The real Nairobi hotel 'Out of Africa' experience
The cottages lie within the grounds of the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, which is located in the charming ‘Karen' suburbs of Nairobi (capital city). It was here in the 1900s that Karen Blixen founded her famous coffee farm ‘at the foot of the Ngong Hills', about which the novel ‘Out of Africa' was written. The land where the cottages stand was once part of the farm, while the main ‘Swedo House' was the residence of Karen's farm manager. Karen Blixen's house is now a National Museum and lies within walking distance of the cottages. The cottages are an approximate half hour drive (20 miles) from either the centre of town, Westlands or the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (and other airport hotels). Ideally-placed for visits to Nairobi National Park (10 minutes from the Langata Gate), guests can enjoy all the joys of going ‘on safari', whilst being just minutes from the city centre of Nairobi.
Tranquil, peaceful, surrounded by gardens and enjoying a very personal level of service, staying in the Karen Blixen Cottages is an experience not to be missed. The cottages have been styled to replicate the colonial style of Swedo House and Karen Blixen's original home, which is next door. Consequently the decor features cosy fireplaces, sprung floors and charmingly tasteful soft furnishings.
Steeped in history, the cottages offer the true 'Out of Africa' experience. The Historic Swedo House was built in 1906 and, surrounded by indigenous forest, served as a hunting lodge and retreat. The house was habited by Aaake Sorgren, the Swedish Consul in British East Afririca until 1913. In 1913, the American philanthropist Sir Northrup McMillan formed the Swedo African Coffee Company, which was sold to Baron Bror Blixen, husband of Karen Blixen.
There are twelve ensuite cottages set in extensive gardens, some of the oldest formal gardens in Nairobi. 8 cottages offer one bedroom, 3 offer two bedrooms (with private dressing rooms) and a central lounge area, while the ‘Honeymoon Cottage' has a bedroom with sitting room and fireplace. All have private verandas, beamed ceilings, fireplaces, mini-bars, satellite TV and internet connections. 24-hour room service is available.
Dining and bars
Guests may dine in the Garden's own selection of restaurants, or meals can be served in the privacy of the cottages. Sundowners, candle-lit dinners, champagne breakfasts are all available at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden Restaurant
Conference and event facilities
The cottages and gardens lend themselves to the staging of a broad range of events.
Weddings and honeymoons
A prime wedding venue, the gardens excel in staging private parties - most particularly in the L'Amour Restaurant (up to 150 people). Photo-opportunities in the grounds are some of the best in Nairobi.
Safe, secure, peaceful and set in extensive gardens, the cottages are exceptionally childfriendly. Plenty of board games and garden games are offered.
What to see and do
There are many attractions in the Karen area, quite apart from the museum itself; The Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, The Giraffe Centre, The Nairobi National Park 'Safari Walk' and 'Animal Orphanage' to name but a few. The Coffee Garden offer all manner of garden and board games, and can also arrange horse-riding at the nearby Karen stables. The Karen Blixen Coffee Garden hosts all manner of events; such as Saturday Lunch and Tuesday Night New Orleans Style Jazz; Sunday Buffet in the gardens with live music and croquet on the front lawn; romantic "Out of Africa" Style or "Murder Mystery" dinners in Swedo House; Performing arts or special functions (weddings, conferences, fundraising dinners, etc) in the Grand Marquee Sultan tent, including live dinner theatre and live bands; Lectures on African Wildlife, History, Adventure tours and Peoples of Kenya.
The cottages have their own private swimming pool and sun-lounging areas. The cottages are close to one of Nairobi's most famous clubs, the exclusive (membership only) Karen Golf and Country Club. Guests of the cottages, however, may take advantage of all the clubs many facilities (pool, golf, tennis, squash etc). The cottages are located in the midst of one of the oldest formal gardens in Kenya which have huge jacaranda, candelabra, cactus, bottlebrush, and other trees. Over 200 types of flowers bloom through the year and numerous bird feeders attract hundreds of varieties of birds. The cottages lie just five minutes from the Karen Shopping Centre, which offers banks, restaurants, supermarkets, Forex etc.
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