We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Most beautiful place I have ever stayed in”
Review of Subira House

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Subira House
Ranked #5 of 34 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Most beautiful place I have ever stayed in”
Reviewed 8 May 2013

I stayed on my own in Subira House for five nights and it was just wonderful; it couldn't have been a more pleasant environment. The place is so beautiful and relaxing, and in an excellent central location. I never felt lonely as the owners and staff were so friendly, as well as the other guests! The breakfast was delicious and I sorely missed it once I left. The three course evening meal was also incredible, best tuna I have ever eaten! What really attracted me to Subira House was its eco-friendly credentials, and I learnt so much about how to live more sustainably. Really wish their compost toilets would be installed elsewhere in the world. The only advice I would give is bring earplugs as the morning prayer and sounds of the street can be quite loud! Thank you Christina and Paul.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Charlie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

66 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    54
    10
    1
    1
    0
See reviews for
12
23
17
8
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 April 2013

Had a wonderful 2 night stay here very recently and from the minute you walk in the place is fantastic. It is what Lamu is all about, classic Swahili style with all furnishings in the classic Swahili style with many features that remind you of where you are all the time. I stayed in the Top Top Room which is great, large room, large open relaxing area with a big seating area with a sea view and a great place to unwind and catch the breeze. Food is very good, I had lunch with the staff on my arrival so treated to some delicious Ugali! Breakfast is very good and the whole place makes you feel very relaxed. This is a great place to stay to get a feel for Lamu and its history. Christina the owner really made me feel welcome and nothing was too much trouble. I would recommend this place to anyone visiting Lamu for the first time, the only place to stay.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sir_Mitul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, OR
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2013

We can only repeat the glowing descriptions of Subira House in previous posts. Our experience of this unique setting comes from having spent 8 weeks there, residing in the ground floor apartment available for people - such as ourselves - who require long-term accommodations. Subira House has the advantage of being centrally located in Lamu, right behind the Old Fort, which fronts on the main square, Mkunguni, and the new jetty. From the top of Subira House, you can see Manda Island and the Lamu Channel, and enjoy the beautiful sunrises.

We have nothing but praise for the proprietors, Paul and Christina Aarts, and their friendly, competent staff. One special feature of Subira House is its comfortable lounge areas accessible only to residents, and therefore quiet and private. The Aarts were very helpful in arranging explorations of the Lamu Archipelago that further enhanced our exposure to Swahili culture. We especially appreciated the substantial and nutritious breakfasts served every morning on the veranda.

An insider tip: Subira House features the Karkadeh Restaurant, which is open in the evening by reservation only. The Aarts ran a Slow Food restaurant in Sweden for many years, so their Lamu menu features delicious organically-grown local food from their garden and nearby farms. If you don’t stay at Subira House, you owe it to yourself to make reservations for the best restaurant in Lamu!

There is only one place we would consider staying, should we return to Lamu, and that is Subira House!

Room Tip: For long term - a month or more - the first floor apartment. For shorter stays, the top-top rooms ca...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Rich G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milton, Delaware
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 January 2013

This is our second stay at Subira House, having spent 2 weeks here last January, we decided to try a month. Lamu is magical and Subira House is the icing on the cake! Christina and Paul have continued to improve this beautiful structure. We are staying in the other Top-Top room which has a lovely lounge and courtyard and captures the wonderful breezes off the water. From here, we can see the sailboats moving by or look down in the alleyway and see the constant foot traffic of locals and their children, men playing a board game into the night and hear the call to prayer and the many voices singing. The perfume garden is much further along this year and the flowers and fragrances are amazing. Christina and Paul are a font of knowledge on local customs and activities and often include their guests in trips to other islands, special meals, a session of yoga or a dinner with a local Iman. The staff here is terrific. Everyone tries to please. Any problem is sorted out quickly. In addition, the Karkadeh restaurant which is part of Subira is far and away the best restaurant on the island. Michael, the chef, is a genius with local food introducing us to unimagineable flavors. Kennedy has become very proficient in his serving position (and in anything he is asked to do). Each meal seems better than the last. So, like love, Subira House is even lovelier the second time around!

Room Tip: If you can afford the little extra, choose one of the Top-Top rooms. The view and breezes are worth...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Carolyn F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
crilamu, Manager at Subira House, responded to this review, 1 February 2013
All of us are very very happy to read these words! and is so wonderful to have you back here again with us! Soon we will experience the Maulidi Ceremonies, so much is happening here in Lamu Old Town.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed 21 January 2013

Probably the nicest house in Lamu, it's an original Arab style house, built around the time of the fort, that has been painstakingly restored down to every detail and accent by the Christina and Paul, the amazing owners. It's better than the museum house. Check out the pictures for details.

What's really a hidden gem and what makes this amazing value for money is Christina and Paul and Jailani, their main tour guide and fixer for everything you need, who was born in Lamu. The couple who fixed up the house have been coming to Lamu for forty years. They are a fount of knowledge about everything and anything you could possibly want to do, and have the most amazing stories about Lamu, how it has changed over the years, and the ins and outs of local culture and politics. Jailani, who will show you around town after you arrive at the house and will probably meet you at the airport, helps get you oriented and can point out where to go for everything (and just as importantly, where not to go). He knows everyone, literally.

I was only in Lamu for two nights on a weekend trip from Nairobi. I was on my own, so when I arrived, Christina invited me and another couple staying at the house to go to Manda island, where we hung out on an empty beach, went for a walk, got great pizza at club on the Indian Ocean, and then watched an open air screening of Nairobi Halflife (an awesome film I'd been meaning to see in Nairobi). The location of this beach they showed me was so awesome (take a boat to Diamond Club beach-- the club has a great bar and rooms of its own), I spent the entire afternoon there the next day, reading and taking walks along the beach. I then met up with Christina and Paul for dinner at an amazing Swahili restaurant on the waterfront and listened for hours about the history of Lamu and what brought them there in the first place. An incredible evening with fantastic people.

Lamu was an fantastic weekend trip that exceeded expectations on all fronts, in large part due to the awesome people at Subira and the incredible peacefulness of the house. It's location, right at the center of town, can't be beat. The winding alleyways of Lamu are right there for you to explore. If you go to Lamu, definitely stay here!

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ryan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
1 review
Reviewed 16 January 2013

It was an absolute pleasure to stay at Subira House. Christina and Paul are lovely hosts - so clearly passionate about Lamu, the environment and their guests. What I loved most was that you are not confined to your room - in this arab style house, there are beautiful courtyards, inner gardens, terraces to just relax or read a book. Great location just behind the old fort (Lamu can be a bit of a maze!). I look forward to staying here again next time I'm in Lamu.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jeevika_M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 November 2012

This was an amazing place situated in a beautiful old stone house. You can feel that the owners have put their heart and soul into the place and they are very helpful looking after every detail of you stay. Each and every room is individually decorated and the boundaries between inside outside is blurred with the lovely galleries where you can have a sun down in the evening or just relax. With just a few rooms you will found the atmosphere in the house very calm and friendly and you will feel like home (or wish it was your actual home…).

The house is located only a five minutes walk from the jetty, where you will find the “taxis” (boats) taking you to the beach or wherever you want to go. You will also find many good restaurants and small shops within just a few walking minuets. I would strongly recommend having dinner at their restaurant, Karkadeh, at least one evening of your stay. Get ready for a real feast as Michael, their excellent chef, won’t let you down.

The eco-friendly concept strongly appeals to me and with eco-san toilets and the “law” of the three R’s, reduces, reuse, recycle, deeply rooted and advocated. Christina and Paul try really hard to reduce the hotels ecological footprint on Lamus’ fragile environment and hopefully their work will inspire other hotels to choose the same path.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CarlssonsMaria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Lamu Island
0.4 mi away
Jannat House
Jannat House
#5 of 10 in Lamu Island
49 reviews
1.8 mi away
Kijani Hotel
Kijani Hotel
#3 of 10 in Lamu Island
116 reviews
2.5 mi away
The Majlis Hotel
The Majlis Hotel
#1 of 1 in Manda Island
192 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
1.8 mi away
Banana House & Wellness Centre
0.3 mi away
Lamu House Hotel
Lamu House Hotel
#3 of 34 in Lamu Island
215 reviews
7.5 mi away
Kizingo
Kizingo
#2 of 10 in Lamu Island
120 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Subira House? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Subira House

Property: Subira House
Address: Behind Lamu Fort | P.O. Box 341, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 34 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The charming and comfortable seven-bedroom historic 200 years old home has two beautiful gardens and plenty of cool terraces to relax and enjoy the tropical breeze as you accustom yourself to Lamu's gentle pace. Right in the middle of Old Lamu Town.Meals on request.Wine licence.Subira House,a 200-year-old coral stone house was built by the governor under the Sultan of Zanzibar now carefully preserved by its Swedish/Dutch owners. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com and Priceline so you can book your Subira House reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing