The rich are different, from me and you that is. So different that how they burn their money (like banks on fire) can make the poor weep. Picture this. The Royal Penthouse of the President Wilson Hotel goes for $80,000. That is roughly Sh6.8 million a night. And sometimes it’s over booked!
Let us come back to earth in Kenya where there are also pricey places attracting Hollywood stars like Bruce Wills and Angelina Jolie. Indeed, billionaire Sir Richard Branson and the eccentric soccer manager Jose Mourinho have jeted here for holidyas.
Okay, when you really get seriously rich, here are Kenya’s exclusive places for you to sample and feel lucky far from the madding crowd:
1. Sirai House
One of the most exclusive lodges in Kenya. Situated in Laikipia, it offers access to some Kenya’s natural attractions; Mt Kenya, Lake Bogoria and the Rift Valley. For a week, a group can part with up to $50,000(Sh4.3 million). It is mostly accessed by flight, 50 minutes from Nairobi and upon landing you will be driven for 30 minutes for you access the lodge. The minimum stay is three nights and the house is available for booking all year round. Doubles up as a conservancy. You can your breakfast as a buffalo beckons in the background. The ranch also offers game drives, horse riding and walking safaris.
2. Ol Jogi, Laikipia Plateau
Snoozing your night off here will set you back $30,000 (Sh2.6 million) inside this 58,000-acre ranch in Laikipia Plateau, 225 kilometres out of Nairobi. If in a group, a maximum of 14, each individual will pay $2000 (Sh172, 000) for the same before enjoying horse riding to massages, swimming pools the following day.
3. Shompole Eco-Lodge
Located in the Nguruman escarpment in the Great Rift Valley, the hotel prides itself for eco-tourism. During peak seasons, nightly rates are $2,225(Sh191,000) and an extra $795 (Sh68,000) for every extra person. Just so you know, this is where Bill Gates, then the world’s richest man came to stay when he came to Kenya in 2006. Shompole was named the ‘Best Honeymoon Destination in the World’ by Britain’s Conde Nast Traveller magazine.
4. Mt Kenya Safari Club
Certainly, one of the biggest names in the industry. The presidential suite goes for $1,200 (Sh103,000) a night, but during Christmas the hotel charges a flat rate of Sh1m per family for a week or so.
5. Kizingoni Beach, Lamu Island
An individual here parts with $1,400 (Sh120, 000) a night during peak seasons. Die Hard actor Bruce Willis and British rock star Mick Jagger are some of the names you might find in their visitor’s book.
6. Tijara Beach
Overlooking the Indian Ocean the Tijara Beach is an exclusive romantic getaway where you kiss ($1, 041) Sh90,500 goodbye every night while viewing the beach in a private cottage.
7. Tafari Castle and Country Lodge in the Aberdares
It is the latest entrant into this business of exclusivity. Its Old House will cost you Sh78,000 this Christmas.
8. Rusinga Island Lodge, L. Victoria
A double room goes for Sh29,000 onwards and it comes with a reasonable package, but not every Tom, Dick, Harry and Opicha can afford.
9. Che Shale, Malindi
It is 30 minutes from Malindi at the Kenyan coast. It is built using renewable materials such as Casaruina trees, palm trees, doum trees palms, coconut fiber, mango wood and other local woods. No plastics. The furniture is crafted to give a natural setting. It is ideal for those seeking quietude at Sh13,000 per night with sea food is the upwards of Sh2, 000 a plate. Che Shale is in really where the guilty rich go to feel poor while enjoying the best kite surfing beach in East Africa.
10. Sovereign Suites:
Aristocratic colonial building with 16 suites (three Presidential), a private Jacuzzi, a pent-house with a fitted steam bathroom in Kenya’s first boutique hotel…for Sh30,000 a night! in Red Hill, Limuru where Dikdiks, porcupines, wild pigs and birds can be seen come early morning. Sovereign Suites sits on six acres in what was the private residence of the late Kenya’s spy chief James Kanyotu.
Christmas in the village
The Christmas script in the village is constant.
A family needs two packets of wheat flour that go for Sh260 and a kilo of beef for Sh400.
However, some hapless chicken or cock is mostly hacked to death, depending on guests. If there are some from the urban centres, some domesticated animal will meet its fate. Well-to-do families have a penchant for goats.
On average, barring the cost of the goat, an average Christmas costs anything between Sh1,000-2,000. If augmented by the working sons and daughters, the crates of soda or more tea that might shoot the cost upwards.
Those whom Christmas forget
There is a class of Kenyans to whom Christmas is no big deal. They will spend their time in drinking dens and bargaining for hooves, ulimi ya ng’ombe and roast goat heads.
Ulimi and other ‘body parts’ middle-class Nairobians frown costs between Sh10-20. Such bitings accompany lethal cheap liquor costing the hapless fellow less than Sh 100. But the generosity and the camaraderie of such dens is better than a dysfunctional middle-class family hanging out in a shopping mall.