in that are also quite large and more than sufficient for a few night's stay. Oh, and these cost a tad less than Malaika.

HOW is probably my favorite hotel in Nairobi. Besides, Eric is a delight and so much fun.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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Sandi,

Thank you. Won't need their laptop but I was a little confused when I had someone call them they said they did not have broadband but could provide a cable. A little confusing. Everything I have read says that it is the best place to stay in Nairobi.

Another question. Is there a specific room or type of room to request? I am traveling alone so I don't think I need the honeymoon suite.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 02:59 AM
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Safarico and Celtel are the main mobile phone services here.
You can buy Sim Cards at the airport.

I understand Celtel supports Blackberry, but I haven't set mine up yet.

Safaricom dos too, but I understand you have to wait days to set it up.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 03:55 AM
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Always -

All rooms are large. Except for a few "joined" room used if it's a family with children. Even these, though, aren't small.

All rooms have showers, but do ask for room with tub, as these will be somewhat larger. Otherwise, you can't go wrong.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 09:56 PM
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Thank you for this post, I will be staying in House of Waine the day after tomorrow and canot wait.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 04:47 AM
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Based on Sandi's recommendation, I took a day room at HOW and enjoyed it thoroughly. It's quiet and relaxing, and lunch at the pool patio (zucchini, IIRC, in a potato pancake and a warm tomato coulis) was perfect.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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Because of Sandi's reports, I too chose HOW as my overnight and day room on our 2008 trip to Kenya ; other than the honeymoon suite,is there a particular room with a lovely view - gardens, etc. that anyone would recommend. Thanks! Cc
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 07:50 AM
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I also booked it because Sandi is so fond of it
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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With only 11/rooms, none are really bad. All rooms have names and I can't recall all of them.

I would suggest though a pool facing room. There should be two rooms each side of the Malaika Suite... the ones on the far ends are larger than the ones immediately next to the honeymoon suite. The ones on the far end should also each have a terrace.

There are also similar large rooms across the hall though facing the front of the hotel... not much view but trees. Don't recall whether these front facing large end rooms have terraces though. The terrace on the front of the building is the public one (with a few umbrella covered tables... smokers getaway) in middle of hotel off the main 2nd floor hall.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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Thanks Sandi; I would love to have my own terrace to chill on...so your suggestions are greatly received! I am so glad you've been to all these fabulous places in Kenya and come back and fill us in. Cc
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