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“Relaxed, distinctive, quiet and very comfortable” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Fatuma's Tower

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Fatuma's Tower
Shela Beach | PO Box 323, Lamu Island, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 26 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Washington, DC
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Relaxed, distinctive, quiet and very comfortable”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2010

Fatuma's Tower is a fantastic place, and great fun -- a huge restored Swahili house set in a tropical garden, tucked away in the beautiful village of Shela. Extremely quiet and atmospheric, quite beautiful, and an easy 5-minute stroll through the town down to the harbor and the incredible Lamu beach. (Or even better, just climb over the sand dunes behind the hotel and go directly to the beach.)

We stayed for a week in the "top apartment" which was two bedrooms, two full baths, a private balcony with two couches, another private balcony at roof level, and yet another private balcony attached to one of the rooms. (Yes --- that's THREE balconies just for us.)

So if you're looking for a quiet getaway, it's pretty hard to beat. Spacious, open, and a great great deal. We got all that space for less than half of what we would have paid for just one little room at Shela's fancier and more famous hotel. Daily laundry service was so inexpensive it was practically free. Dinners ran about $10 a night per person and were quite nicely done -- you tell them what you want in the morning, and they make it up for you that night.

The owner is a likable Englishman named Gillies who gives daily yoga classes in his studio there, and will fill you in on crop circles, extra-terrestrials, the Mayan prediction, and other new age-y subjects, as well as personally arranging boat trips, camel rides and anything else you need.

Highly recommended. It's very relaxed there, though, and the service is very friendly but rather disorganized, so if you need military precision when on vacation you might find it too casual.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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30 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    26
    3
    1
    0
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See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2009

Cannot believe this hotel isn't on Trip Advisor yet and I feel a little traitorous for spilling the beans to the rest of the world but share and share alike as they say. I was put onto Fatuma's Tower by a friend of a friend Jake da Motta who runs www.lamuretreats.com. He is connected with a number of different hotels on the island and is an excellent port of call if you're considering Lamu.

We finally settled on Fatuma's Tower at €100 per night for their Acacia appartment, top of the tower with our own outside chillout area complete with hammocks under the thatch, overlooking the rooftops of Shela and out to sea. What an amazing set up, you could dine in or out and aside from another couple we were the only ones there. it is an oasis of calm within its own grounds with the sand dunes behind, beautifully laid out and wonderfully furnished. Service with a smile and enough space to laze around or advice on how to fill your days (if you wanted it).

I honestly can't fault it, the plunge pool although far from olympian, is all you need and if you're lucky enough to be there with only a few others, you've got the run of the place to yourselves. We ate like kings (when we ate in) some of the best fish I've ever had.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Fatuma's Tower

Address: Shela Beach | PO Box 323, Lamu Island, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 26 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Carefully restored and modified in 1998 the historic Tower has five double bedrooms and a large yoga hall. Included behind the same compound wall is the Sand Castle with it's ground floor family apartment of three double rooms. In the surrounding gardens, the Garden Cottage has two double rooms both with bathrooms. The ten double rooms are all furnished with local antiques and fabrics in a simple yet elegant style to recreate the atmosphere of a fine Swahili house. No two rooms are the same and the cool, airy spaces retain an informal feel while several shaded balconies provide comfortable areas for avoiding too much sun and generally enjoying the peace and fresh air. The peaceful gardens have been recently " enlivened" by the refreshing sound of a fountain splashing over coral rocks into a small plunge pool. All rooms have solar powered hot water, fans and mosquito nets. ... more   less 
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