Sarova Stanley Hotel

It is a five-star hotel in Nairobi (Kenya’s capital city) and it is the oldest hotel in the city which was constructed in 1902 by an English business woman known as ‘’Mayence Bent’’.

It achieved its name after Sir Henry Morton Stanley who was a Welsh explorer famously known for his explorations of central Africa and his successful search for missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

Since its construction, the Stanley Hotel has been known as the traditional meeting place for those going on a safari in Kenya and it has hosted many royalties, politicians, movie stars, and authors among other guests. It is still used for national business conferences and tourism concerns.

The facility comprises of 217 rooms of whereby many of the suites and other rooms are named for dignitaries and other notable persons who have stayed in the hotel such as The Windsor penthouse suite, named for the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII); The Karen Blixen suite, named for Karen Blixen (an author of Out of Africa); The Hemingway conference suite, named for author Ernest Hemingway, and The Churchill Ballroom, named for Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom).

The Stanley Presidential Suite was named for famed explorer Henry Morton Stanley and has been used by Namibian President ‘’Sam Nujoma’’.

The hotel consists of three restaurants which include; the Thorn Tree Café, named for the original acacia tree used for years as a message depot; the Thai Chi Restaurant, and the Pool Deck Restaurant.

The Exchange Bar on the hotel was named for the Nairobi Securities Exchange and is the successor to the Long Bar where local stocks were first traded in Nairobi.

Notable amenities on the hotel

Out of the total 217 rooms at the hotel, there are 160 deluxe rooms, 32 club rooms, two courier singles, 21 themed suites, a presidential suite, and a pent-house.

The deluxe rooms are classically appointed with chintz-style decorations and plush carpeting. Suites have a living room and guest water closet as well as the bedroom (two bedrooms in some suites) however the presidential suite also consists of a bodyguard room.

There are nine meeting and conference rooms with audio-visual equipment including a 227-square-metre (2,440 sq ft) ballroom and a business center with computers, fax, photocopier and secretarial services.

The property also comprises of a heated rooftop swimming pool as well as a health club with a sauna and steam-bath. There is also a shopping arcade perched on the first floor with gift shops, a boutique, a chemist, and an optician.

There are various restaurants and bars situated on the hotel such as; Thai Chi which was opened in 2007 serving authentic 13th-century Thai cuisine. Chef Phansandha Phommee popularly known as “Chef Pu” has won numerous awards such as; the “Best Hotel Restaurant and Chef Nairobi” from the Chefs Delight Awards in 2013.

The restaurant is known as one of Nairobi’s most elegant dining establishments and has been regarded as the most authentic Thai restaurant in East Africa.

The restaurant is decorated with fine Thai art and sculptures and also has a smart casual dress code though individuals below 12 years of age are not allowed in the hotel.

The legendary Thorn Tree Cafe is an open air cafe in the hotel serving continental and nouvelle dishes such as; pizza from a wood-fired oven.

Historically, the cafe is named after a Naivasha thorn tree known as Acacia xanthophloea in its centre and travelers used to pin notes to others onto the thorns of the tree.

The current tree is the third of the same variety of which the first one was taken down in 1961 and a new one was planted in its place.

This new tree began to droop and in 1997 was replaced with the current tree. During the planting ceremony, a time capsule was buried beneath it to be opened in 2038. The first post office in Nairobi was based here and tourists still leave messages and advertisements.

The forum of the largest travel guide book publisher called Lonely Planet is named “The Thorn Tree travel forum” after this tree.

The Pool Deck Restaurant is located adjacent to the hotel’s rooftop pool on the fifth floor which is al fresco style with buffet options.

The Exchange Bar on the hotel is named after the Nairobi Securities Exchange and it is the successor to the renowned Long Bar which opened in 1932.

The hotel is thus an ideal starting point for safaris and other places of tourist interest and above all, it is also a popular venue for international meetings and conferences with modern facilities that can accommodate up to 300 people.