Enashipai Resort and Spa lives up to its name, which means a place of happiness in Maasai. I could feel my troubles ebbing away as we drove down the well-lit driveway one evening a fortnight ago.
Enashipai is located by Lake Naivasha, some 76km northwest of Nairobi. The drive there was relatively uneventful and took about an hour and a half. I was looking forward to spending a couple of nights at this highly recommended establishment.
I was in Naivasha with a fellow journalist to visit Crescent Island and walk among wild animals. Enashipai is close by and made for an ideal place to stay.
The hotel is furnished in earthy ochre tones, with carvings and Maasai trinkets. Ochre is used by Maasai men to colour their hair and the cultural theme resonates from the lobby to the rooms, and even the conference centre.
We stayed in one of the spacious Villa Executive rooms, on the first floor, with a view of the large stone fountain. As the room is above human eye level, the shower is outdoors on a small verandah adjacent to the bathroom. Showering was a stimulating contrast of temperatures between the cool outside air and the hot water.
Dinner followed shortly at the Senteu restaurant. A la carte dining may have been a better option than the limited buffet, as there were few diners. The following morning, we went off to Crescent Island by boat.
Two hours later we were back at the hotel, hungry and accomplished. Lunch was an extensive buffet, better suited to the large number of guests who had arrived that day.
Much of the hotel’s business is from conferencing and corporate events. Employees of a local organisation were engaged in team-building activities by the swimming pool, in the gym and all over the expansive grounds.
After lunch, we went to Siyara Spa. We were scheduled for the Pure Being Body Balance treatment, which is a full-body massage and mini facial. The massage started with a questionnaire on general wellness. My masseuse, Winfred, asked what parts of my body I felt needed her to pay more attention to — my upper back.
En route to the treatment room, I sat in a chair for a brief footsoak as she felt my shoulders and upper body for tension. The massage bed had several towels by my feet, and underneath my torso was a warm blanket. Winfred then placed a bean bag down the middle of my back and proceeded to work out the knots from my muscles using several aromatic oils. So relaxing was the massage, I fell asleep.
Much too soon it was over, and I reluctantly made my way back to the reception. The next stop was the Maa Museum. This is the only private museum in Kenya and is a real education on the culture and practices of the Maasai people.
There is a manyatta outside the entrance. Through the manyatta window, you can see how the inside is laid out, where the animals and humans sleep, and the cooking area. Manyattas are built over sunken ground, so that even though it looks short from the out- side there is enough space to stand upright inside.
In the museum foyer stands a tall, slightly intimidating, life-size sculpture of a Maasai man. Each room has artefacts of culture and everyday life including clothes and hand- bags, and stretchers to transport the sick. The “pharmacy” has a wide array of herbs, leaves and roots that the Maasai use to treat ailments ranging from diarrhoea to malaria.
An eye-opening education like none I ever received in the classroom. A tour of the rest of the hotel took us to one of the villas. This is where home meets luxury. The villa is on three levels; with rooms on the ground floor, a living room and dining room on the middle level, and the master bedroom on the top floor. It is ideal for groups, families, or honeymooning couples.
We didn’t get to tour the cottages as they were all occupied at the time. The hotel also has meeting facilities at its Entumo Conference Centre for different sizes of groups. The centre has state of the art conferencing technology, and a nearby restaurant area so that participants don’t have to walk back to the main dining room. The Wave nightclub is popular with residents and outsiders on the weekends, and is also available for hire for private parties.
By the end of our stay, I found it was the attentive pleasant staff who made the visit great value for money and genuine Enashipai. The “little things” really do matter the most.