Westlands is the entertainment capital of Nairobi. It has the fanciest hotels, the grooviest clubs, the best shopping malls, and the widest range of places to eat in Nairobi.
But Westlands is a lot more than that. It is also one of the best places to live in the city. Compared to many other areas of the city, it’s safe, quiet, and has everything you need within a 5-minute drive, including schools and hospitals.
Westlands is also an important business district. Most of the buildings there contain offices and shops.
With so much going on, I thought you should have a quick guide about Westlands and everything it has to offer. Let’s begin.
The Best Hotels in Westlands
Located in a quiet area of Westlands, Zehneria Portico provides a relaxing environment, whether you’re there to work or on a break. They have a well-equipped fitness centre that’s free to hotel residents. The rooms have a clean look, with just what you need to be comfortable. The suite is large enough to hold a private meeting.
Park Inn is designed to look calmingly futuristic. The design’s use of unusual colours is refreshing and fun to be around. The rooms are simple, with large windows overlooking Ngong Hills. The hotel has a beautiful pool area on the roof that comes with a bar. So if you’re looking to wind down in style, Park Inn is the hotel for you.
Ibis Styles tries to be the hotel where music and art meet business. You can see it in the playful artwork painted on the walls and the neutral colours on the furniture. The rooms are a bit small, and even the restaurant and lounge area seem slightly squeezed. But they are comfortable enough to excuse the size.
Villa Rosa combines Eastern European design with a touch of modernisation. The rooms are spacious and well equipped for both work and play. The business suites have a separate meeting room and come with a complimentary breakfast. What’s especially great with Kempinski is that it houses seven bars and restaurants. Each serves different international drinks and dishes.
Nestled between Westlands’ most prestigious skyscrapers, the Golden Tulip is perfect for business travellers looking for a quiet, central location to stay. The rooms are huge, and there are three restaurants onsite serving delicious meals and snacks. The breakfast buffet is immense and will set you up for the whole day.
Lotos Inn has a warm, homely feel, using a lot of light wood and wooden colours. There is clear Chinese influence everywhere. There are potted plants and vines, and they’ve taken every opportunity to let natural light shine through. The rooms are nicely simple and spacious enough to fit a working desk in. The restaurant serves authentic Chinese cuisine.
Movenpick has a delightful African look where others often exaggerate. With 276 rooms, there is a lot of variety for different budgets and functions. The two restaurants serve African dishes alongside delicacies from Switzerland and the Mediterranean. Oh yeah, and one of the restaurants called The View rotates to give a round view of all Nairobi.
Sankara gives Kempinksi a run for its money with six top-class bars and restaurants. This includes their main restaurant, Graze, which is a New York-style steakhouse. The hotel has a rooftop pool with a beautiful view of Nairobi forestry. The rooms are classy, with nothing looking excessive or out of place.
La Maison’s warm interior has a romantic feel to it. The rooms are mid-sized and uncomplicated. The restaurant serves African, French and Mediterranean dishes and they have a relaxing spa and massage service. La Maison has couples in mind more than business partners but caters to both.
The West Wood Hotel is one of the most tranquil locations in Nairobi. While it’s only a few minutes from the centre of Westlands, it also borders Karura Forest. The hotel’s huge garden leads down to the forest, merging perfectly with the trees. Monkeys jump about above your head, while the traffic and noise of Westlands is a distant memory.
9 Things to Do in Westlands
Board Games at Bao Box
You can find people who share your passion for board games at Bao Box. More below.
Cinema at Westgate and Sarit Centre
Westgate and Sarit cinemas have very comfortable seats, cheap cinema tickets, and many films in 3D.
Sample the Best of Nairobi’s Nightlife
Party at different locations for different experiences – more about this below.
Eat at Some of Nairobi’s Best Restaurants
There’s a restaurant, hotel, diner, and street vendor for all your cravings.
Work with friends or interesting acquaintances in coworking spaces.
Break out of your sweat pants and get some fresh air while working with others at these places.
Look around the Masai Market
The Masai Market always has interesting crafts and fabrics, and the creators like talking about them.
Catch a live performance or special movie screening at The Alchemist
The Alchemist has special movie nights where you can watch local movies even before they officially premiere.
Combine a gym workout with a run on one of the quieter roads
There are roads with hardly any cars and many trees where you can have a peaceful run or walk.
Window shop or simply have a walk around in the malls
You can learn and discover a lot by walking through the stalls that cater to many different cultures.
Restaurants in Westlands
Bao Box wants to invite human interaction back to socialisation through the power of board games. And it’s always a fun time. The rustic look and recycled furniture add to the charm of a place you’re likely to spend a lot of time in. The menu is unique, creative, and varied so that all diets will feel included.
Cafe Kaya is a happy little place. The furniture is kept simple but the cafe goes all out with the decor. The menu has great food, focusing mostly on grilled and barbecue meats and seafood. Cafe Kaya is also locally famous for its cocktails, with a ridiculous 3 for 1 happy hour every Sunday.
Nyama Mama got the idea to bring bitings sold on streets all around the country into a restaurant setting. So you can find delightfully odd items like coconut cassava balls on the menu. They cater equally to vegetarian and nonvegetarian diets.
Honey and Dough are classy all through, from the interior to the menu. They serve healthy, gourmet dishes for all diets. Desserts are their speciality. The wide menu might seem to be on the higher side cost-wise, but the food and the experience are worth it.
Offering a purely vegetarian menu, Chowpaty is one of the oldest Indian restaurants in Westlands. Their menu features Indian and Chinese dishes.
For more information, check out our guide to the best restaurants in Nairobi.
Coffee Shops and Cafes in Westlands
Connect Coffee keeps track of every stage in the production of the coffee. They only serve coffee roasted between 2-14 days before. They even offer classes about coffee for the true coffee nuts out there.
Attibassi is a cafe with roots in Bologna. Their menu consists of artistically presented bitings, desserts, full meals, and cocktails. But coffee is what Attibassi do best, and they brew a spectacular cup.
While Tomoca is a premium Ethiopian Coffee house, they are also known for holding special events. Their most popular is coffee and paint. The cafe also serves cocktails and desserts.
For more information, check out our guide to the best coffee shops in Nairobi.
Gyms in Westlands
Racing Sport is made up of young, enthusiastic trainers, a spacious location and top-of-the-line equipment. You can find their membership costs here.
Reform prides itself on its cycling and strength classes. But they also have bodybuilding equipment and offer virtual classes. Find their prices here.
Revive offers a wide range of fitness classes including cardio, spin and kickboxing.
Parklands Sports Club is well equipped with all the machines you need for any kind of exercise. The club has an added advantage of a full track and field for an outdoor workout.
For more information, check out our guide to the best gyms in Nairobi.
A coworking space is an office, lounge, garden or plain open space where people who work from home can get together and work.
Coworking spaces are a great way to break the monotony of working from home. Freelance work is becoming increasingly popular but it can be difficult to maintain focus at home. And with the number of people from other countries working and living in Westlands, coworking spaces can provide networking and information sharing opportunities.
These are a few that we know in Westlands.
The Foundry has high-speed WiFi, free coffee, a lounge area with heating and is pet friendly.
Nairobi Garage offers a clean, open working area as well as private offices and meeting rooms.
Ikigai is in a lovely neighbourhood where you can work in the garden under trees, or indoors where you’ll find colourful and comfortable furnishings.
Jengaleo has a more artistic look and offers wellness facilities along with a calming and comfortable workspace.
Hospitals in Westlands
MP Shah is a major hospital with some of the best doctors, equipment, programmes and staff in the country.
Avenue Hospital has grown from a healthcare centre for corporate clients to a full hospital with 65 beds.
Aga Khan’s main hospital is the most technologically advanced hospital, with world-class surgical expertise.
Run by general practitioners and specialists, WMC adds a personal touch to your medical consultation.
Meridian may be small but the professionals ask the questions that bigger hospitals miss, and feel like they care about what ails you.
Chiromo Lane Medical focuses on mental health and substance abuse rehabilitation. Find out about their services here.
While other locations in Nairobi have tried to take Westland’s place when it comes to nightlife, none have been successful. Westlands is the centre of the party.
A lot of nightclubs come up and fade out each year but there’s always somewhere for every kind of party animal. You want a place with music but where you can also hold a conversation? There’s DeJaVu Lounge. Looking for a bit of a crowd? Havana.
The nightclubs usually run until sunrise. And while they do their best to provide security, you have to be mindful of pickpockets when you’re in the clubs, and robbers when you’re out. Try not to venture anywhere alone or leave your drink unattended.
Best Clubs in Westlands
K1 is one of the longest enduring party joints in the city. It’s huge, has various activities for you like pool and darts and features the best DJs in Nairobi.
The Alchemist specially mixes art and club life. They host concerts and special events but even then, they maintain a very laid back atmosphere.
This rooftop lounge is best known for brewing its beer on location. It also has a great atmosphere and a grown-up crowd.
One of the oldest bars in Westlands, Havana often leaks onto the street. It is very affordable and has a back-alley club vibe that adds to the excitement of being there.
Shopping in Westlands
Westlands as a business district was built by shopping centres. It’s still the busiest shopping area other than Nairobi CBD. There are stalls on all streets in the business districts, selling everything from food to computer parts.
There are malls and other collective shopping areas where it is easier to get everything you need at one location. The list below summarises the most common ones.
Westgate has a supermarket, a sports shop, food courts, jewellery stores, and a cinema. All that and everything in between. Westgate is a complete Western-type mall at its prime.
Sarit used to brand itself a city within a city. That’s what it is. There are many banks, clothing stores, and a multi-screen cinema.
The Alchemist has a few shopping stalls for stuff you can’t easily find anywhere else. Kenyan creatives like to show off their crafts there and they often have specialised events like sneaker markets.
The running joke in Nairobi is that House of Leather has everything. It sort of does, but they’ll be of affordable quality. House of Leather is a great place to gift shop though. You can find some unique stuff.
While The Mall does not have the same number of businesses as it once did, it still has a few great shops, restaurants and supermarkets like Naivas and Nairobi Sports House.
Westlands Market is a former open-air market that is now housed in a building. You can find a lot of handmade valuables, fabrics, unique houseware and second-hand items here at bargainable prices.
Schools in Westlands
There’s a wide range of schools in Westlands, representing most educational systems available in the country. There are Government-sponsored schools following the 8-4-4 system. There are Christian schools like Parklands Baptist School that add biblical teachings to their curriculum.
These schools differ widely when it comes to school fees. Government Schools are the most affordable while international schools are the most expensive.
Because they’re cheaper, Government Schools have a lot more students per classroom. They aren’t bad. They perform well in exams and other activities. However, the teachers can get a bit stretched by the number of little humans under their care.
The best schools in and around Westlands by reputation are:
- The International School (international, including International Baccalaureate)
- Kianda School (8-4-4)
- St. Mary’s School (various education systems, including International Baccalaureate)
- Consolata School (8-4-4)
- The Aga Khan Academy (international, including International Baccalaureate)
Apartments for Rent in Westlands
For this reason, the rent on Rhapta road is on the premium end, ranging from Ksh 100,000 – 150,000 per month. You could get lucky and find an old apartment from the 1960s for about Ksh 60,000 – 80,000. However, these may have a few issues like inconsistent water supply.
Houses for Rent
Brookside has the highest concentration of houses in Westlands. The leafy neighbourhood is quiet and has little traffic using its roads.
The area is fairly modern, with houses having been built in the 1990s and 2000s. There are a lot of gated communities. Roads with barriers are common for improved security.
Renting a 4-bedroom house will cost upwards of Ksh 250,000.
Traffic in Westlands
Traffic in Westlands is a mess at the moment. The construction of the Nairobi Expressway has diverted vehicles to every road in Westlands. It is very difficult to avoid traffic at the moment.
But it should get better by the end of 2021 when the Expressway is expected to be completed. We’ll provide an update then.
Find out more about Nairobi traffic here.
Map of Westlands
Westlands is a great place to live, work and play. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. It’s an ideal location to go on a date, start a family and grow your business. Even if you’re only visiting, you can comfortably make Westlands the centre of your stay. You’ll be only a few minutes away from everything important in Nairobi.
Frequently Asked Questions About Westlands
Is Westlands Safe?
Westlands is not perfect but it is safer than a lot of areas in Nairobi. You just have to practice a bit of responsibility when you’re out having fun or in crowded areas. Find out more about safety in Nairobi.