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Karen Gables

Karen Gables: Our full report

Karen Gables is a characterful, Cape Dutch style boutique hotel, situated in the quiet Nairobi suburb of Karen.

With expansive gardens and river frontage, this is a tranquil place to relax away from the hubbub of the city centre.

Just a 30-minute drive from both the international and domestic airport, Karen Gables is conveniently located for short stays in Nairobi. It was originally built as a private house and the owner still lives onsite, as a result it feels very homely and welcoming. This is the antithesis of many of the larger, international hotels in Nairobi.

Karen Gables has just seven rooms, four Standard Rooms (of which there is one single, one twin, and two doubles), two Suites and one Master Suite. All the rooms are beautifully furnished with wooden beds and wardrobes, and the majority have comfy seating and writing desks too. The main difference between the room types is the size; both junior suites are larger and have TVs, while the Master Suite also has a private lounge with its own fireplace. All rooms are en-suite, with a toilet, shower and a single wash basin, although a several of rooms have a bathtub too.

The communal areas at Karen Gables are quite expansive, spread across the main house and gardens. There are several cosy seating areas, from the main lounge with its high ceiling and wood burning fire, to the first floor TV lounge with selection of DVDs, or the shady veranda and pool bar. Inside there is a grand dining area with a beautiful wooden table capable of seating eight or more guests, while outside you can find a large solar heated swimming pool. We particularly liked the tiered gardens, which were full of mature trees and provided plenty of shady spots to relax with a good book.

Most people typically only spend a night in Nairobi, but with a bit more time you can easily get out and explore the city. Popular options include visiting Nairobi National Park, the Giraffe Centre, or possibly the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage (must be pre-booked).

Our view

Small, high quality, owner run hotels are somewhat of a rarity in Nairobi, and Karen Gables fills this niche nicely. We love the home from home atmosphere and this a fantastic option for a night or two before or after your safari.

Richard Trillo

Richard Trillo

Country manager: Kenya


Nairobi, Kenya
Ideal length of stay
Spend one or two nights here to explore Nairobi at the start or end of your safari.
Karen Gables is around a 30-60 minute drive from both the international and domestic airports.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
When we last stayed here we thought the food was very good; do not expect fine dining, but it was fresh, tasty and plentiful. Karen Gables is normally booked on a bed & breakfast or half board basis, with breakfast consisting of a selection of fruit, bread and cereals with hot items to order. Dinner is either two or three courses. We started with butternut soup, followed by roast chicken served with rice and seasonal vegetables, this was followed by raspberry ice cream with a warm chocolate brownie.
Dining style
Mixture of group dining and individual tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Room service is possible on request
Drinks included
Drinks are extra cost, with soft drinks costing around $3, or a beer or glass or wine around $6.


Attitude towards children
Karen Gables accepts children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions
Special activities & services
There are no specific facilities for children, although there is a good sized pool and selection of DVDs in the first-floor lounge.
Generally recommended for children
Good for children of all ages, although we advise supervision around the swimming pool.


Water supply

Health & safety

Medical care
Staff are first aid trained and there is a first aid kit onsite. For anything more serious it is only a short drive to a local hospital.
Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Security measures
There is security in place 24 hours a day.
Fire safety
Fire extinguishers are dotted around the property


  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching


  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Elephant encounter

    Elephant encounter


Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
A laundry service is included in the price.
There are electronic safes in all rooms
Accepted payment on location
Karen Gables accepts payments by cash or card. All major cards are accepted, with the exception of American Express.

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