Nairobi County is in the throes of a ‘culinary orgasm’ as top institutions and influential individuals muscle to put up hotels to catch up with booming business despite the COVID-19 strike.
The demand for spacious rooms in newly constructed buildings is increasing daily and the ‘arrival’ new menu that ranges from gourmet burger to grilled ox balls, fried ice cream and a heavy movement of chefs positioning food as a high form of art.
Today, while in the CBD, you can have a taste of Japan at Terriyaki along Mama Ngina Street, eat Turkish delicacies at Antonio’s grill (Kaunda Street) and at Big Knife (Monrovia Street) or eat Italian meals at Sale E Pepe (Mama Ngina Street).
On Koinange Street, which used to be the call girls headquarters, they have all disappeared after the opening of top food joints such as Java, Café Java (CJs), Salehe Safari hotel that is owned by former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu and Kengeles, owned by Tamarind group who are also the owners of Carnivore restaurant.
Few people rarely know that some politicians own several hotels within the Central Business District as well as buildings that host top organizations.
Newsline digital has established that along Moi avenue at the intersection of Kenyatta Avenue just opposite Naivas supermarket, Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi’s wife, Mrs Priscilla Kathuguchi Murungi, owns a hotel known as Azuri Restaurant.
The hotel has been in operation for more than five years now and recently, the management opened a new joint in Kilimani.
According to a reliable source who sought anonymity, Kiraitu’s wife has been in the hospitality business for long as she still operates another joint in Ngovo town; a five-star hotel that mostly targets tourists within the area.
Immediately after being elected as Meru governor, Kiraitu converted a hotel that was being constructed by the County into staff offices.
He said the idea of converting it into offices was aimed to enhance service delivery noting that there are several hotels that county could use to hold meetings.
“After consultation with the Investment and Environment Corporation of Meru County, we thought it was a better idea to convert this into offices for Meru County instead of running a hotel, “he stated.
Uhuru’s cousin Daniel Ngengi Muturi, who is Nairobi County Member of County Assembly, had a hotel at Odeon area known a Nyota restaurant.
Ngengi has been the manager and sole proprietor of the business that recently closed doors due to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
“Uhuru’s cousin Mr Ngengi recently closed down his Nyota hotel after making loses and I’m informed that since the building that housed the hotel belonged to the family, he will bounce back once the situation normalizes,“ a source divulged.
A close source has revealed to Opera News that in 2022, he (Ngengi) might contest for Starehe parliamentary seat currently held by Charles Kanyi popularly known as Jaguar.
Another prominent individual operating a hotel within is Stanley Githunguri who owns Lilian Tower and Nairobi Safari Club.
Githunguri, who was Kiambaa MP (2002-2007), told the media that the late President Kenyatta helped him to erect the building after being denied a permit by Nairobi Council.
In 2018, former Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko allegedly acquired a whole floor within the building where he used to operate from after claiming that his life was in danger.
Sonko occupied the presidential suite at Lilian tower’s 16th floor and had declared interest to buy it from Mr Githunguri.
He denied that the County government was paying for his stay there adding that the place served as his campaign centre.
“I sold my plot (of land) at the Coast recently and I am looking for some more money to buy it,” Sonko told the media.
Former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu is the legitimate owner of Delta building opposite Central police station.
The building houses Delta hotel that he manages alongside Salehe safari hotel along Koinange Street.
Before he bought the building, Jamii Bora Bank was the main anchor tenant for more than 15 years.
It is not clear when Waititu acquired the property from Jamii Bora Bank but multiple sources say he may have bought it early 2019 before renovating it.
Politician Gathogo Gikonyo also manages some of the hotels within the CBD owned by Rwathia group of companies. His father is one of the Rwathia Directors and sole proprietor of Sabina Joy bar and restaurant.