TRAVELING TO NAIROBI IN STYLE AND ENJOYING THE GOOD LIFE
(Posted 27th December 2019)
(Uganda Airlines offers the most convenient departure times of any airline flying from Entebbe to Nairobi)
Travel from Entebbe to Nairobi has taken a new dimension since Uganda Airlines launched flights on the route and now already flies up to three times a day between Uganda and Kenya.
(Uganda Airlines’ ‘Atmosphere’ cabin of the CRJ900 which offers the best cabin baggage space of any aircraft in this class)
Convenient, user friendly departure times, combined with a state of the art aircraft, configured in a two class cabin layout of Business and Economy, has the airline swiftly gained market share on this hotly contested route.
What seems regular flight delays and cancellations by other airlines operating between Entebbe and Nairobi have seen passengers voting with their feet as they walked away from what were previously the only choices and gave their vote of confidence to their own newly relaunched national airline.
(Priority labelling for Business Class passengers ensures early baggage delivery on arrival)
Catering on board for the flights is also above average and meals served in Business Class outshine and out-taste those of the airline’s competitors by some margin, both in size and in quality.
(A typical breakfast being served in Business Class of Uganda Airlines)
Uganda Airlines’ CRJ900 aircraft offer 12 seats in Business Class and 64 in Economy Class and while for the short regional flights the seating in both classes is comfortable, can the seat comfort in Business Class not be overemphasised. Seating in Economy is configured in a 2×2 layout, two seats on each side of the aisle while in Business Class is the configuration 1×2, offering wider seats, deeper recline and a bigger fold out dining table.
By the look of it is the added value of flying in the front cabin being taken up by increasing numbers of travelers. Flying in C-Class allows for early or late boarding, as the passenger wishes but also for instant deboarding, once the door opens at the destination and in addition can a Business Class passenger check in two bags of up to 32 kgs in weight. Present fares stand at about double that of Economy Class and a return ticket from Entebbe to Nairobi and back costs 598 US Dollars, less than competitors charge. An Economy Class return ticket presently costs US Dollars 245, again the most competitive fare for the route – unless one wants to go Low Cost Carrier which requires payment and booking weeks in advance, with massive rebooking costs and only one piece of checked baggage up to 20 kgs only.
Business Class passengers of course are also more discerning when it comes to their hotel accommodation in Nairobi and with the range of 4 and 5 star hotels now available do they have a wide range of options.
ATCNews checked out Nairobi’s best 5 star luxury hotel, the Villa Rosa Kempinski which will no doubt appeal to the who is who from Uganda, the country’s captains of industry and the movers and shakers whose decisions in business, performing arts and politics shape what is happening in the Pearl of Africa.
Leading hotel booking platforms offer a rate overview on a daily basis and direct online bookings at the hotel too yield great returns for those savvy enough to use their smartphone or laptop to run a few web searches.
Already are the deluxe rooms of the hotel in a class of their own, more so when booking the Kempinski’s superior rooms or the executive balcony rooms but nothing in Nairobi at present matches the hotel’s business suites and premium suites (two bedrooms) which come with a separate bedroom and sitting room, the latter with an added work desk station. Coffee and tea making facilities are equally a class apart from everything else seen in the recent past when staying in 5 star hotels in Nairobi, a further testament to the quality guests can expect when staying at the Villa Rosa Kempinski.
Extra large towels, and plenty of those by the way, are as much a feature as are marble bathroom fittings and both bathtub and a wide shower cabin. A range of luxury amenities are available for guests, again in quality and range second to none in Nairobi at this point in time.
The Villa Rosa Kempinski’s two presidential suites on the top floor are second to none anywhere in East Africa right now, both in terms of size and in terms of luxurious furnishings, posh bathrooms and sitting rooms large enough to fit in at least three standard bedrooms from other hotels.
But it is not just the room size or the superior quality of furnishings a guest can expect at the Villa Rosa Kempinski but the entire package a guest gets for their money.
Several top rated restaurants, a cigar lounge, live music in the first floor lounge and a Western themed function room all spice up one’s stay. Lovers of good food can start their day already with a luxurious breakfast spread – Sushi choices included – and the breakfast chefs make the best Egg Benedict – in several variations – in Nairobi, which just earned an astonishing 11 out of 10 from East Africa’s foremost Egg Benedict expert.
Chinese, Arabian and Italian cuisine respectively feature high on the menus of 88, Tambourin and Lucca’s while the Cafe Villa Rosa is open for breakfast and all day dining, offering both buffet choices and an a la carte menu.
3 bars, popular meeting places and hangouts in Nairobi for the who is who in the Kenyan capital, make the choice of guests a bit of a challenge, but when staying more than just a night or two all of them can be explored and enjoyed, the K Lounge, The Balcony and Aquos at the poolside.
The Hotrod band plays 4 times a week at The Balcony, making the concept of in house ‘clubbing’ a reality without having to leave the premises.
A Spa with a multitude of treatment options and a gym equipped with top of the range work out machines round up the services the Villa Rosa Kempinski offers to their guests.
Of course are limousine services available from the hotel directly, a perfect value added service element for premium travelers who appreciate true five star service, from flying in the front cabin of an aircraft to the kind of hotel they choose to stay in.
Flying Business Class with Uganda Airlines and staying in a five star luxury hotel like the Kempinski in Nairobi go hand in hand, though two more articles will show that there are of course additional options available for visitors to Nairobi, where to stay in the3, 4 or 5 star hotel segment.
Whether visiting Nairobi on business or on leisure … Kampaleans who never traveled to the Kenyan capital or ever only spent a few days there might wonder what to expect or even ask what there is to do.
For one is the Kenyan capital also the regional food and cuisine capital with the largest number of restaurants in any city in the entire region and the widest variety of ethnic cuisine to be found. From takeaway to fast food and from African cuisine across the Americas – Mexican and Brazilian come to mind – to menus across Europe and Asia, no taste bud will remain wanting. Even the proverbial Haute Cuisine is available in Nairobi presented with a silver service as one would come to expect at that level. Besides the hotel restaurants at the Kempinski one might want to try the Mandhari at the Serena, The Chop House at the Radisson Blu Upper Hill or Nairobi’s top seafood restaurant, the Tamarind. Also recommended for a top level dining experience is the Sikia Fine Dining at the Crowne Plaza on Upper Hill as is the Lord Errol in Runda.
The city’s restaurants offer something for every pocket and taste and Kenya’s prime restaurant guide, EatOut, lists a staggering 2.384 eateries across the city and its environs. Listings are available in both alphabetical order but also in the order of popularity and even showing restaurants in locations nearby one’s hotel.
The site also gives readers that all important star rating of every restaurant – rankings generated from reviews of guests, in other words quite reliable.
Click on https://eatout.co.ke and make your choice, difficult as that may be given the sheer number of options.
There is, besides eating one’s way through the fancy tastes of America, Europe, Asia and beyond of course also the more conventional sightseeing. There are some unique places to be seen like the Giraffe Centre or the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, both near the national park. The Nairobi National Park is beckoning to discover rhinos and lions and much more. Walks are available in the protected Karua Forest and one can stroll through the Arboretum, an outdoor botanical garden where a wide range of birds can also be seen.
The National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi is no doubt the one with the widest range of exhibits in the region. During the racing season at the Ngong Race Course are races on every Sunday afternoon, Ngong being the only such facility in the entire Eastern African region.
Those interested in art exhibitions or theatre performances only need to check out Nairobi Now via https://nairobinow.wordpress.com and have the entire range of events for the coming days pop up on their smartphones or laptops.
And of course there is also golfing, and with over 6 highly ranked golf courses across the city and more in the environs, is Nairobi truly a location golfers would be very keen to explore. From the championship courses in Muthaiga and Karen to the Royal Golf Club and the Railway Golf Club right in the city and Windsor and Vet Lab a little further out are visitors spoilt for choice. Uganda Airlines is presently taking a golf bag as a second piece of checked luggage, leaving a traveler in Economy still with 23 kgs while Business Class travelers enjoy a 32 kgs allowance per suitcase.
So, flying with Uganda Airlines to Nairobi, given the affordable fares and convenient departure and arrival times, is opening new options for travelers.
Happy Landings and a Happy New Year as the end of the year is around the corner as this article is published.
And with New Year’s Eve in mind, why not hop on one of their flights and explore Nairobi and perhaps celebrate New Year there instead of doing that ‘same old same old’ in Kampala – after all, the Kempinski is holding one of East Africa’s most extravagant New Year’s Eve parties …
(www.Ugandairlines.com – Ready to take you places)
Link to part 1 of 3 of this article series: