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“The best place to escape to in Lamu”
Review of Peponi Hotel

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Peponi Hotel
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Lamu Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 12, 2009

A wonderful, relaxing experience.
Tony Roberts,Cambridge 12th February 2009

I am amazed and perplexed at reading some of the spiteful comments contained in recent reviews.
We have just returned from our 2nd stay in Peponi and expect to visit on many more occasions.
The setting is lovely and it is hard to better the sunrise over the water and Manda Island and then followed by an early walk along a truly magnificent beach before breakfast. The hotel is not 5 star, but star ratings do not apply in Lamu. Peponi is extremely comfortable and clean, very well maintained with superb service from all levels of staff, many of whom have spent most of their working lives at Peponi. Management and in particular the owners, are extremely competent,attentive and friendly.
The bar is a truly multicultural, multilingual watering hole and is obviously 'the place' on Lamu to meet and socialise.
The restaurant which offers dining inside or 'al fresco ' on the verandah overlooking the sea is of a very high standard and serves excellent fish and sea food in particular.
For accommodation the choice is between 'standard' or 'superior'.
For most guests, the standard rooms are more than acceptable offering large beds, plenty of space and comfortable external verandahs and sitting areas.
Overall Peponi is a wonderful place to escape from the rest of the world whilst enjoying the old charm of Lamu Island.

1  Thank TonyRoberts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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209 - 215 of 251 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2009

We have stayed at Peponi on several occasions over the years and I am a little surprised by some of the vehemence in some recent reviews.

I guess the most important fact in my opening is that we have returned on many trips. On each of those trips we invariably meet other guests who do the same as us, returning on numerous occasions.

As has been said in many reviews before me, Peponi is a unique hotel in a unique location. To be able to walk on the beach at sunrise, pass the day either at the pool, in the palm garden, in your own hammock through to a sun-downer on the verandah adds up to a pretty relaxing place to spend some time.

We love the way that each room is different to the next, dotted around in the grounds. It makes it easy to have your own private family time.

Much has been said below about the staff, both in the level of service and their treatment. All I can say is what I have observed. We have always found the staff most friendly, always striving to please and we have never once had any cause for complaint. Regarding the hotel's treatment of its staff; we have never seen any signs of distress in the staff and many of them have worked at the hotel for longer than we have been going there. I would say it is not possible for someone to hide any discontent for that long, so my conclusion is that they must be treated well and fairly.

Finally (you will be glad to read!); I think that as a guest you either do or don't "get" Peponi. Remember that this is Africa; it is not Dubai! Think about what you expect and your reasons for going here. If you are clear about this and are not just going because it is "the " place to go on Lamu then you will not be disappointed I think.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank anthony_grace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2009

There is much that is excellent about the Peponi hotel. So let's run through that before we look at what is not so great.

First of all, the Peponi is an institution on Lamu - THE place to stay and dine. Even if you choose to stay elsewhere, chances are that you'll end up at the Peponi if you tend towards high-end holidays. To be sure, it is not a luxury hotel - the rooms, facilities, etc are no more than 3 stars by European standards. But the hotel has character and patina and that makes up for much of it - it is an exclusive place. The restaurant is very solid and stylish - don't expect Michelin-level service and cooking, but everything is very fresh and well prepared and at 20 EUR for a main course it is nicely priced. The hotel offers a bunch of organized trips, not for groups, but for you alone. Deep-sea fishing, coral reef, etc - nicely done.

Now the Peponi is a family-run business - and family and business don't always go together. Other reviewers have pointed out the odd couple who own the place - and I would second that. The place is run by a stern woman, who has dollar signs in her eyes - she's struggling to give the place the hip and relaxed atmosphere the hotel claims for itself. They can be pushy when it comes to sales. (White) management is seen bossing around and berating (black) staff here and there - unprofessional and unpleasant. The owners are supported by a soft-spoken young Englishman, who repeatedly complained about his staff to us - unnecessary and unpleasant. Peponi economics is also interesting - they pay their staff 2-3 EUR a day, and employ around 100 people. Their payrol is thus about 250 EUR a day and that's the price of just one double room. The place must be hugely profitable and you wonder how much they do for their employees in terms of perks. It's sad then too see them charging 40 shilling (40 Eurocent) extra if you want your sandwich toasted - this fight for every penny pervades the place. Another guest advised us to tip staff directly, since it was uncertain the tip box would reach the staff.

If you stay for just a few days you'll notice very little of these distractions. For a longer holiday, be prepared to be drawn into some of these shortcoming.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank hereandthere9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2009

Some of the recent reviews are a bit harsh! Peponi is on the expensive side but there are lots of wealthy visitors and limited other options at this level so they are able to command a high price.

Rooms are large, reasonably stylish and comfortable. It is worth paying extra for a superior room overlooking the ocean as these come with a large private balcony area with giant hammock. The swimming pool is a decent size.

The beach starts outside Peponi and stretches for many empty miles along the coast. It is not ideal that there are a lot of boats anchored immediately outside peponi but then it is only a couple of seconds walk further along the beach to more open space. On the downside, it was quite windy in January, particularly in the afternoons and swirling sand made it unpleasant to sit out (a good time to retreat to your balcony at Peponi). Also, it is quite a distance to the nearest coral reef and this really needs to be done as a day trip which is reasonably expensive at c. £90 for a day's snorkellng.

The bar at Peponi is the best (only?) place in Shela for a sundowner. Prices are not bad and the old pal cocktail is worth a try (plenty of vodka!). There is a private verandah for residents use which is a plus as the main verandah can get quite crowded.

The restaurant serves good food but it is quite expensive. Given recent movements in exchange rates the all inclusive price is spectacularly bad value at an additional €100 per night extra but with a daily limit of 4000 shilling per person (€80 equivalent). It is also nice to eat in some of the other local restaurants some of which serve excellent food and are much cheaper. In Shela, just a couple of minutes walk from Peponi, we can highly recommend Ali Samosa and Baitil Aman for excellent food.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank catsabroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2009

While the decor is faded and the grounds are a bit chaotic for the price, the views are spectacular and the service great. We had a superior room right on the ocean which is worth the extra. The ocean is literally right outside the window. The food, however, was only mediocre and v. expensive, a stark contrast to some of the basic restaurants in Lamu town with some of the best seafood anywhere at rock bottom prices.

Stayed: January 2009
3  Thank canadiantabby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2009

My friends and I went here for New Years Eve dinner. One of the owners of the hotel was berating her staff in front of the guest, while her husband was staggering around, so drunk he could barely stand. After dinner the drunk owner of the hotel came up behind my sister in law and tried to kiss her while she tried to push him away. When we complained to his wife, she started screaming at us, saying the most out of control things, like "go back to America where you belong," and "i hope you have a horrible new year." A very odd reaction when learning that your husband tried to molest one of your guests. We later asked a few local people about the hotel, and we heard from each one that they abuse their employees and the many locals refuse to work for them. Really not somewhere you want to give your business. There are plenty of lovely places to stay and eat other than this one.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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12  Thank enicole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2008

We stayed elsewhere in Lamu, but went to Peponi for lunch to see what the fuss was about.

Service was very friendly. There was a mistake in our bill, and they corrected it promptly.

The architecture has a lot of character, so it would definitely photograph well. However, you can tell it has not been maintained well, nor is it very clean. For example, to wash your hands in the bathroom by the pool, you were supposed to use a dirty pool of old water filled with tadpoles and moss. We used bottled water instead.

The beach is pretty dirty as well, so there are no sunbathers. You can hang out by their small pool and sunbathe within the outdoor areas of the hotel.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank edwin177
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Peponi Hotel

Address: | Shela Beach, Lamu Island, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Lamu Island
Hotel Class:4 star — Peponi Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Peponi Hotel Lamu

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