The Hilton Nairobi began operations in Nairobi on December 17th, 1969 and was officially opened by His Excellency the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta – first President of the republic of Kenya. At inception, the hotel was the tallest building in Nairobi and was soon a haven for Kenya’s leading businessmen, leisure tourists and government officials who were its loyal patrons.
The hotel in its early years was the leading central base for inbound tourists seeking wildlife adventures within Kenyas’s famed game parks and reserves. Hilton soon expanded its portfolio and opened the Hilton Salt Lick Safari Lodge and the Hilton Taita Hills Lodge in 1973 (both located within the Taita Hills Sanctuary). Later in 1990 it opened the Hilton Safari Camp also located within the Taita Hills Sanctuary.
The lodges and camp were sold off in the new millennium ushering a new era for the hotel as it prepared to position itself as a leading business hotel catering to the ever growing population of mushrooming corporates and businessmen in the city. The hotel underwent an extensive 3 year $11 million dollar renovation program to mark its silver jubilee anniversary and has over the years undergone various structural improvements and changes keeping in line with preserving its rich vintage charm and elegance.
The hotel has hosted various celebrities over the years including the famous US actor Sydney Poitier, the sixth UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, famous Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, musician Sean Paul amongst many others.
Over the 5 decades of its existence, Hilton Nairobi has been known as a pioneer in the hospitality industry having set the standards for hospitality in the city. The hotel was the first hospitality company in Kenya to sponsor a leading sportsman in the country – the renowned safari rally driver known as Patrick Njiru.
As Kenya celebrates the return of the safari rally in Kenya in 2020 it is worth noting that Hilton was the home of the Kenya Safari rally for many years as the legendary Kenyan driver – Patrick Njiru would regularly park his famed Subaru rally car at the Hilton lobby during Easter season as an exhibition showpiece for guests.
The hotel was also the first property in the city to introduce the executive lounge concept for its V.I.P guests in 1994 (having conducted its extensive $11million renovation) and it was also the first hotel to create a leading pastry shop in the city known as the “Hilton la Patisserie”. This famous small outlet located at the Hilton arcade was renowned for its classic custom-made sandwiches.
The Hilton Nairobi today boasts 287 guest rooms, 3 restaurants, an American themed coffee shop, 2 bars (both indoor and outdoor) and a fully equipped gym facility with a spa and heated pool to cater for its enrolled members and in-house guests.
As you plan your next visit embrace the magic of Kenya, make it a point to experience this historic hotel.