For the first time The Hotel Podcast is leaving Europe and heading over to Africa, repeating the journey of Ida and Filip Andersson, a Swedish husband and wife duo who made their new home – and opened a boutique hotel – on Kenya’s south coast.
Their story began with a Christmas trip to this part of Kenya. The enterprising couple, who were living in New York at the time, saw a gap in the market for small, boutique hotels. In 2005, they moved to the area for a year to try it out, and, well, they have not looked back.
With 70 staff, a 15-room beach hotel on 16 acres of land and a 300-meter beachfront to look after (not counting three children, dogs and horses), they are now experienced hoteliers, and Kinondo Kwetu has won many awards, including the 2015 World Travel Award as Kenya’s leading resort.
They spoke to @TheHotelPodcast about the challenges of being Swedish in Kenya and starting a hotel business with zero experience in a new culture, raising their children in Kenya, training their Kenyan staff, many of whom come from villages with no electricity or running water, the charitable foundation that pays for a local HIV clinic and their plans to become more eco-friendly and start an organic garden.