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“Lessons on how to relax” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kanani House

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Kanani House
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plot 399, Fire Road, Watamu, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 13 Watamu B&B and Inns
Salerno, Italy
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Lessons on how to relax”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

Kanani was exactly what we needed between one safari and the other.
Here we have learned a special lesson: the less you have the more you relax!
It's hard to describe how relaxing this place can be, how well the staff and Elvis (a great cook) can take care of yourself, how you can forget about the rest of the world and simply relax!
The freedom you feel in Kanani is probably one of the main reasons it makes it so peaceful: you are completely immersed in its nature, open to its wind and charming sound of the sea. But it is, at the same time, full of comforts.
That's how we learned to relax:
lesson n.1 - forget about phones, internet or tv
lesson n.2 - feel the nature and let yourself be transported in it
lesson n.3 - give your body the time to rest (in each bed/sofa you can find around the structure!)
lesson n.4 - simply put yourself in Elvis' hands and enjoy his meals!

We simply loved it and can't wait to be back.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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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30 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Munich
Top Contributor
201 reviews 201 reviews
82 hotel reviews
Reviews in 92 cities Reviews in 92 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2012

We stayed with two of our sons following a trip to Masai Mara. We had the place to ourselves and it was fabulous. The setting is great, the pool had great views, and the cooking by host Elvis was superb - he would go to the market every day and get whatever we wanted for dinner. The fish was amazing - he really knows how to cook!
Elvis also arranged bicycles for us and when we were going further than would be good, he had arranged an excellent driver with a brand new Toyota minivan. This driver was excellent and less expensive than most sources we checked.
The communal banda was a superb place for hanging out together and reading a book, playing cards, whatever we felt like. The dogs were freindly and having them around made it feel like home.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Munich, Germany
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2012

We stayed here for three days over Easter and had a wonderful, relaxing break during a packed visit to Kenya to visit our son. Elvis's cooking and the pool are the absolute highlights. Do be sure to eat dinner there every night--superb! At low tide, you can pass through a tunnel to the beach/shore and walk out to the rocks, looking for sealife in the tidal pools. It was so relaxing to be there that we spent one whole day just hanging out, reading, resting, walking and eating...not the norm for our active family. Elvis organized bicycle rentals for us so that we could explore the other two days, including the Gedi ruins. The open air huts are ok, showing some signs of wear and occupation by little critters, but otherwise fine. Very responsive staff, again we give high kudos to Elvis, so helpful, kind and responsive. He organized beer for us with no prior notice. The location is somewhat remote, not really walking distance to anywhere, but Kanani House organized transportation from the Malindi airport and into town with a super minivan/taxi: clean and air conditioned. Be sure to take advantage of this service too.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
South Pole
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

There were no other guests during our five-day stay, and the entire property was for us. Everyday we laid ourselves by the pool side watching lots of birds passing by, with the companion of two friendly house dogs. Dinner prepared by Elvis the chef was fresh, healthy and so enjoyable that it became the highlight of the day.

Nearby, in walking distance towards the village, there is a public white sandy beach.
The beach of the house is private and peaceful, but lots of algae and rocks, and white sandy bit is small. In order to go to the beautiful white sandy beach on tourist brochures one should better travel far towards the creek (but there will be 'beach boys' and some other tourists).

To get around, one can find a motorcycle taxi, a few were always waiting on the main road near the house. It is not very comfortable for a long distance travel. Better option, tuktuks are not always around near the house. You could either call a tuktuk to pick you up, or change from motorcycle to tuktuk at Watamu village. From the house to Watamu village on motorcycle was 100 shillings, on Tuktuk 150 shillings. One could hire a tuktuk for a whole day, which we did.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

Kanani House is set on its own private estate on the Kenyan coast near Watamu, replete with ocean view, three beautiful barefoot luxury open air huts (thatched roof, ensuite bathroom with good hot shower, huge bed), a private hidden passage down to the beach (during low/medium tide) and the must spectacular infinity pool overlooking the Indian ocean. The staff went out of their way to cater to our every need and the food prepared by Elvis, the chef, was impeccable. Our stay was made even more special by the company of the two adorable resident dogs.

Thank you Sacha, Elvis and the rest of the staff for hosting us in your beautiful hideaway. We will definitely be back!

N.B. My only complaint (which is not the owners' responsibility) is the taxi journey from Mombasa, which at 2.5 hours was much longer than we anticipated. Not the end of the world if you're staying for a while, but as we were only there for the weekend every minute was precious. My recommendation would be to fly to Malindi (which is only 20 mins away) if you can!

  • Stayed March 2012, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2012

Returning to Kanani House for a second time was even more of a relaxing experience than last time. We took my parents along and the set-up was ideal - we each had our banda but could get together by the pool or in the evening in the airy communal area.

What I love about Kanani is that it's so peaceful. You're surrounded by nature and it somehow forces you to relax and recharge. The shaded area up by the pool is perfect for reading, and watching the dhows sail by and the sea birds flock and move at various stages of tide. The pied kingfishers are still there, a family of three, often to be found in the coral rock cliffs to the left of the passageway down to the sea. We loved walking out to the islands at low tide, looking at the birds and all the life bubbling away in the shallows.

Because there's so little light pollution, the star gazing is wonderful. After supper we'd walk down to the end of the garden and sit on the stone seat overlooking the ocean to spot satellites and shooting stars.

We visited the Gede ruins, the remains of a Swahili settlement that reached its heyday in the 15th century. It was better preserved than I expected: a fascinating slice of East African history. It was definitely worth taking a guide around to explain the detail of each building. It's about a 15 minute ride from Kanani in a tuk-tuk so an easy journey from Kanani.

We also took dug-out canoes at sunset around Mida Creek to look at the birds and ate crab samosas in a little restaurant run by the local community group at the end of a board walk they've built through the mangroves. Sasha and Ollie put us in touch with the people who work with the community group who run this.

Elvis and the gang looked after us superbly with their gentle coastal charm - and a passion for English football (useful if anyone's interested in match updates). Elvis's cooking was great, using lots of ginger and local spices. Grilled fish and stir fried vegetables was our favourite.

If you want a five star tourist hotel with plasma TVs and air conditioning, Kanani House is clearly not the place, but if you want an idyllic natural getaway it's pretty magical.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Arusha, Tanzania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2012

Robinson Crusoe, shabby chic environment. Three very comfortable separate bandas, and one communual banda, all linked by paths to the wonderfully positioned pool that sits on top of the 20ft cliff looking out to sea. Great views, access to beach via tunnel, very private. Good position 2km from centre of Watamu. Staff wonderful, especially main guy Elvis who is a great chef.
We took 2 children, 4yo and 2yo, and they loved it. Paths between rooms have the odd stone for stubbing toes, and pool needs a gate to stop them getting access alone, but other than these small point good for kids too.
Not ideal for those wanting air conditioned sealed rooms, but perfect for those wanting a relaxing beach-style restful place cooled by the sea breeze. Would definitely return.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Kanani House

Address: plot 399, Fire Road, Watamu, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Watamu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 13 B&Bs / Inns in Watamu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kanani House is set on six acres on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. We have 3 double bedrooms, which can be rented individually, or the whole house can be rented on an exclusive basis. Kanani is fully staffed, with a great chef and two house stewards so our guests can relax completely.Kanani House was designed and built by an English couple with a passion for Kenya - we wanted to give guests a real taste of Africa at the coast. We have a strong environmental commitment, local and sustainable materials are used wherever possible and almost everything is handmade by local workers. We were inspired by the upcountry private safari lodges as well as the local architecture to build a house more like an African Village than a conventional western house. Each bedroom is a private cottage with en-suite bathroom set in the landscaped indigenous garden. The rooms are screened for privacy but open to the sea breezes. Kanani is a Robinson Crusoe experience - we have no landline, TV or computers, so you can get away from the stresses of modern life and unwind. Access to a small private beach is at low tide through our tunnel - hand carved through the fossilized coral rock, and securely gated, or you can walk or take a tuk tuk to the public beaches. If you're feeling less adventurous, you can just laze by our infinity pool overlooking the ocean. There are lots of great things to do in and near Watamu: snorkeling, diving, dolphin watching or sailing in the Watamu Marine Park; walks in the Arabuko Sokoke forest and the Gede Ruins, canoe trips, fishing, horse riding and windsurfing can all be arranged. We hope you can come and stay at Kanani House soon! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kanani House Hotel Watamu

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