We spent Christmas and New Year at Lonno Lodge, when I say we it means 8 of us. My husband and myself along with friends arrived first at Malindi airport via Niarobi, we were met at the small airport by the Lonno Lodge transport which is a luxury people carrier (very comfortable and airconditioned). About 20 minutes later we arrived and were warmly greeted by the owners and fantastic hosts Silvia and Aldo. After a cool flannel to freshen up and a greeting cocktail we were checked in and promptly shown to our rooms. We both had Suites which comprised of a downstairs kitchen and lounge area and upstairs bedroom and bathroom with balcony (which made best use of the view). The other 4 arrived the following day into Mombasa and were also promptly met by the Lonno Lodge transport, they were kept entertained by the driver on the approx. 2 hour journey as he was telling them all about the villages they were passing through and local information.
The property itself is stunning, the rooms were perfect and very comfortable, the pool area is top class, infact I think its the nicest pool I have ever been in.
Although the property was full it was like having it to ourselves, many people are out sight seeing during the day and you never have to worry about getting up early or bribe a pool attendant to save you a sunbed as there are plenty, infact most days we had the pool to ourselves it really was an exclusive residence, we mostly spent lazy days sunbathing and swimming and sipping cocktails.
My husband is a keen fisherman and as always when in Kenya he spent 5 days deep sea fishing with a local professional skipper (Aldo can always put you in contact but be warned book early for your fishing as people come here from around the world just to fish.) He was rewarded with a large Shark, Sailfish and a Marlin along with lots of smaller varieties like Dorado and Tuna both of which we brought back to Silivia for her chef to prepare for dinner.
The food is all locally sourced and very fresh and all home made (even the pasta). Two of our party don't eat fish and each day Silvia would discuss with them an alternative. To be fair after a couple of days we gave up eating lunch and opted from the snack menu instead because we were just eating too much! Breakfast is a very casual affair, turn up when you like up till 10.30 and be greet by the lovely Jackie and choose from fruit, yogurt, cereal, pastries, toast, or a full cooked breakfast.
Evening meal was 8pm and we would meet a bit earlier for drinks on the comfy day beds and test Philip on his cocktail making ability (I can testify that he makes a seriously good cocktail, but to my discredit I can't remember much of New Years Eve!!)
Seriously though, we have stayed in many hotels along the Kenya coast and have stayed in Hemingways many times, in 2011 we stayed there for Christmas and also had a wedding but after staying at Lonno Lodge for Christmas 2012 I doubt if we would return to Hemingays, value for money, service and the property itself don't really compare the only plus that Hemingways has is the beach.
We love to swim in the sea which you can easily do from Lonno down some steps, there are lots of rock pools to explore at low tide and if you feel energetic you can go for long walks along the nearby beach but Lonno Lodge doesn't have an actual beach itself, and to be honest I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would. One day Aldo took the men snorkelling to a local coral reef and they were amazed at the beauty of the coral and the sea life they saw.
The property is very secure, and entry is only through a large gate guarded by Masai Warriors who also patrol throughout the night, they are very friendly and always on hand to shine a torch on the footpath in the evenings.
Silvia and Aldo are the perfect hosts, every time you arrive or depart the property they are there to greet you, they are first up in the morning and the last to bed. Nothing is too much trouble for them and they will arrange anything from a Safari to a table at a local restaurant.
Sorry if this is too long but I felt that a shorter review wouldn't do Silvia and Aldo the justice that they deserve. Please don't have a second thought if you are condisering booking this property you will have a truly wonderful time.
Would we go back...........YES in a heartbeat.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Charming Lonno Lodge Watamu is a luxury hotel on the sea side of the Watamu Marine Park, Kenya. Its secluded structure, with nested private tiny beaches, is the optimal spot to relax and indulge on the white beach of Kenya. Despite the proximity with the sea, a huge double swimming pool with salt water is available for our guests. Guests whose presence is limited in number to provide everyone with privacy, silence and top quality service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lonno Hotel Watamu