The ‘staycation’ concept is quite new to me. Even newer is the idea of a ‘working staycation’ – renting out a hotel room for a bit of peace and quiet to get some work done. Having worked at home for the past few months, (with a needy German shepherd and no suitable office) I can really appreciate the value of a comfortable space to work in with few distractions. I found such a space last week — the Reata Apartment Hotel, on the outskirts of town, on Ralph Bunche Road.
This is the first time that an apartment hotel has featured in this column. In truth, after I was invited to stay the night last Thursday, I wasn’t sure how good a fit Reata would be for Going Places. But it didn’t take me long to learn that Reata functioned like any other city hotel. It’s not simply a block of serviced apartments, but an apartment hotel, and that distinction is key.
Guests have access to a range of amenities beyond those within their apartment, including two good quality restaurants, a swimming pool and a gym. The accommodation ranges from one to three-bedroom apartments, spread across three blocks. I was put up in a cosy one-bedroom suite on the top floor of the main block.
It had everything I’d need if I were a long-stay guest — a fully equipped kitchen with an oven and a fridge, a widescreen TV with DSTV in a stylish living room, a hot shower, and a comfortable bedroom with a queen-size bed. With a speedy Wi-Fi connection and no hyperactive dog to look after, it was ideal for my working staycation, too.
After settling in, I was led on a tour of the property by Reata’s head of Digital Marketing, Wangeci. We explored the Siana Terrace and the Bamboo Restaurant below it, serving international cuisine. We then wandered over to the other blocks and looked round the meeting rooms – a ground floor room with space for six (socially-distanced), and a large conference room on the top floor with an adjoining terrace.
The décor throughout Reata is largely earthy and African, and a collection of musical instruments fashioned from twisted pieces of wood really caught my eye in the stairwell.
Wangeci introduced me to Reata’s staff as we walked around, all of whom have been vaccinated, and many of whom have worked at the property for a long time. She told me they’ve hosted some guests for many years, too, including one who had been there for seven years.
We ended our tour at the poolside Mianzi Restaurant, where I later returned for dinner with Reata’s owner, Muthoni Kuria.
Mianzi is Swahili-themed with a wide range of authentic Swahili dishes. Main courses included a variety of biryanis, pilaus, curries and plenty more. There were lots of tempting options on the breakfast menu, too, including ‘mahamri na mbaazi za nazi’ (hollow doughnuts with dry pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk), and ‘vibibi’ (sweet, soft pancakes made from a rice and coconut batter).
I had a great chat with Muthoni, who sat with me till she had to head home across town before curfew. She told me all about the history of Reata, and how they’ve had to adapt through this difficult Covid period. She has owned the property for almost 20 years now, having bought it as far back as 2002.
I got the impression from her as I did from Wangeci, that there was a genuine sense of family within the team at Reata. It’s a very welcoming place, and I’m sure I’ll head back soon for another working staycation, or a more leisurely Swahili lunch.
For more information and bookings, head to www.reata.co.ke, or call 0716 030710.
The restaurants are open to the public and can be found on all the main delivery apps.
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