It is regarded as one joint that stocks some of the coldest beers in Nairobi. The four-storey Princess Hotel on Tom Mboya Street, is older than Kenya’s independence.
And by the way, it’s on sale for Sh240 million… on OLX! The return on investment go something like this: The exhibition stalls on the ground floor rake in Sh366,000 monthly while the restaurant on first floor brings in Sh245,000.
The Princess Hotel has 22 units that purse up Sh627,000, but it’s the bar that takes the financial biscuit at Sh2.7 million a month! That bar has quite a story as it was one place for Nairobi’s who’s who, back in the day when the ‘colour-bar’ barred miros from odiero joints.
In fact, Nairobi only had The Ambassadeur Hotel on Moi Avenue as the other high-class place for nyeuthis… and The Princess, where politician and gender activist Wambui Otieno went to meet her lawyer, the late Akoko Mboya after she was released from detention in Lamu Island Prison.
Akoko was in the company of SM Otieno that January 1961– the year SM returned from legal studies in India’s Bombay University as part of Oginga Odinga’s Eastern Bloc- student ‘airlifts’ as he competed with Tom Mboya-Julius Gikonyo Kiano’s fronted American ‘airlifts.’ As fate would have it, a friendship between SM and Wambui had struck when her dad, Tirus Waiyaki, was SM’s supervisor at the High Court in the 1950s, and was rekindled at the Princess Hotel – where Wambui Otieno became a manager and part owner.
Swilling cold Whitecaps
Wambui – one of the less than five couples invited for Uhuru Day celebrations with the Shakespeare-quoting SM on December 12, 1963 – later gained national limelight during the bitter legal ‘battle for the body’ when SM Otieno died of heart attack in December 1986. The City Mortuary was nicknamed ‘Stage ya SM’ as that was where his corpse was under police guard in the seven months the SM Otieno case lasted.
Wambui lost the burial tussle to the Umira Kager Clan that buried SM Otieno in Nyalgunga under Luo customary law. But their love had blossomed at The Princess Hotel!
Retired President Kibaki learnt he had been appointed Kanu’s organising secretary while swilling cold Whitecaps at The Princess Hotel in 1960 after returning from a teaching stint at Uganda’s Makerere University at the invitation of aforementioned Odinga.
Kibaki took Lucy Muthoni, an Alliance Girls’ High School alumni, trained teacher and college principal to The Princess Hotel… in a Volkswagen Beetle two years before marrying Kenya’s third First Lady in 1962! Kibaki was then 29, and the mother of Jimmy, Judy, Tony and David Kagai Kibaki, was 20.