5 Reasons You Should Choose a Serviced Apartment over a Hotel

We all deserve a break once in a while. Sometimes work, relationships, school and life, in general, can overwhelm you to a point of emotional breakdowns. A vacation or just a short staycation does wonders. You have probably chosen your preferred destination. Then comes the big decision: Where to stay. Will it be a hotel or a serviced apartment? Here are a few reasons to convince you into staying at a serviced apartment:

1) Home away from home feeling

Serviced apartments really capture that ‘home away from home’ essence, and that is why they are growing in popularity among travellers. We all crave a space that feels warm, welcoming, familiar and cozy; a home.

2) Spaciousness

Nobody wants a cramped space. Why would you leave your spacious house to stay in a tiny room? It won’t be comfortable. Especially when you’re travelling with family. You need a bigger place so everyone feels comfortable for the trip to be a success. It is also much cheaper to stay in an apartment when you’re many rather than booking several hotel rooms

3) Amenities

A serviced apartment is a complete package. It comes fully furnished with all the amenities you could ever need. Basically it’s just a home. You get sofas, dining sets, a well-equipped kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. Other facilities include a gym, spa, pool, restaurant, and conference rooms for those on business and leisure trips. All these provide convenience in the sense that you never have to step outside the facility to look for something, except maybe when you want to go sight-seeing.

4) Cost-effective

You save a lot of money when you stay in a serviced apartment rather than in a hotel. Apartments are much bigger in size and cheaper than hotel rooms. You can book a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment when travelling with friends or family instead of different hotel rooms, which saves on cost. You can also prepare your own meals to avoid hefty restaurant bills.

5) Customized experience

Serviced apartments are accommodating to certain requests in order to make your stay comfortable. You can call in advance to add a few things to the room, like certain foods or drinks to be added to your pantry. You get to customize your apartment, just like your home. What could possibly be better than that?

Whether travelling alone, as a family, on a leisure trip or a business one, comfort is key. You are better off in a space that’s cozy and feels like home to help you relax and unwind. Serviced apartments are always a great option for any kind of traveller.

What to Consider When Choosing a Serviced Apartment

Comfort is key when travelling. Everyone wants to stay in a place that’s comfortable, clean and worth their money. A home away from home. And that’s exactly what a serviced apartment offers: The warmth and coziness of a home that no hotel offers.

There is privacy, flexibility and Independence; you get to continue with your normal routine as you would at home.

Millennial travellers usually opt for serviced apartments. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect serviced apartment:

a) Budget

Nothing can be done, at least not well enough, without a budget. You need to prioritize the important things first. Work out how much you’re willing to spend first then do your research for a suitable place. Check on your expenses and start saving for your upcoming trip.

b) Location

The location of the apartment is very important. This all boils down to what kind of a trip you are taking. If it’s a solo trip to unwind and get away from the chaos, you’d probably choose a quiet environment like in the outskirts of a town. A family trip requires somewhere close to amenities like hospitals if you’re travelling with kids. Do you want to get away from it all or you want something short term, like a weekend getaway, closer to the city? Decide then choose your apartment accordingly.

c) Size

Serviced apartments come in a wide range of various rooms; from studio rooms, one-bedroom to an entire penthouse. Who you’re travelling with will affect the size of the accommodation option you choose. A solo trip requires just enough room for one, according to your budget and taste. A family trip will require a much bigger space for privacy and comfort.

d) Amenities

The gist of a serviced apartment is the facilities it comes with. Most offer fully equipped kitchens, swimming pool, gym, restaurant, spa etc. You basically have everything all under one roof. There is no need to step outside.

Again, the kind of trip you’re taking determines the kind of accommodation you choose. A leisure trip with family requires recreational facilities for entertainment, especially when kids are involved. A business trip requires a good working space, like boardrooms for conference calls and meetings, and good internet connectivity.

You need to ask yourself: do they have facilities that are friendly for disabled people? What measures will they take in case of emergencies? Are they pet-friendly? Is network coverage good? Etc

e)   Safety

As much as comfort and convenience are key, safety should always be a top priority. Find out the security measures put in place to protect you. Ensure there is reliable help and a 24-hour help desk In case of emergencies.

Considering some factors while looking out for serviced apartment will benefit you greatly. You get to avoid a lot of mistakes, and most importantly, having a smooth trip as intended.

Fun Things to Do/Places to Visit in Nairobi

Kenya is a stunning country. The statistics of tourists who fly in on a daily basis is a true testament to this fact. While most tourists flock the coastal region for Sandy beaches and go further into Maasai Mara for wildlife, Nairobi city is also a sight to behold on its own.

Popularly known as the ‘Green city in the sun’s, Nairobi is a vibrant metropolis and capital city of Kenya. Its name is derived from a Maasai phrase ‘Enkare’ which means ‘a place of cool waters’, a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city.

Nairobi city has a sheer beauty that is simply breathtaking, full of culture, historically rich and also boasts of a few wildlife parks and sanctuaries. From wild animals roaming so close to the CBD, thrilling entertainment joints, beautiful skyline, rich history collection in museums and art centres, wildlife conservation centres to world-class hotels, Nairobi is truly a gem to explore.

Here are a few things to do while visiting Nairobi, or you live here and would like to get out and have some fun:

1. Visit Nairobi national park

The park is located approximately 7 kilometres (4 mi) south of the centre of Nairobi, with an electric fence separating the park’s wildlife from the metropolis. Nairobi’s skyscrapers can be seen from the park. Wide-open grass plains and backdrop of the city scrapers scattered acacia bush play host to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered black rhino, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and a diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. Visitors can enjoy the park’s picnic sites, three campsites and the walking trails for hikers.

Where else are you going to find wild animals so close to the city centre? This is what makes Nairobi so unique.

2. Marvel at rare species at Nairobi Safari Walk

The Nairobi Safari Walk is closest to the wild as you can get. It has a raised wooden boardwalk that allows for uninterrupted views of the animals. It is a breathtaking showcase for Kenya’s Parks and Reserves, allowing visitors to discover what they can expect to see across the country.

Visitors can see a sample of the country’s rich animal life including the rare bongo, white rhino and albino zebra as well as big cats, antelopes and primates. It is also home to some 150 species of local trees.

3. Kiss and feed a giraffe at the Giraffe Centre

The Giraffe Center is located in Lang’ata, approximately 20 kilometres from the centre of Nairobi, Kenya. It was established in order to protect the endangered giraffe, which is found only in the grasslands of East Africa.

The centre runs a breeding program for Rothschild giraffes (one of the rarest species of giraffe) and releases them into the wild.

It’s a good place to make unique memories. From feeding giraffes, taking selfies with them up-close (they are very photogenic!), getting your hand licked and getting a sloppy kiss. What else could you ask for from Mother Nature?

4. Feeding baby elephants at the Elephant Orphanage

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) operates the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. They rescue orphaned elephants, raise and protect them. The most common reasons for getting orphaned being: Mothers poached, falling into wells, and human/wildlife conflict.

The animals are fed in turns, which is the most amazing thing to witness. You can watch each little one slurp and gargle their milk. Then, you’ll have time to watch the elephants play. You find out how old they were when they arrived at the orphanage, where they were rescued from, and what got them into trouble.

5. Away from wildlife, visit the Ngong Racecourse

The Ngong Race Course and Golf Park is the only horse racing course in East Africa. It is situated on Ngong Road towards Karen and has the most beautiful grounds, offering a tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi.

The Racecourse is a very popular wedding destination and annually hosts many other functions such as the Christmas Craft Fair, Concours d’Elégance, Beerfest, Shaggy Dog Show, Heart to Heart Fun Day, including visiting South African Johnny Clegg and his band. There are restaurants to cater for everyone, with adequate & secure parking, as well as washrooms.

These events usually are full house and provide the perfect day out in an environment of leisure and networking opportunities.

6. See the infamous Nairobi skyline at the KICC helipad

The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is a state corporation KICC and the largest Convention centre in Eastern Africa with the capacity to hold a large number of delegates. Apart from business, it has a rooftop that offers one a unique chance to view all of Nairobi and its environs.

The view is magnificent, for those who are not afraid of heights and the sunsets there are the most beautiful sightings you will ever see. Gives real meaning to the phrase ‘city in the sun’.

7. Skate away at the Panari Sky Centre

The Panari Sky Center is a sleek modern shopping centre and hotel in Nairobi, located along Mombasa Road, a few minutes from the airport. It houses a number of boutiques, banks, and an entertainment centre that includes East Africa’s first ice skating rink!

The Solar Ice Rink at Panari is the only one of its kind in East and Central Africa. It measures 32 × 12 meters with an ice skating surface area of 15,000 square feet. It is totally enclosed with ice temperature at -25oC and the air temperature inside the hall is 12oC. The rink can accommodate 200 skaters at any time.

8. Watch local plays

For the love of Arts and Culture, enjoy local plays at some of the most popular theatrical powerhouses in Nairobi; Alliance Francois, Kenya National Theatre and Phoenix Players. There are frequent plays, almost every evening. The plays are very entertaining with political and marital satire being the main theme.

9. Have a taste of Kenya’s heritage at the Nairobi Museum and Kenya National Archives

The Nairobi National Museum is the flagship brand for the National Museums of Kenya. Located on Museum Hill, the museum showcases Kenya’s rich Heritage with four distinct themes representing Kenya’s Culture, Nature, History and Contemporary Art.

Other attractions within the compound include the Snake Park and Botanical Gardens as well as a State of the Art Auditorium that occasionally hosts concerts, film shows and other events. Dining and shopping facilities await you after your tour with us in our commercial wing.

The Kenya National Archives is a national treasure located right in the heart of the city along Moi Avenue. This centrally located collection contains historic photographs, Kenyan crafts and paintings. It is one of the most popular buildings in the city which most people argue that if it was ever repainted or moved, a lot of people would get lost.

10. Experience Nairobi’s vibrant nightlife

The nightlife in Nairobi is one for the books. There is no party like a Nairobi party. Most popular joints in the city are ever full every other day of the week. Starting from the city centre to the outskirts in Westlands, Nairobi West and Lang’ata, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to exceptional bars, restaurants and clubs.

And you cannot fail to dine at one of Nairobi’s most revered open-air restaurant, the Carnivore. Enjoy world-class ambience and finger-licking game meat of your choice.

Nairobi is simply outstanding. So many places to see, each unique in its own way. The list is endless.

China Trade Week 2019: What You Need To Know

Kenya is set to host the fifth annual edition of the China Trade Week (CTW) expo in June this year. The much-anticipated event will be held at the iconic Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on 5th-7th June for Phase 1 and 10th-12th June for Phase 2, 9:00-18:00 on Day 1 & 2 and 9:00-16:00 on Day 3.

It is a free entry event and all are welcome to take part in forums that are sure to change your life, business-wise.

According to data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, imports from China between May 2017, and June 2018 constituted 22% of the total country’s imports, elevating China as Kenya’s largest trading partner. A notable Chinese project in Kenya is the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) which is now on the verge of linking Nairobi to Naivasha in its second phase.

Kenya is regarded as the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, and many large corporations have their headquarters in Nairobi. An ideal location where Longonot Serviced Apartments is located.

On the other hand, China’s GDP has risen from 54 trillion to 80 trillion Yuan over the past five years as the Communist giant maintained its rank as the world’s largest economy and contributed over 20 percent on the global economic growth. China is a powerful international actor as the most populous country, the world’s largest economy by purchasing power parity, according to the IMF.

It is the world’s fastest-growing major economy with growth rates averaging 10 percent over the past 30 years. The country is a global hub for manufacturing, and is the largest manufacturing economy in the world, as well as the largest exporter of goods in the world and the second largest importer of goods.

The CTW, therefore, seeks to connect Kenyan businesses with the most innovative Chinese firms, manufacturers, information and communications technology (ICT) providers and stakeholders.

More than 30,000 visitors are expected as the CTW Kenya has received strong tailwinds from the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April in Beijing to create a new silk road based on shared growth and collaboration. The event will host 600 exhibitors, a business to business matchmaking area as well as two parallel conference sessions.

The event is open to business owners, professional buyers, wholesalers, or import/export organizations who are seeking new sources for their products from China. Kenyans are expected to show up in large numbers to see what China has to offer and learn from high flying Chinese manufacturers and suppliers.

If you have always wanted to start a business and you don’t know where to begin or you happen to have a business plan but you just need motivation or funds, this is your chance. The CTW is your best bet to actualizing your goals and learning from the best.

According to the organizers, phase one which runs from June 5th to 7th will host industries in the building material, heating ventilation and air condition, lighting, construction materials, water and environmental treatment, furniture and interior, textiles and print, packaging and plastics.

The second phase which runs from June 10th to 12th will host consumer goods, automobile and auto parts, electrical, ICT and agricultural sectors. The parallel conference topics in the expo will cover subjects relevant to traders, import and export firms, and consumer and capital goods producers.

You don’t have to go through the hustle of meeting imposter investors online, risking your savings to fraudsters or travelling all the way to China to try your luck. The CTW is bringing China to you! Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain skills, direct connections and seal lucrative business deals to help you secure your future and contribute to the economy of our nation.

And while in Nairobi, we encourage you to visit our luxurious serviced apartments in the CBD, off Harry Thuku Road for extended stays. Visit www.longonotplace.co.ke and check out some of the apartments we have.

Written by: Michelle Nzilani, Actuate Digital  Writer

What Do You Know About The Kenya National Theatre?

The Kenya National Theatre (KNT) is the largest proscenium theatre space in Kenya. It is a government agency under the ministry of state for National Heritage and Culture in Kenya. It is based in the capital city Nairobi, bordering the historical landmarks Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), the University of Nairobi (UON) and The Longonot Place Serviced Apartments.

KNT offers space for diverse rehearsal, production and staging of drama, live musical concerts, plays and dance, to both local and international clientele.

This historical landmark was built in the 1940s and opened in March 1951. It was during the colonial era and was initially built as a place for British soldiers, brought in to quell the Mau Mau uprising, to be entertained.

The initial design boasted of a 450 seating, a dilapidated orchestra pit in the basement, an auditorium with a curtained stage, a balcony, a bar and a restaurant on the first floor.

The theatre has undergone multi-million renovations since 2004-2015.

Currently, it is a national pride and treasure whose state of the art facilities include; a 345 seater modern auditorium, a 9 by 10 Metres proscenium performance stage, 4 fully equipped performer’s backstage changing rooms, a wardrobe room, modern dance studio, 3 rehearsal spaces, 2 seminar rooms, double shower rooms and 2 kitchenettes.

It is filled with modern lighting and sound equipment capable of meeting creative expectations of diverse technical designs.

Literary legends Ngugi wa Thiongo, Wahome Mutahi and Francis Imbuga have staged successful plays at KNT.

The first notable African professional production was by Conrad Makeni of Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Ngugi wa Mirii’s play “I Will Marry When I Want” in 1982 which landed Ngugi wa Thiong’o in trouble with the authorities.

The play was banned and from then on, KNT was viewed with cautious suspicion by the government and strange men were often to be seen lurking around listening surreptitiously to patrons at the balcony.

Imbuga’s most notable work is ‘Betrayal in the City’, which was made into a secondary school set book.

Uganda’s John Ruganda, a noted playwright, director and actor, also staged his work at KNT. These include;  The Burdens, The Flood, Music Without Tears and Game of Silence.

Since the refurbishment in 2015, KNT has been the venue for wonderful productions including, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease and a re-run of Sarafina. In September this year, KNT staged the smash hit Tinga Tinga Tales produced by London’s Claudia Lloyd and our very own songwriter Eric Wainana with an all-Kenyan cast.

KNT has managed to stay relevant and authentic amidst harsh criticisms and economic times, unlike Phoenix Theatre which closed down in April 2017 over huge debts and mismanagement. It is currently associated with the most advanced equipment for theatrical productions in East and Central Africa.

It has come full circle, investing heavily on young and promising local talent. For lovers of theatre, staying with Longonot Place, you get to visit the facility which is a stone throw away. One of the many amenities that are in close proximity to our fine and strategically located apartments.

Written by: Michelle Nzilani ( Actuate Digital, Blogger)

Health and Fitness for Busy People

Don’t expect anyone else to be bothered about your entire well being. Times are hard, and everyone is busy chasing the next coin.

Truth is, the busier we become, the shorter our days seem. In our daily hustles, we fall deeper into neglecting the important things, like our general health and fitness. It begins slowly; neglecting diets, skipping or postponing exercise routines and sacrificing ‘beauty sleep’ to finish a work project. It becomes harder to notice when you are earning a lot of money.

All that massages your ego but your body will never forgive you for it. One day you will look at yourself in the mirror, and a tired, depressed, overweight and overworked person will stare blankly back at you, and you won’t forgive yourself.

You might be busy and thinking of ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but you really don’t know where to begin. Here are a few easy tips to begin with;

  1. Drink water

Drinking water when you first wake up is a great way to kick start your metabolism. You can carry a bottle to work, school or wherever it is you are headed for the day and stay sipping. It is highly recommended to keep the body hydrated so as to remove waste, lubricate joints, aid in digestion and fight off headaches/migraines and dizziness.

Water also keeps you full,  so you are less likely to eat in between meals, hence regulating body weight.

  1. Work out on the go

When you hear working out, don’t limit your imagination to the gym only. There are simple routines that can boost your energy and health even if you are busier than a bee. Try using the stairs more as opposed to elevators, sometimes walk to work, avoid wearing high heels for longer periods (for women),  try standing more instead of sitting behind a desk all day and also practice the arm strengthen technique. This is where you sit up straight in a chair and bring up your hands to the front, and put the palm of your hand upward.

  1. Plan your meals/menu ahead

It is important to keep a time table or a personal menu of your food. This will help to make sure you don’t skip any meals and also make sure that you maintain discipline when it comes to what you put in your body. Your meal preps should be diverse but healthy. Make sure it is a balanced diet and your body will thank you for it.

  1. Cut off unhealthy habits

Reduce or do away with unhealthy intakes of alcohol, drugs, sweets and junk food. These will only slow down your metabolism and leave you with diseases that will drain your wallet and productivity.

Unhealthy habits also include hanging around people who push you further into the world of partying every day, drugs and alcohol. Surround yourself with optimistic people. It is easier to live a healthy lifestyle when everyone around you shares the same ideals and values.

  1. Self-care

Pressure from work, school or relationships can drive one crazy. Not knowing how to handle this pressure can cause harm to your body. You need to be able to recognize when you are under stress and take some time off. Self-care does great justice to the mind and body. Practice it, religiously. Spend time alone, meditate, practice yoga, listen to music, write, relax and laugh.

  1. Leisure activities 

Apart from self-care, you should be able to find a hobby to unwind at the end of a long time. Take up that dancing class, sing, play football, go to the spa, go hiking, swim or stay in a sauna,  take up gardening or farming, go bowling or any other sport. Your body needs to let out steam and vent at the end of the day. What you do after work sets the pace for how the next day will be.

  1. Visit a doctor often

You can never be too busy to get a checkup from a doctor. You need to be so intuned with your body that you notice even the smallest of changes. If something feels off, make that appointment and see a doctor. It is much better to make that time and get a check-up, than allowing a condition to escalate into something deadly and incurable. Love and put yourself first, always.

  1. Keep your working space comfortable 

Whether you are working from home or from work, your office should be like your second home. Make it as comfortable as possible. Let it be well lit, ventilated and clean. A disorganized office negatively impacts your mind. Lack of proper ventilation can affect your breathing function and slow down your productivity. A warm, vibrant and clean space does wonders to the mind, and body as well. You will find yourself more proactive and healthier.

  1. Spend time with loved ones

Whether a family, friend or a partner, make sure you have someone to vent to. Life’s challenges can take a toll on you and if you don’t have someone to talk to, it can affect your mental health. Depression kills. If you are a man, don’t keep everything bottled up. Destroy the notion that a man has to be strong. It is ok to be vulnerable, to be sensitive and to cry. If the day totally knocked you out, curl up next to a loved one and just talk it out.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a gym membership or private classes in order to be fit and healthy. There are simple tricks to it,  as long as you maintain discipline and motivation. In the age of social media, there are so many apps to help you exercise, guide you on how much intake you should have and what to eat (I have an app that reminds me to drink water! ) and basically guide you through life if you are a busy person. Take advantage of that. Take care great care of your body, and it will take care of you too.

At Longonot Place Serviced Apartments, we have a gym facility that will come in handy anytime you think of doing some exercises and at your convenience. Visit our facility today!

Written by, Michelle Nzilani, Actuate Digital Blogger

 

Things to consider when choosing whom to share an apartment with

There isn’t a major life decision that doesn’t require deep scrutiny. Part of what makes us human is the ability to be radical. We are not animals, we just don’t rush into things without having to think first. Be it what to wear, what career/business path to follow, where and what to study, where to live and even what to eat.

There are factors that need to be put into consideration.

Take choosing a roommate for example. I’d compare it to choosing a life partner. This is someone you’re going to spend a whole lot of time with; sleeping near, sharing space and sharing a life together. Whether it’s a total stranger or your bosom buddy, you just don’t allow them into your space without a few considerations.

A roommate is someone who has the potential to ruin or make your life, and below is a list of factors to consider when choosing one;

1. Trust

If you’re gonna share an apartment with someone, it should be with someone you trust. Become a detective. Find out what kind of person they are, ask around and even ask for referees if need be, because you just might put up with a serial killer or a thief.

2. Bills

Before you have someone over, you should discuss money. Let everyone mention their capability so as to decide who caters for what bill; rent, electricity, water etc. Are you going to cost share or are you going to assign a certain bill to either one of you? And this should be put on paper. This is an important factor to eliminate any future differences in cases of late payment or total absconding.

3. Cleanliness

There is nothing that tears a friendship faster than cleaning up after another. Untidy people are simply intolerable. Nobody likes to come home to the smell of dirty dishes and laundry or picking up dirty socks in the living room. It is important to live with someone who is responsible for their own property and tidy as well because at the end of the day you just wanna come home to a clean and organized space. It’s therapeutic.

4. Sleeping habits

I think it’s important to ask about sleeping patterns and habits. Sleep is important. Imagine sharing a space with someone who snores, or sleep-talks or sleep-walks. It can be annoying. You could be used to sleeping early and waking up early or late, and there comes someone with insane insomnia. They want to work throughout the night or watch movies then sleep in the wee hours of the morning. This can greatly affect your sleeping pattern hence messing you up psychologically.

5. Love life

Does your potential roommate have a partner or are they dating?  Maybe you are the one with an active love life. It is important to discuss this so as you don’t interfere with each other’s space and eventually ruining things for either of you. There should be ground rules set on how to go about your love life without abusing each other’s kindness and personal space.

6. Schedule

Whether working or studying, having different schedules should be key. You cannot have the same schedules because it will mean that you will always be together, giving room for frequent conflicts and eventually you will get tired of each other. Imagine always being together, suffocating right?

7. Communication

Before becoming rroommates there should be communication. Freely and without fear. If something alarms you, say it. If you sense something off, don’t be afraid to say it. Even after putting up, communication is key. It’s just like any other relationship. Both parties should be able to communicate when they are uncomfortable with something when they feel sick when they are staying up late or staying somewhere else when they are wronged and even when they feel that it’s time to move out.

If it were up to us, we could live alone and drown in the warm feeling of the luxury that is having our own space all to ourselves. As someone who thrives in peace and solitude, I would love to have my own place. But sometimes things don’t always work out as planned.

Sometimes finances hit us hard. And sometimes we would love to live with our buddies or people we know, but then we get stuck with total strangers. It’s always good to be positive. If you consider the above factors, you should be able to live a smooth life, and who knows, you may end up forming a long-lasting and meaningful friendship.

Happy roommate hunting!

Written by: Michelle Nzilani ( Actuate Digital, Blogger)

Why Serviced Apartments are a Hit

Developers in the hospitality sector are poised for better returns should they turn to including serviced apartments in their accommodation establishments.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Statistical Abstract 2018, the demand for serviced apartments has been on the rise and they record relatively high occupancy rates of above 70 per cent, compared to hotels in Nairobi at 35.5 per cent.

This is attributed to the large number of international guests who stay for more than two weeks in the country. Also, the Cytonn hospitality sector report shows that the concept of serviced apartments has continued to become popular in the market, with the Nairobi metropolitan area having approximately 3,414 serviced apartments as at 2015, and an additional 1,174 set to be complete by 2020.

Serviced apartments are fully furnished establishments that provide hotel-like resources such as housekeeping, room service, fitness centres, and restaurants. They also have home comforts such as a personal kitchenette, a living room and a dining room.

Homely feel 

As a result, serviced apartments, unlike regular hotel rooms, bear close resemblance to apartment-style living and are, therefore, preferred by guests who want a homely feel or who travel as families.  The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Serviced Apartments report says that investment in serviced apartments has been fueled by travellers wanting to optimise their budgets.

More are choosing to stay at serviced apartments as they are less expensive in the long run, resulting in the high demand.  “For instance, a standard three-star hotel in Nairobi charges on average Sh14,000 per night for a suite, while a studio serviced apartments charges on average Sh8,000 per night and a one-bedroom apartment charges on average Sh11,000 per night,” says the Cytonn report.

The other factor driving investment in the niche is lower operating expenses as compared to hotels. Operating serviced apartments requires less number of staff and lower ancillary costs for amenities and foodstuffs, and are thus cheaper to run compared to hotels.

At the same time, the report says, serviced apartments can easily be converted to normal apartments, in a case where the former is not performing well.

Big spaces

Bigger spaces are another factor; serviced apartments often have bigger room sizes than hotels. Cytonn found that in Nairobi, while the standard hotel room size is 30-50 square metres, the average size of serviced apartments is 75 square metres for one-bedroom units, 110 square metres for two-bedroom units, and 140 square metres for three-bedroom units.

The report says that, unlike a hotel, a serviced apartment can easily accommodate a family, in addition to allowing someone to cook for themselves.

By Moses Omusolo

Source: Standard Media

 

Premium Travel Readers Endorse Kenyan Offerings

The hospitality sector could be primed for good returns next year after 22,000 wealthy elite readers of America’s Global Traveler magazine named Kenya as the world’s best tourism destination.

In a statement issued at the conclusion of the Global Traveler (GT) readers’ survey, the influential magazine said frequent premium travellers who spend an average 60 nights per year in hotels — mostly four to five star properties — and about 72 percent who regularly travel in first and business class were impressed by Kenya’s offerings.

“It is an amazing accomplishment to celebrate the 15th year of our annual survey alongside my team and the winning companies,” said GT publisher-chief executive Francis Gallagher.

Kenya is set to be crowned during a cocktail reception at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, California, where its unique offerings: from its wildlife and safaris to its leisure beaches and emerging experience packages across counties will be unveiled.

The award could also benefit Kenya Airways, which was declared the third best airline in Africa by GT readers.

KQ now operates a 14-hour direct Nairobi-New York flight five times a week. The survey honours airlines, hotels, loyalty programmes, and travel-related products in more than 80 categories where GT’s readers vote for their favourites in the world of travel in an open-ended survey published in GT’s magazine and on its website.

The best 10 destinations after Kenya were Mexico, Ireland, South Africa, India, Australia, Israel, Hong Kong, Brazil and Spain.

Kenya hosted the global American Travel Agents Association annual congress last year.

About 2,000 travel agents from America and Europe attended the forum.

Last October, Mombasa hosted the 79th Skal International World Congress that brought together 500 hospitality investors and operators.

“This well-travelled, savvy group truly knows the stand-out stars of the industry and it is our honour to celebrate them once again,” said Mr. Gallagher.

By JAMES KARIUKI

Source: Business Daily Africa

10 Really Cool Places to Make Your Weekend Fly in Nairobi

Are you new in Nairobi or just passing by? Well, Nairobi is where it all happens. Filled with fun places and activities, here are some of the things you can do while in Nairobi as first captured by  Benjamin Muindi of Tuko News

10. PaintBall Fury

If you are looking for a great time with a group of friends this weekend, then paintball could just be the plan. At paintball fury, it will set you back KSh 800 for one-and-half-hours of play time. This price will come with safety goggles, paintball markers, and protectors.

9.  Animal Orphanage

If you love animals and would perhaps like to take a picture so close to a lion, then visit the Nairobi Animal Orphanage operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service. It will cost you only KSh 250 to walk around the orphanage located in Lang’ata – some 10 kms from the city centre. The orphanage is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm and could be an ideal place to walk around while having a conversation. This is also a great place to take children.

8. The National Museum

The museum is an ideal place to visit this weekend if you’re looking for more educational yet fun stuff to do. It will give you a more reflective time to examine the country’s history and the present. The museum offers discounted joint tickets that include admission to the Snake Park going at KSh 300 for adults and KSh 150 for children. The museum also has a night tour package.

7. GP Karting

If you are a parent, aunt/uncle, guardian, GP Karting is the place to go and bond. The climax is the adrenaline that comes when the family is racing against each other on the track. Imagine 10-year-old Henry beating dad to the finish line. How cool is that? Or 8-year-old Nancy winning her 15-year-old brother with best racing time. Awesome uh? GP Karting is great for mummies and daddies to hang out with the kids. GP Karting is located off Lang’ata Road, next to Splash. They will provide you with a helmet, a racing suit and a full driver’s briefing to get you going this weekend.

6. Cycling At Karura Forest

If you’d like to escape the madness of the city or your residential area and get into the thick of a forest on a track stretching 12 kms, this is the plan.  It will also get you back to fitness after a week of sitting down for too long at the office. You can hire bikes in the forest or still bring your own. Karura forest located off Kiambu Road is also ideal for running.

5. Nairobi Arboretum

The arboretum is located along State House Road and is ideal for that conversation you’ve been meaning to catch on with a friend or a group. You do not need to pay to walk into the arboretum.

 

4. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

For animal lovers again, this trust is an orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programme located along Magadi Road. It will only set you back KSh 500 to gain admission and children do not pay. This was the first spot John Kerry, US secretary of state, actually visited when he recently came to Nairobi. 

3. The Lang’ata Botanical Gardens

The recreational gardens are located about 20 kilometers from the city centre along Langata South Road near the new Kenya School of Law. The gardens can be accessed by public transport and private parking is available. While on the gardens, you can sample a variety of foods, or have a drink at the bar. You may prefer to have a walk or a picnic here. They also allow fishing.

2. Mamba Village

Mamba village is best known for its crocodile farm – it is estimated that there are 70 Nile crocodiles at the village and Maasai ostriches. There are several restaurants in the expansive area in Karen, about 13 kilometers from the city centre.

1. Rolfs Place

Rolf Place is only 25 minutes from the city centre on the eastern side of the Nairobi National Park. The place gives you a panoramic view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya and the Ngong Hills all from one point. There is an opportunity to view wild animals across the gorge. If you happen to spend the night there, the roaring of lions and leopards often pierce stillness of the night. The place is located on Masai Lodge Road off Magadi Road.