Directions and navigating maps, I am the worst. I prefer landmarks. Hurlingham is vast and has too many facilities branded Olive Gardens, but once they told me its right next to Nairobi Women Hospital, the rest was easy.
I recently attended a workshop there on the impacts of mercury in dental fillings. The debate was dense, matter of fact, denser that the mercury we sought to eliminate. It is for this particular feeling that we needed somewhere serene to retreat, somewhere new ideas descend freely without weighing down the soul. Like a feather.
We started off at Flamingo Hall and right there, in that large rectangular order of seats and tables, and the dark center, we felt too old for each other and tired. The windows were large and though they didn’t fail to illuminate, the ceramics below yearned for something more animated. Outside, in the vegetation, it was no secret that real birds were calling. The air was just perfect. Yet, why the enervation?
Let’s go back.
I had traveled 600 km the previous night, from Mombasa. I was wasted and needed a quick shower before running back into the workshop. I also needed a change of clothes, wearing the same ones I had traveled in was starting to feel outdated.
I rushed to the reception to check in. I met Mercy. She had sparkling eyes and they held me and led me to the lounge, onto a very deep couch to wait. I became keen, enough to view fine detail, the features and just how much workmanship had gone into the hotel. There were the usual innovations with glass-top tables, the ones with a woven frame. Abstract paintings and hard-wood paneling, state-of-art entertainment and WiFi. But there were bizarre flowers of wire and foil paper.
The entire facility was held within three floors. At the ground floor, where I sat and to whence the main gates had ushered to ample parking, then the lounge (have to repeat), a diner, two other conference facilities (Kiwi and Malibu) and of course Flamingo.
The bar is futuristic, in case you prefer something lighter and outdoor, there were bamboo diners for 4 surrounded by a compact landscaping. It desperately needed a pool. No, Nairobi is freezing, but some water with ducks, an aquarium maybe… my thoughts.
Finally, Mercy handed me the keys and put a butler at my disposal to command my luggage. Up we went. First floor, and every other floor, had deluxe rooms lined parallel to the lounge downstairs and the standard rooms intersecting at perpendiculars. I didn’t see much of deluxe, but Executive was incredible. Spacious key-entry and wall-to-wall upholstery.
The furniture was all fashioned to antiquity, not Olympian, more like Venetia but with “Olive Gardens” masterfully engraved, in gold. The queen-size bed was set a meter away from a large window through which the east wing of the facility and surrounding neighborhoods were an easy spectacle.
The bathroom was large; however, the tiles on the walls and floor, mirrors, lighting, the toilet seat and shower, towels, soaps and all the accessories weren’t peculiar, as if they needed Mercy’s sparkle. The high-tech shower heater was too much for novices and the manual on the mirror did little to help. There was every reason to rate the room a 3-star.
In disquiet, I headed out to dry… then boom! I had heard fairies of how steel could be molded into intricate pieces of art and although I came across lots of carvings, never a molded. I still believed in the actuality. Right there before my eyes_ a tap shaped from hot steel. Your faith has made thee well.
I stood there for 10 minutes and hours, later after the workshop. And if you shouldn’t judge a movie by its trailer, maybe you have to rummage through a boring intro, twisty endings and thrilling middles, and do it twice or thrice to finally nail a scene that knocks open the story and the movie is a blockbuster.
The tap, the silver lining around Olive Gardens, had restored proportionality to the rooms, potato crackers reclaimed their delicacy and so the abstract art, its depth. How courteous of the crew and suppose or indeed, the hotel management so committed to the use of genuine parts, beautiful things and safe systems… high quality, mercury-free for me and you. Wow!