we had a wonderful time. 3 days by the pool, 2 on safari and 3 more back by the pool - pure bliss. there's the "don't sit down/don't touch that" type of chic and the informal, comfortable and wholely inviting type and st. thomas is definitely that. the staff were wonderful, attentive and helpful - the rooms were large and airy ... huge, comfortable beds ... deep-plush towels and bathrobes ... a/c was available but we never felt the need for it. the food was excellent. the hotel is situated on a shelf of ancient coral overlooking the indian ocean. there is no beach as such but it's a short walk down some steps through a tunnel to a lower level of coral and on to a lovely, white sandy beach in an adjoining bay. be prepared to be hassled by men hawking safaris of one sort or another, restaurants, etc.. the second time we went, one of the staff offered to accompany us and they hassled us less. (if you are accompanied, tip accordingly.)
we paid for full board - breakfast, lunch and dinner - and we were glad we did. there are restaurants in other hotels but this involves hiring a taxi or chuk-chuk and possibly a late return to st. thomas in the dark. what little we saw of watamu was not all that inviting - but to be fair, we are both of a certain age and our days of adventure and discovery are long gone.
(having said that ... our return flight on air ethiopia was the one that got hijacked to switzerland and we had a very adventuresome time of it indeed ...)
if you do choose to go on safari to tsavo east national park i would suggest you arrange this through the hotel and if possible, request that mr. ali mumba be your guide. there were 5 in our safari group and one of them said she had experienced another driver who did just that - drive - and they saw very little game as a result. ali was constantly on the look-out for game and thanks to him we were able to see three lions before he shared their location with the other guides.
at the risk of being accused of dabbling in hyperbole or being overly generous, i'm going to give the hotel 5 stars - simply because i can't think of a thing that was missing from the facilities or wasn't provided for by the staff. i repeat, we had a wonderful time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A Masterpiece of design, St. Thomas Mawe Boutique Hotel stands on the rocks directly above the sea with breathtaking views of Indian Ocean and the islands of Watamu Marine Park. This Hotel is an intimate and exclusive holiday destination that can be rented in its entirety or just one of the twelve rooms (8 Superiors and 4 Deluxe). Either way it provides the ultimate in relax and sophistication. ... more less
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