Why go there? If you've read Out of Africa or seen the movie, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, here's a chance to visit the Ngong Hills, where the heroine and writer of the story, Karen Blixen, lived. Where is it? The hotel is in the suburb of Karen (named after Blixen), 30 minutes' drive from the centre of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. In 1913, Swedish aristocrat Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke bought a coffee plantation at the foot of the hills. The baron - a playboy who occupied his days gambling, hunting and chasing women - left the running of the plantation to his wife, Karen. Although her attempts to grow coffee were unsuccessful, she made her home on the estate from 1917 to 1931. When she returned to her native Denmark the land was divided into parcels, which later became the Nairobi suburb. Contemporary or classic? The hotel is a sprawling country manor sitting on a hectare of what was Blixen's coffee plantation. It was built in the 1970s as a private residence for a wealthy family (the present owners named it after the initials of the family members, in order of age). Little has been done to change the layout of the manor. There is a spacious lounge decorated with quality furnishings, a conservatory-style breakfast room with large glass windows from which to watch the birds every morning and a cosy bar and dining room. Homely touches such as plates of fresh home-baked pastries and ground Kenyan coffee are available in the rooms. What about the rooms? The 11 bedrooms are individually named and decorated to portray aspects of Kenya. The Manyatta room, from the Masai word for 'home', is decorated in red, the hue worn by Masai tribesmen. The Safari room is adorned with zebra-print cushions and animal wall-hangings. The desert-themed Sahara room features earthy tones and the Tembo room (above) is dedicated to elephants, still surreptitiously hunted for their ivory. Rooms have an appealing old-fashioned vibe, with parquet flooring, throw rugs, comfortable sofas littered with cushions and writing desks. What is there to do? Although most people use Nairobi as a stopover en route to a Kenyan safari, there are a number of attractions in Karen that make it a worthwhile destination. It is only 10 minutes from the Nairobi National Park nature reserve. Also nearby is the Giraffe Centre, set up to save the almost extinct Rothschild Giraffe, where you can stand eye-to-eye with animals eager to snatch food pellets from your hands with their long sticky tongues. The Karen Blixen Museum, in the house in which the author lived, is next to the hotel. Or you may spend the days sipping gin and tonic while lounging on rattan divans at the pool pavilion beside the sparkling pool (above). What's the bottom line? Double rooms cost from US$360 a night, bed and breakfast. House of Waine, Masai Lane, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya, tel: 254 20 891 820; see www.houseofwaine.com .