Knowing that my aircraft was arriving at 02.25 in the morning in Nairobi and I would need a bed for a few hours. I wanted somewhere near the airport and found the Nairobi Stopover House in a search of the web. It was cheap, I could get a single room en-suite and it’s website stated that is it is a ten minute drive from the airport.
I made the booking and was told that it would cost 35 USD and 18 USD for a taxi. I only needed a taxi one way since I had arranged my own pick-up to visit an orphanage on the outskirts of the city.
On arrival I picked up my luggage and was met by my taxi driver and taken on a journey that would take much longer than ten minutes during normal travel times but at three in the morning the road was clear. We turned left off the Mombasa Road into a maze of small streets in a rather rundown area and eventually I arrived at my destination at 03.15, tired and weary having travelled from around 06.30 the previous morning from my home in Ireland.
The reception area was unimpressive and did nothing to inspire confidence. But worse was to come when the receptionist announced that they did not have a room for me but I could get a room in a guest house around the corner. I was told to leave my two main bags at the Stopover House and come back there next morning for breakfast.
I was accompanied to the Mariakani villa, a few minutes’ walk away and I arrived in an equally unimpressive reception area. I was shown to a basic room on the third floor and no mosquito net. When I lay down on top of the bed and turned the light out I realised from the buzzing sounds that I was not alone! I had to contact reception and ask for an insect spray before contemplating sleep. Following a restless few hours’ sleep I got up and walked around to the Stopover House and met my prearranged driver that I have got to know well on my previous three visits to Nairobi.
We had breakfast together and he could not help wondering how I ended up in this place. The breakfast was basic with little choice but the coffee was good. I paid my bill and we left and because of its location we spent ages before we could get out to the main thoroughfare because of traffic jams that is a feature of Nairobi life. A journey to the airport would have taken one hour plus at any time from 7 to 10 in the morning which belies the ten minute drive.
Following my stay I sent an email to Zipporah, the reservations manager and here is her reply, as received, ‘Hello Irvine, yes i remember we had no room since there was a guest who decided to stay longer and occupied your room. All in all, i trust all was well though you cancelled your taxi back to the aiport the next morning the last morning which was a little inconvenience to us.’ Since I had only asked for a taxi from the airport I am not sure how I had inconvenienced them by not taking a taxi back to the airport.
The Stopover House seems to lack any organisation and has proved to me that it is unreliable. More importantly the area has little to recommend it.
Next time in Nairobi I will let my reliable taxi driver recommend a place to stay and take me there as he has done a few times before. Geoffrey is available on 00254703114172.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a mid range Bed and breakfast guest house located very near the Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta airport and Wilson airport. We are less than 10minutes from any of the airport. Our guest house guarantees personal attention for it is small with a capacity of 20 guests per night. Our 5 bedrooms are either in single, double, triple and we have a family room with 1 big bed and 2 small beds. Some rooms are with private bathrooms and others in shared bathrooms. Cleanliness, security, serenity and affordability have made our guests come back again and again. With the ideal location, visitors arriving or departing late in the night or early morning have always found our place very ideal. It is also a great location for guests on transit to Tanzania since the shuttle buses to Tanzania pick guests from our house on the way without having to go to the city center to board. We have business connections with shuttle buses like Davanu shuttle, Marangu shuttles Jamii shuttle, Riverside shuttle, Impala shuttle, Destination and rainbow among others. For those on long hours of waiting to connect a flight, we offer great deals on day room either as a package with pick up and drop off the airport and lunch or just on accommodation only. We are a great place to meet other young travelers and the "young at heart", backpackers and mid range travelers. ... more less