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“The best hotel in the world?” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Majlis Hotel

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The Majlis Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Ras Kitau Bay, Manda Island | PO Box 502, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Lamu Island
Oslo
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“The best hotel in the world?”
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
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71 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New york
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
24 helpful votes 24 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
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Epsom, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
20 helpful votes 20 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
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Rome, Italy
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2011

It was an amazing place to visit for me and my partner. We enjoyed a lot the location, the accomodation always clean and confortable, with the excellent food, and exspecially the
excursions offered. We swom in Kinika with dolphins and we did water skiing and sailing with a special dhow at the sunset, singing and playing drums. I travelled so many times all around the world for business and for pleasure or holiday and i've found this place special, romantic and extremely silent. We'll miss it. Excellent and super professional staff from the entire management up to the waiters and the housekeepers.

  • Stayed January 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 1
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2010

The Majlis offers everything possible to a traveller looking for a peaceful, relaxed break - the service is second to none, delicious fresh seafood at every meal, perfect weather, unpolluted warm sea, spotlessly clean beaches and spacious, tastefully decorated rooms. Old town of Lamu a short boat ride across the bay to have a taste of the local culture.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
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
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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 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
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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 #3 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 
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Also Known As:
The Majlis Lamu Ltd Hotel Lamu Island

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