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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Kenya

The Majlis: passion fruit mojitos and a laidback mindset

We’re not a textbook beach hotel but that’s the beauty of it…

By Nilma Shah
General Manager at The Majlis

When you visit us, you need a bit of an open mind. We’re not the Ritz Carlton and this isn’t Mauritius or Dubai. Our retreat is on Manda Island where you know… boat and donkeyback are the main modes of transportation and there’s no primary source of water or electricity.

Despite this, there’s no other hotel like The Majlis on the island. There are 39 rooms, spread across four, two-floor villas but somehow it still feels like a private home. Italian furniture (the owners are Italian), is combined with Omani-style rugs and beaded chairs crafted by the Nigerian Yoruba people. I’m proud to say we have the largest infinity pool on the Kenyan coast and I must say, one of the most Instagramable pool bars with pink flowering bougainvillea. From the long stretching beach you can witness the most spectacular views of Lamu’s famed sunsets that melt over the bay and across to Lamu Island.

There’s simply no choice but to be a foodie here with our bars and restaurants dotted around the hotel offering Japanese, Italian, Indian and Swahili dishes. The catch of the day– red snapper for example – is never boring, served two ways smothered in garlic butter, or flavoured with paprika, chilly, and cumin. You’re here to completely switch off but aside from eating, drinking and soaking up the sun, those who are energetic must try the two-and-a-half kilometre cycling trail along the beach to the fantastic Tawaka ruins. We had a couple of guests who were training for the New York marathon who loved it. Or try kayaking at sunrise. It’ll turn you into a morning person.

If it’s your first time visiting I would always, always suggest visiting Lamu town, a 15 to 25-minute speedboat ride away depending on how fast you go. When you get there, you’re bound to notice donkeys and donkey poop everywhere but it’s very authentic. Now how to describe the guides… They’re not the most polished with higher education degrees, but they’re the ones who can tell you which of the handcarved doors are authentic and which ones have been ‘recarved.’ They’re also the best people to offer true insight into the local Islamic culture.


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Alfred & Nilma Shah

Nilma was a lawyer by profession and started her own company in the agriculture sector. Feeling overwhelmed with it all, she followed her passion for hospitality and never looked back. Running the Majlis as a General Manager allows her the freedom to use her diligence and creativity to hone something that she loves - showing visitors all of Lamu’s authentic, raw and beautiful angles while helping people reconnect with themselves.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Becky, who's travelled extensively in Kenya. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the safari rangers, local village chiefs and camp managers you'll be talking about for years to come. Start planning today, call us, email an enquiry or arrange a phone or video appointment for ideas and advice.

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