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“"Getaway that makes you experience Royalty"”

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The Red Pepper House
Ranked #4 of 10 Hotels in Lamu Island
Reviewed June 4, 2014

Lamu is un-spoilt by tourists and this World Heritage town is the best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. It is Exotic, beautiful and not heaving with tourists and we must say that it definitely ranks as the most unique coastal experience we have had in our lifetime. The old town of Lamu is a busy place characterized by narrow streets and buildings made from coral stone and mangrove timber. The property of the Red Pepper House shares a connection with the original Lamu buildings but is secluded from the main town itself. It is located on the island of Lamu towards the north end of the town and is immersed in vegetation and bordered by the beach on its southeast slopes. The forest consists mainly of acacia and neem trees and hosts an abundance of chirping birds and we enjoyed strolling under this shaded area. These natural features has enabled the development of a building, whose design creates a harmonious dialogue with its surroundings, without being completely isolated from the local population.

Location and Design
If you like to travel in style, then the Red Pepper House in Lamu is a great destination which is especially suitable for those seeking an exquisite weekend getaway with a long sandy beach on one side of the resort and surrounding expanse of endless greenery on the other. This deluxe hotel which is designed on a single floor is built within an elevated stone platform and is very well integrated culturally and environmentally. It was built only 5 years ago and is actually an extremely large House made up of a relaxing lounge with a bar, a dining area with curios and artifacts laid out everywhere and 5 large suites, all spread out along the 150 meters long beach. The whole area has no walls and the only enclosed spaces are the bedrooms which are linked together under a continuous makuti roof structure. The building is designed to use passive means of ventilation by using sea breeze flows and works well in all the areas except the bedrooms. Lamu is a hot place and our sleep was disturbed by the heat in the bedroom at night. We told the Manager that they must seriously consider fitting A/Cs in the bedroom part which is quite small with only a bed - the cabinets, a large wardrobe and the living room of the suite are all on the terrace outside. This property doesn’t have any electric fence surrounding the entire compound but the bamboo enclosures of the suites and Masai watchmen patrolling throughout the compound made us feel quite safe.
Many of the other places in Lamu that are available for tourists like Banana House, Baytil Ajaib, Forodhani House, Lamu House, Sakina House , etc are actually old palatial townhouses restored to their former structural beauty and characterized by their simplicity of structural forms enriched with such features like inner courtyards, verandas and elaborately carved wooden doors, but the Red Pepper House is different. It is recently built and combines the attributes of traditional craft and modern requirements and shows great respect for the environment with the design process preserving the forest as much as possible The architect has succeeded in retaining most of the big acacia and neem trees on this site and taken advantage of them to create a disposition of open/closed and sunny/shadowy areas.

View, peace and tranquility
The view at the Hotel is beautiful and we could constantly see some sailing dhows going on their fishing trips. All the rooms of this House overlook the sea and as we were the only guests booked in the Hotel because of the low season, we felt like royalty moving all around just as if it was our own home. Furthermore, we had good weather throughout our stay and enjoyed one of the most relaxing and peaceful atmospheres in this coastal environment, making it an awesome and romantic weekend : swimming, jogging by the seashore, bird watching and Free Wi-Fi.

Common areas and Accommodation facilities.
Built with the traditional Swahili architecture, this Hotel gives you the feeling that you are in an old Swahili village but surrounded by luxury and elegance to relax with the sounds of the dozens of birds of the forest. The whole complex has 5 rooms and can only take 10 guests at most and usually there are no more than two or three rooms occupied. The shower was spacious and there was plenty of hot water and the bathroom had 'his and hers' sinks and the luxurious bathrooms are fully supplied with fresh towels, shampoo / shower gel and soap. Rooms are not equipped with Tea/coffee making facility but the Butler is always on standby for all your requests including early morning bed tea. There is a Digital safe and the Butler can stock the mini fridge with your requested favorite cold beverages as it is pre-stocked only with drinking water upon arrival. The CD player on our terrace (with iPod dock and usb port) gave us good background music all the time.

Staff
Even during this low season when occupancy levels are very low, Joseph and his team keep the resort absolutely clean and tidy and could not have done any more for us with their philosophy of putting the client first "it's your holiday so you decide what to wear, where to go, what to eat and when to eat". Our butler, Kasena, was attentive to our every need and whatever we asked for appeared within minutes and was remembered for the future. Thanks so much to the whole team especially Joseph the manager, Kasena the butler and Rapheal the chef who are all very professional and always there for you with a smile and giving you their personal attention.

Food and Drinks
There is no menu but Raphael greets you each mealtime with a description of what he has planned but is willing to prepare any food of your choice. At breakfast, there was freshly made fruit juices and cuts of local fruits, followed by eggs cooked to your choice. Before dinner, we relaxed in all different places ”enjoying the serenity and having our aperitifs under the starry skies in this romantic luxury Hotel. I had a different variety of Lobster, crab, prawns, sea fish on each day and my wife was also pleased with her vegetarian dishes. The price covers house wines, beer and soft drinks during meal times.

Recreation facilities
The Hotel also has the following facilities:
They offer massages and other treatments but the masseuse had gone on leave as it was low season.
Their price is inclusive of a sundowner cruise on their own dhow and a walking tour of Lamu town followed by a boat ride along the coast and back to the Hotel. We had the most romantic Sun-down sailing in the mangrove channel as a perfect end to another lazy day.
There are optional excursions on their private Dhow or speed boat with lovely picnics or BBQ boat trips. We took a trip on the speedboat after breakfast one day and went all the way south, watching the thick mangrove forests on both sides along the channel and landed on the beach of Kipungani Explorer - Heritage Hotel which was closed for the season and returned in time for a late lunch at our Hotel.
The hotel has an inviting swimming pool with a pool bar and at the end of the each day, we swam in this romantically lit pool , surrounded by lanterns and were served ice-cold beers from the adjacent bar.

Asante sana and Kwaheri ya kuonana
Finally, when saying thank you to the manager for a wonderful stay and assuring him of visiting again with a larger group of friends, we told him that he must constantly fumigate this wonderful resort and install mosquito traps around the place to reduce the nuisance of mosquitoes which are everywhere : common areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, swimming pool, gardens, and yes everywhere. Fortunately, we had been pre-warned and had taken some anti- Malaria medicine before leaving for Lamu. We also missed our daily news as there is not a single TV in the whole place and asked the Management to look into this modern day requirement.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sudhir P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2 - 8 of 13 reviews

Reviewed November 4, 2013

If you want some real downtime, this is the place to go. The weather is always beautiful and the service and friendliness of the staff surpasses anything i have ever experienced before. Make sure you take advantage of the dhow (boat), it is fabulous. We were the first guests to go out on the dhow at night to have dinner, it was so perfect that i actually proposed so beware of it's powers. Cornelius is a fabulous host, he is knowledgeable and will do everything he can to make your stay the most relaxing or as active as you want. The security led by Jackson is discreet but comforting if you do have concerns but we definitely felt very safe. Lamu is a busy town and it is friendly but i'd advise letting Cornelius show you around first. The food was fab, it was varied and always fresh, we loved the Swahili picnic and the BBQ boat trip but everything was just gorgeous.

It is worth going to the Orphanage nearby, it is amazing what they are doing there and the kids are lovely. If you did have space to take some clothes or toys they'd be very welcome. Congrats to Maria who does an unreal job there.

Thanks so much to the whole team especially Cornelius, Cassenna, Jackson, 'The Captain' Raphael and everyone else in the Pili Pili band! We hope to come back, maybe for a honeymoon, who knows!!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ruairi77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2013

We were there last August for four days, and was the best experience I have ever felt in a hotel...
Exclusive facilities, including a Dhow (local sailing boat).
Very very nice staff, always ensuring that our stay there was perfect.
Awesome venue, with charming surroundings, and beautiful isles close to Lamu.
Is also important to visit ANIDAN, the NGO placed next to the Red Pepper House, and enjoy listening the kids playing drums there

Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
Thank JRG-CASSINA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2013

My fellow Kenyans and Kenya lovers, nothing will beat Lamu. This almost forgotten town is definitely the most beautiful coastal town I have ever been to. It is definitely a must see for anyone who would like to travel and see Kenya. The Red Pepper staff are by far the most intimate and friendly staff I have ever met in a Kenyan resort. From the cook to the dhow captain, the staff of Red Pepper made our stay extremely memorable. Two nights were not enough to explore what Lamu had to offer, I dare say a week is not enough. Lamu is definitely the one place in Kenya, I would really want to have our honeymoon.The most romantic Sun-dower dhow and day long excursion arranged by Red Pepper do for all guests. This is one place that I believe has perfected their guest engagement model - leaving all guests longing to visit again! The day excursion includes snorkeling in the deep sea tour in various uninhabited islands culminating with a barbecue of fish we caught on Manda Toto Islands, the most beautiful and uninhabited place I have ever been to! Thank you Red Pepper and CarlsonWagonlit/Bunson Travel specificallu Ann.Ndolo !

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PGatura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

What makes the Red Pepper House stand out is its service. The staff is very forthcoming and willing to make happen whatever will make your stay unforgettable. The hotel is carefully decorated, creating a welcoming athmosphere. You will feel like your are spending time outside 24/7 due to the open set up and dont need to worry about keys or shoes. There are nicer beaches in the area, but the staff is willing to take you to the best spots at any time. The food is excellent, freshly prepared for you.

Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
Thank klabata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

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.

Room Tip: 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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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Adrian W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2010

If you love to travel - really travel - but like to do it in style, then Lamu in Kenya is a great destination. Exotic, beautiful, not heaving with tourists but with the beautiful Red Pepper House to stay in it really is somewhere to escape to. The rooms are simply amazing and the standard of service second to none. Food is simply delicious - the best food we have eaten in Africa. Go, before everyone else does!

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank 1963essexlala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Red Pepper House

Address: Coconut Beach | PO Box 316, Lamu Island, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 10 Hotels in Lamu Island
Price Range: $578 - $1,126 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Red Pepper House 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Red Pepper House is *the* ideal hideaway where you can catch your breath, relax and immerse yourself in the local Swahili culture.The Red Pepper House on Lamu Island is a new, exquisite boutique beach hotel offering the utmost in indulgence and relaxation. Located a stone’s throw from the historical Lamu town, The Red Pepper House provides a combination of real African culture and laid-back beach life. Lamu Island, a world heritage site, is situated within an archipelago off the coast of Kenya. It is home to hundreds of years of Swahili culture that has been perfectly preserved thanks to the remote and unspoilt location of the area. The Red Pepper House nestles between a heavenly beach and an enchanting forest allowing guests to experience the magic of both worlds and lose themselves in the contrasting sounds of Africa. Designed by Spanish architect Urko Sanchez and built by local Swahili fundis (artisans). Comprising of only five beautiful and spacious Nyumbas, (the Swahili name for home), The Red Pepper House is perfectly integrated into its natural surroundings and covered by a Makuti thatched roof. Each Nyumba comes complete with a spacious and luxurious bedroom and bathroom area finished in the traditional Swahili manner. Guests have their very own personal butler who is on hand to bring refreshing cocktails and delicious food to the Nyumbas at any time of day. Activities at The Red Pepper House include trips into Lamu town to soak up the Swahili culture, visits to the ruins of the city of Takwa, sunset dhow boat trips, deep sea fishing, snorkelling and relaxing massages. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Red Pepper House Hotel Lamu Island

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