What you need to know:
- There’s something very therapeutic about watching traffic from a distance, from the comfort of a calm hotel room.
- I do like Lavington, having lived there for 25 years, but it was nice to view it from a different perspective, with its daily commotion at arm’s length.
I woke up last Wednesday morning to a stillness I wasn’t used to. I opened the heavy blackout curtains by my bed and gazed down at a chaotic James Gichuru Road, busy with weaving boda bodas, work-bound pedestrians and a queue of cars.
But from where I stood, behind a huge double-glazed window on the third floor of The Social House, I couldn’t hear a sound.
There’s something very therapeutic about watching traffic from a distance, from the comfort of a calm hotel room — especially when you’ve sat in that traffic yourself for hundreds of hours. I do like Lavington, having lived there for 25 years, but it was nice to view it from a different perspective, with its daily commotion at arm’s length.
Lavington has transformed over the past few decades, and The Social House is one of the few welcome additions to its landscape. I first wrote about it before the pandemic hit early last year, and I was impressed by its smart but quirky design and its friendly, communal ethos.
So I was delighted when the hotel’s head of Marketing, Mourine Oloo, invited my wife and I back for a one-night staycation last week.
Our quiet room, or Bedroom as The Social House refers to it, followed a “triple S” theme: simple (easy to operate); stylish (natural tones, with splashes of bright colour); and smart (helpful and practical). There was nothing complex about it, and the app they’ve developed to access the room and interact with staff is certainly very smart.
Touch of retro style
Stylish is an appropriate word, too. Our room had tasteful modern fixtures including a wall-mounted TV stand with a scaffolding of metal pipes. On a shelf beneath the TV was an elegant gooseneck kettle, a copper cafetière and a sachet of in-house, freshly-roasted Kenyan coffee. A light-grey Smeg fridge added a touch of retro style, and we had the option of customising its contents with the hotel’s “pimp my fridge” service.
After settling in, I had a coffee with Mourine in The Living Room — a warmly-lit study area at the entrance of the hotel, where a metallic figure of a Maasai on a motorbike dangles from the ceiling. I told her that I was pleased that not much had changed at The Social House since my last visit. She said that this included their staff, all of whom had been retained since the outbreak of Covid and have been vaccinated.
The staff follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety of their guests, too — thoroughly cleaning, sanitising and sealing rooms for a week before they are available again for use. They’ve also introduced a few new packages, including “daycations”, allowing guests to book a room to work or relax in from 8am to 5pm.
And their Balcony Bedrooms overlooking the swimming pool have been converted into private meeting spaces, which can be exclusively booked like their other creatively designed event spaces.
Although ours was a midweek stay at the hotel, there was a lively atmosphere at Inca, the Peruvian rooftop restaurant where we enjoyed a sundowner. And our choice for dinner, The Other Room, also had an unexpected buzz to it.
Our waitress, Catherine, really helped us navigate the menu, and she recommended that we share a mezze platter, cheese tequenos, a four-cheese pizza and a side of fried plantain. It was all delicious, and we headed up to our room full and looking forward to a quiet night’s sleep.
If you’d also like book a room for a relaxing escape, or as an alternative workspace, head to www.thesocialhouse.ke; email [email protected]; or call 0709 216 000.