10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
A Getaway Paradise- Do lots or do little
"We as a family visited Kijani for the 3rd time in October. What we liked about Kijani house was this 10 room hotel truly reflected the Swahili architecture of the island. The grounds were well maintained and the trees shaded the area. Rooms are above average in cleanliness and dÃ©cor. Food value is outstanding. Because we had teenagers it was great to order whatever food they wanted. The food is well prepared, served and delicious. You can custom order various dishes including many fine vegetarian dishes. The desserts are incredible. My personal favorite is Cream Caramel. Remember to Order FRESHLY Squeezed juice!. It will be served by one of two nice pools in the courtyard. It is a great getaway for all ages and couples and every detail looked after by the owners and staff. It feels like a home away from home. Suite 11 was our favorite. Since our visit many of our Canadian friends have been going there and always come back with similar experiences as ours. Eric Rajah Lacombe, Alberta, Canada"
- Travel date: 19th October 2007
For those seeking simple comforts...
"We arrived at Kijani house after a week of travel on the mainland. It was a welcome change of pace. We booked three rooms-all spacious, comfortable and clean. Unfortunately, one of us had to contend with dead ants a result of overzealous spraying of the ceiling fans the night before by the staff. Otherwise, in every way a peaceful oasis. The rooms are nice, beds comfortable, view of the water albeit slightly obstructed by the trees. The highlights: tour of Lamu village with Mr. Ahmed. Dhow sunset trip arranged by the hotel. Daily breakfast of omelettes and fresh banana and papayas with freshly squeezed juice. Walks on the unending beach (though beware of hypdermic needles-don't walk barefoot!), Fresh avocado smoothies in the village. Dinner at Peponi was quite good, but the atmosphere was less laid back, more formal and the people less friendly."
- Travel date: 17th October 2007
Beware the Bedbugs
"On the positive side - I found Kijani to be a generally quiet hotel, with clean and attractive rooms, two nice pools, pleasant gardens and easy beach access. The hotel management was flexible about room change. In general, it is a better choice for couples than singles. Less pleasant - It was somewhat disconcerting when no one from the hotel showed up at the airport to greet me and help me with my luggage. The owner blamed a boat snafu and offered me a glass of wine. On the second day, I received 50+ bites from a bedbug-infested pool lounger mat. When the owner was notified, I was not offered any compensation but they did wash the mat covers. Apart from off-menu Swahili food, the cooking was very mediocre and over-priced (lowlights included under-cooked chicken, bland fish and tiny sandwiches). The restaurant staff are quite pleasant but they enforce a rigid hotel policy of making guests sit at the same restaurant table during their visit. I ended up taking lunches down the beach at Peponi's for much better food and service. In general, my feeling was that most of the hotel's policies appeared to be for the convenience of the staff and owners rather than being geared to client preferences. The hotel owners played no hosting role with guests and as a consequence, most guests did not interact with each other, despite the small size of the hotel."
- Travel date: 22nd September 2007
"We spent 5 days at the Kijani House just contemplating and resting after a few adventurous week on the mainland. Kijani was everything we ever wanted. The nicest of Staff/Owner. Right by the beach - even though you need to walk for some 10 minutes to arrive to the part of the beach were you can actually bath. A small pool to cool you off and not the least wonderful, tasteful, delicious food :-) Just in case - whatever you do, do not stay, reserve or book anything at the Banana House - yes I know - the name sais it all :-) Even so we managed to book and luckily cancel our stay here. But it cost us hundreds of dollars which we never got back"
- Travel date: 22nd August 2007
"We spent 5 nights at the Kijani House (first week in January 2007) to relax after a busy animal viewing/ photo safari. We loved the hotel and our room (#1) which has a private sea view roof deck (on top of the room). The staff is friendly and very caring, the food terrific, the garden lovely and the other guests interesting and diverse. Fresh orchids on your bed with nightly turn down service was very romantic. Mwanashee, the hotel manager, is very organized and responsive in re: booking reservations, managing payment and confirming via email. She could run anything! Also, because we had been the first guests to book for the week (almost a year before) she made sure that we got one of the choice rooms. Very thoughtful and kind of her and we were thrilled. Our only complaint, entirely unrelated to the hotel, were the monsoon winds that blew 24/7. It was unrelenting and got to be nerve wracking. It made it hard to just sit and read sometimes and made it very difficult to take walks. The winds made the water very rough and so eliminated our much anticipated messing about on boats, with snorkels and at the end of fishing lines. Apparently the winds normally blow this time of the year but even the staff said it was unusual for them to be at gale force for so many days in a row. No doubt this just our bad luck and your visit will be idyllic. Oh, and we walked over for drinks over at the Peponi Hotel and were very glad not to be staying there. Although hotel looks very nice it looked to be a very hectic social scene. The bar full of people who seemed to want to see and be seen. Lots of "beautiful people" smoking cigs and looking to see who was noticing them. Might be a good choice for singles. By contrast the Kijani is not a "scene" at all. Just very peaceful and relaxed."
- Travel date: 30th January 2007
"Lovely, Artistic, Charming, For honey moon Or starting a love story Or just relaxing after a long journey, a long life.... If you love birds, and the song of wind in the palms.... Stars at night Excellent food Flowers, and flowers, and flowers Delicate rooms in swahili style Taste of Africa, India, Arabia Sailing dows, walking on a long and quiet beach in the middle of real swahili life A place where the full moon is more full than everywhere... No cars, no noise, but the muezzin and the kids singing...... A quiet and small Zanzibar Delicate, charming, lovely. (Firt time I write about a hÃ´tel, I mean a place to live and stay. and dream....)."
- Travel date: 23rd January 2007
great personal service
"very nice and personal hotel. we stayed there over christmas holidays with 3 small children and loved the personal attention from the staff. the hotel has only about 10 rooms, so one could say it's easy to give guests attention, but we saw they really went out of our way to serve us. For the small children they specially opened the restaurant early. They provided baby sit. All extra charges for food/drink are also very reasonable. When our return flight was cancelled last minute, they quickly managed to free up another room for an extra night stay."
- Travel date: 11th January 2007
Great friendly getaway
"Just spent a 4-day weekend at Kijani. Was amazed by the friendly staff, good food, and unique rooms. Somehow the sparse furnishings still felt comfortable and the view of the ocean from our bed was worth it! Unfortunately, there is no beach by the hotel (you must walk to nearby beaches or take a boat to Manda island) and the pool area could use some tending..."
- Travel date: 20th March 2006
An oasis of comfort in Paradise!
"This hotel is just amazing! When you arrive at Lamu via the airport, there is a group of porters and Abdul, the hotel event planner, waiting for you at the airport. You hop into a motor boat which wisks you away to the hotel. When the boat arrives, the porters will carry all your bags to the front desk, where the lovely staff will greet you and check you in. Then your bags are carried to your rooms for you and a waiter will bring up a coconut drink decorated with fresh flowers. Some rooms over look the two pools offered at Kijani while others overlook the ocean. This begins your wonderful adventure to Lamu! We got the room rate of 7000 Ksh (about $100 USD) per night for two people for bed and breakfast. However, we quickly changed to the rate of 9400 Ksh (about $130 USD) for two people for bed, breakfast and dinner. It was WELL worth the extra money. Abdul will offer to book dhow (small wooden sail boats which are the main mode of transportation) cruises for you, tours of the town, snorkelling, scuba diving, whatever you want! He's a very nice young man and very helpful. We took the tour of Lamu town but I would suggest just getting a good map, a tourists brochure of Lamu town and exploring it yourself. You will see more and the tour tends to be rather basic due to the language barrier. We did book two different cruises on a dhow from Abdul and they were wonderful. We did a sunset sail one night (about $20 USD/2000 Ksh) which takes you on a two hour sail around the bay of Lamu then out to the open sea to see the sun sink into the sky. It was amazing and you'll get great photos! We also booked a 1/2 day trip to the ruins on Manda Island. However, the tide was too low so after travelling a channel for a hour, we had to return because we ran aground. Instead, the drivers took us Manda Beach where they cooked us lunch of grilled marinated fish, chapate (flour pancakes similar to pita), fresh veggie salad, and fresh mangos and bananas. It was amazing! The drivers went all out for us and the food was excellent! The trip costs about 4500 Ksh ($50 USD or so) and was worth it. After the lunch we went swimming on the beach in the warm ocean waters and took a leisurely sail back to Kijani. The rooms are great but, I warn you, a little hot. No air conditioning. If you get one that faces the ocean directly you've got more of breeze at night. However, we had huge comfy beds with gauzy mosquito netting covering us at night. They also have paddle fans on the ceiling and a portable fan to place by the beds to keep it cool. Every night, the staff comes to turn down your bed sheets and place flowers all over your pillows. The bathrooms are wonderfully large, very roomy and have a huge shower. All the rooms are decorated with Swahili antiques and a boa board (a Lamu game I recommend you pick up while you're there because it's great fun!). The food at the restaurant is top notch. We never had a bad meal from them! Each breakfast comes with the option of coffee or tea, juice, fresh fruit, yogurt, cornflakes, egg omelettes, scrambled/fried/poached eggs, banana pancakes (I got those every day), or fried fish cakes which are lovely too. Dinner is a five course, homemade fresh daily exploration of tastes! They will cook anything special if you need it done for dietary reasons. The meal was a soup course, starter, pasta course, meat course and dessert. They serve wine, spirits and beer with dinner at a charge but if you bring your own wine with you (which we did) they will cork and serve for you. The other great part about eating there is you are not crowded by all the all guests on top of each other. In fact, when we were there, only 5 rooms were occupied so we could relax at dinner without tons of guests, like at other hotels we saw on Shela. The hotel is located on Shela beach, the more posh section of Lamu. However, this hotel is far better than those we visited on this section of the beach. We looked at the rooms at other places and it was not nearly as spacious or friendly as ours. I hope you find Kijani as much fun as we did and enjoy your trip to Lamu! It was a great adventure for five days. I believe we spent a total of about $600 for the room and food and alcohol and then an additional $2-300 on cruises, trips to town on dhows and some other fun adventures. For two people that seemed like a great way to spend about a grand! Also, check out their website which is updated regularly! [--]"
- Travel date: 12th March 2006
kijani is kiswahili for green, loved the place!
"We flew from Nairobi in a Kenya Airways fokker 50 from Wilson airport to Lamu which is an archipelago of seven islands. we were whisked to kijani house hotel in a speed boat, note that thats the only means of travelling around the island. The boat was moored about 50meters from the hotel and with low tide had to wade in knee length water to a sand beach which makes up the hotel front.We were meant by the owner who is Italian and whisked to the hotel where we were welcomed with ice cold coconut fruit juice in coconut fruit! As you step into the hotel yard where there are two swimming pools, the vegetation is a mediterranean green with leafy trees and shrubs providing ample shade from temperatures in 40degrees centigrade range. The service was wonderful. In the afternoon service staff are in Khaki bermuda pants and white tshirt with hotel name and in the evening they change into flowing arabian robes complete with sandals! You get told about the dinner menu around 1600hours and you make a pick of what you will have. Our room was overlooking the sea and had wonderful views from the balcony. The hotel has a well stocked library, a curio shop where one can buy postcards,sarongs and local artefacts. Tours around the island are arranged, like boat rides, dhow sunset cruises or for the fit a walk around the golden beaches and into the island streets Was there for 3 days and two nights and would have loved to stay a bit longer.I would recommend the hotel to honeymooners or peace loving travellers. But the hotel is not for those on a tight budget as this is not a budget hotel maybe during low season."
- Travel date: 11th December 2005
Kijani is also called
- Kijani Hotel Lamu
- kijani hotel lamu
- kijani hotel