Brackenhurst was soon able to accommodate about 100 guests. Mr. and Mrs. Roy Howard, daughter and son-in-law of the Canes who lived nearby, assisted with management of the property. Later they moved to what is still called “The Lodge,” located around the hill from the children’s playground. It was Mrs. Howard who graciously provided much of the information for this article during an interview in the mid-eighties. When the Baptists bought the property in 1964, Mr. Howard gave lots of good advice concerning use of the agricultural land. Mrs. Howard continued to live at The Lodge after Mr. Howard’s death in 1974 until 1990, when she passed away. Soon thereafter, their daughter and son-in-law, Felicity and David Petrie, moved from their home in Kiambu to occupy The Lodge, where they still live to this day.
Brackenhurst grew in popularity as a leave centre, and eventually the Canes were taking in paying guests. Full board was provided for the sum of 7 Kenyan shillings (Ksh). Many people in the community who were interviewed in the 1980’s recalled memories of Brackenhurst as the social centre of the community where they played games, danced and enjoyed good fellowship.
Out of this background, Brackenhurst Hotel came into being. In 1944, a corporation was formed and the property was sold, with Block Hotels, Ltd. as managers, although the Hudson Canes retained an interest in the hotel. By this time the guests enjoyed playing golf on an 18 hole course that was later downsized to nine holes. Brackenhurst Hotel was eventually known all over East Africa for its lush and beautiful grounds set amidst rolling tea fields. Its quaint accommodations, delicious food, and high teas drew people from miles around.