A stylish staycation at Eden

Main House veranda.

The Main House veranda. 

Photo credit: Pool

A few years ago, my wife and I went for a stroll along the short nature trail at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi. As we skirted the southern boundary of the sanctuary, we peered through a chain link fence and admired an unusual wooden house within a grove of trees in a large garden.

We didn’t know it then, but we were looking into Eden Nairobi, an art-filled boutique hotel originally owned and styled by the fashion designer, Anna Trzebinski. Towards the end of 2022, the management of the hotel was taken over by the Hemingways Collection, and it is now known as Hemingways Eden.

We returned to the hotel last weekend, not to hide behind a fence and spy on it again, but to actually stay in one of its rooms. The main entrance to the property was easy to find, along the dusty Tumbili Road to the south of the Giraffe Centre.

Of the nine rooms available, three are in the Main House – a grand wooden structure originally built as a family home by the artists Tonio and Anna Trzebinski in 1992. The family’s work is exhibited throughout the main house and within all the other buildings across the property.

Before he was killed in 2001, Tonio focused on figurative and representational artwork, and his huge paintings are hung on the walls of the rooms and in the common spaces of the hotel.

Anna and Tonio’s children, Stanislaw and Lana, followed in their parents’ creative footsteps. Stanislaw is a talented artist based in Cape Town, and his nature-inspired sculptures are also dotted around Eden. Lana is a fashion designer and her clothes and accessories can be found alongside her mother’s designs in the on-site boutique shop.

The Main House is a work of art in itself, with a large open-plan living and dining area, and a wide verandah overlooking the mature garden. Its three rooms can be booked separately, or on an exclusive-use basis for large families and groups.

Across the lawn is another building known as the Studio Annex, where there are five more rooms. We spent the night in one of three Studio Lofts: double-storey rooms with a bed and an ensuite bathroom on the ground floor, and a spacious living area up a wooden staircase with views of the tree canopies outside.

 At the end of the Studio Annex are the Garden View and Forest View bedrooms, above another elegantly furnished living and dining area. Lastly, there’s the Artist-in-Residence Cottage – a charming standalone unit with its own kitchen and living space.

We spent much of our first afternoon lounging on a gazebo bed in a quiet corner of the garden before ambling up to the Egg Bar for a sundowner. The bar, sunken beneath dangling ostrich eggs, joins onto The Deck – Eden’s main restaurant – which is open to the public for lunch and dinner.

The Trzebinski family artwork is exhibited on the walls and scattered among the tables and couches here, too, and the restaurant looks out over a small lake. The food is international, with plenty of grilled meats, seafood, vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu.

After an Eggs Florentine breakfast the following morning, we made the short drive to the Giraffe Centre, and went for a walk in the adjacent sanctuary forest. As well as the other attractions nearby – including Nairobi National Park, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage, and the Karen Blixen Museum – Hemingways Eden offers a range of excursions around the city such as an Artist Community Tour in Kitengela, and a tour of Nairobi’s art galleries. You can also relax in the hotel’s grounds, of course, and enjoy a massage in the garden treatment room.

 For bookings and to learn more about the hotel, head to www.hemingways-collection.com.