Forget chocolates and flowers this year, and entice your loved one with exciting getaways this Valentine’s weekend, which gives you a reason to get out there and make memories together.
After all, the next Valentine’s weekend will be in 2021, that’s four more Valentine’s to send her flowers, personalized gifts and chocolates to the office.
Going back to how to make this Valentine’s a special one this year, BDLife looks at some of the fun activities to indulge in and special events that will make it one to remember.
Various restaurants in the city have special offers this Valentine’s, whether it is lunch or a 3-course dinner, they all make it special for every couple.
Sankara has put together a select choice of menus on Valentine’s day - from a family brunch at the Artisan Restaurant, to a romantic candlelit five-course dinner on their rooftop at Sarabi Pool at a cost of Sh5,500 per person.
If you love Chinese food, the Nanchang restaurant in Westlands will offer a four-course couples dinner with a set menu that will give you tantalizing Chinese meals at Sh2500 per couple. One has a choice of some of their best servings for the main course with red velvet cake for dessert.
The Tribe has also set a Valentine’s eve dinner menu that entails a five-course dinner at the Jiko restaurant with a choice of beef ribs and salmon steak being the choices for the main course among a variety of others.
The newly launched Acacia Premier Hotel in Kisumu is offering a one of a kind Valentine’s Day package dubbed Lakeside Romance. The one day, one night package at a cost of Sh500,000 features a helicopter ride around Lake Victoria, exclusive lunch set at the picturesque Maboko Island in the Winam Gulf of the lake, a yacht ride from the Island to the hotel for a private dinner at the presidential suite.
Those taking the package will also enjoy the services of a private butler and chef, a private guitarist, complimentary couples massage and gifts for the ladies.
At the coast, Serena Beach resort and spa offers a package for an exotic getaway this Valentine’s that includes half board accommodation, special room drops that include fruits and flowers, a 45-minute couples massage or coffee scrub at the Maisha spa. Couples will also have unlimited use of the steam Jacuzzi and sauna as well as healthy refreshments.
The offer is valid until 31st March and only to East African residents who will also enjoy free return airport transfers for Sh21,900 per couple per night.
Sankara in Nairobi is offering a Valentine’s sleepover in their Superior rooms with a bottle of sparkling rose wine, chocolate dipped strawberries and a buffet breakfast at the cost of between Sh15,000 and Sh24,000 per couple/night.
El Centro is a musical about Brill, who plans to introduce his girlfriend to his parents meanwhile Brill’s dad William has other plans and is sure the son will love the plan. Will things get messy in the name of love? Find out. El Centro will be showing on the 13th and 14th February at St Andrews Church and is directed by Tosh.
For those adventurous ones who love the outdoors, Savage Wilderness Camp in Sagana is the place for and adventure that you will never forget. This is not for the faint-hearted but for those who are bold enough to dare go rafting in the rapids and jump over cliffs on zip lines.
This coming Valentine’s weekend, the offer is a two-day adventure for two for Sh18999 which includes transport from Nairobi and back, accommodation in tents, meals, zip lining, white water rafting and mountain biking.
Bonfire Adventures has several deals to choose from around the country. Couples can either get 3 days at the Mara for Sh9,500 per day, Mt Kenya deals for Sh5,900, the great lakes for Sh6,860, three days sharing at the Tsavo for Sh12500, Samburu, and Amboseli for Sh11,500. All the deals are per person sharing per day.
The singles are not left out as there will be a picnic event dubbed The Picknic at the triangle gardens along Magadi Road. This will be a mingling of singles with live music from Cubic band on the 13th February from 4.00pm to 10.00pm.
Consider giving your loved one a spa voucher for luxurious pampering and wholesome rejuvenation. She will definitely enjoy a relaxing massage, a rejuvenating body scrub and a manicure and pedicure at the spa.
One ideal place to get these services is the Devarana spa located inside the Dusit D2 hotel compound. Here, your partner will get pampered with an array of ancient Thai therapies, which are perfected using modern techniques.
A half-day harmony package, comprising of a steam floral bath, a body scrub, a 90-minute massage, a facial and a reflexology foot massage costs Sh23,000.
The Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel also has a spa package targeting lovers. Partners can bond over a two-and-a-half hour session at their parlour by buying the cupid-inspired package, which comprises a coffee or sugar body scrub, chocolate body wrap and a body massage. This package goes for Sh20,000 and Sh12,000 per couple and person, respectively.
Other spas and wellness centres, like the Revitalize Wellness Centre, His and Hers Barber and Beauty Centre, Neo Amidiva Beauty also have special packages for lovers on Valentine’s Day.
If he loves adventure, hire a helicopter and make the day memorable for him. Fly him to the Masai Mara for the day and make sure that he goes for a game drive to cap it all. Sh200,000 will be enough to hire a helicopter and pilot for the day. The amount includes lunch or dinner.
You can also take him to Kerio Valley for an affordable but exciting paragliding experience on Valentine’s Day, which falls on Sunday next week, making it a perfect time for the extreme sport, which is typically done between December and April, when the wind is strong and temperatures warm.
Let him enjoy the 30-minute tandem flight for Sh8,000. If you, too, are adventurous, you can both go paragliding at the same time.
Because you have a whole weekend, why not take your date away from the city to a quiet luxury hotel in the bush. Enjoy the fresh air, the greenery and the beauty of wild animals by taking a three-hour drive to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki.
Here, you will get to see the only surviving white rhinos in the world while on a bushwalk - which, according to me, is the most thrilling activity at the conservancy.
Include a guided trek in the park to have a close encounter with herds of animals at the park, among them the endangered grevy’s zebra.
Get a close encounter with the lions during the early morning tracking activity and remember to visit and adopt a chimpanzee before leaving the conservancy. Spending time at the conservancy, surrounded by beautiful fauna and flora is a memory that will not fade away easily. The cost of the bush experience will depend on the hotel or camp booked.
While in Nanyuki, you can also visit Fairmont’s Mount Kenya Safari Club for a memorable stay.
A couple can also experience similar luxury at the Finch Hatton’s tented camp nested in the Tsavo West National Park. Here, you will enjoy the delectable culinary experience by Chef Isaac Muhika, game drives and a larger-than-life stay at the luxury tented camp. The full board cost per day for suites starts from $790 (Sh79,000) per person sharing.
Take her to an exclusive joint to have a culinary experience of a lifetime and what better time than now when the Nairobi Restaurant Week is on and over 60 restaurants have laid out great menus at a fraction of the usual price.
The fare at Hemingways Nairobi, for instance, will leave the taste buds desiring for more. Have just one meal at the hotel, tucked inside Karen suburb, and learn the true meaning of good food. Your budget for the dinner should start at Sh15,000 for two people, if you are looking for a memorable experience that includes the full works.
Major hotels in the city will also have packages targeting lovers and as always Villa Rosa Kempinski will have packages starting at Sh5,000 per person. However, before going out, make sure you have an earlier knowledge of the meals to be served.
This dining experience can be anywhere in the country so don’t limit your imagination. Go ahead and consult with the restaurant’s chef to ensure that an ‘out of this world’ meal is prepared for the two of you. Have the chef personalise the meal to her or his taste, a sure way of showing that you had it all figured out personally.
You can also have a tantalizing meal served at your home by hiring a renowned chef to do the cooking. Have him or her set the table formally and as well as the right ambiance for your date then take time to enjoy the evening or lunch; whatever your preference.
With the hustle and pressure of everyday life, it becomes difficult to spend quality time with your loved ones. The only remedy to conflicting work schedules is a planned holiday that involves taking time off together for the getaway.
Nothing can be more romantic than sailing away into the sunset while enjoying the best dining, accommodation and social amenities that money can buy. It might be too late to go on cruise for this year’s Valentine’s Day but why not start planning now for your next getaway?
The resumption of cruises to the Kenyan Coast, especially the two luxury liners which docked at the port of Mombasa in January, has sparked a lot of interest among residents who wish to go on holiday in the high seas.
Cruise seasons vary from one region to another and a trip can be as short as five nights or a much longer duration of even up to 30 or 65 nights.
A limited number of local travel agents specialise in organizing cruises. These include Holiday Bazaar, Vintage Tours, Travel Shoppe and Bonfire Adventures.
Palvi Chandaria from Travelshoppe which has been offering cruises for the last four years says the interest has been for couples as well as people looking for a different kind of a holiday with their families.
“Going on a cruise is the perfect holiday if you want to visit different cities or destinations in a short period of time. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a completely different way to enjoy a travel experience,” she explains.
It is possible to book a cruise to tour Europe, sail through the Middle East, visit Asia or even go to America on a luxury liner.
In the Middle East, popular destinations include Egypt, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat. While the Asian routes include China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia Thailand and Singapore depending on the cruise liner.
Greece, Spain and Turkey are among the most popular destinations with most cruise liners looking to take their guests to cities like Rome, Athens and Venice. Like hotel accommodation, cruise liners are classified into various classes from three star to seven stars which is the highest cadre, with the best of luxury amenities.
There also specialty cruise liners which might not necessarily be big ships but rather those that organise cruise trips following a particular theme like the historical expedition of a series of cities.
“The facilities vary from one company to another and they also depend on the class of the particular ship though most of them have amenities that keep gusts active during the trip,” she says.
Among the popular operators which Kenyan agents use for cruises include the Royal Caribbean which offers ships from the sovereign class to the quantum class.
Apart from the high standard of accommodation facilities which can go up to over 2,000 rooms in some ships, most ships come with social amenities like a swimming pool and fitness centres for guests who want to keep fit while on board. Others have extra facilities like jogging tracks on the decks, rock climbing walls and even bungee jumping trampolines for the little ones.
You could choose to lounge in the Jacuzzi, go to the spa or try your luck in the casino as you sail along. Some ships also include golf courses for their guests, movie theatres and video arcades.
Shopaholics can also indulge in some retail therapy in the duty-free shops that are on board.
All the cruises require you to travel to the port of call which is basically the place where the ship sails from.
Unfortunately, this means travelling to a different destination in order to board the cruise ship as they do not start their journeys from Mombasa.
“You need to plan your cruise depending on the season in the destination that you want to go, for instance, if you want a Europe cruise, its best to avoid the winter which can be very chilly and choppy at sea,” she says.
Some travel packages offer air transport to the port of call while other agents do not include it in their pricing so it is advisable to confirm beforehand.
At the same time, agents might not include the entry visa fees for all the cities that you might be visiting though they may help you process them separately.
By Isabella Mukumu, Annie Njanja and Sandra Chao-Blasto