Johenson Kenya Ltd approached Aaki Consultants to design a Spa Resort with modern facilities in Naivasha, on a site that was previously occupied by a small low class hotel. The project was to modernize, refurbish and expand the existing hotel which would later be named ‘Enashipai’, a Maasai term meaning ‘a place of happiness’.
From the onset, it was apparent to Aaki consultants that the design for ‘Enashipai’ had to tag to the natural surroundings comfortably while delivering a strong sense of the local heritage.
Naivasha is a town in Nakuru County, lying North West of Nairobi. It is located on the shores of Lake Naivasha along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
Other than floriculture which is the main industry for the town, Naivasha is also a popular tourist destination. Hell’s Gate National Park, Lake Naivasha and Mount Longonot National Park.
Located along Moi South Lake Road, off Mai Mahiu Highway, the site was home to Lake Naivasha Holiday in which consisted of an old mud tavern, ten hotel rooms and a makuti restaurant.
The brief was comprehensive. It entailed the following:-
- Refurbishment of the existing facilities and conversion of the mud house into a Maasai museum
- 120 clustered hotel rooms, each cluster with its own club house
- A presidential cottage with its own club house, spa and servants quarters
- Dining room that can host at least 300 people
- Conference hall that can accommodate 300 people divisible into permutation of 200, 100, 50 and a separate 20 sitter VIP boardroom, video conferencing facilities and separate dining facilities.
- A spa facility consisting of 6 treatment rooms, 1 VIP treatment room, a rasual, a signature treatment room, a steam room, sauna, a hydro bath, a wellness clinic, a juice bar and relaxation rooms
- Lakeside outdoor events ground catering for a minimum of 500 people
- Multipurpose Children’s playground
- Indoor children’s play facility
- Indoor games facility and a gym
- Ultra modern disco to host a minimum 200 persons
- 3 helipads
- Full in-house support facilities e.g. laundry
- Automated irrigation systems
- Parking space for 150 cars
- Water treatment plant
- Solar water heating
- Ultramodern communication systems
Enashipai Spa & Resort is a fusion of African architecture with rustic bush architecture. The form is an abstraction of the acacia trees, a prominent tree species on site, with a colour scheme that blends well with the earth tone in the surrounding areas.
Most of the construction materials were locally sourced.
Taking note of the project’s location in the tropics and the challenges of weather, he architect employed the use of expansive eaves to shade the large full height windows from direct glare of the sun. Natural cross ventilation and use of high thermal mass masonry are part of a combination of active and passive strategies aimed at reducing heating and cooling energy requirements.
Solar power is used for water heating and lighting of walkways and gardens. This, combined with the use of energy saving bulbs helps in reducing power consumption and hence overall running costs of the resort.
Water conservation was also a key concept. Water is harvested from all roofs and surfaces and is stored in large storage tanks for use.
There is an on-site water treatment and waste water recycling plant using a Biodigester system. The treated water is then used for irrigation and cleaning purposes.
Installation of modern sanitation fittings in the resort is done to help conserve water in the long run.
Most existing trees and shrubs on site remained uncut and well maintained for natural appeal and environmental conservation.
The project was divided into five phases. The first two phases involved the refurbishment of existing facilities and construction of 100 executive rooms, spa, events grounds, main dining and kitchen, and other support facilities. The two phases were implemented between 2009 and 2011.
Phases three and four comprised of the main conference centre, disco and dining. Phase five which is currently ongoing, comprises of 96 rooms and 32 cottages.
The 19 hectare project will cost approximately Kshs. 4 billion upon completion of phase 5.