Kishan Bhanderi, the project director at Cape Holdings, the developers of 14 Riverside, stands in his office gazing at stretches across a wall of the panoramic views of Champagne Ridge development on the edge of Ngong Hills.
He can’t stop talking about how he intends to transform the bare land into one of the finest wellness resorts in East Africa.
“This is probably one of my most adventurous projects yet,” he said, adding that he thought of building the unique holiday homes in 2014 during an excursion to Ngong Hills with his friends. The location is a wonder to behold with splendid views of the Great Rift Valley stretching from the left to the right and bushes their natural habitat.
As more wealthy Kenyans buy holiday homes far from the city, more architects are pushing the design envelope. Developers are going for the remotest serene locations but near cities as wealthy Kenyans want homes that are in close proximity to their urban residences or offices where they can get to in the shortest time possible.
The project estimated to cost Sh1.1 billion started last year and will include 55 villas all within the 50 acre piece of land on the ridge of Ngong Hills.
The name Champagne Ridge as Kishan tells us was there way before they bought the land. “It is a name that was given by White settlers who visited this area years ago,” he said.
“With an investment of between Sh25 million and Sh50 million you will be able to own a piece of this wellness lifestyle,” said Kishan.
One of the reasons for picking this area is that it is virgin land that is untouched therefore the villas are designed to blend in with the environment and landscapes with focus on conservation.
Guz Architects came up with the house designs that blend with nature, allowing natural lighting from the large windows overlooking the dense natural habitat of the Ngong Hills and the Rift Valley.
The living room balcony extends over the edge of the hill giving the illusion of an infinite space when standing outside the house.
“We fell in love with the view and that is why we opted to keep every aspect of the outdoors inside, from the natural stones for cladding to the natural colours of the tiles and walls. The roof gardens also blend in with the environment as well and keep the villas cool, eliminating the need for air conditioning,’’ he said.
The development has the Edge (Angani) villas which are seven expansive four-bedroom houses set on the edge of the hill and are the crown jewels of the resort.
The Cliff villas, also named Madini, will be constructed below the Edge villas and will have three-bedroom villas that will be accessed by a buggy.
Kishan is betting on the serenity and tranquillity aspect in the development to set it apart from the competition. It will have a spa with a view of the Great Rift Valley and two man-made lakes.
“Relaxation, wellness, health and balance are themes that resonate throughout the resort in a journey to a healthier lifestyle,” said Kishan, adding that the gentle sounds of nature will serenade the occupants of the villas as the aquatic habitat envelopes each villa.
To ensure the occupants will get more activities to do, the club house will host a restaurant, bar, spa and a children’s play area.
The resort will also have a team of consultants who will manage the villas on behalf of the owners.
The area is well known by other investors who have put up small cabins to rent to holiday makers like the Olohoro Onyore House and Miti Mbili Villa. Other well-to-do Kenyans with keen interest in real estate have also bought huge tracts of land in the area.
Kishan says most of his wealthy neighbours plan to develop high-end resorts.
He has already invested in green energy to make the resort eco-friendly and be able to sustain themselves in the long run through the use of photovoltaic cells to power the villas.
“We have borrowed a lot of green energy products from Germany such as the Stiebel heat pumps that converts environmental energy into heat and roof gardens which keeps the interior of the villas cool,” he said, adding that there are plans to tarmac the all-weather road that passes outside the resort from the Kiserian junction.