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“Relaxed laid back stay at Banana House”

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Banana House & Wellness Centre
Ranked #2 of 34 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 January 2010

We stayed for 8 days in the Banana House which is owned by Monika and Banana. Our room was the penthouse of the Welness house. This is a wonderfull nice spacious penthouse. Two sleepingrooms with each own bath room. Sober, but all you need is in. we had our own terrace with diner table and enough place to relax in the shadow or sun. The terras had two hanging beds.
There is no restaurant with a menu, but there is a kitchen and a chef cook. You just give him money and tell what you want to eat in the morning and he will do the shopping and prepare the food. When the money is finished, he will let you know. the food was delicious!!
Breakfast is simple but tasty with a platter of food and toast with eggs or pancakes and fresh juice.
Walking to the beach is only 5 minutes, but this is the fishermen beach. The relaxed clean beach is approx 10 minutes walk .
the people are all very friendly and helpfull.
During our stay we followed the course "Art of Living" which was given by Monika herself. This cours takes 5 days, only 3 hours/day. Very refreshing course. I can recommend to combine your stay with this course which is held regularly.
Monika also give Yoga lessons each morning and each afternoon. If you want to join, you just go there. No need to apply in advance. Very relaxed!
Banana and Monika have created a relaxed laid back atmosphere. if you need to unstress, you go here. I did and it worked!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank KristineS-vdK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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131 - 137 of 162 reviews

Reviewed 7 January 2010

Just back from a trip to Lamu where we stayed with Monika at the Banana House. Most of the comments given describe the place well, but want to give my tuppence worth.

Rooms are fairly basic, but comfortable enough. There are two buildings, the Wellbeing House & the Banana House. Both work in the same principle - rooms with a patio area where breakfast & dinner are served. There is an honesty fridge where you can pick up soft drinks or beer, just settle up at the end of your stay.

Dinner is on request, where you just pay for the ingredients - it's not a restaurant - it's a kitchen & chef. We eat extremely well, prawns, crab, lobster,chicken, everyone suberb and about half the price you'll pay in the Peponi hotel.

There is a small swimming pool with sun loungers, and these were deserted when we were there.

There are various activities that can be arranged for you. A local guy comes around and checks what may be of interest (great for the 1st couple of days - but he got a bit of a pain towards the end of the week when we'd done everything we fancied). We took a Dhow trip to the coral reef, snorkelling, and lunch included. I also did a fishing trip (not the deep sea fishing that they were trying to sell me & about half the price), and left my catch with the chef to give us lunch and then dinner the next day.

The only potential downside is if the rooms are full, you'll be sharing the table with your fellow guests. We were lucky and had the place mainly to ourselves. To avoid this, thake the penhouse if you can afford it, it may well be the best upgrade you've ever done.

Evening entertaiment is restricted to watching the geckos, best reality TV ever.

We went to Lamu town. Not worth the trip. Busy, dirty place, with a museum that is way over priced to get in.

Enjoy your stay

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cravenette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2009

Lovely setting, great food cooked to order, nice rooms and common spaces. Overall a very nice place. However, the house manager, Saadi, was not good at respecting our right to privacy as guests in the house. Rather than simply greeting us in the morning, he was constantly underfoot, hanging out around our rooms. Even in the morning he would come in and settle down first thing. While i certainly appreciate attentive service, I found his behavior intrusive and it detracted from the experience.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with friends
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1  Thank jkenya1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2009

My mother and I stayed here for three nights and I was so glad we'd chosen it. It was just so beautiful and relaxing - we couldn't have asked for more. The staff were all lovely, the rooms and communal spaces were beautiful and the food was incredible; everything is cooked to order, and is positively delicious - I had the best crab of my life! The views from the rooftop were amazing!
The place seems to attract great people and we had some fascinating conversations over dinner - and got to taste everyone else's food too!
We nearly decided not to go because of one of the reviews on this site. All I can say is that if you're looking for an anonymous, clinical 5* hotel - this isn't it, but if you're looking for something beautiful, friendly and relaxing - it is!

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank luverly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2009

Hands down one of the most relaxing and wonderful stays I have had anywhere in the world. I stayed here for 5 days (based on reviews I had read on this website) after travelling through Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda for a month. There is no better place to get clean, refreshed and reinvigorated while immersing yourself in a truly unique African/ Swahilli experience. I am so glad we chose to stay in Shela over Lamu town - it was cleaner and much more relaxed. I didnt find it overly built up and touristy, as some other reviews had indicated. Monica and Banana made us feel really welcome. the beach was a 5 minute walk away. The food (and heaps of seafood) was exceptional and cooked fresh by the chef every night. I was worried that alcohol would be hard to come by, but Monica had a fridge with beers and mixers and you could help yourself and just write down what you took to be added to the tab. I found the tourist shopping in Lamu to be great - the stuff was really unique comapred to the rest of East Africa. Definitely hunt down 'My Eye' in Shela town for works by local artists.
If you are going to Lamu its a complete no brainer - stay here!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Chrissy0101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2009

We stayed for a week at Banana's and loved it. It is the sort of place you know you will go back to. Why? Because it is so tasteful, done up in the local style but with all the luxury of a western 5 star hotel. The first hour we were there we just walked around amazed. All is beautiful; the rooms, the lounge areas, the garden, the pool, the sea views. All details are just right and show the love and the care of the owners. Like the fresh flowers they put everywhere. The food deserves special attention, as does the superfriendly and professional staff. But let me start with the cooks; i don't know how they do it (we tried to learn their secrets without succes) but they made the best food: pure, straight forward wonderful food. A mix of African and Indian and all fresh ingredients. When Banana goes fishing you are lucky: he returns around noon and half an hour later you've got the best, fresh tuna on your plate. I've never eaten so well in my life! The staff has the same care for details as you see everywhere else in the guesthouse. And they are just so friendly. We did some yoga with Monika; the wellness area is also wonderful. I can only highly recommend it.
Darina

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank dariemus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2008

This is the first time I have posted on Trip Advisor but thought banana house definately deserved a review.

We had spent the first month of our honeymoon overlanding through Africa and wanted some relaxation before coming back to earth...banana house gave us EXACTLY what we wanted. The penthouse was fantastic with the ocean breeze coming through to cool us down. Karisa (the chef) was amazing and would cook us anything we wanted..including, fresh lobster, crab, swahili dinner for the food market value!! All the staff were very welcoming and helpful.

The new pool was a very welcome suprise and a great place to meet people, the trips organised were fantastic and Monika and Banana fantastic hosts. i would definately recommend Banana house to anyone wanting to get away and relax.

We will definately be back.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank krisandjase
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Banana House & Wellness Centre

Address: 318 Plot | Shela, Mkunguni, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 34 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range: £91 - £125 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banana House & Wellness Centre is small and cozy, yet spacious enough to let you enjoy its rarity. Retreat to Banana House, a very cool, elegant private guesthouse and the wellness centre offering yoga, retreats and massages. It has great views on the sea, the dunes and the village. The house is simply and tastefully furnished in Swahili style, with many different sitting areas, daybeds and hammocks. You will feel the love that Monika and Banana have put into the house to give it a homely and welcoming atmosphere. ... more   less 
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