Nairobi is chaotic and, since the Westgate shopping mall massacre, tops few travel itineraries. But the city is still the air hub of East Africa. Hemingways Nairobi is located 19 miles west of the international airport, surrounded by lawns with a view of the forested Ngong Hills. The 45 spacious accommodations are housed within colonial-style buildings and come with four-poster beds, wooden floors, framed black-and-white photography and modern marble baths. Large balconies are furnished with loungers and wicker chairs. During our stay, the food was adequate rather than inspiring; in particular, my rib eye was so fatty that the cow might have died of natural causes. I also found the oval swimming pool to be on the small side. The service was obliging, however, and the setting is idyllic. On a sunny day, you can readily understand why Karen “Out of Africa” Blixen and the colonial settlers thought they’d discovered an African version of paradise.
AT A GLANCE
LIKE: Tranquil and scenic location; spacious and extremely well-appointed accommodations; terraces overlooking the gardens that provide wonderful places to read; spectacular lobby and public areas; friendly and well-meaning staff.
DISLIKE: The pool and sundeck are poorly sited and too small; the quality of the food was inconsistent during our stay.
GOOD TO KNOW: The resort is 19 miles from the international airport and nine miles from the domestic airport, but Nairobi is appallingly congested, and it is virtually impossible to predict journey times, so it is imperative to leave ahead of schedule.
Hemingways Nairobi 92 Deluxe Room, $555; Blixen Suite, $1,800.