The Best Beach Resorts and Hotels in Lamu

Lamu is a beautiful and culturally rich area located on Lamu Island, part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya. Established in 1370, it’s one of the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa, exuding a unique charm that combines the allure of a remote island with a vibrant cultural history.

The Lamu Archipelago consists of several islands, including Lamu Island, Manda Island, and Pate Island. These islands are surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and boast stunning coral reefs, mangrove forests, and pristine sandy beaches.

Lamu’s culture is an enchanting blend of Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian, and European influences. It has managed to maintain its traditional ways, including the construction of homes using coral stone and mangrove timber, and the importance of dhow sailing and fishing to the local economy.

The town is famous for its beautiful Swahili architecture, featuring ornate wooden doors and delicate lattice work. Its narrow winding streets, free of vehicles and filled with donkeys, offer a glimpse into a bygone era.

Tourists are drawn to Lamu for its serene beaches, traditional Swahili culture, and various activities such as dhow cruises, wildlife watching, and exploring historical sites. Lamu Fort, the Lamu Museum, and Riyadha Mosque are among the key attractions.

This article explores the best beach hotels and resorts in Lamu.

Peponi Hotel

Peponi Hotel is one of the most renowned hotels in Lamu, Kenya. Situated on Shela Beach on Lamu Island, it overlooks the Indian Ocean and offers a blend of traditional Swahili culture with modern comfort and luxury.

Situated in Shela village, the hotel is just a few miles away from Lamu Town. It offers easy access to the beach and is a convenient base for exploring the cultural and natural attractions of the area.

The hotel features a variety of rooms and suites, each uniquely designed with Swahili and coastal decor. Many rooms offer stunning sea views. Peponi is particularly famous for its cuisine, offering a blend of seafood, Swahili dishes, and international fare. Fresh local ingredients are used, and the hotel’s bar is well-known for its cocktails, especially the “Peponi Passion.”

Amenities include an outdoor pool, lush gardens, and a terrace. Wi-Fi, room service, and laundry services are typically available. The hotel can help organize activities such as dhow cruises, fishing trips, snorkeling, cultural tours, and more. Its location near the beach makes it ideal for water sports and relaxation by the sea.

Peponi Hotel in Lamu provides a unique and luxurious experience that incorporates the rich cultural heritage of the area. With its prime location, delicious dining options, and a variety of activities, it represents a gateway to explore Lamu’s enchanting environment and traditions. Whether visitors are looking for adventure, relaxation, or a cultural experience, Peponi Hotel offers an inviting and unforgettable stay on Lamu Island.

Majlis Resort

Majlis Resort is a luxury boutique hotel situated on Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago of Kenya. It’s located in a pristine location overlooking the bay and offers a blend of coastal elegance and modern comfort, with strong influences of Swahili culture, Lamu’s rich tradition, and local craftsmanship.

Majlis Resort is set on the beachfront of Manda Island, providing stunning views of Lamu Island and the Indian Ocean. It offers a secluded and tranquil setting, surrounded by natural beauty.

The resort is built with traditional materials, featuring makuti-thatched roofs, white coral blocks, and hand-carved timber. The design reflects Swahili, Arab, and European influences, creating a harmonious blend with the natural surroundings.

The resort offers a selection of luxurious villas and suites, each with its unique character. Rooms are spacious, decorated with local antiques and art, and feature verandas with panoramic sea views. The restaurant at Majlis offers a combination of international cuisine and local dishes, with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Ingredients are locally sourced, and the setting offers indoor or beachfront dining.

Amenities at Majlis include a wellness spa, two swimming pools, a library, a kid’s club, and a fitness center. The resort also offers Wi-Fi, airport transfers, and personalized services.

Guests at Majlis can partake in various activities, including dhow cruises, snorkeling, fishing, windsurfing, bird-watching, and cultural visits to Lamu Town. Guided tours and excursions can be arranged.

The resort offers facilities for weddings, conferences, and private events, providing a unique setting for various occasions. Majlis Resort is known for its luxurious offerings, attention to detail, personalized service, and commitment to providing an authentic yet upscale experience of the Swahili coast.

Majlis Resort is a top-tier destination for travelers seeking a blend of luxury and authentic cultural experience in the Lamu archipelago. With its stunning location, architectural beauty, range of amenities, and focus on personalized guest experiences, it offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the enchanting coastal environment while enjoying modern comforts and world-class hospitality. Whether for a romantic getaway, family vacation, or corporate retreat, Majlis Resort represents the essence of coastal Kenya at its finest.

Manda Bay

Manda Bay is a small private lodge located on the northern tip of Manda Island in the Lamu Archipelago of Kenya. Known for its idyllic setting, personalized service, and focus on sustainability, Manda Bay offers a serene retreat for travelers seeking to connect with nature while enjoying comfort and luxury.

Situated on a secluded peninsular, Manda Bay overlooks calm waters and beautiful beaches. The remote setting provides tranquillity, privacy, and panoramic ocean views. Manda Bay offers a collection of beachfront cottages, built using local materials in a traditional coastal style. Rooms are designed for comfort and offer private verandas, open-air bathrooms, and easy access to the beach.

The dining experience at Manda Bay focuses on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, including seafood, tropical fruits, and vegetables. Guests can enjoy meals on the beach, by the pool, or in a communal dining area. Facilities include a swimming pool, lounge areas, a bar, and various beachside relaxation spots. The lodge offers activities such as spa treatments and yoga sessions.

Guests can take part in an array of outdoor activities, such as sailing, snorkeling, windsurfing, fishing, bird-watching, and nature walks. Cultural tours and excursions to historical sites in Lamu can be arranged.

Manda Bay has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. The lodge operates on solar power, uses rainwater harvesting systems, and actively participates in community outreach and local conservation projects.

With its limited number of cottages, Manda Bay ensures a personalized experience for each guest, fostering an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. The area surrounding Manda Bay is home to various species of marine life and birds. Guests can engage in bird-watching, explore the mangroves, or even spot sea turtles during certain seasons. Access to Manda Bay is typically via a short flight from Nairobi to Lamu, followed by a boat or car transfer to the lodge.

Kijani Hotel

Kijani Hotel, located in Shela village on Lamu Island in Kenya, is a unique boutique hotel that offers a blend of simplicity and traditional Swahili style. Its name “Kijani” translates to “green” in Swahili, reflecting the hotel’s lush gardens and commitment to environmental consciousness.

Situated in the tranquil village of Shela, just a short walk from the famous Shela Beach, Kijani Hotel offers easy access to the sea and is a convenient base to explore Lamu Island.

The hotel is designed in traditional Swahili style, with local materials and artistry. It’s adorned with hand-carved Lamu furniture, antique doors, and local textiles, creating an authentic atmosphere. Kijani Hotel offers a variety of rooms and suites, each with individual charm and sea or garden views. The accommodation reflects the cultural heritage of the area and is designed to provide comfort and privacy.

The hotel’s restaurant serves a mix of Swahili and international cuisine, emphasizing fresh seafood and local ingredients. Guests can enjoy meals in the garden, by the pools, or on the terraces overlooking the sea.

Among the amenities are two swimming pools set in lush gardens, a library, and several terraces. Wi-Fi and laundry services are typically available.

Guests can take part in various activities such as dhow cruises, snorkeling, fishing trips, village walks, and excursions to Lamu Town. The hotel’s location near the beach also allows for water sports and beach relaxation. Kijani Hotel has a focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship, incorporating practices such as water recycling and energy conservation. The lush gardens are maintained using treated wastewater.

The hotel is renowned for its beautiful gardens filled with tropical plants, ponds, and small streams, creating a green oasis that contrasts with the arid landscape of Lamu. With its limited number of rooms, Kijani Hotel offers a personalized and tranquil experience, making it suitable for those looking for a peaceful getaway.

Forodhani House

Forodhani House is a luxurious beachfront property situated in Shela Village on Lamu Island, Kenya. It stands as a distinctive vacation rental offering a blend of traditional Swahili architecture and modern amenities, providing a unique and comfortable stay for visitors.

Forodhani House enjoys a prime location on Shela Beach, offering spectacular views of the Indian Ocean, Manda Island, and the Lamu channel. Its proximity to the beach allows guests easy access to various water activities.

Reflecting traditional Swahili design, the house is constructed using local materials such as coral blocks and mangrove wood. It’s adorned with intricately carved wooden doors, archways, and handcrafted furniture, contributing to an authentic Lamu experience.

The house typically has several spacious bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom. Rooms are designed to provide comfort, and many offer sea views or open to terraces and gardens.

Forodhani House features a variety of relaxation areas, including a rooftop terrace, balconies, gardens, and a swimming pool. The property is equipped with modern conveniences such as Wi-Fi, a fully equipped kitchen, and staff to assist with cooking and housekeeping.

While guests have the option to cook their meals, the house often comes with a chef who can prepare both local and international dishes, focusing on fresh seafood and Swahili cuisine. Being beachfront, Forodhani House offers easy access to activities like swimming, sailing, snorkeling, and fishing. Cultural excursions to Lamu Town, dhow cruises, and guided village walks can be arranged as well.

Many properties like Forodhani House on Lamu Island focus on sustainability by using local materials in construction and engaging in practices that are considerate of the local environment.

The spaciousness of Forodhani House makes it suitable for families or groups of friends looking for a private and personalized stay in a homely environment. The property can also serve as a unique venue for special events such as weddings, anniversaries, or corporate retreats, offering an enchanting setting against the backdrop of the sea.

Lamu House Hotel

Lamu House Hotel is an elegant boutique hotel located in Lamu Town on Lamu Island, off the coast of Kenya. Combining traditional Swahili design with modern amenities, Lamu House Hotel offers a distinctive experience that reflects the rich cultural heritage of the region.

The hotel is situated in the heart of Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, providing guests with easy access to historical landmarks, bustling markets, and local life.

Lamu House Hotel is made up of three traditional Swahili houses that have been beautifully restored and transformed into a hotel. The architecture includes classic Swahili elements such as coral stone walls, carved wooden doors, and open courtyards.

The hotel offers a range of rooms and suites, each individually decorated with local crafts, antiques, and Swahili furnishings. Many rooms have balconies or terraces with views of the sea or the town.

The hotel’s restaurant serves a mix of Swahili and Mediterranean cuisine, using fresh local ingredients, particularly seafood. The rooftop bar offers stunning views and is a popular spot for enjoying sunset cocktails. Amenities at Lamu House Hotel include two swimming pools, a spa, and various lounge areas. The hotel also offers services such as airport transfers and Wi-Fi.

Guests can explore the narrow streets of Lamu Town, visit historical sites, take dhow cruises, or enjoy water sports like snorkeling and fishing. Cultural tours and excursions to nearby islands and villages can also be arranged.

Lamu House Hotel often engages in practices that support the local community and environment, such as employing local staff, using locally-sourced materials, and implementing energy-saving measures. The hotel is known for its warm hospitality, attention to detail, and the ability to provide an authentic Lamu experience within a luxurious setting.

Red Pepper House

The Red Pepper House is a boutique hotel located in Lamu, Kenya, near the village of Shela. Known for its unique architectural design and relaxing atmosphere, the Red Pepper House offers a blend of Swahili and African culture with modern comfort.

Situated close to the famous Shela Beach, the Red Pepper House enjoys a peaceful setting that allows guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and local culture of Lamu Island.

The design of the Red Pepper House is inspired by traditional Swahili and African architecture, incorporating natural materials such as coral, wood, and palm leaves. The property is adorned with local art, crafts, and textiles, creating an authentic ambiance.

The hotel offers spacious and airy rooms, each individually decorated and equipped with modern amenities. Rooms typically feature open-air bathrooms, private verandas, and views of the garden or sea.

The Red Pepper House’s restaurant focuses on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, offering a menu that blends Swahili, African, and international cuisine. Seafood is a specialty, and meals can be enjoyed in various locations around the property.

Among the amenities offered are a swimming pool, lounge areas, library, and massage services. The lush gardens and beachfront location add to the tranquil environment. Guests have access to a wide range of activities, including dhow cruises, snorkeling, fishing, village tours, and exploring the historical Lamu Town. Yoga and wellness activities are often available as well.

The Red Pepper House often engages in sustainable practices, reflecting a commitment to the local environment and community. This includes the use of renewable energy sources, water conservation, and supporting local artisans.

With a limited number of rooms, the Red Pepper House provides attentive and personalized service, catering to individual guest preferences and needs.

Banana House & Wellness Centre

Banana House & Wellness Centre is a popular boutique guesthouse located in Shela village on Lamu Island, Kenya. Renowned for its focus on wellness, relaxation, and connection to local culture, it offers guests a serene environment to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the island.

Situated in the peaceful Shela village, Banana House is just a short walk from the pristine Shela Beach. Its location allows for easy exploration of both the village and the island.

Built in traditional Swahili style, the guesthouse features elements such as coral walls, thatched roofs, and carved wooden doors. The interiors are adorned with locally crafted furnishings, textiles, and art, reflecting the cultural heritage of Lamu.

The property offers various rooms, suites, and apartments, each designed with comfort and simplicity in mind. Many rooms have balconies or terraces overlooking the gardens or the sea. A defining feature of Banana House is its wellness focus. The center offers yoga classes, meditation sessions, and various holistic treatments. Both individual guests and group retreats are catered for, with personalized programs available.

The on-site restaurant serves healthy and organic meals, emphasizing fresh seafood, local produce, and Swahili cuisine. Special dietary requirements can often be accommodated. Lush gardens filled with banana trees and tropical plants surround the property. Guests can also enjoy two swimming pools and various relaxation areas.

In addition to wellness activities, guests can participate in dhow sailing trips, snorkeling, fishing, cultural tours, and more. Cooking classes featuring Swahili dishes are also popular. Banana House is committed to sustainable practices, including water and energy conservation, waste reduction, and support of local community initiatives.

Kizingo Eco Lodge

Kizingo Eco Lodge is an award-winning boutique lodge situated on the remote southwestern tip of Lamu Island, Kenya. Designed to blend seamlessly with its natural surroundings, the lodge offers a unique, eco-friendly experience that emphasizes simplicity, relaxation, and connection to nature.

Kizingo is located on a secluded part of Lamu Island, with stunning views of the Indian Ocean and direct access to a pristine, private beach.

The lodge has been thoughtfully constructed using local materials such as palm fronds and mangrove poles, maintaining a rustic yet comfortable charm. The design focuses on open spaces, allowing the ocean breeze to flow through.

Kizingo offers beachfront bandas (thatched cottages), each with a veranda overlooking the sea. Furnishings are simple and handcrafted, reflecting the natural environment. Solar power provides lighting, and there is an emphasis on minimizing unnecessary luxuries to reduce environmental impact.

Meals at Kizingo are often communal and feature locally-sourced ingredients, including fresh seafood. The cuisine is a blend of Swahili and international flavors. Guests can enjoy beachside barbecues, picnics, and sunset cocktails.

The lodge offers a range of activities that allow guests to explore the natural beauty of Lamu Island, such as snorkeling, kayaking, dhow sailing, fishing, and guided walks. Turtle watching and cultural visits to local villages are also highlights.

While there may not be a formal wellness center, the lodge’s tranquil setting offers an ideal space for relaxation, meditation, and beachside yoga.

With a limited number of bandas and a dedicated team, guests receive personalized attention and a tailored experience. The absence of Wi-Fi, TV, and other modern distractions encourages guests to disconnect from technology and immerse themselves in the natural environment.

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