Man with hospitality facilities worth over Sh 6 billion in Kenya
6 months ago, 14 June 10:21
The name Richard Evans may not immediately ring a bell, but Hemingways Nairobi will probably do. Located in the leafy neighbourhood of Karen, the five-star hotel is part of a local chain Evans built from scratch.
Overlooking the picturesque Ngong Hills, the 45-room hotel is an architectural masterpiece with a design borrowed from an American sports club.
The developer, known simply as Dicky, is a sports lover. He captained Kenya and East Africa at rugby tournaments in the 1970s. He is a champion of the ‘tag and release’ sport-fishing programme at the Coast. He is also a veteran golfer - and golf inspired the hotel’s design.
In the northern reaches of Augusta, eastern Georgia, lies one of the world’s most exclusive golf clubs. Augusta National Golf Club was originally constructed in 1857 as a 14-room farmhouse for Dennis Redmond. The club has hosted presidents, global business executives and royalty during the Masters Tournament played on the second weekend of April every year.
So exclusive is Augusta that a mere whisper that you are looking for membership is enough to get your name permanently struck off the list. “You don’t seek membership at Augusta. If Augusta wants you, it will find you. There’s no waiting list,” says Business Insider.
Dicky went for the Georgian architecture that comprises a symmetrical one or two-storey building weaved around a wide, central façade, a decorative crown above the front door with ornamental columns on each side.
“We settled on a model based on such historical plantation houses – elegant and with lots of space,” says Dicky.
Before the Nairobi edifice, Dicky had already set up Hemingways Watamu and Ol Seki Mara, a luxury tented camp in Naboisho Conservancy.
However, setting up the now thriving hospitality chain was the last thing on the mind of Dicky, the 73-year-old trained civil engineer, who came to Africa by chance.
Everything was going for him in Cornwall, his county of birth in the United Kingdom. There were wild moorland landscapes, a long coastline and attractive villages. The climate? Mild winters and cool summers – the perfect mix for Dicky to play rugby, which is the Cornish staple sports diet.
In 1967, a year after he graduated from Kings College in London, Dicky landed a job as a consulting engineer for the United Nations and the World Bank. He specialised in dam design and construction, water and sewerage supplies as well as upgrading urban infrastructure.
Two years later, UNDP was in the process of working on both Kampala and Jinja water supply. Dicky’s boss was expected to come and supervise the project. He never did due to illness.
“I was called upon to come down to Uganda and represent my boss. I immediately fell in love with East Africa. It had good climate and lovable people. I knew this was home,” says Dicky.
In the same year, Dicky came to the Kenyan Coast for the first time. His mission was to play rugby with the Kenyan team in Mombasa and ...
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