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“Recommendable place to stay in Lamu”
Review of Subira House

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Subira House
Ranked #6 of 34 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Zurich, Switzerland
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Recommendable place to stay in Lamu”
Reviewed January 25, 2012

We spent too short a time in this beautiful guest house on our third trip to Lamu since 1994. We were not disappointed.

The traditional Swahili house behind the fort is tastefully renovated, its spacious rooms and terraces furnished with an eye for every detail and very clean. Exceptional kitchen, friendly service and very nice and helpful owners.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank victormerten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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67 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Tampa, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
274 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 258 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2011

This is a beautiful, peaceful house, and we were lucky to stay in the top appartment which was private, with its own balcony, and great views - very special. The decor is simple and traditional - the eco waterless toilet has inspired me to see if I could use something similar with development projects elsewhere in Africa. If you want beach and tourist modernities, you will need to go elsewhere, but if you want an intimate experience of Swahili culture, this is for you.

Lamu people are not always the friendliest to outsiders - its a traditional society and that has to be borne in mind - and ask before taking photos, but please DO NOT be put off by the security warnings about Lamu and Kenya in general. I felt perfectly safe in Lamu - its a main town with lots going on. There have been problems in more isolated locations nearer to the Somali border, and these are maybe best avoided - but Lamu has unfortunately and unjustifiably found itself lumped in with some of the reporting.

There are no cars on Lamu, only camels and donkeys. Its a way of life that is fast disappearing - maybe only Massawa old town (Eritrea), Stone Town (Zanzibar) and a handful of other places still capture the east Africa coastal culture.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank senti2comun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2011

...stay here! I'm not going to review Lamu, just go.

First of all, Kristina is a welcoming, knowledgable host with excellent taste. She has lived in Lamu for decades and is activelly trying to improve Lamu for everyone! If you get an offer for a night tour of the town, please don't pass it up!

She has created a wonderful oasis, with prepared local meals if you want to dine in. The rooms are spare and beautiful and she will organize airport pick up and drop off to the house, taking some of the egde of the process of haggling, standard fare that can feel threatening or just annoying if you're not used to it. The rates are reasonable even for locals. If you stay, ask for a day trip to Manda Toto. Babu and Bubu, our guides, we great too!

(They have ecologically sound Swedish toilets that don't pollute the water shed and are odorless!)

Room Tip: Top top if you wanna "splurge"
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank frida K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reykjavik, Iceland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 18, 2011

Me and my daugther Agnes spend almost a month in Subira House in May 2011.
We had a lifetime experience. Subira House is run in an unusual way, with ecology and beauty as focus. Everything around the place is genuine. Subira House is a rolemodel. Values and heart are obvious, everything is beautiful and the food is more than exotic, every raw material is from Lamu island and cooked with regards to the 30 year of experience of cooking most genuine, worldfood of Christina and Paul, today with their well inhouse-trained cooks. You can tell it is a mix of traditions from around the world. All most beautiful as we enjoyed so much. We felt so warmly taken care of, from inside and out. All the growth, fruits, flowers, the starry nights, sitting down at the dinnertable at Subira House in not an ordinary experience, but an extraordinar experience! Also, to tell the trues, as I see it, because of the hearts of Christina and Paul and their whole way of looking at life - Subira House is vistited by a lot of worldimprovers, people with big hearts who already are doing theimselves worldimporving things daily. We had a lot of exciting meetings while at Lamu, thanks to you! Both with inhabitants and great friends in the village and interesting people visiting Subira House.

Room Tip: Top floor appartments are wonderful.
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank MatildaGregersdotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 11, 2011

Stayed in Subira in September 2011 and it was brilliant. Beautiful house and rooms, very well appointed and designed; great location, just off the main square back from the shore; lovely balconies and areas for relaxing; and excellent breakfasts and dinners. A lovely, calm and relaxing place to stay; I would strongly recommend it.

  • Stayed September 2011
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Helpful?
1 Thank Andrew786
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kazan
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2011

This hotel is totally different from any hotel I have stayed in, and for many reasons... Maybe because of its charming atmosphere, or beautiful decoration, or eco-friendly facilities, its excellent restaurant, or maybe it is because the hosts Christina and Paul really care about the place they live in. They care about every little detail in this place, they have put a lot of effort into making it a great Home.

The level of eco-awareness with which the hosts organise everything is amazing - they recycle, grow organic fruits and vegetables, use bio-degradable products, and they even participate in projects of a major scale - town or even country. This deserves a lot of respect and admiration, and I wish Christina and Paul a lot of luck and success with their plans!

Christina knows a lot of people in town, so if you need a massage, a pedicure, or need to call a doctor - she will help you. Also, they run a little restaurant, and we had dinner there almost every evening - it was so delicious and affordable! Every dinner included a hearty vegetable soup (different each time), the main course (mostly fish with several side dishes!!!) and a dessert. Highly reccommended!

The bed is very comfortable and has a mosquito net. The toilets were described in several posts below, and Christina and Paul explain why they chose this system and give you a lot of information on how the infrastructures of the town work. I absolutely support all their ideas and I think what they do is fantastic.

Overall, we had an amazing stay and will be back!!!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Noskis12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
crilamu, Owner at Subira House, responded to this review, October 7, 2011
It is a very inspiring feedback to hear how you felt while here!
Lamu is a very very fantastic place to live in. And to show to our visitors. For sure there are not many more old settlements like this where guests are so warmly welcome! Let's hope it can be well preserved and looked after!
Christina, owner of Subira House since 1990
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2011

This hotel has a superb ambiance. It is so tranquil except when the pre-wedding celebrations start up in the fort next door! The rooms are spacious,airy and comfortable, but you do need a fan, particularly during the summer months. The service is excellent as are the breakfasts and dinners. And the hostess, a Swedish lady by the name of Christina Aarts, is a mine of information. She can tell you all about Lamu that you need to know.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank DrDuncanBerry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Subira House

Property: Subira House
Address: Behind Lamu Fort | P.O. Box 341, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 34 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The charming and comfortable seven-bedroom historic 200 years old home has two beautiful gardens and plenty of cool terraces to relax and enjoy the tropical breeze as you accustom yourself to Lamu's gentle pace. Right in the middle of Old Lamu Town.Meals on request.Wine licence.Subira House,a 200-year-old coral stone house was built by the governor under the Sultan of Zanzibar now carefully preserved by its Swedish/Dutch owners. ... more   less 
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