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“Oustanding, location, rooms, food and service!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Majlis Hotel

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The Majlis Hotel
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Ras Kitau Bay, Manda Island | PO Box 502, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 11 hotels in Lamu Island
Brighton, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Oustanding, location, rooms, food and service!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2011

We stumbled on this hotel whilst surfing the web for some winter sunshine.
The website has some beautiful pictures of the hotel and I’m happy to say it’s just as beautiful in the flesh.
The Italian family that has built this luxury resort has done so with amazing attention to detail.
There's nothing flashy here, don't expect flat screen tv's in the room.
Do expect fantastic service from the staff and fantastic food....... everything from sushi to wood fired pizza.
The decor and architecture of the place has been done with such a level of quality its quite staggering to think it’s on an island off the coast of Kenya.
This really is the kind of level you usually expect from someone like the Soho house group.

Our room was on the top floor of one of the two main villas, huge bed with crisp white sheets and an mosquito net covering the whole bed (although we didn't see any sign of mosquito’s - does add to the romance of feeling like your bed is inside a tent though)
Rooms are big and airy with every room having a little area with chairs, sofa, table to sit and read.
Most of the rooms have balconies which are perfect for watching the fabulous sunsets!

I must say this does not feel like a luxury resort in the corporate sense.... it just feels like you are staying with a friend who’s done very well for himself and is being kind enough to let you stay in one of his spare villas. it’s very relaxed and homely.

You pretty much have the whole beach to yourself, there aren't any other hotels on this island. A good walk up the beach you can find a few fisherman’s houses and a couple of rich peoples holiday homes but that’s about it.
The bay is pretty quiet and smooth so I recommend taking either a dow trip or if you're up for some solo exploring take one of the hotel kayaks or little sail boats for an adventure.
There's a floating bar not far away that is in the mango groves (20min kayaking tops).

We had a wonderful time and we'll definitely be going back!
Stefano and family thanks for building this paradise

Gareth – UK

P.S. the spicy mango soup is amazing and watch out for the parrots, ones nice and one bites!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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65 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Weybridge
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2011

I stayed at The Majlis for only one night, as it was at the end of a business trip.

There is nothing about it that I can fault at all.

You arrive by boat, having sped past the gorgeously large houses and villas of Shela on the mainland, and jump out onto the warm sand. The entrance is impressive to say the least - a huge stone structure standing on the beach, and you immediately feel as if you are entering somewhere special.

Everything about the Majlis says 5*. The pools are sparkling, clean and beautiful. The rooms are large, cool and elegant. The staff are friendly and attentitive. The food in the restaurant is wonderful - and the home made chocolate ice cream in particular is to die for. The bar overlooking the ocean is the perfect sundowner spot.

What more can I say ?

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hünenberg
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2011

"... gimme just one more night" - this is the Majlis hymn, and very appropriately so. I can't imagine anybody not burning with this wish on the final day.

I could write pages about the beauty and serenity of the place, but it would always fall short of reality.

So let me just mention the two highlights that impressed me most: the dangerously good cuisine, and - above all else - the people. The love and care extended by every single person on the team make3s you feel as warm and pampered as in a very beautiful dream

THANK YOU, MAJLIS!!!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2011

As Lamu is becoming more and more discovered, it's nice to know that there's still a place that feels quite isolated and peaceful there. This is The Majlis. My husband and I stayed here for four nights and found a small piece of heaven.

Overall, the place feels like a home away from home. This is most likely because it started as a holiday home for the family who owns and runs The Majlis, now a boutique resort.
The three villas are made of coral (and parts clad in plaster and painted white, which is typical to the area), very Swahili in its design influences — moldings, inlays and materials (most local woods, tiles, etc.) that incorporate mainly Arab, Indian, and African design.

The villas are also filled with art works of local artists (both Swahili and Italian artists living on the coast of Kenya, as well as a Spanish painter Yago Casado, who lives in Lamu) and artisans, as well as three Julian Schnabel paintings and one drawing Schnabel made while staying at the holiday home in 2005—the paintings are on pieces of the sail from a dhow boat. Coming from New York and being very familiar with contemporary art, this was wonderful to see, and live with, for our time there.

The food at The Majlis is exceptional, with highlights being the pastas (I wouldn't expect anything less from an Italian-owned property, I suppose, but then again this pasta was even better than you get in Rome!) and the seafood dishes. You can tell that the resort uses only the best ingredients.

The staff was wonderful, especially the housekeeping. They were incredibly discreet but very thorough and everyday they left flower petals on the bed. This may sound cliche but in fact it was done so elegantly and in such a simple way that it was a charming touch.

Another thing I appreciate about The Majlis is that they make a conscious effort to respect the environment and not just by declaring that they are 'eco-friendly' or green but with actions that one would expect and appreciate from a resort of this nature, i.e. they turned off the electricity in the villas during specific hours of the afternoon and they have salt-water pools, open dining area, ceiling fans, and certain methods to conserve water (for example, you flip a switch to get the hot water when you want it, so as to not have it running all day). They also use only natural bug deterrents (mostly for sand flies, of which I surprisingly did not see even one). Every little bit counts.

The property is located on a semi-private beach and the staff can help you arrange day trips. There are boats on the property, two pools, a massage area, and books, games and even a star-gazing telescope. You can't get bored here. You can choose to make it an active stay or a relaxing stay — you have that option here, which I loved.

My husband and I plan on making The Majlis a regular stay. Thank you to the owners and staff for making our experience such an enjoyable one.
Best from New York,
M&A

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Oslo
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2011

Yes, I think The Majlis on Manda Beach, Lamu, Kenya is THE perfect hotel! The place in itself is absolutely beautiful, originally built as a home a few years ago, but luckily for us all, turned into a hotel. Or a hotel of sorts...

The three building that comprise the hotel are large villas, and apart from those you'll find a beautiful restaurant builing with a huge bar above it where you can have your sundowner. There is another daytime bar and two swimming pools, and besides, the hotel is practically built right on the beach. Although it can get really hot here close to the Equator, the water both in the ocean and in the pools appear surprisingly refreshing.

The rooms and the furniture are amazing, there are pieces of art throughout the hotel collected by the Moccia family who own the place - and eveything is in perfect taste.

However, the staff at The Majlis may be the hotel's best asset. These are extremely nice people, incredibly forthcoming and helpfulm and although the service in the restaurant may be a bit lacking that's part of the experience. It can be a bit slow and uncoordinated, but Lamu is to a certain extent that kind of place. Having said this, the service is something the hotel management are constantly working on and improving step by step, so no worries. Or as they say in this part of the world - hakuna matata! Also, the food is absolutely amazing!

The overall feel of The Majlis is that the place is like a home, more than a hotel. And you certainly feel at home and you feel very, very welcome here. Thanks to everyone who made our vacation so successful!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New york
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2011

You are picked up from the airport by boat and taken on a 10 minute ride to the hotel which sits on an beautiful island across from Lamu. As you pull up you can tell this place is something special. It was originally built as private villas and then turned into a hotel. The rooms have air conditioning which you won't find anywhere else in the Lamu area. Our room had two large terraces that overlook the water and were perfect for sunset (room #11). The design and craftsmanship that went into the rooms and buildings is also amazing. The detail work is so fine and the artwork is incredible. A lot of thought went into the design of this hotel. There are two pools for guests, a great bar that sits on the second floor above the restaurant that is perfect for sunset. We had the opportunity to meet Federico, one of the owners, he was so nice and made our stay so enjoyable. They really make every effort to make your stay a great one. I recommend taking one of the many day excursions that they offer, we took a boat ride around the island and stopped on a private beach to swim and lounge. I also had a massage in a hut by the beach. The food was excellent and they will make you things that are not on the menu if you ask. Everyone that works here has a smile on their face, how couldn't they this place is Paradise.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Epsom, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2011

Booked at the last minute and so glad our previous choice of hotel fell through! The Italian owners and management have thought of everything at the Majlis, ratio of 3 staff to 1 room, service and food just right. We were taken good care of from the minute we stepped off the plane. Nice friendly atmosphere, perfect position on Manda Island away from the hustle and bustle of Lamu Town and Shela village, but only a short boat ride from there and the airstrip. Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Majlis Hotel

Address: Ras Kitau Bay, Manda Island | PO Box 502, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 11 hotels in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Majlis Hotel 4.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Idyllic, luxurious, stylish, unique, …the Majlis resort is a privately-owned luxury beach hotel on the north coast of Kenya in the Indian ocean. Designed and built to reflect Lamu’s heritage tradition, The Majlis combines 25 superbly appointed luxury air-conditioned suites built with Western comforts and local tradition. State-of-the-art facilities include two bars, a gourmet restaurant, two swimming pools and an activity center which graciously co-ordinates a wide variety of full day experiences for you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Majlis Lamu Ltd Hotel Lamu Island

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