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“amazing stay at Lamu House”
Review of Lamu House Hotel

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Lamu House Hotel
Ranked #3 of 34 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Reviewed 25 November 2010

I stayed at Lamu house with my family for a week. We had a wonderful holliday in this charming hotel!!
Frank and Marianne took really good care of us. They can organise anything you want: yoga classes, boat trip, waterskiing or you can just relax at the pool. They even organised a plane ride for us with a small plane to fly over Lamu and Kenya mainland to spot game.
The hotel as an outside restaurant, which has really good food. Fresh seafood every day.
You'll defnitly not regret staying here! A week was to short for us.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled with family
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Thank BelgiumAntwerp_Emi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 November 2010

I highly recommend Lamu House. Whether spending a few days after safari or just exploring East Africa. This island and more specifically, Lamu House is a pure gem. Don't be fooled or swayed by any safety concerns or issues with pirates. Lamu is very safe and comfortable. I will always treasure the 4 nights spent here. I highly recommend Lamu proper over Sheila unless you are looking for a very posh European atmosphere. If you are looking for a great Swahili flavor and decor, terrific food at the attached restaurant, great hospitality and a unique holiday, I recommend getting in touch with Frank and booking as many nights as you can stay.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank fredhulnick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2010

Lamu House is locally owned and run by a Belgian couple, Frank & Marianne, who clearly take pride in their work. We were surprised from the moment we walked in - we chose Lamu House for its Swahili look, location and wireless internet access. We didn't have high expectations, as Swahili hotels in the middle of town are typically dusty, dirty and pretty basic, but Lamu House blew our expectations away. What was most striking was how clean it was - in a dusty, dirt-road town like Lamu, on the main street, with doors and windows always open, you can't believe how this place can stay that clean!

LOCATION - As you ride the 5 minute panga-boat ride over from Manda Airstrip, you arrive right at the front porch of Lamu House. Frank was there to meet us and he showed us around while our bags were brought to our room. The Donkey Sanctuary is next door, there are several waterfront restaurants within walking distance, and the market area is an easy 5 minute walk. Manda Bay is about a 15 minute boat ride. Perfect location to explore Lamu, except that some nights we were awakened by braying donkeys. This is right in the historical area of Lamu, not the expat haven down the way by the Peponi Hotel, which was very cool. Don't come for the beach, just for the culture.

The only problem is that as soon as you walk out your door (and even while eating at the restaurant), beach boys will immediately swarm you and harrass you incessantly. Two came up and sat at our table while we were eating trying to scam us, and then many along the beach front all were running the same scam. One guy turned out to be a tour guide though, which we took and it was very nice.

ROOMS - We were in the superior suite (the top floor room), which we highly recommend. It is very large, with three separate rooms and a large balcony overlooking the waterfront street (great for people watching) and the water. The room is Swahili styled, very clean, and spacious. There is hot water most of the time (one morning we got up early to go fishing and had a cold shower), no air-conditioning or ceiling fans, but opening the back doors made it very comfortable. There is mosquito netting on the bed, but of course with the doors open mossies do get in.

With the doors open, you will hear muslim prayer at 5:00 AM and again at about 7:00 AM. Beach Boys will be shouting at 6:00 AM, and donkeys will bray at all hours. The bed is hard and the pillows weren't comfortable, but we didn't have a problem to sleep and our bodies got used to it. Overall the room was great - a desk for working, super-slow but usable internet access, a nice view and plenty of room. We loved it. No TV, phones, iron or anything like that in the room, but we didn't miss it.

AMENITIES - There is a nice swimming pool in the center courtyard, a spa on the roof for massages, and the beautiful Moonrise restaurant - so called because you can see the moon rise during dinner on the fourth day after the full moon. The restaurant is romantic in the evening with a vine canopy overhead, candlelight, and view of the water, and the crab was some of the best we've ever had. So fresh! Not all the food was outstanding, but always a nice experience. There is a dhow parked out front to take you snorkeling. You can go fishing with Manda Bay too - we went fly fishing for sailfish and caught two plus four big tuna that the restaurant cooked up for dinner that evening and everyone had fresh tuna carpaccio! A great experience, but rough water so take your Bonine!

BUSINESS - There is a desk in the superior suite for working, and you can take your laptop out to the restaurant or sit by the pool. The wi-fi is sketchy at times, and we did struggle with it. One day we had to use a Safaricom modem instead. But other days it worked well, though extremely slow - forget about file transfer or Skype. Even email was a struggle, but then again it's Lamu so we were just happy to have what we did have. The reception seems to be best from the restaurant area. This is not a business hotel by any means, but you can get by.

STAFF - Frank & Marianne were always checking on us to make sure everything was alright, making sure we had what we needed. Always available, but not obtrusive about it. The other staff was nice as well, and the young lady at the restaurant smiled all the time, and made us smile too. Service in the restaurant wasn't great, but they were nice and we were used to "Kenyan Time" already, so it didn't bother us much. Sometimes I just had to go up to the bar myself.

We had a great stay at Lamu House, pleasantly surprised at how nice it was to stay here. In fact, we ended up spending so much time at the hotel that we didn't spend nearly as much time in Lamu as we'd planned! Would definitely stay again, highly recommended!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled on business
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Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2010

I've lived in East Africa for the last four and change years, and have traveled extensively throughout the area. I've stayed at hotels that run the gamut from backpacker dives, to luxury safari camps. Lamu house is the best. Bar none.

First of all, as soon as you step through their gorgeous and ornate doorway, it becomes evident as to how much thought and planning went into the hotel. Every space has been thoughtfully filled with some artifact, either found locally, or obtained during owner Frank's travels.

My girlfriend and I stayed in their top-floor room for the better part of the week. It was lovely, with copious indoor and outdoor seating, and a beautiful and eminently comfortable bed. The bed, like most of the rest of their furniture is hand-made by a craftsman located down the street. It was so isolated, and with great sunset views, it was rather tough to leave the room. This was okay by me, as I've been to Lamu a few times already. Furthermore, the outdoor lounge gave a perfect vantage point for watching the comings and goings of the street below.

Frank, Regina and the rest of the staff were incredibly friendly. They constantly made sure that we had everything that we needed, but in a way that was kind and unobtrusive. Frank would often come and chat with us in the evenings.

Their restaurant is a little gem of Lamu. The breakfast that they served was perfectly proportioned, and the fruits, eggs and pastries/breads all incredibly fresh. Breakfast is available at any time, for those days where you just can't be bothered to be up before 11 o'clock or so, and they brought it up to our room if we requested.

The one negative thing I will say: Lamu House is located fairly centrally in Lamu town. Lamu is a Muslim island, and as a result, the call to prayer is very prevalent at about 5:00 am. The first morning I was there, I woke up and counted 8 mosques nearby. The second morning, I slept through all of it.

Finally, Lamu House also has a wellness center, unfortunately, we didn't take the time to use it. I highly recommend this hotel. It has great atmosphere, and lots of little private spaces to escape to and relax. I'll definitely go back.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank CapnBrady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2010

Very happy we stayed here. This place is gorgeous and we felt very safe here. When we arrived on Lamu we did not have a place to stay and we went from hotel to hotel and were getting increasingly disappointed by the poor quality of the hotels in Lamu town. Then we discovered Lamu House and although it was more expensive than the others it was definitely worth paying more to stay here. The wifi is excellent, the pools area is beautiful and secluded. It's definitely been a highlight of our trip.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank kiterpilot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2010

Right from the start, we were made to feel welcome here. Frank and Marianne have created a wonderfully atmospheric hotel; they met us on our arrival and showed us round personally.

Our room was fantastic - spanning three rooms, a shower and a balcony, all decorated in a traditional style. Absolutely stunning (and we also discovered that most of the art hanging on the walls was created by the young artists in Lamu). The bathroom was stocked with locally made items, and the kikoys we were given were a lovely touch. Food was again locally sourced and great.

We took the dhow trip for a day to the ruins on a nearby island, which was a definite highlight. We went through the mangroves, had an incredible lunch cooked for us on board for when we got back from exploring the old city, and then taken to Manda beach for a swim and walk along the sands.

It's probably not the cheapest hotel you'll find, but you certianly get what you pay for, and more besides. I couldn't recomend Lamu House more highly.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kitimariana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2010

Life is certainly made sweet by Frank & Marianne, at what iscertainly one of the most idyllic hotels in East Africa...The hustle & bustle of Lamu town is intoxicating & most seductive but when one is done, to return to the quiet oasis of 'Lamu House', where there is always a welcome smile from everyone, is one of the most enjoable experiences of the day.
The cool pool, the charmingly decorated & spotlessly clean rooms the delcious food (The Vongole is spectacular!!) all this points to hosts who care. Frank & Marianne have poured love into this hotel & it shows. They are part of Lamu, they have embrassed Lamu & Lamu have accepted them both unquestionably. I was out very early drawing one morning & to see Frank on his way to school, with Suliman (a young neighbour ) on his shoulders was a touching sight indeed.
We travelled with my wife's 83 year old mother, & the heat was unusually opressive & the air breathless....& although mother-in-law is very game, she did feel a little 'weedy'....Frank & Marianne could not have been more thoughtful in everything they did for us.
A very special hotel, run by very special people....they deserve every bit of the praise they get.
Thank you both...& a big thank you from Miriam (M-in-L) She talks about it all the time & is spreading the word in south west London.
We will hopefully see you guys again in September....Inshallah.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank MzeeTim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lamu House Hotel

Address: Kenyatta Avenue | Seafront, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 34 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range: £91 - £182 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Lamu House Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Boutique hotel made of 2 Swahili houses adjoin, with 10 superior rooms, plunge pool. Luxury accommodation, in the Old Stone Town of Lamu, located on the seafront. Restaurant & coffee shop. Traditional dhows for comfortable excursions. ... more   less 
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