We chose at Msafini after walking into and checking out almost every guest house in Lamu and Shela as it offered an incredible value for what was inside. The Msafini was spotless and authentic, the food was outstanding and the view incredible.
Our rooms were perfectly done up with crisp brand new sheets and pillows (uncommonly clean, starched and white for these parts...), a welcome message spelled out in flowers and reeds on our bed. Furniture is solid and authentic - made in the old swahili style and gorgeous. Bathrooms were large, open but had decent fixtures and were again very clean. No AC in our rooms, but the fans, shuttered windows and doors let a perfect sea breeze through; no problems sleeping or any mosquitos or street noise (this is MUCH more than I can say about staying ground level in Lamu town proper).
Lamu and Shela are known for their yummy juice - you can get iced passion fruit, papaya, Tamarind, guava etc. etc. almost anywhere, but the hotel's versions were absolutely incredible. Although this may have been partly due to the fact that we sipped them while floating in the cool blue pool as purple bougainvillea petals floated by... We snacked on Samosas every day as they were the best (beef, veg or prawn) I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a lot of Samosa. Breakfast was included and the menu pretty extensive; service was amazing - having breakfast brought up to you with a fresh juice and tea as you look out over the coast from your balcony......was nice.
We were a bit concerned that the hotel would have no character compared to other guesthouses as it looks like a bit of a monstrosity of height and pastel, but the decor and furniture is pleasant and traditional, while the upper floors offer the best view of this part of the coast bar none (more on that later). Speaking of bar Muhamad Ali (I know I know) the manager, does not serve alcohol, but did not mind his some staff running to the bottle shop on our behalf.....
Having a pool on premise is absolutely worth it with the heat of the day. It’s a cute but deep pool that you can’t do laps in but is more than capable to jump and swim around in. Location is very close to Shela beach, but a long walk or quick boat ride to Lamu town. We stayed in Lamu town for about 5 days then switched to Shela/Msafini and never regretted it. Lamu is where the party is, but Shela is so much more clean and peaceful - its great that the party is 3 minute boat away... As for rest of the hotel, dining area is fine, tiny gift shop a bit hokey and it can be a bit of a hike up the stairs if you’re on the third floor.
But let me tell you, you want to be that high: check out pics for the view, but realize you get a HUGE balcony if you score the top floor suite(s). It’s so high you’re secluded (sun tan!) and there are hanging day beds, Swahili chairs, tables, ledges for lounging etc. Jsut awesome. We ended up inviting some friends to come stay with us so rented out both suites on the top floor for a decent discount - we felt like Kings. The hotel itself is located about a 2 minute walk back from Shela beach/waterfront restaurants - and can be a bit confusing to find teh first time, but works out great and the streets are SO much cleaner than in Lamu Town.
Can’t wait to go back there - if you have the chance, after a month on the coast I couldn’t recommend a better place for the price. Other than Lamu House ($$$) this would be my only other guaranteed pic for Lamu/Shela.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Msafini hotel situated in shella village of Lamu island of kenya, located just 2 mints far from the sea shore of indian ocean. ... more less
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