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.
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.
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.
- 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