Minni Inn Ltd., Embu

There was this management workshop for a gazettable paper which made us book rooms @ Embu’s Minni Inn. The place itself is very basic, but compared to my new flat in Embu downtown it is pure luxury. Things are a little bit different over here. Whereas Nairobi ppl would be spoilt enough to expect certain things, Embu standards are orientated on the rural comfort, meaning: anything that exceeds fetching water from the river is considered luxury.

SANY9132

A perfect example for the typical kenyanesque overstatement is that they’ve put huge tv sets in each room – despite the fact that there’s really poor reception of tv signals (at least) in this part of Embu. “Please do not try to adjust tv channels” it says on the room information.

SANY9128 SANY9129

In the very same room you’ll find a broken toilet seat and one of those italian water heaters (!!) installed on the shower which – of course – is out of order. A brand new tv set and poor sanitational facilities? Now how does that match?

SANY9134

And the best part was this array of nails on a piece of wood – nailed to the middle of the wall BEHIND the bed which was supposed to be some sort of coat hooks. Aterere….

The first night all guest were woken up at 1 am and 3 am but loud noises coming from the Bar area. Since the Bar officially closes down at 11 pm, it was obvious that the watchman would be the one to be blamed: an old askari who doesn’t speak English and who turned up the volume of the installed tv set (+ poor signal reception!) in order to stay awake and get some entertainment.
The first night we prayed for a power failure and things eventually settled at 3.30 am, the second night the noises came back and so I went to the Bar at 4 am and found this old askari sitting there like a dumb sheep. “Kelele…..mbaya….na hakuna maji”. When I woke up at 4, there was no water in the whole place. How come? The hotel has 4 huge containers and a ferrocement tank but the pump is a little bit faulty and needs to be continously switched on and off in order to work. The guy in charge of that (who??) apparently forgot to take care of it.

“Station under new management” – one often reads this marketing slogan on petrol stations. I wish this could be applied on Minni Inn as well. With the right management and some more diligence / speed by the employees, this place could rock. But instead they prefer to let themselves go. Ok ok, they have never been to places like The Grand Regency, Serena, Hemingway’s (the toilets!), etc etc to see what’s possible, and no one expects a middle class hotel to offer the same luxury as a 4 star Hotel. However, there are a few things that just require little amounts of money and some time in order to make guest feel very welcome.

Minni Inn Ltd., Embu

single room 250/= Kshs.
single room (self contained) 500/= Kshs.
double room (self contained) 1.000/= Kshs.

06-10e-007

One of the few moments when people are brought together in unity (watching soccer :-).

06-10e-005

Ugali, fried potatoes and nyama, nyama, nyama…..

06-10e-006

…you eat nyama all day long and end up longing for such a plate full of vegetabooools na fruits.

My wonderful colleagues have found a nice flat/room for me in Embu for 3.500/= /month. Very secure, with a nice view on Embu. The previous tenant has been a Somali who slept on the floor and who left the place covered with rubbish when he moved out. Did he get his deposit back? If you do this in Germany, your landlord will track you down and kick your butt until it really hurts. Since the place is so popular with Embu folks, the landlord wouldn’t have probs renting it out so cleaning is a matter left to the next tenant. Which would be me.

17 comments » Write a comment

  1. I actually know the owner of this hotel. I haven’t been to it in a while though. I should let him know certain things need fixing quick! Any other things you noticed about the place that could be better?

  2. @egm: Yes, there should be a sign which shows the way to the rooms + some illumination of the compound so that one doesn’t fall down due to holes in the tarmac.
    Actually, there are quite a few things that any person from Nbo might realize within 2 minutes that could be improved if only the staff of that place could be a bit faster and sharing their own ideas/contributions.

    For instance, upon arrival I asked for another room and the lady in charge @ the reception told me “it is ovaaaa there”…wrong direction. The key she gave me was for a room next to the reception and when I opened the door, a coackroach smiled into my face and I quickly decided to stick to my old room.

  3. Woiyee poel my friend for the unsettling first two days at Minni Inn ( I wonder what Minni stands for?) but huko ni chags , so to be expected ama? Well Jke, seems like it is not all that bad huh, That food looks tamu and cheap too I presume. That would cost me around $15 bucks and even more at Safari DC. Hey do the rooms have mosquito nets? :-)
    Well Kikuyu, I think you have too much expectations,looks like the folks there have not made enuff kelele for management to make things better or have they? P.S Does he have any competitors nearby, coz that would prompt him to improve the facility but if he is the only one running the show down there then I’m sure he will be in no hurry to fix stuff.
    Anyway Pal, all the best and make the best out of it..Looking forward to more of Embu and photos of its environ. Any chance that you will take a trip to Karatina or Nyeri whilst you are there or other interesting places, i.e Nanyuki?

  4. I kinda love Embu town. There is one fine hotel there. Its funny how sanitational problems are not taken care of in hotels. laughed at the pics though

  5. Great story… would it cost too much to have a hotel that is clean in rural Kenya… ama its like someone said noone has raised beef? But life is soo much simpler in those smaller towns… I wouldnt mind living there. I wonder tho, if after living in Ujeremani, if you are suffering culture shock? Do tell….

    cheers, and thanks for visiting us :)

  6. Talk about memories. Yaani I think I’m in for a big culture shock when I finally go back home to visit. I’m getting too used to the American conveniences. Great pictures!

  7. tststs, anja, better get A REAL JOB instead of lingering around all over! – hm, or better don’t… :-)
    @JKE: I believe that’s sad reality in many middle class hotelis, pole.

  8. wanawe eyo ni nyumba i’ri’ku’ u’rariva mbeca nyingi’ u’guo?seriously I have not heard of any houses in embu where u have to pay that much a month.I know its cheap by nai standards but huko ni dough mob.myt the flat be somewhere in blue valley(ah yes mimi mwenyeji)

  9. Hm. I must admit that I had zero culture shock in Embu when coming from Nakuru’s posh Merida Hotel. I stayed in the Highway Court Hotel (impossible to be more central…), and think I got due value for money (500 Ksh, or were it 750? never mind).

    The one hotel in thoroughly bad memory however is the Izaak Walton Inn; an immensely overpriced vile tourist trap, decrepit gloomy rooms, trying to fleece you as they can. I was very near to the point of simply beating up the staff at the counter, left enraged, checked into the Highway Court and was satisfied.

    PS: Have you checked out the Embu library already?

    Osas

  10. Highway Court is about 600 Ksh if I remember well. The place is noisy though. My place is further down the road, but it’s a room in a Hotel so I don’t pay those 500 /night, but instead 3500 /= for the whole month. Which is of course a sexy deal (considering that is rather safe + in “downtown” Embu). I remember a tiny metal house in Kangemi costs around 1250/= already, so this is a good deal. Funny though: I was told today that this hotel belongs to same owner as Izaak Walton Inn – this “tourist trap” (yeah!).

    Thx for the library hint, shall check it out asap.

  11. Embu..That where I grew up its been along time since ive been back.. Something havent changed tho

  12. Why should you also not comment on the positive. Plis tell everyone that Minni is liked for meat, they have the best roast fry and steamed meat in town. I am not a member of management though, I wish I could influence an improvement of those other facilities.

  13. could you please email me the contacts for minni inn and thuci river lodge. telephone number and email address will do.

    thanks