The F.O.M.O. Travel Show takes you to Meru this week


(Posted 11th June 2020)

It was a random Thursday afternoon when I got a call from a friend to come spend the weekend in Meru with them. I was bored and broke so a weekend break on someone else’s account sounded like the perfect remedy. I was told I could have the run of the hotel room as they would be in meetings all day and I could order room service!

She, (it was not that kind of weekend), said she would be back in time to partake of the remnants of the wine. Wine in Meru? I was slightly puzzled but didn’t give it much more thought.

Situated somewhat East on the slopes of Mount Kenya, Meru is the 6th largest urban center in Kenya complete with its own National Park, and is right on the Equator. It is infamous for speeding Miraa (Khaat) delivery trucks and matooke (plantain banana), as well as their more recognized export: very brown short women with fierce tempers. At least that is the information I managed to glean from helpful friends and neighbors.

As we rock into Meru town at sunset, slightly tanked from our hilarious drive down with a designated driver for safety of course, we blip through the town center into the residential areas, winding through back roads in the dark looking for the Alba Hotel, and on the way pass a series of lodges with one appropriately named The Threesome Hotel. I tried to think positive thoughts about our destination.

Therefore when we swooped into the Alba Hotel where we were to put up for the weekend, I was stunned. Full-frontal glass doors swung in to reveal high ceilings, lots of glass and modern décor, a stunning reception area with smiling alert staff. Our luggage disappeared in an elevator up to our room as we checked in, before we ourselves boarded the elevator to the second floor (such decadence) and went in search of the room number to match our key-card. Life is hard.

Room located, we swing open the door and squeal in delight. A good size enough to have room on either side of the very large bed for the luggage of two women, one with many pairs of shoes, and still have room to walk to your bed, upon which we eagerly flung ourselves to test its strength. I repeat, it was not that kind of weekend. For the record, the crisp white double cotton sheets and duvet, as well as the softly yielding spring mattress were a hit in my book.

Day two saw me snuggly basking in the sunlight on the balcony, looking at rolling hills of banana fields and the occasional town center in the distance. The air was clean and my room-mate had just phoned to say her meeting had ended early and should call up for red wine and pizza. Little did I know this would be the start of a “party like a rock-star” of epic proportions. Roomie and I were treated to room service being wheeled in on a properly livered cart, two for one pizza (with mushrooms and lots of cheese), and *gasp* proper wine glasses!

At this point, I interrupt my filming to do a tutorial on wine glasses for you my dear viewers, because I think it is time for a revolution. We should stand up for our rights and demand that establishments serve each type of beverage in their distinct glass, especially if you are going to charge premium price for the privilege of drinking their establishment. It is only right. There is a reason why wine glasses are supposed to have a full bowl with a narrow mouth, a long tapering stem, and be made of crystal. See the link the below if you want to know more.

The following 48 hours passed in a haze of very good “grape juice”, twerking on the boom-box and even a bottle of Jack Daniels that appeared curtesy of a young Learned Friend, who got slightly frightened by my ardent compliments on his young physique and politely excused himself in a manner that did not betray his escape after a few hours. We didn’t mind, he left the bottle behind so more for us. Another reason for the constant phone calls for room service was the voice of one of the waiters, John Ngoroge, who was Silky Smooth. A humble unassuming man with a killer sense of humor, his wine opening and pouring skills are un-matched, complete with crisp white cloth draped over the forearm. I have not had service like this since I was in Europe.

Sunday came and we had to leave, after contemplating whether to extend our stay until Monday morning. My hostess paid the shockingly large wine bill (I still shudder when I think about it) and got 2 more to go. I went down for breakfast and quenched my hangover on bacon, eggs, noodles, grilled vegetables, juice and yogurt. I also discovered that the hotel had a little pool! That is a plot for my return to the Alba Hotel.

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Watch this episode of The F.O.M.O. Travel show “Meru: Wine and Pizza” here:

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Rock On!

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