We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Utterly charming and Majical” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Majlis Hotel

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Save
You added The Majlis Hotel to your Saves list
The Majlis Hotel
5.0 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
London, United Kingdom
1 review
“Utterly charming and Majical”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2010

Come on, be honest. Can you think of a better hotel than this in East Africa? I think not. My wife and I spent a week at The Majlis in October and it is truly a wonderful hotel, easily getting a 5 star rating from us.

Upon arrival at the airstrip we were greeted by Perris, who looked after us throughout our stay, in a brand new speed boat and we were driven direct to the hotel. A troupe of hotel staff marked our arrival with a beautiful local song that, although I did not quite catch the words, sounded most tuneful.

Soon we were escorted to our fabulous room on the second floor of one of the villas; the room was spacious, comfortable and elegantly styled with a large bathroom and separate dressing room area. I must say that whoever designed the interiors has impeccable taste. The room also had a fantastic sea view of the channel between Manda and Lamu. The view of the sunset each day was breathtaking.

There are many cool excursions and stuff to do. We went on a dhow cruise at sunset one day with 'Captain Jamaica' and his crew, a trip to Lamu town, and a rather adventurous day trip in a Jeep to Lake Kinyata, where we saw the entire cast of the film Madagascar. I wanted to do the water safari trip to the Tana river but my wife morphed into a rare breed of scaredy-cat and we decided to laze by the pool instead.

The food was really excellent during our time at The Majlis. The pasta was right up there with Cecconis or Locanda Locatelli in London. I felt the full-board price was actually very reasonable considering the top-notch cuisine. However, as my line manager reliably pointed out, I spent the not inconsiderable cost-saving on t-shirts and souvenirs in the hotel shop. Whoops.

And finally the staff. I have never experienced such attentive, charming and friendly staff. Seriously. Housekeeping took real care over each room, making these cute floral arrangements on the bed and animal shapes using hand-towels (how do you describe origami with towels instead of paper? towelgami?). The restaurant staff were attentive, eager and willing to serve. The management were always on hand ready to assist with any request.

When people use the word 'charming' often I worry. Once I bought a Renault 5 and 'charming' was another word for 'rusty'. Another time I bought a house and 'charming' in actual fact meant 'unmodernised'. So when I say The Majlis Lamu was utterly charming, I mean it in the sense of 'best hotel I have ever come across'.

  • Stayed October 2010, 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.
Write a Review

86 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    69
    11
    5
    0
    1
See reviews for
16
43
7
3
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (25)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ukiah, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2010

We loved our stay at Majlis. The rooms are huge, airy, well appointed, clean, and air conditioned.

The location is nice and quiet, away from busier Shela and crazy-busy Lamu, but those towns are easy to visit with boat transportation that is always available.

We can't say enough about the staff. Enjoy a sunset dhow excursion with Captains Jamaica, Nassir, and Katana. They are wonderful hosts and entertainers.

Many menu items at the restaurant were more adventurous than our tastes, but what we did have was very good. I know they are proud of their restaurant, but the best, hands down, are their wood-fired pizzas. We couldn't stop ordering them!

The facility and grounds are spectacular, the staff are great, and you can still enjoy Lamu and Shela without compromising your comfort and luxury.

  • Stayed November 2010
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
London UK
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2010

I am always looking for that truly unique hotel to stay at for its individuality, stunning scenery and environs, wonderful decor as well as exceptional service. I find it hard to make any criticism of The Majlis which is one of the best hotels I have stayed in. A truly rare gem shimmering in the Indian Ocean with luxuriant yet understated decor, excellent service, ocean views everywhere and a beach without barriers. If you are truly the discerning traveller and enjoy luxury that is refined and highly sophisticated without all the false pretence that many chain hotels demonstrate then The Majlis is the place for you.

The service is superb from all - James and Mary are exceptional waiting staff. You must not only enjoy this marvellous hotel but its surroundings also. We did a guided tour to Lamu and its old town which is a UNESCO world heritage site, for the more intrepid traveller, a must do is the Tana River Delta (a choppy choppy speed boat ride in the words of Head Captain Mohammed), snorkelling in the breathtaking Kiwayu Island, a sunset Dhow with Captain Jamaica and we had a few songs from Captain Nassir and Katana our waiter, Shela village and a taxing cycle journey to the Takwa Ruins and on through to the other side which opened into verdant areas, sand dunes and wide Ocean.

I would certainly recommend the wellness centre and the massage from Fridah is outstanding and you'll soon feel 100%. We felt very much at home at The Majlis and it was an excellent recouperation and boost after seven days of safari in Amboseli and the Masai Mara.

And the man that can make all your trips happen is Victor, the Activities Co-ordinator who is very helpful and also undertakes fitness training if required.

I would highly endorse a stay at The Majlis - you'll certainly remember this part of earth's paradise.

  • Stayed November 2010, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lamu
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2010

My husband and i decided to go to the Majlis Resort for our 10th anniversary. On arrival, we were greeted by the Majlis choir who ushered us to our room, in villa B, which was over-looking the Indian ocean. For dinner, they set up a romantic table by the pool under the sky... the moon reflecting the waters... magical! Our waiter, Peter, was extremely keen and sweet and was glad to take our orders. The food ranged from Italian, Japanese and Swahili, especially loved the swahili 'samaki wa kupaka'. There was a variety of activities and we chose snorkelling in Kinyika island, TWICE! While on our last evening, we went sailing in the Takwa ruins with captain Jamaica who knew the history of the locals so well.. We have lots of nice memories about Lamu and wish to go back there soon! Who knows? We maybe drop-by for the festives!!!!

  • Stayed October 2010, 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.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2010

The Majlis is a new hotel across from Shela Beach in the Lamu Archipelago. It is a wonderful place to stay if you want to be busy or if you just want to relax. Unlike many places in Lamu, this beachfront property has beach all the time - no seawall. The water is clear and calm. The rooms are lovely - do ask for for an upper room in one of the villas. We were in Villa A and we walked out of our room, down the stairs into a lovely living room and right into the pool. 5 more steps and we were on the beach. The beach beds are just that - beds - not plastic fold-ups that collapse on you. There was lots of shade to protect one from the hot sun - and always a lovely breeze. The food was excellent... 4 courses for lunch and dinner. Fresh seafood daily and a chef that is happy to change the menu to suit your requests (we asked for a seafood platter grill one night and had fresh calamari, octopus, shrimp, fish.....) Yum! There are lots of activities if want to book them but no one will bat an eye if you just want to lie on the beach or by the pool. This was a perfect retreat from the bustle of cold/wet Nairobi!

Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2010

We stayed at the Majlis for 7 nights after a 3 night safari trip, we also had our wedding ceremony at the hotel. Firstly the rooms are beautiful and were way beyond my expectations, the decor and art was amazing and the rooms were furnished beautifully. The bars and restaurants served delicious cocktails and such fantastic homemade Italian food, I havent eaten that well for a long time! The Pools and the beach are peaceful and we spent most of the time relaxing, although there were many water sports and boat trips available. Our wedding ceremony was perfect and all of the staff made it an unforgetable experience!.
I would highly recommend the Majlis and I hope to visit again in the near future.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2010

My husband and I stayed there for 3 days at the end of our safari. We were greeted by friendly staff at the airport and a group of dancing staff when we got to the hotel by boat. As we walked in, we knew this was going to very different for any other experience we had ever had.
The premises are classically beautiful but whimsically laid out, and contemporary in a very exotic way. Everything was luxurious without being over the top and the decor, food etc stayed true to the surroundings.
But it was the eagerness of the staff to please that stood out. They really took pride in accomodating every request. We discovered that the chef was well-versed in making ethnic dishes that were not on the menu. Freshly cut mangoes, papaya and pineapples, curried shrimp, sushi, grilled calamari, chinese dishes, fresh pili pili peppers...every meal was outstanding and gorgeously presented. All the food is made on the premises, including the orange marmalade!
The location is unspoilt and beautiful, but livelier Shela with its restaurants is just across the bay. We briefly visited Lamu and took a dhow trip to the ruins on Manda (including a gorgeous seafood mixed grill cooked on the boat) but mostly loved staying at the resort. We enjoyed breakfast and tea on our balcony overlooking the bay and ate lunch and dinner in different places in the resort, including a romantic table set up on the beach under the stars....everywhere but the excellent restaurant!

The feel is of the place is like staying with at your friend's private beach house on the Indian ocean....way over and above a 5-star.

Tropical, luxurious without being pretentious, gorgeous, unique....this place is a 9.5!!!

  • Stayed July 2010, 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.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to The Majlis Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Ski-In / Ski-Out Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 11 Hotels in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Majlis Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 25
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Escapio and Booking.com so you can book your The Majlis Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
The Majlis Lamu Ltd Hotel Lamu Island

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage The Majlis Hotel, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.