You will probably think that either a) own the hotel, b) have been paid to write this, or c) am making it up but I can assure you that none of these apply. We have just had a fabulous short break at The Red Pepper House; probably the best short break we have ever had. Joseph and his team could not have done any more for us and their philosophy of putting the client first "it's your holiday so you decide what to wear, where to go and when to eat" is unique and sadly long forgotten by almost every hotel in the world. At the risk of spoiling the surprise it goes like this....You are met at the airstrip to be met by Joseph, (someone you assume is from reception/guest relations only to find out later he's the manager!) He sorts out your bags, hands you a bottle of ice cold water each (and my wife a wooden fan) and, together with a couple of the staff, accompanies you down a 150m sandy path to the jetty where you are helped into a powerboat and swept across the water to The Red Pepper House private jetty. You walk along the jetty, across a short section of private beach, to the steps of the hotel where the entire staff are lined up to meet you. You are given ice cold towels as you are introduced to each of them in turn and then you are shown to your bungalow (they are not rooms) where you walk in to the sound of Mozart's clarinet concerto in A major playing softly on the CD player on your terrace (with iPod dock and usb port).
There is no menu but Raphael, the chef, greets you each mealtime with a description of what he has prepared (about 90% suitable for fish eating vegetarians). He is an excellent chef, all he needs is a smaller hat! Now, get this, I am type 2 diabetic, no insulin, I just take tablets and avoid sugar where I can. Before we arrived I received an email asking for details of any dietary needs and I explained my problem. Normally what then happens is...nothing (esp on BA flights!) however each time there was a dish on the menu which you might have expected to contain sugar, Raphael explained that he had reduced or left out the sugar altogether. I have never had that in any restaurant in the world, ever.
Our butler, Peterson, was attentive to our every need and whatever we asked for appeared within minutes and was remembered for the future. He even apologised for the fact that it was the dry season so his choice of flowers to decorate our bed each night was limited!
The price is all inclusive which covers local wines, beer and soft drinks. The spirits are $4.80 for a shot of about 5 times a standard measure! A sundowner cruise is included on their dhow (not the powerboat) as is a walking tour of Lamu town (which is a great experience) followed by a boat ride along the coast and over to a beach on Manda Island where you are left for as long as you want. We had another sundowner on the end of the jetty and one evening meal in our bungalow. Our bungalow had the outside (round) bath shown in the brochure which was filled for us one day and chilled white wine served while we were in it. Our garden was lit with lamps and candles for the evening meal. There was direct access (via a gate) onto the private section of the beach where we had our own shelter, sunbeds and, just inside the gate, a shower.
The bedroom part was small and only had a bed and cabinets but there was a large wardrobe outside. The shower was spacious and there was plenty of hot water and the bathroom had 'his and hers' sinks.
The whole complex only takes 10 at most and usually (we were told) there are no more than two or three rooms occupied. It is basically a snake of interconnected bungalows joined by a huge, continuous thatched roof with curios and artefacts at every turn. One evening six of the staff put on a short 'show' of local Swahili song which was fascinating. There are optional excursions if you need them and they offer massages and other treatments. I had a back massage and it was amongst the best I have had, Faith certainly got the knots out of my lower back!
I suppose I should include some negative points to make it 'balanced' but to be honest I would be struggling to think of any and they would be nit picking in the extreme. On the subject of negatives and insects, take some serious insect repellent as, although the first two nights were OK due to the breeze, the second two saw the wind drop and there were far more mosquitoes about. Fortunately there is no malaria on Lamu! The break ended as it began (but in reverse!) with one extra feature - that I won't divulge, however.
It is billed as the "Swahili Experience" and that is what they deliver - not a holiday but an experience. It is rare that we would return to an area (simply because there are many wonderful places to explore) however we will return to Lamu, but only to repeat the experience of staying at The Red Pepper House. Go there - you will not be disappointed.
There are 4 rooms and one suite. The only way to get the best room is book and pay for the suite. If...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.