Hidden from the view of many uncurious Kenyans is a little gem for African artefact and jewellery shopping. I am a lover of African jewellery and if you see most of my earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, you will see a collection of beads, colours, and representations of the big five. This however is a fairly recent achievement for me. Before I would have to hustle to buy a pair of earrings because it had to be a choice between lunch, bus fare, or unnecessary jewellery. *the struggles of being a college student.*
I had a few friends however who always seemed to rock the most pretty African fabrics and designs on their earlobes and I asked them severally how and where? I was told of the curio shops that are hidden in the arcade of Hilton and at first procrastinated in checking them out. After my cousin and one of my closest friends, both simultaneously mentioned it to me in casual conversation I became more curious, so one day as I was having a girl’s day with my cousins in town we decided to check it out.
Lo and Behold, I saw the light! Lord knows as I entered the first curio shop on the left I nearly teared up! It was beautiful, not just the content but the prices! I swear I tell everyone I meet how my life was changed that day, never to be the same…
Now you may already know about the fabulous options you can get at Maasai Market and the variety plus if you are a good bargainer you can get very affordable deals. It is definitely a good alternative when you want to buy in bulk, or get household items that add that authentic African vibe. The Kenyan Poet shares very good tips on what you need to know when going shopping at Maasai Market. However, when you are looking for something to spruce up your look a bit more than once in a while, here are a few reasons why the Hilton curio shops are my first option.
1. They are affordable! Did I tell you how the prices changed my life? Earrings are literally KSH 40, and the bigger ones KSH 60! These are the type of earrings I had up until recently been buying for anywhere from 150-250. Necklaces are usually about ksh100 and bracelets prices range anywhere from KSH40-150.
2. No bargaining! This may look like a con at first glance but let me be honest it’s not. The prices are fixed prices, but because they are fixed prices they are set at the lowest possible price. The truth is some people are just not that great at the going back and forth haggling prices, so for them this is way less tiring. You just look for what you want, read the written price, buy it, and leave.
3. It is more convenient. Sometimes it’s tricky to time Maasai Market because they move from place to place on different days so you actually have to plan when you will be around the area that they will be in. The curio shops are always right there at Hilton just begging for your attention on the daily. Hilton is right in the middle of town so you are likely to pass by there at least a few times during the week. Most week days on my way to class, Hilton will be a stop-over for me because my stage from home is commercial, and my stage to school is Kencom so it is literally on the way anyway. *the excuses you make as a girl to go shopping*
4. Variety! Hilton Arcade Curio shops literally have new stock every week which is why you keep going back for more because you most probably will find something new to tickle your fancy.
5. Last but not least my loves is that it is a kind of not so secret, secret. What I mean is that not everyone knows it or are willing to take the time out of their day to discover it so you will probably find unique items which will have people asking you in the office, or at school where in Heaven’s name you found them. Giving you a chance to smirk a little at your very easy to attain style. Believe me. I have experienced this.
*** The shops with the best deals are the ones inside the arcade, the one on the left when you enter in from the Kencom side has better prices. There is also a shop just on the corner of Hilton which has unique jewelry but more pricey and another opposite the Hilton Hotel
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.