The client’s brief was for the development of a Victorian-themed golf resort hotel on an excellent site featuring an existing coffee farm with magnificent virgin forests in steep river valleys. However, the “Victorian” image was never clearly defined. Preceding the Internet era, visual research was not easy, especially being a Kenyan-based practice. Every detail had to be carefully hand-drawn as there were no standardized details or specifications to fall back on.
Planning proposed a ‘Victorian Explorer’ approach to the design of this 150-bed resort, picking up on the philosophy and magnificent quality of the Uganda Railways and Harbours Housing on Nairobi Hill (known today as Upper Hill), as far as both materiality and aesthetics were concerned.
Planning led the consultants’ team, which included a Hotel Consultant and a Golf Course Architect, to produce an exceptional 18-hole golf course sculpted through the forests and along the valley’s contours to fit perfectly into the rolling topography. Early land-use studies of the existing coffee plantation were put to good use, not only to minimize expensive cut and fill but also to ensure that the resulting buildings were scaled to be below the beautiful indigenous treed skyline.
Today, the Windsor Hotel & Golf Resort is the only Golf Resort in Africa listed in the “Great Golf Resorts of the World” and is one of a select few worldwide that have achieved this. It is also the major showpiece in the marketing publication “GOLF KENYA,” produced by the Kenya Tourism Board.