Day 11: Eka Hotel
Between picking up the shoot items in Westlands and picking up my ride or die (Xena) from home, I found myself running late by an hour! I ended up leaving my house at 1:00pm for a meeting that was scheduled for midday. Luckily, there was almost no traffic all the way from Lenana Road to Mbagathi Way and finally the Southern Bypass. It was as clear as the turquoise Aegean Sea in Santorini. However, just as I was celebrating my luck, I missed the turning to Mombasa road and found myself back on the Southern Bypass headed to Langata!
I find it rude and inconsiderate when people don’t respect my time so obviously, I was not proud of myself. However, I have this annoying habit where I try to squeeze so much within a limited amount of time, juggling fifty million balls at one go. Inevitably, some of them end up dropping. One of my new year’s resolutions is to learn how to be realistic with my time without feeling like I will miss out on an opportunity.
I had called Ruth our host earlier on to inform her of our lateness. She wasn’t available to speak. I was informed that she had stepped out for an ad hock meeting but had left her colleague Wycliffe in charge. I then called Charles my photographer who by the way had arrived at the venue ten minutes before time. I apologised profusely. He said it was ok and that I should get there in one piece. Not once, in his one and a half hours of waiting did he call me to find out how far I was. I find his ability to remain calm in the thickest of storms incredible. It’s no wonder my daughter Xena took to him with ease at the age of two and half years when he started doing her shoots. All the same, I was convinced that something or someone really interesting was keeping him busy.
Xena had fallen asleep immediately she got into the car, so I drove in silence for half an hour. The only noise was the intermittent voice from my google map app as I navigated my way to Eka Hotel. At the parking lot, the hotel’s concierge was quick to come to my help just as I was popping the car’s boot open to reveal a suitcase and a small travel size bag.
“Good afternoon madam. Checking in?” He asked with a cheerful smile.
“Oh no no no. I wish we were though!” I exclaimed.
He picked the bags from the boot and as I locked it, he lifted his gaze towards me before walking away with my luggage. He was tall and burly, like someone who plays rugby. I imagined he must have been confused as to why anyone would walk into such an establishment with two bags just to have coffee at the deck. So, I offered an unsolicited explanation.
“I am here to experience your services as I conduct a photo shoot.” I said to him.
“Wonderful.” He said as he urged us to follow him to the lobby. “I hope you have an amazing time.”
“If everyone else is as warm and striking as you, we will undoubtedly be glad we came.” I teased him. He blushed.
“Is this a hospital?” Xena asked as she trotted behind.
“No baby, this a hotel.” I said as I desperately tried to suppress a laugh.
From the upper parking on the back side, one is met with the view of a white three storey structure with a touch of grey on some of the pillars, colours subtle enough to be on hospital walls. I found her reasoning quite brilliant.
Our luggage was received at the lobby and we proceeded to scan the place hoping to find Charles. With its curvy mid-century long back couches and marble-topped tables resting on a plush carpet, the lounge exuded warmth. It’s the kind of place I would want to have coffee with my boss as he goes over my performance appraisal. It is also the perfect spot to have a candid conversation with a friend without the interruption of boisterous charter or music.
After dropping our bags at the front office desk, we walked past the dining area which was packed to the brim with guests who were putting up at the hotel. I don’t know if the hotel has any struggles but I am pretty sure low occupancy rates is not one of them! We stepped out to the terrace overlooking the poolside. It was a beautiful outdoor section with black and brown modern-day papyrus kind of couches donned with thick white cushions. A gazebo provided much-needed shade from the scorching sun. I made a mental note to send a picture to my girlfriends asking them when we could hang out at that spot. Perfect ambience for a sundowner. It would help if one booked in advance given that it’s a small intimate space with only two seating spots.
I stood at the edge taking in the view of the pool from my elevated point. Xena was busy taking out and counting these colourful pebbles that sat inside a clear glass bowl with water. Just as I was thinking of calling Charles, he appeared armed with his massive camera. He was tweaking it while wearing this serious face like he was on assignment for Nat Geo. I walked over to him and as we exchanged greetings, I asked to see what he was looking at on his camera. Turned out he had kept himself busy shooting various parts of the hotel while we had been busy getting lost on the Southern Bypass.
At 2:00pm, the restaurant had emptied out so we walked in to have our meal. It was a buffet whose offering was paraded in two sections, the cold stuff in one corner and the hot meals stretching from one end of the restaurant to the other. I had the most delectable mutton curry with roasted chicken, some rice, chapati and this delightful mix of green red and yellow pepper with raw cabbage and grated coconut. Xena the picky eater had a piece of whole fish with mango and cucumber salad, three pieces of bhajia and a passion fruit. What a waste. Charles and his assistant Njenga still had room for dessert, Charles going for tropical fruits and Njenga a cocktail of pastry and cakes. Just as we were winding up, Ruth showed up, beat from Nairobi’s merciless heat and unforgiving traffic. She was pleasant and smiled as she asked after us.
Once our appetites were sated, it was time to get down to business. We did our first shoot in room 420, a minimalistic designed room with shades of brown and white and a snuggly queen size bed. The bedside lamps cast a wonderful orange glow on the brown headboard.
I slipped into my second outfit, a classy dinner dress with gold heels and picked the bar as the perfect spot. It’s an open space in the middle of the hotel with tall bar stools a ledge and a charming mixologist. They also have a bar deck right outside, another great spot for a sundowner with friends.
Afterwards, we headed to the pool side. A tall white man with enviable biceps was having the time of his life as he cut through the waters in breast stroke mode. It was still hot and I wished I could dive into the pool instead of posing besides it for photos.
“Mama, did you carry my swimming costume?” Xena asked, echoing my thoughts.
“Sorry Xena, today we are on duty not vacationing.” I said.
“Ok. I am ready, Charles.” She said while striking her signature pose.
Shortly after, Charles and I headed to the gym as the sun was beginning to set. Ruth had left with Xena a few minutes before that.
“We will be at the lounge.” She had said to me.
“Thanks for offering to keep her company. I hope you are ready for 365 questions.”
As I was doing the gym shoot, I worried that Xena was exhausted and had probably stretched on one of the chaise lounges in deep sleep. But when I walked into the lobby, I could hear her small but loud voice before I could even see her. She was doing what she loves best, telling endless stories interspersed with “and then”. I felt sorry for Ruth. But from the smile on her face, she seemed to be enjoying her new friend’s company.
“Do you have a child?” I asked her.
“Yes, a five-year old son.” She said as she proceeded to show me a photo of this gorgeous mixed-race boy with curly hair and a smile as beautiful as his mom’s. He was a heartbreaker.
We said our goodbyes. The crew carried their equipment to their car while Xena and I dragged our bags to ours, but not before taking one last photo at the entrance.
Thank you to the staff at Eka Hotel for going out of their way to ensure we had a pleasant time. Judith, Wycliffe and Ruth. You were amazing. Today, one of you will win a dinner for two at Eka Hotel’s galaxy restaurant worth Ksh 5,600.
- Go to Eka Hotel’s Instagram page and follow them.
- Comment on Eka Hotel’s most recent photo on Instagram (one of me in their room) saying why you deserve to win that voucher.
- Drop a comment on this post with the word “done” just so that I can track the participants.
- Subscribe to my blog and follow my Instagram account.
The winner will be announced here and on Instagram on Sunday at 3:00pm.
Best of luck!