Day 1 of 31 Hotels in 31 Days: Four Points By Sheraton, Nairobi Airport

31 Hotels in 31 Days, Africa, Kenya

23 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce you to 31 Hotels in 31 Days! So there I was talking to a dear friend who happened to be the General Manager of a hotel too. I asked him if hotels would be open to trying out something that had never been done before, participate in this crazy idea where I check into 31 Hotels for 31 days, with the concept behind it being to experience what each hotel had to offer for 24 Hours in real time!

This experience would be shared with you, my beloved audience on Instagram Stories and Snapchat (@akinyiadongo) followed by this blog piece I am currently penning… You can imagine my surprise when 31 hotels signed up!

Which brings me to Hotel number one: Four Points by Sheraton, Nairobi Airport, which happens to be your gateway to Kenya!

When you land (or are leaving Nairobi,) it is impossible to miss the hotel which is located right at your point of entry into Kenya. I checked into my room…

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…and then went straight to the rooftop for a compulsory picture by the stunning rooftop swimming pool!

Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

Since it was right about lunchtime, Chef Chandra Shekhar was kind enough to invite me to try the Weekend lunch plan, the Fishy Weekend which was being served at Tazama Rooftop Bar & Grill.

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What is really cool is that every other couple of weeks they have a different theme for the weekend menu.

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Guys, my fish was delicious!

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For dessert, I had Gulab Jamun…

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Fishy Weekends Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport Akinyi Adongo 31 Hotels in 31 Days.jpg

Lunch was followed by an extensive tour and then dinner at The Marketplace Restaurant. Again, Chef Chandra lined up a superb dinner for me which comprised of Steak and dessert!

24 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

25 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

I retired to bed fully satisfied, only to wake up to a delightful breakfast overseen by the amazing Chef Chandra!

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By the time day one was done, I was looking for my gym kit because if the next 30 days will be anything like day one, then I am in for one insane ride!

As I was checking out, I now understood why Four Points By Sheraton by the airport has won multiple awards at such a young age: Best Airport Hotel Kenya, Best Airport Hotel Africa, Best Large Hotel Kenya, Best Large Hotel Africa, and International Five Star Hotel 2018-2019.

I leave you with pictures of Four Points as I prepare for Hotel number two!

The Lobby

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The Lobby Bar

9 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

The Business Lounge (For In-house Guests)

10 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

11 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

Marketplace Restaurant

12 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

13 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo

The Executive Suite

14 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Executive Suite

15 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Executive Suite lounge area

16 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Executive Suite Bathroom

The Deluxe Room

17 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Deluxe Room

The Suite (King)

18 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Suite King Room

19 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Traditional Room Bathroom

The Ball Room

20 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Ballroom Set up

Conference Room

21 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Conference Set up

Gym

22 Four Points By Sheraton Nairobi Airport 31 Hotels in 31 Days Akinyi Adongo Gym

 

 

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A Sneak Peek At Two Rivers Kenya: The Largest Mixed Use Development Complex In Sub-Saharan Africa…

2016, Africa, Kenya, Nairobi, Nairobi Nightlife, Places, Restaurants (For more: www.eatout.co.ke)

So there I was minding my own business last week when a friend called me up and requested that I accompany them on a site visit to Two Rivers.

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For those who are not aware, Two Rivers is a fascinating complex set on a whooping 100 acres just after Runda which is gradually coming into shape after years of planning. Upon completion, the structure will boast 8.9 Million Square feet of available space.

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So we jumped into the car and sped down Limuru Road and made our way to the development. You know things are serious when they design an underpass for access to the mall separate from the main Limuru Road and a roundabout to access the mall from the Northern Bypass

We parked the car in the vast parking space (over 3,500 spots!) after which I got a quick tour of the complex. Interestingly, there are tenants who are ready to receive customers even with the final phase of the construction going on…

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With a green angle in mind, Two Rivers’ plan is to install one of the largest rooftop solar panels in Africa. 80% of the water used within the complex will be recycled while over 30% of the development will be set aside for parks and natural spaces.

What makes Two Rivers different from all the other malls/developments in Kenya?

  1. Two Rivers will have a whole new lineup of shops/retailers which are setting shop in Kenya for the first time ever. These include:

a) LC Waikiki

Turkish LC Waikiki is an international clothing line with over 600 stores in more than 30 countries.

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b) Carrefour

Carrefour will be opening the first hypermarket in Kenya at Two Rivers. With over  1,600 hypermarkets and a presence in over 30 countries worldwide, Carrefour just stepped up competition in Nairobi with their Karen branch already in action.

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2. Accommodation Options: Two Rivers will not only have residential apartments, but they will also have jogging and cycling lanes for tenants and guests. City Lodge Hotel will open a three star hotel within the compound which will have 170 rooms…

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3. Movie Lovers Heaven! Vox Cinemas is setting up a 10 Screen theater with an offer on VOX Max, VOX Gold VOX 3D and VOX 4DX. You all know where to find me from November!

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5. Public Event Spaces: I must admit that I am impressed by Two River’s plan to have public event spaces. All other malls in Nairobi have their parking spaces as the main event space.  Apart from the galleries and movie theatre, there are two specific spaces of interest:

a) CK Square: The square will hold more than 2000 people and will have an LED outdoor screen.

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b) Amphitheatre: With a capacity of 3,600 seats. The amphitheater will also have a live studio, an outdoor video facility and VIP corporate boxes. It can host an event every day of the year.

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4. The sheer size of it. The complex will have 18 escalators, 22 lifts and 4 travelators.

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Well ladies and gentlemen, I await your feedback of the mall once it opens in a few weeks… Meanwhile, I leave you with a couple of pictures of this interesting development…

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Brioche Restaurant: A Delightful Taste Of Rwanda and Belgium in Nairobi…

2016, Africa, African Products I Adore, Kenya, Kigali, Nairobi, Rwanda

So I have this friend called David who is currently out of town. One of the things I promised him was that I would write about new restaurants in Nairobi that might tickle his fancy, and when he gets back we can go check them out..

As I was weighing the options, Nikos calls me up and makes me promise to join him at Brioche Restaurant in Karen on Saturday. How can anyone ever say no to Nikos!

Saturday comes along and we hop into his car for the road trip to Karen.. 🙂 We drive into The Watermark Business Park which I had driven past on several occasions but had never stepped in before. We park the car, step out and in no time we are standing in front of Brioche..

1 Brioche Restaurant Nairobi Kenya Kigali Rwanda Akinyi Adongo2 Brioche Restaurant Nairobi Kenya Kigali Rwanda Akinyi Adongo

We walk in through the door and encounter a warm and welcoming space..

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The restaurant also has an outdoor section..

5 Brioche Restaurant Nairobi Kenya Kigali Rwanda Akinyi Adongo 6 Brioche Restaurant Nairobi Kenya Kigali Rwanda Akinyi Adongo

Eunice our host makes us feel at home at Brioche. We do not hesitate and order our lunch as soon as we sit down. In no time, we have our food in front of us which included the following…

Tomato Splendid!

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Smoked Chicken & Mushroom Quiche

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Waterzooi of Kuku

I had the pleasure of enjoying this as my main course. It is a fusion of Belgian and Kenyan chicken. Loved it!

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Brioche bake their own bread and have a great dessert selection. Therefore it would have been a crime for us not to have some..

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I cannot wait to have my lemon pie again!

Brioche is the brainchild of Jean-Philippe Kayobotsi who happens to be half Rwandan and half Belgian. The first branch opened at the Kigali Business Center (KBC) in Kacyiru in 2013. The Karen restaurant is the fourth Brioche in East Africa. The company has grown its workforce to over 100 employees in Rwanda and Kenya.

Jean-Philippe Kayobotsi (Picture from CNN)

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Do stop by the next time you are in Karen and let me know what you think! 🙂

Brioche Karen Facebook Page

The Best Nine Course Meal of My Life… Thanks To The Wet Lounge, Nairobi

2015, 2016, Africa, Akinyi's Exclusive Moments, Kenya, Nairobi, Nairobi Nightlife, Places, Restaurants (For more: www.eatout.co.ke)

Yes, I have been called easy to please on several occasions, however, nothing prepared my gastrointestinal system for the Wet Lounge’s food tasting when I accepted Karima’s pleasant invitation.  The food tasting session was so divine that I had to find an excuse to do it again, hence Fabrizio and I found ourselves at Karima’s generous table again.. 🙂

I shall attempt to walk you through the culinary experience we had, even though I am acutely aware of the fact that my pictures and words do not do this experience half the justice it deserves. My dear reader, you simply must stop by the Wet Lounge and sample their delicacies, once their door open this weekend…..

Once we sat down, a fascinating set up was placed in front of us….

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Upon closer inspection, the delicious looking pink thing turns out to be a Watermelon and Feta Cheese sandwich…(Yes, I did think it was raw tuna at first..)

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And beneath it steaming up the wine glass is the Goat Cheese Walnut Samosa…

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The two items combine and introduce us to the meal, the amuse bouche. The term is French, literally translated as “mouth amuser”.

As we were still savouring these initial flavours with our amused mouths, the second course was already on its way to us. This was the White Tomato Soup with Crisp Popian Prawn…

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The crispy prawn went down very smoothly accompanied by the white tomato soup which had a distinctive spicy flavour.

Next up was one of my favourite vegetarian options, the Spinach and Almond Tikki. This comprised of Tamarind Sorbet (cold), Sweet Yoghurt and Nylon Sev (hot). Why was this one of my favourites? Because:

  1. The combination of hot and cold in different layers was genius and quite an amazing feat. Even as the cold sorbet sat on top of the hot core, it did not melt.. (I must speak to the Chef about the science behind this!)
  2. The layering of the different items resulted in a combination of different textures in your already salivating mouth (resulting in a harmonious orchestra which left you yearning for more..) I should stop there.. we still have more courses to go!

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Halfway through I remembered to take a picture for you, my dear friends who missed out.. 🙂

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Remember I mentioned that I had the pleasure of having this experience twice? Well, the next item was on the menu the first time (Which was in the evening hence the darker pictures..)

This was the Red Carpet Chicken. The presentation was pretty awesome. There was a chilli pipette which you could squeeze to discharge the contents onto the chicken. The chicken itself was sitting on cauliflower and saffron cream (Drool!) Everything was topped off with Pistachio dust….

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By this time we were in a place where we were undergoing an overwhelming sensory response to everything we had just partaken of. In order to bring us back to the basics (and prepare us for what was coming) we had the Guava and Chilli Sorbet interlude…. Absolutely incredible!

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After taking a stroll to the balcony of the lounge, comparing notes with fellow diners and letting the first couple of courses settle, we came back for more….and we definitely got it!

Coming up next was one of Fabrizio’s (and mine) favourites…OK, who am I kidding, I loved everything I tasted that day! Fabrizio was completely blown by the Chilli and Basil Lobster…

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The lobster was sitting on Broccoli and Ginger Kichadi (an East Indian comfort food that features rice and lentils) The reason why this dish was so delightful was because it was a very vibrant twist to a traditional Indian meal (in this case, the Kichadi.)

The climax of this course was the dust topping made up of lobster reduction, cocoa and cinnamon dust and broccoli flour. Mind blowing.

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Nope, we are not yet done!

The next plate to hit the table was the Slow Cooked Lamb Shank, served with Mushroom Upma and Coconut Vegetable Lemon Foam..

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The lamb was so tender, to the point where it started melting as soon as it got to your mouth…

Eventually it was dessert time! On both occasions, there was a slight variation in dessert….

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Think Chocolate Cigars (Chocolate spring roll) Chocolate Samosas (I had no idea this was possible!), White Chocolate and Rosemary Kulfi, Homemade Caramel ice cream… all the things a dessert lover cannot resist… 🙂

I definitely look forward to your feedback on the Wet Lounge’s outstanding menu!

Club W, The Latest Night Spot On Langata Road, Nairobi

2015, Africa, Akinyi's Exclusive Moments, Kenya, Watering Holes

One random afternoon I got a phone call from an unknown gentleman asking me if I could stop by and have a look at their new venue which was only 1o days old.

The place in question is called Club W located within Weston Hotel, along Langata Road (Opposite Wilson Airport.) Now I live on the other side of town, so we had to check the tyre pressure and the engine of the car, grab some road trip food, bid friends farewell and head on down to Langata Road… 🙂

We got to Weston Hotel safe and sound and got welcomed by the friendly Gaetano who proceeded to usher us to the brand new spot.

1 Club W Nairobi Langata Road Weston Hotel Akinyi Adongo

As you walk down the stairs and through the main club entrance, you step into the waiting area. The club is situated far from the hotel rooms so the sound does not interfere with in house guests.

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Past the white doors is the club. There is a dancefloor, an island bar and a lounge area in the back.

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The next time you are in the Langata area, stop by Club W and let me know what you think of it…. 🙂

 

Dining In Nairobi: 1. Caramel Restaurant & Lounge

2015, Africa, Akinyi's Exclusive Moments, Kenya, Nairobi, Nairobi Nightlife, Places

We had put the food club on hold for a while, until last week. What better location to kick off the monthly dinner plan other than at the Legendary Caramel Restaurant & Lounge, in ABC Place, Nairobi.

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We had three options for the starter, four options for the main course, and two options for dessert. Allison took amazing care of us from the moment we walked in.

I opted for the Crispy Eggplant as my starter, having tried it before. I doubt eggplants have tasted this delicious before. Everyone who tried it loved it!

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The other starter options were Seared Beef Carpaccio…..

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…and the Caramel Veggie Roll…

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Both of them are just as delightful. For the main course, I had the Herb Crusted Tuna Steak. It arrived as rare as I had requested it to be. In Africa, you generally have to request for rare or medium options, if you prefer it so, because meat and tuna are usually served well done.

12 Caramel Akinyi AdongoWhat I really like about this dish is the mashed potatoes which is prepared with wasabi. This gives it quite a kick. The wasabi is not overwhelming, which makes the combination work.

The other main course options were Truffled Penne Pasta…

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Marinated Grilled Chicken…

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Beef Bolognese…

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The reviews of the above three options were also really good. Everybody was pleased with their choices.

And now for dessert… I had the Key Lime Pie, which has always been a favourite…

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I did get a chance to taste the second dessert option which was the refreshing Sorbet.

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The dinner was loads of fun and we got to make new friends. For more information on what more Caramel Lounge has to offer, have a look at their Facebook Page here.

We are already planning the next dinner gathering in July!

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Walk With Rangers: A Compulsory Event For Elephant Lovers…

2015, Africa, Satao's Herd, Tanzania, Watering Holes

Walk With Rangers Akinyi Adongo Elephant Conservation

Picture by Aisha Reynolds

I have been doing some background research on Elephant Conservation in Africa since setting up Tusker Day in honor of Africa’s Fading Great Tusker Elephants.

One of the initiatives that really caught my attention was Walk With Rangers, an annual trek coordinated by Ulinzi Africa Foundation. Walk With Rangers seeks to raise awareness on the challenges faced by the men and women on the frontlines of the war against poaching- the Rangers. The powerhouse behind this concept is the charming Raabia Hawa. Raabia is an honorary warden with the Kenya Wildlife Service.

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50 individuals have the opportunity to experience the trek this year, beginning in Kenya’s Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and traversing the wild terrain of the Tsavo Conservation Area. Participants will get to meet renowned conservationists and make informed decisions on their support to boots on the ground in future.

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The 2014 initiative had a fundraising goal of $250,000 to meet, that would see the inaugural project installation of an anti-poaching unit and mobile veterinary unit in the two host countries for the trek, Kenya and Tanzania respectively.

It all begins on August 2nd and ends on 12th August, with the post-trek option on Tiwi Beach until August 15th. Here is the daily itinerary:

I am planning on joining the walk… Perhaps you will join us too? 🙂

To Register:
1. Join the Walk With Rangers Resource Group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/397614103758795/?fref=ts
2. Download the registration and information package containing the registration for, health forms, release and indemnity forms, camp rules and regulations, trek fee detailing inclusions and exclusions with options.
3. Fill in the forms and submit via email to: register@walkwithrangers.com

For further information, have a look at the Walk With Rangers Website and Facebook Page.

The Wave Nightclub In Naivasha Is Probably Kenya’s Best Nightclub…

2015, Africa, Naivasha, Places, Watering Holes, Wicked Weekends in Africa

During the Easter weekend we decided at the last minute (4:00pm) to drive up to Naivasha. I have been quite fascinated by Naivasha in the past couple of months because every time we have gone there we have tried something new.

We still speak of The Ranch House Bistro till today, and I understand yet another cool pub/restaurant has just opened in Naivasha called The Hungry Hippo (sometimes they have baby hippos wandering around in their car park… We will definitely stop by next time!)

Anyway, we arrive in Naivasha, check into our home for the night and proceed to grab some grub. After dinner, we weighed the options and decided that even though we were massive fans of Fisherman’s Camp, the heavy downpour would best be enjoyed at an indoor location.

I then remembered that a friend mentioned a nightclub located within the luxurious Enashipai Resort. We chugged our drinks, hopped into the car raced to Enashipai.

The gentlemen at the gate directed us to the location of the club (the resort is spread out over five acres of land by lake Naivasha) We eventually stood in front of these interesting doors…

The Wave Naivasha Enashipai Akinyi Adongo

I apologize for the picture quality. It was an unexpected surprise so I did not have my Canon on me. Now, allow me to justify why I think The Wave is the best nightclub in Kenya. The club is nine months old.

1. Parking Space. 

This is an issue most people who venture out in Nairobi complain about a lot. There is usually lack of parking space at most of the popular venues. Well, at The Wave, it will take a lot to fully occupy all the parking spots on the five acres. 🙂

2. Club Entrance

With the exception of the newly reopened Florida Nightclub, no other club in Nairobi has a designated reception are where the guests are received. The Wave has one.

1 The Wave Naivasha Enashipai Akinyi Adongo

3. Space

There are some venues you will go to in Nairobi where you are seated and practically participating in your neighbours conversation because of how close you are to each other. The Wave has plenty of room for everyone. They also have “booths” where a couple of friends can easily gather around and sit.

2 The Wave Naivasha Enashipai Akinyi Adongo

Still on the space issue… They have high ceilings (which we like a lot) especially on the dancefloor and in the bathrooms. 

4. The Bar

There is a long bar from one end of the club to the other. Again, plenty of space. The other great thing about the bar area are the bar stools (especially for someone who has fallen off a bar stool sober before.) They are so comfortable!

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5. The Sound System/Dancefloor

The resident Dj was kind enough to let me hang out in his uber-cool Dj booth. The first thing you notice is that the speakers are hung pretty high near the ceiling, but at the same time they are strategically placed so that the maximum sound impact is on the dancefloor. This is extremely important because as soon as you step off the dancefloor you can comfortably have a conversation in any part of the club without screaming at the top of your lungs over music.

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6. The VIP Room

The VIP Room is located upstairs. You can actually walk into the venue and then proceed into the VIP section without going through the club. From here you can view the activities happening downstairs from the comfort of the lounge chairs.

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7. The Prices

We had plenty of drinks. Upon asking for the bill, it was a third of what we would normally pay at some venues in Nairobi, which was a welcome surprise.

All in all, we had an excellent time and plan on heading down to Naivasha very soon! I am also adding The Wave to the list of cool places to hang out in Nairobi in 2015.

5 Things You Missed at The First Ever Irish Kenyan Film Festival in Nairobi

2015, 2016, Africa, Akinyi's Exclusive Moments, Nairobi, St Patricks Day, Sunday Afternoons, Wicked Weekends in Africa

I have always loved Brian’s Irish accent.. 🙂 So when he got back to Nairobi and mentioned that he, Shane and other cool Irish friends were planning on hosting Kenya’s (and possibly Africa’s) first Irish Film Festival, I was quite keen on checking it out.

1 St Patrick's Day Kenya Akinyi Adongo Irish Kenya Film Festival 2015

The night before the festival Sarah and I headed out to Karen (aka the other world for those of us who live on the Westlands side :-)) for Lulu and Graham’s engagement party which was a lot of fun. As a result of our overindulgence, I only made it for the last movie at 5:00pm and missed all the others 😦

9 St Patrick's Day Kenya Akinyi Adongo Irish Kenya Film Festival 2015

That said, here are five things that I think you would have enjoyed had you joined us yesterday for the film festival..

5. Green Beer

Brew Bistro was present with Green beer which is obviously fitting seeing as tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day 🙂

2 St Patrick's Day Kenya Akinyi Adongo Irish Kenya Film Festival 2015

4. Really good food thanks to Moniko’s Restaurant.

Moniko’s Restaurant is located in Lavington, Nairobi. They have delicious food and are open all day. They also provide catering services, as was evident at the festival. There was a raffle at the end of the festival and the winning ticket won dinner for two at Moniko’s… Fazaal won! Now, he happened to have two dates to the movies, Anne-Marie and I.. For sure this will be a fun dinner 🙂

4 St Patrick's Day Kenya Akinyi Adongo Irish Kenya Film Festival 2015

3. A lovely crowd..

There is nothing more refreshing than attending an event which is composed of a warm, interactive crowd. Everyone who turned up was fun, friendly and excited about the film festival. I made new friends which is a win!

3 St Patrick's Day Kenya Akinyi Adongo Irish Kenya Film Festival 2015 6 St Patrick's Day Kenya Akinyi Adongo Irish Kenya Film Festival 2015 10 St Patrick's Day Kenya Akinyi Adongo Irish Kenya Film Festival 2015

2. Traditional Irish Folk Music

This was a first for me and I loved it! We walked out of the last movie only to find three delightful human beings waiting for us ready to play some Irish music. The Embassy of Ireland in Nairobi facilitated the presence of the group which consisted of a harp player, a flute player and a Uilleann pipe player (Irish elbow bagpipes)

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Here they are performing….

 

1. Beautiful Irish Films…

The festival had three delightful Irish movies. Here are the details:

12 St Patrick's Day Kenya Akinyi Adongo Irish Kenya Film Festival 2015

“The Wind that Shakes the Barley”
Irish drama directed by Ken Loach set during the Irish War of Independence (1919- 1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922- 1923). Winner of the PALME D’OR at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

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“The Secret of Kells” – Oscar nominated children’s animated film telling the story of a young monk Brendan who is learning to be a scribe and how he got the inspiration to complete the world famous Book of Kells. Perfect for children.

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“Once”
Irish Musical film (Oscar winner for Best Original Song) tells the story of the musical collaboration of a Dublin busker and a young Czech immigrant flower seller.

There you go! Hopefully we will catch up at the Irish Kenyan Film Festival in 2016, because I am already first in line to purchase my ticket to the festival!

For more details on the festival, send an email to: irishkenyafilmfestival @ gmail . com