Places to Stay: Lamu House Hotel – Lamu Island, Kenya

Name:  Lamu House Hotel

Location:  Lamu Town, Lamu Island, KENYA

Description:  The hotel is an excellent example of Swahili architecture. It consists of two traditional houses that were restored and adapted to house the hotel. With its wooden shutters for doors and windows, one can catch and regulate the cooling breezes. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, consisting of a bathroom, changing room, bedroom, and outdoor sitting area.  The courtyard area, with its inviting pool as a centre point, allows for various intimate sitting areas where one can relax, read, or interact with the other guests. The décor elements include artworks from young, local artists, traditional artifacts, as well as quirky displays of collectables. The result creates a unique style and a relaxed atmosphere.

Surroundings:  Lamu House sits on the seafront on the edge of Lamu Town, which is said to be the best preserved Swahili town on the East African coast. There are no cars here, except for the District Commissioner’s Landrover, an ambulance, and a tractor or two, hence no traffic noise. Instead you will hear the braying of donkeys that are used for transport, and human voices. Being a Muslim town, the call to prayer is amplified by a sound system from each individual mosque. In this part of town it is not an intrusion, but rather an atmospheric background sound to remind one of the unique location in the world.

What makes the hotel special:  The owners, Marianne and Frank, through their personal interaction with the guests, make one feel welcome, and do everything in their power to make one’s stay special. Staying in a traditional Swahili house, with its open air living spaces,  is a special experience.

Food:  Moonrise Restaurant, with a view of the seafront and bobbing dhows, serves well-prepared, delicious food throughout the day. Shaded by a flame tree, it is a wonderful place to sit and watch daily life drift by. If you prefer a day on the beach, hop on a dhow and cross the channel to Manda Island and the hotel’s Beach Club where you can gorge yourself on freshly grilled seafood, drink good local beer, swim in the sea, or watch the sun set.


How to get there:  Safarilink, Air Kenya, and Fly540 have flights to Lamu Island from Nairobi to Lamu. The landing strip is on Manda Island, and you will be picked up from the airport and transported to the hotel by boat.

Lamu House Hotel

Beach Bar on Manda Island

Moonrise Restaurant