Hotel check: Villa Rosa Kempinski

1019

Background

Kempinski is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group, with hotels in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The group has seven African properties, spread across Egypt, Kenya, Chad, Djibouti and the Seychelles. This hotel opened in mid-2013.

Where Is It?

On the outskirts of the central business district, just off Waiyaki Way, which connects the CBD with the up-and-coming Westlands suburb. It is located 20 kilometres from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, but snarling traffic makes it seem farther than it actually is. So, the journey can take anything from 20 minutes to a couple of hours.

Rooms

Guest rooms are modern and cosy, with beautifully-patterned headboards made of fabric and cushioned mattresses topped with thick duvets and a stack of plump pillows. Flat-screen cable TVs sit atop cabinets with built-in mini-bars and drawers housing the hair dryer. Desks look like old-fashioned trunks with mahogany surfaces and loose, gold-covered handles. Phones with voice mail, free wireless Internet and international sockets bedside are all nice touches. Full-length mirrors face the massive closets containing laptop-sized safes, robes and slippers. Frosted glass windows separate the bedroom from the bathroom, which is home to a deep-soaking tub and powerful glass shower stall. Marble surfaces abound with makeup mirrors and scented toiletry sets. Towels are twice as large as most hotels, and extras like scales and plentiful bottled water are nice. Deluxe rooms are a tad larger than Superiors, and many of the Deluxe units feature small balconies overlooking the cityscape or the neighbourhood behind the hotel. Executive level rooms are the same size as the Deluxe units, but benefit from access to a private lounge for breakfast and evening snacks. The Presidential Suite is nearly 18 times the size of the standard room.

Restaurants & Bars

Café Villa Rosa is the hotel’s main buffet restaurant serving delicious fare that spans the globe. Especially notable are the local options including ugali and Kenyan beef tenderloin. Three meals a day are served here in this well-lit space, and a wall of wine bottles adds to the colourful scenery. Across from the front entrance’s tiered fountain that surrounds the driveway is Lucca, the hotel’s Italian restaurant and deli. Headed up by an Italian chef, the freshest pastas and seafood are served in a bright area with an exhibition show kitchen. It has its own bakery and produces delicious foccaccia and pastries. Eighty Eight is the Pan Asian kitchen serving everything from Thai to Chinese fare in a striking space of Japanese lattice work and lanterns. Yet to open at inspection (January) was Tambourin, the city’s first Moroccan restaurant offering a menu of tagines and Arabic delicacies. The lobby bar stays busy until the wee hours of the morning, and the cigar lounge serves whisky and ‘stogies’ to help guests relax. Evening cocktails at The Balcony are a popular local pastime, where guests can nosh on light tapas and drinks either in the contemporary lounge or the outdoor terrace overlooking the hotel’s front entrance.

Meeting & Conference Facilities

Meeting space for as many as 600 is available in reception style or specially-equipped board rooms with the latest audio-visual technology. The entire hotel is wired for free wireless high-speed Internet access, which is a boon for business travellers. Parking is readily available although most arrivals pull up in a taxi.

Leisure

The hotel’s full-service spa and fitness centre features separate men’s and women’s relaxation areas with whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms. An outdoor pool is beautifully-lit in the evening and those running on the treadmill can peer out over the pool and city streets below. The spa menu features massage and beauty treatments and is often frequented by locals.

Verdict

This is Nairobi’s brightest new star. The service is impeccable, and the outdoor terrace at the rear of the lobby is the perfect respite from the city’s raucous activity. Kempinski’s entry into Kenya’s capital city is a welcome addition to the accommodation scene.

Ramsey Qubein

Contact
Address:
Chiromo Road, Nairobi
Tel: +254 203 603000
Email: reservations.nairobi@kempinski.com
Web: www.kempinski.com