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“A different kind of class and style....peace and space too.”
Review of Baytil Ajaib

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Baytil Ajaib
Ranked #5 of 10 Hotels in Lamu Island
Nairobi, Kenya
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A different kind of class and style....peace and space too.”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

When Malik says on phone, what you see on the website is what you get, he means exactly that. Lovely furniture, antics you will not see anywhere else, rooms that are atleast 3 times the size of standard hotel rooms, a warm authentic floor and great hosting is what you will get from Baytil Ajaib. The stairs, though steep, add a classic simplicity to the building, yet sophisticated. The huge beds are a plus for a tired body. All the 4 apartments are unique in thier own way, and i plan to make 3 other trips to experience them all. I learnt alot from Malik about the Swahili culture, and ancient swahili architecture. He and team were simply fabulous.

Room Tip: All the rooms have ancient swahili type windows, which allow a cool breeze into the room day and nig...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Patomtoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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31 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
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English first
Zurich, Switzerland
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2014

It's a wonderful oasis in the centre of Lamu town, a palace full of beautiful details and most carefully renovated. The Harem Suite is an amazing, spacious and romantic gem. You'll feel like in 1001 nights and Malik, the owner is not only a great and caring host, he's also the most interesting and entertaining guide...

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank opaulus2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed 27 April 2014

My stay at the Baytil Ajaib was simply wonderful. I was warmly received by Malik, who not only upgraded me to the most amazing suite, but also was a wonderful host to my friends who came by to visit me at the house.

Staying in this 400-year old house is an unforgettable experience beginning with a beautiful boat ride that takes you to Lamu town, then a walk along the small alleys to get to the House; once stepping inside, you are completely transferred to another time. Then everything else that follows is simply wonderful from Malik's wonderful hospitality, the intricate decor, welcoming the day with the sounds of the call of prayer, Wilson's amazing breakfast with African music playing in the background.

Bait Al Ajaib offers something personal that you would not find in other places. If you are looking for an authentic experience, then 'House of Wonders' is the place to visit. Make sure to be open to all the wonderful things that will come your way while you stay in this special house on one of the most beautiful islands ever.

Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Nora941
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2014

This "house of wonders" is truly amazing. The love for details, the professionality of the way the house was restored by Malik and his partner Norbert and the exquisite taste of the interior amazed us. There is something to discover every day in this house. Malik, you are a wonderful person and host and we thank you so much for having made possible such peaceful and romantic days for Tizita and me! Thanks also for the so interesting tales about Lamu, its history and architecture. We will never forget this awesome time and we'll surely be back again to spend some nice days in your company...

Sincerely,
Tizita and Radu

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank radu n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
2 reviews
Reviewed 15 January 2014

Baytil Ajaib is by no means a normal hotel. It's a truly unique way to experience Lamu - taking in both the rich history of the island and its sometimes eccentric modern character.

The building itself is spectacular - an old Swahili mansion built by Arab traders set back in amongst the narrow, labyrinthine streets of old Lamu town. It has been restored over 9 years of painstaking reconstruction by the owners in order to be as authentic as possible. The experience of staying there is authentic indeed - and very luxurious. The mansion is built around an inner courtyard, with stairs curving upwards to a rooftop patio. The apartments (particularly the Hareem Suite where we stayed) are palatial and exquisitely furnished with antiques from all over the world. The rooftop is a wonderful place to watch the sun go down and have a drink before dinner, especially the "dhower" - a particularly strong local cocktail! Breakfast is excellent as well, with fresh fruit and our favorite: Wilson's special crepes.

Malik, the hotel's resident co-owner, treated us like family and gave us an insider's perspective on the island. He explained to us the history of the hotel, gave us a tour around town, introduced us to the many local and expat residents that he knows, and told us the stories and gossip about the eccentric international crowd that owns property in Lamu. Malik is so well known around town that dropping his name will get you a further discount on a souvenir, or dissuade the boatmen who occasionally pester tourists to use their services. We ended up eating many of our meals with Malik, and found his every recommendation with regard to what to do, where to go, what to eat, etc. to be excellent.

Baytil Ajaib is half boutique hotel and half historic museum. It is a place where you are treated to a luxurious Swahili lifestyle and introduced to a fascinating modern culture. Upon leaving we told Malik (as other guests before us have done) that he should double the hotel's nightly rates. As it is, Baytil Ajaib is vastly underpriced for the experience it delivers.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Bwana_Journeyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Diani Beach, Kenya
1 review
Reviewed 14 January 2014

I travelled to Lamu solo. My arrival was dramatic considering I used a bus to reach Mokowe (the mainland). Bus delays made me arrive 3 hrs before the 2014 new year jump off. My idea was to be in Lamu by 6 pm!
Nevertheless all that trouble was worth it.
I was met by Evanson (Maliks gracious staff at Baytil ajaib), a boat ride was quickly organized to take me to Lamu beach restaurant on Manda Island where Malik had reserved for a new years eve dinner sitting for me which was already in progress. It was glooorious!!!
Malik is enchanting and is the perfect host.
I stayed at the Garden cottage which was lovely with a spacious verandah with 2 day beds. It was sultan luxury.
For a 3 nights stay i had the chance to explore Lamu, the beautiful Manda island beach and mingling with both locals and foreigners at peponi hotel in shela. But of all the treasures that the Lamu archipelago can offer..none really matches the tranquility, grace and sultan royalty experienced once you enter the doors of Baytil-Ajaib. Photos will never do this 400 yr old house justice.
The kind of work put in to restore this monument is invaluable and one doesn't need to be an expert to see the attention to detail and the love that this old house has received from Malik and Norbert.
Staying at Baytil-Ajaib is an experience. The house throws you back 400 years ago. The decor, the high beds replicas of the bed of the king of kilwa, the day beds ....the lighting at night all make this place the only authentic place to stay in Lamu. A number of chic properties have come up, but they all make Baytil Ajaib stand out in the most remarkable way.
Like old wine, Baytil-Ajaib will only get more enchanting as it gets pitted against new architectural styles.
In the evenings I would sit with Malik up on the rooftop while sipping his favourite cocktail "dawa" and the life and positive energy radiating from him as he told the story of restoring Baytil to what it is now is quite inspirational. Lamu is blessed to have found a man who has fallen head over heels with the Swahili culture to the point where he is now gatekeeper of ancient swahili luxury.
The staff, Evanson and Morrison were quite attentive and I was spoilt.
Mine was a new years to remember and am currentlly planning a 2nd visit to the "House of wonders".
I recommend flights to Lamu as opposed to bus travel.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Matu1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kigali, Rwanda
2 reviews
Reviewed 15 December 2013

Imagine staying in a 400-year old restored Swahili home in the middle of a World Heritage site with the perfect host at a very reasonable price! I'm not really a beach person, so staying in the labyrith of Lamu City was perfect for me. My friend and I felt right at home, thanks to our wonderful host, Malik. It was an amazing experience and I would love to go back!

Room Tip: There are 4 rooms and any one of them would be an excellent choice.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Mary M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Baytil Ajaib

Property: Baytil Ajaib
Address: Lamu Town, Lamu Island, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 10 Hotels in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Baytil Ajaib was restored for the sole purpose of preserving what's left of the true Swahili architecture and offering the client a climps into the wonderful and secretive life that prevailed.Artifacts and antiques that help forge the Swahili Culture have been collected to authenicate the archtectural beauty that dominates this structure with only the necessary hints of modernisation for present day convience. Baytil Ajaib is solely for the discerning traveller!!! ... more   less 

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