The F.O.M.O. Travel Show explores Villa Rosa Kempinski’s 5 star luxury


(Posted 04th September 2020)

The day I got the call I could barely sleep I was so excited. For the last 2 years, every time I drove down Waiyaki way in Westlands and passed the dusky rose-colored building, I would promise myself and God that one day I was going to stay there, one way or another. Lo and behold last Saturday, I found myself at the gates of Villa Rosa Kempinski, being sanitized and making a modest attempt at a grand entrance.

Diamond cut glass walls and burnished mirror covered pillars greeted me as I traversed the plush foyer to the reception, with swanky African and international business people speaking in hushed tones in deep chairs on the raised oval dais covered in a thick plum carpet with swirly gold designs. More rectangular Swarovski crystal design standing lamps around the dais cast a warm sparkling glow in the air, the color almost akin to a glass of late harvest sparkling white wine.

Check in was fast and efficient, and a stewardess in a red suit and smiling eyes behind her COVID mask, showed me to the elevator, sanitized her hands, scanned my key inside before pressing the button for the 8th floor. One cannot go past the ground floor without a key-card.

After walking through what appeared for the first time to be an endless lattice of corridors, we get to my room, number 847, an Executive Balcony Bedroom. Cool duck egg blue, eggshell and taupe color schemes gave this en-suite double-bed room the appearance of something out of the latest Home and Garden magazine. Effortlessly elegant, it offered all the amenities and more, including provisions for HDMI and USB ports in the wall to connect laptops to the TV for video conferencing in your room, and a phone intercom extension in the water closet, because very important people need to be reached at all times I guess…

But the test of a truly great hotel room comes when you turn out the lights. And to borrow from the current colloquial proverb: O.M.G! That bed, is quite literally, the most comfortable bed I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping in my long and illustrious career as a traveler. The sheets were cool and silky, sliding over your legs with a sensuousness that is too decadent to describe if this article is to remain PG13. The duvet was light and fluffy duck down-feathers, and the pillows sunk like butter but yet were firm enough to support the head through a deep dreamless sleep. The double-glazed balcony doors and heavy back-coated curtains ensured that noise from the highway was reduced to a barely discernable hum which could have been confused for the complimentary minibar that I thankfully discovered late in my stay.

This level of attention to detail carried through to Lucca restaurant, where I discovered that there are indeed places that have perfected the art of gourmet food with a homely flavor. This my dear readers, is the holy grail of the culinary arts, the ability to make strong yet light food, that has you emptying the dizzyingly delicious bread basket in order to wipe up the last of the sauce from your plate. Lasagna layered with a béchamel sauce so smooth it complemented the rich tomato sauce inseparably like butter and jam. And it was not heavy at all. The Gamberi alla griglia quiona (lemon prawn with quiona) was a revelation. I loved the cracked wheat flavor of the quiona which functioned as a healthier alternative to rice and other starches.

Sunday brunch was an event in itself, with everything from antipasti to satay and sushi. Prosecco flowed generously and the busy waitresses always had time for a smile and a giggle. Lucca restaurant manager Godliver needs a medal just for being her. She reminds me of the nice matrons in boarding school, who were marginally older than you and therefore knew what you were up to but reprimanded you without telling on you.

Chef Jane was always on hand to cuddle cute babies in between making an 11/10 soft eggs benedict. I cracked the secret ingredient by the way. Watch the video in the link below to see what it is. And Executive Chef Manoj Aswal benignly patrolled the whole tag-team operation, dishing out jokes like they were going out of fashion. No wonder the food here tastes so good.

Monday morning brought the sobering effects of a new week with the cushioning that comes with life on the 8th floor of Kempinski, hoteliers since 1897. Slinking out of that gorgeous bed that I tried to maximize on for as long as I could and into the square rain shower, I kitted up and hit the gym for all of 5 min, before gratefully showering again in preparation for my half hour long deep tissue massage. A sweet little Indonesian lady came and offered me light ginger, elderflower and honey tea to stimulate my circulation, before leading me down a dimly lit corridor, and ushering me into a small bergamot scented room with flickering candles and ambient music that would make any good goth proud. What she did to me demonstrated how truly messed up my posture is, going so far as to correctly diagnose on which side I normally carry my bags and my cameras. I was taken aback. This woman has powers! She told me I need to come back for a few more sessions. I am hoping management takes note. *wink*

Properly kneaded like dough from my toes to my neck, the face is currently off limits during this pandemic, I walk like jelly to the steam room where I further melt for a quarter an hour, shower again, and walk to my room pores openly steaming and blood singing, to pack my bags, say my thank you and goodbyes, and head back to Command Post.

The Executive Balcony Bedroom costs $330* per night and the 2 Bedroom Premium Suite where the F.O.M.O. TRAVEL SHOW interview with Cluster General Manager Roberto Simone was filmed goes for $5,000* per night.

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To watch The F.O.M.O. Travel Show Episode 40 Villa Rosa Kempinski dreams: