The F.O.M.O. Travel Show this week takes you to Sun Africa’s Sovereign Suites in Limuru


(Posted 27th June 2020)

As far as presidential lodges go, I grew up near one in Makindye in Kampala Uganda. Therefore I was *actually* suitably impressed when I rocked up to Sovereign Suites in Limuru, a stately mansion of 14 grandly appointed rooms, conference rooms, gym, spa and sumptuous gardens. With a double gate.

I alighted out of my cab to find a beaming gentleman in a blue subtly-checked suit, who introduced himself as Mr. Peterson Njuguna, the hotel’s General Manager. He swept open the grand wooden doors to reveal lush walnut paneling everywhere that gleamed a warm honey gold, a large pristine chandelier anchored to the second-floor ceiling, and an impressive red-carpeted staircase, straight out of an Edwardian country home.

(A warm welcome awaits especially during the cold season in Nairobi)

The inner hall had intricately laid parquet flooring, Louis XVI chairs, more chandeliers and silver starburst mirrors. The sum of all the parts that you brought with you will surely be pampered whole in this place. Wrought-iron floor to ceiling French doors reveal a large veranda and an oblong pool below. A low crescent building, white with mirrors and glass, marks the gym.

Mr. Peterson, a jolly and well-informed man, tells me about the construction of the building in the early 70s, designed in the colonial style of architecture to mirror an English country estate, and destined to be the presidential lodge for Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, whenever he was in the historically important county of Limuru, which houses many other relics of Kenya’s colonial past like the Kentmere Club. With glee written all over his face, Mr. Petersen hands me the key to my room and tells me that I am going to fall in love with it. He led me through a sun-dappled wood-paneled corridor, unlocked the wrought-iron gate to the second floor, climbed the stairs, past the private sitting area under the sky-light and opened the door.

The room was richly outfitted, from the gleaming real mahogany polished floors, to the light white curtains billowing in the wind, the French “bureau” or writers’ desk that was definitely an antique of some considerable value. The Queen Anne armchairs with soft grey velour covering, and of course, the Ebony four-poster bed with a properly fitted mosquito net covered with blue fleur-de-lis silk pillows. If this sounds like flights of fancy to you, please feel free to watch for yourself in the link below.

(Some of the ‘deliriously delicious’ creations of the Executive Chef at Sovereign Suites)

On inspecting the rather gleaming bathroom the size of my living room, I find not only a shower large enough to fit two people with a rain-shower head, a bidet and a jacuzzi large enough for four. The thoughts running through my head would make the Kardashians blush.

The marble top sink counter had rounded edges and slim legs that prevented any accidental injury, and was fitted with an accoutrement of gels, creams and packages I didn’t really bother to inspect as I was still taking in the plush environment.

And then came the best part: the room next to the shower, adjacent to the four-door closet, was a private steam room. Clean and fitted with six bucket-type seats that none-the-less allowed one to lounge across fully, it came roaring to life with a promise of full heat and delicious steam. Needless to say, this kind of luxury should not be shared alone so plan your evening in advance with precision.

I had fully intended on being every inch the lady during my brief but sensory-overloaded stay, but the discovery of an i-pod dock and Choice FM’s playlist robbed me of all pretense of dignity. Luckily being on the top-most floor gave me an immunity from the ignoble act of being asked to turn the volume down. This is VVIP you see? So, I cranked it up to 11, re-filled my glass and sat in the steam until approximately the time when it is no longer considered sane to be dancing alone in your room. Which if you are a Captain like me is most definitely past Cinderella’s hour.

8 in the morning found me in the gym trying to coax my muscles into some kind of solid form. I failed. I therefore returned to my blue fleur-de-lis silk pillow for a quick power nap, before gathering my gear, donning my soldier persona once more, and consigning my Mara* wine induced, soul-cleansing steamy dream to the annals of a life lived “En Luxe.”

A night in The Flight Captain’s room (Room 401) costs $500.

For bookings:

Watch the full review here:

Class is born not bought.