Of Christmas trees and festive menus in Nairobi hotels

Christmas tree

A Christmas tree made from 25 kilos of recycled newspaper copies and re-used wood platforms at Movenpick Hotel & Residences Nairobi lobby on December 7, 2022.

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

A few Kenyans have started decorating their Christmas trees, signalling the start of the festive season. If you are wondering how best to decorate your tree, take a cue from Nairobi’s five-star hotels — go bold!

According to tradition, Christmas trees and decorations should go up on the first day of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This year, it fell on Sunday, November 27, 2022. But you are not too late.

Recently, Safari Park Hotel and Casino, Fairview Hotel, Radisson Blu Nairobi Upper Hill, Sarova Stanley, Mövenpick Residences Nairobi and Park Inn by Radisson, treated guests to the joyous Christmas tree lighting and listening to carols.

Frost spikes hang off the trees. The pine sweet smell of the tree ghosts through the air. The silver flash of tinsel glitters.

While the Christmas tree is a lot of things to different people, perhaps many of us miss out on its deeper significance. To some, it reminds us of childhood, to others it has a religious connotation, while for some it is just a way to show off to our Christmas dinner guests how good we are at decorating.

Christmas tree lighting is one of the most-awaited traditional rituals in some households as well as hotels and cafes. The hotels, just like homes, have different tree sizes, colours of balls and ribbons.

It was the first time Safari Park Hotel was hosting a tree-lighting event. It has a huge tree, a lighting ceremony that came complete with guests enjoying a buffet, and partying at the club that featured Christmas drinks.

“As we usher in the holidays we are hosting our first Christmas tree lighting ceremony to celebrate this festive season. We are reminded of a child who taught us to care for the poor and the marginalised, and those who are different from ourselves and for that we want to thank the customers,” said Japhlet Kimathi, Safari Park general manager.

At Fairview Hotel Nairobi, they invited the famous Redforth Chorus to sing Christmas carols, in an event held in the garden before they launched the menu for this festive season.

“We are thrilled to be kicking off the holiday season with more sparkle than ever before. This event gave us an excellent opportunity to introduce the holiday menu and illuminate the hotel with Christmas lights,” said Bruce Potter, general manager of Fairview, during the Christmas tree lighting.

Radisson Blu Hotel also ushered the Christmas season by lighting the tree and a glimpse of what they will serve this season. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony was filled with festive performances by the Upper Hill High School choir.

General manager Russel Storey said while some Christmas traditions and festivities were toned down during the pandemic, this year is a clear reflection of people moving past the Covid-19 gloom and will be celebrating the festivities in hotels.

“It is such a pleasure to see the hospitality industry come back to life after two difficult years. I am delighted to be part of this magical ceremony that brings together families and the community to usher in the festive season,” he said.

A majority of the city hotels are targeting families looking for staycation packages, or Christmas and New Year dinners and brunches.

Park Inn by Radisson held their tree lighting cocktail event at their Attic rooftop bar.

General manager Dominic Prendergast said, “If you plan to spend the festive season in the city, we have prepared a vibrant and fun festive calendar themed 'The Festive Cheer’.”

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This article was first published in the Business Daily.

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