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Shela Bahari Guest House
Ranked #8 of 34 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Reviewed January 19, 2010

My boyfriend and I stayed here for five nights and loved every second of it. This B&B is affordable, friendly, and located right on the water. We were lucky enough to stay in the top floor suite our first night...it's very romantic (so romantic that we actually got engaged up there!). The other nights we stayed in a room on the second floor, which we still loved—we still had a balcony right on the water—but it wasn't quite as luxurious or private as the top floor. The bedroom and bathroom were both great (and we had plenty of hot water). Brian's service was absolutely top-notch...I can't say enough about him as a high quality server.

The two major downsides were 1) our bed's mosquito net wasn't long enough, which wasn't a problem because of the ceiling fan....until the power went out for an entire night and we got eaten alive; and 2) Abdul, the assistant manager, was very pushy. DON'T let him pressure you into a walking tour of Lamu—save your money and do it yourself (you'll learn the same amount)—and don't let him arrange your water taxis. He sets you up with his friends at non-negotiable prices, and you'll do better on your own.

Oh....and the juices were to die for! Breakfast was also excellent. Very delicious pancakes.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ljcurren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 - 34 of 41 reviews

Reviewed November 30, 2009

My wife and I stayed in the top-floor room for four nights, and it was truly amazing. Our own private balcony with cool breezes off the water, meals served at our own table up there, right over the water. I don't know what they charge for the downstairs rooms but, whatever the difference, it is worth the extra to get the upstairs room (about $80 per night for the two of us, including a great breakfast). I am not sure we would stay in the downstairs rooms - the top floor is in it's own league. It is way better to stay in Shela rather than Lamu Town, as you are so close to the long beach. Meals at Shela Bahari were great - the grilled kingfish was incredible. You are also about 50 meters from the Peponi Hotel where you can get sundowners and amazing lunches (seared ahi paninis for about $8). You will have tons of people trying to sell you dhow rides. What we did was we walked into Lamu town for some shopping, then had a dhow pick us up in town for a sunset cruise, and had it drop us on the beach past the hotel so that we could take a sunset walk before heading back to the hotel for dinner. We can't wait to get back there!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank markjordahl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2009

This was a nice hotel on the sea front. There are 5 rooms, one on the top floor which has a private terrace, 4 on the other floor which have balconies and day beds - 2 have a view over the sea. There is no AC and even with the fan on it was pretty hot at night - some how it seemed hotter being nearer the sea. There was no hot water. The breakfast was great. It was a bit expensive - I had to pay 4,000 KSH / night. The owner is really nice and so are is staff.

A couple of other things:
1. Lamu town is super hasslely and it is much better to stay in Shela.
2. The Ranatan hotel in Shela is the only hotel with a swmming where you can pay to use it - 400 KSH.
3. The beach at Shela is long and wide with no development at all - no sun beds, no beach bars etc.
4. There are only two places with internet in Shela - the Peponi at 150 KSH for 15 mins! and the Baitil Aman Guest House at 2 KSH a minute.
5. I checked out a number of the guest houses in Shela - other good options are Fatuma's Tower - really beautiful, about 50 euros a night. Baitil Aman Guest House - also really beautiful - they will negotiate the price to lower than what they say on their website of $60 / night (around $35 to $45).
6. The high season in Lamu is Dec/Jan and August - the rest of the year the place feels a bit empty - therefore you should be able to negotiate prices for a room.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled solo
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3  Thank Andrea E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2008

A gorgeous little guesthouse in Shela- just one place beyond Stopover, it was worth going the extra 100 ft- Wish we had booked in advance to get the top floor suite- comes with its own private balcony with romantic daybed. Instead we stayed on the main floor and shared a balcony with other travelers- which was fine too- it had two daybeds out there for everyone's use and which were very comfy to lie on and watch the sun go down after a hard day at the beach!! Also very close to Peponi's where one can go in Shela for a cold beer! Food was excellent, plentiful. The owner was very nice and helpful; let us store our baggage in the office on checkout day so we could enjoy the beach without our backpacks until it was time to leave :( so sad to leave. They also helped us negotiate a fair price for boat transfer to the airstrip. Rooms were comfy, showers were clean & somewhat warm & staff were courteous & friendly. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank love4africa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2008

I HAD THE BEST 3 WEEKS OF MY LIFE IN SHELLA which is on Lamu island in Kenya. a 3 day trip turned in to 3 weeks in fact! i stayed at Bahari hotel which is right on the sea... when the tide is in you can jump of the top balcony in to the sea (great fun, big height!). the stunning roof top balcony is incredibly relaxing, a breathtaking seaview where you can see all the dhows off on sailing trips or docked just outside Bahari. Taufiq the manager is so friendly and treats you like family, on friday he burns incencse from hot coals under your bed so your room smells wonderful. Hassan is also an incredibly nice guy, i loev chatting to him, and he will happily bring you freshly squeezed juices, coffee or head off on a dhown to fetch you a beer from Lamu town (Shela is muslim so most guesthouses cannot directly sell alcohol) and bring it up to the balcony, or hammock side!) the rooms are spacious and airy with really big beds. i was travelling alone but made really good friends with other guests as the atmosphere is very relaxed and people chat over the delicious breakfast of fresh exotic juices, tropical fruit, banana/mango pancakes, eggs, delicious kenyan coffee/tea, and in fact joined up with them to go on dhow trips- fishing/sunset cruises/too see baby turtles hatching. there are lots of captains from the dhows who will want to take you out on trips- i can recommend highly Yusuf or Taimir (do ask for either of them- everyone will know who you mean- also a great thing aboutt shela is becasue it is so small, everyone knows everyone and these 2 will take you on the best trips). when i went fishing with Yusuf he cooked the best fish lunch- freshly bbq'd in front of us on the boat, rubbed in a paste he knocks up in a pestle and mortar from lime, chilli, garlic, spices (smells amazing) and served up with fresh salad and ciapatti bread- all on board as you sail gently across the sea with stunning views and the sun shining on your back- you can't help but feel exhillarated with calm and happiness! it is so relaxing! Yusuf will also sing you swahili songs (or bob marley upon request!) with his crew mates- perhaps some drumming as well- especially if you stop by the floating bar at sunset for a relaxing beer or kenyan gin and tonic (the kenyan limes make for the most incredible g and t!) also yusuf and taimir are members a drumming band- aboutt 10 of the shela guys sing traditional songs and drum- they often play at private parties- and they are seriously good, i was lucky enough to see them play on a couple of occasions- and i loved watching them- defintely worth asking when you can catch them performing...especially when they are accompanied by lukeman who firedances and is an extraordinarily gifted dancer!
the beach is 2 minutes walk away and stretches on and on- perfect for walking, massive stretch of white sand, camel rides available, the sea is perfect temerature. you can have windsurfing lessons or undertake kite flying. little red crabs scuttle in to the water, and the peach is peppered with exotic shells.

Unique Qualities: jump of roof balcony in to the sea!
fresh juices brought up to hammock on the roof!
fabulous fresh breakfast.
dhows docked outside the guesthouse so trips incredibly easy.
staff are the friendliest i have ever met (taufiq and hassan)
very good value-i would have been happy to have paid double than what i did!
incredible/massive beach with smooth, white sands, in walking distance.

i couldn't recommend more as a holiday destination... all i can think about is going back... email me if u want more info...
it is a place that would suit ALL travellers (i went solo, am female aged 23) but would be great for honeymooners/families/young people...etc

rosanna.boone@gmail.com

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled solo
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7  Thank rosysophie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2008

we stayed here for two nights, and really enjoyed our stay. The food is good value and tasty, with the chef and the owner making it fresh, then and there for you. They were really friendly, and flexible. The room was spacious with a Zanzibari bed. Cold showers (think all guesthouses in Lamu similar to this were the same), but clean. We had the roof top room, which had a hammock, armchairs, tables and a great view of the water - completely private. They were really helpful, friendly and welcoming.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank FL99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2008

staying at the bahari house was great. you are right on shella beach and not too far walking of course from peponi and other great restraunts such as the new star guest house and restraunt. the bahari house staff is so friendly and willing to help you in taxi via dhow to lamu town and even bus excursions to mombasa. the food there was great. also the rooms are clean and i love that they leave flowers on the bed when you arrive. the experience was great this is my second time in lamu, shella beach. and i plan on staying at the bahari house. also during really high tide you can jump off the rooftop into the ocean. but only do if you are brave enough.

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1  Thank rahandra24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shela Bahari Guest House

Address: Box 59, Lamu Island, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 34 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range: $58 - $68 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
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Also Known As:
Shela Bahari Guest House Hotel Lamu Island

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