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Msafini Hotel
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Reviews (51)
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Reviewed 9 November 2011

Walk through Shela village where there are many beautiful houses and you come across this large yellow anomaly. Nicknamed the titanic by some in the village it looks too high, too big and really not very Shela in its style.

However inside is another story. The place is light, airy, well decorated. The rooms are a decent size, good beds, fans and plenty of veranda spaces with day beds dotted about on each floor. At the top is an enormous roof terrace with a wonderful view of the sea on one side the the village and sand dunes on the other.

I was lucky enough to get the 3rd floor suite which has its own lovely terrace with a daybed, table and chairs, lamu lounge chairs. A perfect place to hang out. The bedroom was airy plenty of windows and 3 doors for ventilation, the bathroom large, clean, well laid out. Water was hot, pressure decent.

Msafini just kept surprising me. I loved the concertina sheet folding variations on the bed each day, the pot plants around the each terrace. The place was also kept spotlessly clean.

The food was of an excellent standard - it seems the chef worked for one of the larger hotels before moving there. Presentation was lovely, the taste so much better than I expected to find at a mid range guest house.

All in all a great experience. I came in cynical and planned to spend a night to test the place and I ended up extending my stay for my whole time in Shela.

I also want to say that despite the advisories, Lamu is safe.Tons of security is around including radar, low key patrols, armed police, offshore navy boats. The whole place was empty when I was there, and really needs people to go back and support the tourism there. Why are we exhorted to return to New York when 9/11 happens and urged to stay away from Lamu when they undergo their terrorist experience? Many will lose livelihoods as a result, which is a huge shame.

For my part I wish I was still on that roof terrace, drinking fresh juice and staring out to sea.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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Thank sunderam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2011

boarded Tawakal Bus from Mtwapa in Mombasa and six and a half hours later arrived at Mokowe Jetty, had pleasant journey and had good company all the way from Mr Baker of Shella, and must mention our bus had 2 armed escorts which is normal for the journey from Malindi to Mokowe, on arrival at Mokowe i made my own way by boarding the BIG dhow for 100bob, or you can board speed boat for 150bob each for six or 500bob each for three i think, dhow arrived within 40minutes at Lamu Jetty,

on arrival in Lamu town i noticed presence of uniformed soldiers with weapons all along the harbour, anyway i had some fresh fruit juice and then looked for my next ride to shella, wasnt long before i struck a deal for 300bob boat to shella on my own, on arriving at Stop Over Guest House the staff was more than helpful to guide me to Msafini,

On Arrival at Msafini i was met by Faraj who was kind enough to let me relax in my sea view room before sorting out the financial side of the accommodation, i arranged my evening meal at Masafini and following morning had breakfast too, and had all my breakfasts at Msafini, Msafini is a very peaceful inviting hotel with HOT WATER, Swimming Pool and quality staff and expect to meet nice tourist here, for the rest of my evening meals i went out to whitehouse which is just behind Peponi, but i am sure there is more choice around, in Shella you have food shops, clothes shops, beauty shops, various mosques and madrasas and people of Lamu are always nice and helpful for directions, picked up reef brand sandals from a shop near whitehouse which is just behind Peponi, Shella was quite but you could still see few tourists along the Shella beach, anyway walked over to near shella castle for some sun bathing and a swim, the sand dunes are amazing and water depth better than Bamburi, these days i just dont see those waves at Bamburi maybe tidal hours are too early in the morning and again too late in the evening, Shella gets very dark in the evening but managed to watch live football in the small banda for 20bob and venture out for evening fresh air at the beach,

finding way around shella at daytime or night time was not easy for me but eventually i worked it out by walking straight from Msafini to the beach and then along the beach and then go where i wanted to go, internet is available on the beach 2bob p/m next to Stop over guest house, but if there is power cut then you can always go to Peponi for internet its 150bob for 30min, during the stay at shella i walked the 40min to Lamu town where i found many shops at Lamu Fort, had hair cut 100bob bear trimmed 30bob and facial massage for 400bob, around the Lamu fort there are various sweat shops and picked up good quality t shirt for 250bob, also visited Tawakal booking office and booked my return visit to Watamu!

on the way back i was offered to travel with a well known resident of Shella who was on a visit to Lamu town, i arrived early at Lamu Jetty and spent an hour or so at Bush Garden for some refreshments, then boarded the dhow again and felt very uncomfortable with the load of people in the SMALL dhow, the dhow had immersed so much into water it was only few inches left to totally submerge into water, but all the time the dhow travelled within close distance of the beach, after 40min we were at Mokowe!

Room Tip: sea view room with hot water
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Bob M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2011

We stayed here a year ago and loved it, even when it didn't have hot water. Then we rented out the entire hotel for our wedding guests and everyone loved it, especially the new solar hot water.

The staff are attentive and friendly. The food is some of the best in Shella and the view from the roof top is breathtaking.

We highly recommend Msafini.

  • Stayed: August 2011
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1  Thank macmartinis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2011

My wife, 10-month-old and I stayed at Msafini last Easter weekend. We were on Lamu for three nights. The first two nights we stayed at two different places in town, which we weren't happy with, and the thirs night we decided to move to Msafini. They picked us up in town with one of their boats and brought us to their place, which is probably the biggest building in Lamu. The room, and the entire hotel, was clean. There is a nice pool which, for most of the day, is partly shaded-- good for a little kid with fair skin. The hotel is in Shella, which is windier (read: cooler temperatures) than in town where the wind is weaker and less constant. Also there's less mosquitoes in Shella due to the wind. Of course Shella doesn't have the cultural attraction that town does, but you can always walk or take a boat ride to town if you want. Overall: Msafini is great value-- slightly more than $60 for a double, and good quality. Don't be dismayed by their website which makes the place look like a Motel 6.

Stayed: April 2011, travelled with family
2  Thank radiatorre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2011

Msafini is an absolute gem.

Everything from the tranquil environment, to the clean and spacious rooms, the beautiful sea view from the roof top restaurant, to the friendly and always helpful staff makes for a wonderful and relaxing stay. I spent 10 nights at Msafini and had a superbly prepared dinner there every single night! Value for money is outstanding compared to other hotels in and around both Shela and Lamu...

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled on business
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Thank Travelhungry7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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