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“Great Value” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Msafini Hotel

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Msafini Hotel
2.5 of 5 Lodge   |   Shella Lamu | PO Box 226, Lamu Island 08500, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Nairobi, Nairobi Area, Kenya
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Great Value”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2012

This place is located far away from the noisy hustle and bustle of town but close enough to get you to town by foot. Shela Island is serene and quiet and the hotel situated a stone-throw away from the beach. It provides great value for money and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Clean rooms and great great fresh food crown the beauty this hotel has to offer.

  • Stayed May 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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37 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    25
    10
    2
    0
    0
See reviews for
7
13
4
3
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Lamu Island, Kenya
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2012

msafini is very good hotel well maintained very clean
the staff are very friendly
and the view at the roof top very clear
shella is like a paradise and the beach very nice

Room Tip: corner suites are larger and sunny too
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  • Stayed February 2012, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
perth
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2012

Lamu Island is a great place for a peaceful holiday.Msafini Hotel is a good clean family hotel with excellant food and service.Not to far to walk thru village to beach,boats,shops.and you can get trips to the ruins which is very interesting and sunset cruises are lovely.The main town has a good muesum which is rich in local history and tours to match.

Room Tip: Third floor with large balcony and double swing day bed.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nomadic
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

Walk through Shela village where there are many beautiful houses and you come across this large yellow anomaly. Nicknamed the titanic by some in the village it looks too high, too big and really not very Shela in its style.

However inside is another story. The place is light, airy, well decorated. The rooms are a decent size, good beds, fans and plenty of veranda spaces with day beds dotted about on each floor. At the top is an enormous roof terrace with a wonderful view of the sea on one side the the village and sand dunes on the other.

I was lucky enough to get the 3rd floor suite which has its own lovely terrace with a daybed, table and chairs, lamu lounge chairs. A perfect place to hang out. The bedroom was airy plenty of windows and 3 doors for ventilation, the bathroom large, clean, well laid out. Water was hot, pressure decent.

Msafini just kept surprising me. I loved the concertina sheet folding variations on the bed each day, the pot plants around the each terrace. The place was also kept spotlessly clean.

The food was of an excellent standard - it seems the chef worked for one of the larger hotels before moving there. Presentation was lovely, the taste so much better than I expected to find at a mid range guest house.

All in all a great experience. I came in cynical and planned to spend a night to test the place and I ended up extending my stay for my whole time in Shela.

I also want to say that despite the advisories, Lamu is safe.Tons of security is around including radar, low key patrols, armed police, offshore navy boats. The whole place was empty when I was there, and really needs people to go back and support the tourism there. Why are we exhorted to return to New York when 9/11 happens and urged to stay away from Lamu when they undergo their terrorist experience? Many will lose livelihoods as a result, which is a huge shame.

For my part I wish I was still on that roof terrace, drinking fresh juice and staring out to sea.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2011

boarded Tawakal Bus from Mtwapa in Mombasa and six and a half hours later arrived at Mokowe Jetty, had pleasant journey and had good company all the way from Mr Baker of Shella, and must mention our bus had 2 armed escorts which is normal for the journey from Malindi to Mokowe, on arrival at Mokowe i made my own way by boarding the BIG dhow for 100bob, or you can board speed boat for 150bob each for six or 500bob each for three i think, dhow arrived within 40minutes at Lamu Jetty,

on arrival in Lamu town i noticed presence of uniformed soldiers with weapons all along the harbour, anyway i had some fresh fruit juice and then looked for my next ride to shella, wasnt long before i struck a deal for 300bob boat to shella on my own, on arriving at Stop Over Guest House the staff was more than helpful to guide me to Msafini,

On Arrival at Msafini i was met by Faraj who was kind enough to let me relax in my sea view room before sorting out the financial side of the accommodation, i arranged my evening meal at Masafini and following morning had breakfast too, and had all my breakfasts at Msafini, Msafini is a very peaceful inviting hotel with HOT WATER, Swimming Pool and quality staff and expect to meet nice tourist here, for the rest of my evening meals i went out to whitehouse which is just behind Peponi, but i am sure there is more choice around, in Shella you have food shops, clothes shops, beauty shops, various mosques and madrasas and people of Lamu are always nice and helpful for directions, picked up reef brand sandals from a shop near whitehouse which is just behind Peponi, Shella was quite but you could still see few tourists along the Shella beach, anyway walked over to near shella castle for some sun bathing and a swim, the sand dunes are amazing and water depth better than Bamburi, these days i just dont see those waves at Bamburi maybe tidal hours are too early in the morning and again too late in the evening, Shella gets very dark in the evening but managed to watch live football in the small banda for 20bob and venture out for evening fresh air at the beach,

finding way around shella at daytime or night time was not easy for me but eventually i worked it out by walking straight from Msafini to the beach and then along the beach and then go where i wanted to go, internet is available on the beach 2bob p/m next to Stop over guest house, but if there is power cut then you can always go to Peponi for internet its 150bob for 30min, during the stay at shella i walked the 40min to Lamu town where i found many shops at Lamu Fort, had hair cut 100bob bear trimmed 30bob and facial massage for 400bob, around the Lamu fort there are various sweat shops and picked up good quality t shirt for 250bob, also visited Tawakal booking office and booked my return visit to Watamu!

on the way back i was offered to travel with a well known resident of Shella who was on a visit to Lamu town, i arrived early at Lamu Jetty and spent an hour or so at Bush Garden for some refreshments, then boarded the dhow again and felt very uncomfortable with the load of people in the SMALL dhow, the dhow had immersed so much into water it was only few inches left to totally submerge into water, but all the time the dhow travelled within close distance of the beach, after 40min we were at Mokowe!

Room Tip: sea view room with hot water
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle WA
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2011 via mobile

We stayed here a year ago and loved it, even when it didn't have hot water. Then we rented out the entire hotel for our wedding guests and everyone loved it, especially the new solar hot water.

The staff are attentive and friendly. The food is some of the best in Shella and the view from the roof top is breathtaking.

We highly recommend Msafini.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nairobi
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2011

My wife, 10-month-old and I stayed at Msafini last Easter weekend. We were on Lamu for three nights. The first two nights we stayed at two different places in town, which we weren't happy with, and the thirs night we decided to move to Msafini. They picked us up in town with one of their boats and brought us to their place, which is probably the biggest building in Lamu. The room, and the entire hotel, was clean. There is a nice pool which, for most of the day, is partly shaded-- good for a little kid with fair skin. The hotel is in Shella, which is windier (read: cooler temperatures) than in town where the wind is weaker and less constant. Also there's less mosquitoes in Shella due to the wind. Of course Shella doesn't have the cultural attraction that town does, but you can always walk or take a boat ride to town if you want. Overall: Msafini is great value-- slightly more than $60 for a double, and good quality. Don't be dismayed by their website which makes the place look like a Motel 6.

Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
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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 Msafini Hotel

Address: Shella Lamu | PO Box 226, Lamu Island 08500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Msafini Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Msafini hotel situated in shella village of Lamu island of kenya, located just 2 mints far from the sea shore of indian ocean. ... more   less 
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