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“Peace in paradise!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Peponi Hotel

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Peponi Hotel
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3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Box 24, Lamu Island, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 11 hotels in Lamu Island
Brasilia, DF
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Peace in paradise!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2011

We have just spent another charming weekend at Peponi Hotel to enjoy the Lamu Festival. The hotel, above all, is as comfortable, charming and friendly as ever, although there was a wedding celebration on Saturday. I enjoyed the nice weather, a change from Nairobi raining days, and the excellent food. One of the things we like at Peponi is that we can chose a different site for lunch, all with nice see views. Both Pepopi and Lamu are profiting from additional safety measures, and the only threat we had come from an unexpected raise of the tide, when I was distracted playing with my kite in a sand bank at the beach near the hotel :-).

Room Tip: I've visited a few rooms and all were very nice. However I prefer the ones that are closer to th...
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  • Stayed November 2011, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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153 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    110
    26
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2011

For the fifth time, I went back to the Peponi hotel, in Shela, Island of Lamu. This time, it was during the Lamu Cultural Festival. This was my first visit after the kidnapping of a French resident in the adjacent Manda Island, which generated bad publicity to Lamu and negative travel advice which has brought tourism in the Island to a stand-still. The local population, famous for their warm welcome of foreigners, has shown their best hospitality to all visitors, particularly foreigners, who came to participate in the swahili festivities. I have spotted the Ambassadors of France and Spain, as well as the Director of Alliance Française, walking calmly amidst the crowd or on their way to the beach, contradicting alarmist warnings against travelling to the region. The Kenyan government has boosted security measures by patrolling the waters around the island with police boats and spreading armed policeman to surveil the beachfront. Given that these are muslim communities, the local leaders (sheikhs) seem also to have increased their vigilance, sharing information with adjacent communities.

As for the Peponi Hotel, it was as pleasant as ever. The rooms are spacious and very well appointed, using swahili furniture and local handcraft (all rooms have mosquito nets and fans over the beds, and the ones I recommend have a small fridge where guests may keep their choice of cold drinks). Breakfast is a-la-carte, ranging from a normal English breakfast to bircher-muesli and tropical fruits. I normally enjoy having lunch by the pool, under the shade of three huge baobab trees ,or on the roof-top terrace, where a gentle breeze is always blowing. Dinner is more pleasant in the restaurant area, particularly in the candle-lit terrace, under the stars. The cuisine is mostly with local ingredients, particularly their delicious mangrove crabs and other seafood, prepared with a swahili flavour of exotic spices or in Thai or Oriental styles. A nice walk to the sand dunes behind the Peponi at sunset or the refreshing experience of watching the dhows sail by while lounging in the shallow part of the salted-water swimming pool are my favourite ways to pass time, while in Shela.

A half-an-hour boat ride takes us to Lamu village, which is a World Heritage site. One particular feature of this place is that there are no cars, so, all transportation is either by boat or on donkeys. Dead coral reefs are used as bricks for the typical houses, and the narrow alleys are bustling with life: merchants carrying goods on donkeys, women covered in black veils, children playing as in any other village in the world. I recommend dinner in Lamu house or a drink in one of the roof-top terraces to catch a breeze. Don't be surprised with the lack of appropriate sanitation (open-air gutters are everywhere), given that this adds to the local atmosphere, like time-travel. I also recommend a dhow trip to the ruins of Takwa, at the end of a channel into the mangroves - particularly at sunset, with sparkling wine kept chilling in an ice-box for a toast just before dusk (arranged by the kind manager of Peponi hotel).

Room Tip: I particularly recommend rooms 22 to 25, which are closest to the beach and have nice balconies over...
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  • Stayed November 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2011 via mobile

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here, but I have to admit I was hoping for more.

The highlight was a Dow ride and walking around Lamu town.

The room was so-so, though it did have a great outdoor bed-swing.

The staff was friendly but not particularly helpful. We wanted to see a turtle hatching, and despite emailing them in advance and telling them this immediately on arrival, I was disappointed to see a group head out about 2 hours after our arrival with nobody telling us. This is a once-in-a-blue-moon event.

The food was great - the "Swahili Dinner" by the pool and the sushi particularly so. The wine list was a huge letdown though.

Dont take their advice on having lunch at local "Ali"s house. It was very awkward with him just sitting there while you eat. You dont enter his house (he has a special Mzungu room) and you dont meet his family. Nice enough guy, but this was a mistake.

The beach is fine if you go down far enough. Immediately in front of Peponi is full of boats and has very little beach.

Shella feels much safer than Lamu town, so that is a big plus.

  • Stayed October 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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bournemouth
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2011

30minutes till E.T.A at Peponi, order the crab sandwiches and a pot of tea by radio,
after a long day on the water catching sailfish,what could be better.
Whether you arrive by air, sea or road , at Peponi you will find a great welcome awaiting ,nothing is too much trouble, your every need is catered for,comfy ethnic rooms with fantastic showers, a little bit of old Africa still exists in this corner of Lamu island .Carol and Lars have got it just right, well stocked bar, great food ,( the dressed crab is to die for), good company ,what else could the weary traveller ask for.

Room Tip: none needed all rooms are great.
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  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 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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Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2011

A coworker and I just returned from a quick jaunt to Lamu. Our trip was fantastic, in large part because of the exemplary service we received at Peponi. From check-in to check-out, Andrew, Carol, Bijamu, and Anderson took extremely good care of us. They handled for us matters of all sorts--small and large--and made us feel like invited guests instead of paying customers. They offered a kind of hospitality that is rare today, even among small hotels and B&Bs. Andrew, the manager, and Carol, the owner's wife, sat down with us on a number of occasions to check in our experience and to help us plan how to make the most of a (too brief) holiday. Bijamu was always available when we needed something and was never there when we didn't. For us, everything felt just right.

Other items of interest:
Food -- we were quite pleased with our meals, but after a few months in Nairobi, our perspectives might not match those of guests just arriving from Europe or the States. We took our lunches on the rooftop and our dinners on the veranda off the main dining room. The settings were stunning and we were kept cool by the steady Indian Ocean winds. Our favorite entrees were the Mediterranean grilled fish sandwich at lunch and the Swahili prawn curry (mchuzi) and the Thai preparation of Lamu crab at dinner.

Rooms -- We stayed in 16 and 16A and were happy with our accommodations. The rooms were built some time ago but are comfortable, appointed with modern furnishings, and are well maintained. If you've traveled a bit in eastern or southern Africa, you'll be delighted. If the Four Seasons, Peninsula, and Mandarin Oriental are your normal haunts, your expectations might not be fully met.

Location and activities -- Peponi gets an A+. If you turn right out of the hotel and walk for 500 feet, you have 14 km of undisturbed beach all to yourself. During a 2-hour Sunday morning walk on the beach, I saw no more than 7 or 8 people. The natural beauty of the water, the beach, and the dunes is extraordinary, and this was a real highlight for me. The staff at the hotel also arranged a sunset dhow cruise for us and trips into and out of Lamu town. They'll take you on a guided tour of Shela village and even recommend that you try the dining rooms at some of their competitors.

Before making this first trip to Lamu, I had been wooed by the photos and reviews of the Majlis, one of the newer properties across the channel. Although I still intend to give it a try, the superior service and personal attention we received last weekend probably mean I'll head back to Peponi first.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hamilton, Bermuda
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2011

After coming off a very long Safari we stumbled into the Peponi Hotel only to be completely underwhelmed! We were dreaming of a luxurious beach vacation only to find an old watering hole for locals and burnouts! Not my idea of a great spot with children.
The rooms were dated; two stars would be a stretch! The pool area was dark and overgrown by trees. One did not even feel like they were on the beach any longer.
We only stayed long enough for lunch, which was lackluster. The service was completely inattentive and the food was mediocre at best.
The hotel itself is in need for a renovation although the type of people staying there just don't mind.
I would never recommend this hotel to anyone I have never stayed in a hostile but this could have come close.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, N Ireland
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

We were here in Sept 2010 and liked it so much we decided to return last week. We weren't disappointed. Everything was as good as last year and what made it better was Carol, Lars and Andrew remembering us from last year!
If you want a few days spent quietly after the excitement of a safari Peponi is most definitely the place to go. Alan and Anne, Belfast, N Ireland.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Peponi Hotel

Address: Box 24, Lamu Island, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 11 hotels in Lamu Island
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Peponi Hotel 3.5*
Also Known As:
Peponi Hotel Lamu

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