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“i have never felt more unsafe in Kenya”

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Stopover Guest House
Ranked #12 of 34 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Reviewed July 12, 2009

Stop over guesthouse is a really nice place to stay. the people who work there are great. we had some miscommunication with the owners about how many rooms we wanted to take and the price. they did not greet us upon our arrival. we waited for 2 hours before deciding to go sightseeing. the owner then called us demanding to know where we were and to return immediately. upon doing so he verbally accosted us and charged us 8000 ksh to stay one night in one room.

we left the next morning feeling very uneasy. he had promised to give us 1000 ksh in return but never did.

it was agreed that the cost covered the pick up from the airport. a few days later the boat man from the Beyonce, followed us at night and told us we owed him money. we explained what we were told. the next day, he jumped in to another boat we were taking and forced the captain of the boat to start driving towards the ocean. my friend jumped out and swam to shore and found the owner of the stop over guest house. he agreed to take the 1000 he never gave back to us and give it to the boat man. so not only did he screw us over, but in order to get back at us, he scammed a boatman.

these guys are cut throat business men. i have never been more terrified in kenya.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
2  Thank globetrotter197234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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32 - 38 of 46 reviews

Reviewed February 3, 2009

I stayed at Stopover for 4 nights in mid-September 2008 - during Ramadan. I had been in Nairobi for 6 weeks on business, and I needed a quiet get-away before leaving Kenya to come back to Canada. I contacted Lamu Properties in Nairobi. They eventually recommended Stopover in Shela to me, and I'm very glad they did. The price was good (=approx $60- 65 Cdn / night for Bed & Breadkfast). Like the Aussies who wrote an earlier review I stayed in a very large room on the top floor, which shares a large balcony with the other large room on that floor. I was on my own, so I didn't mind the company of my fellow guests. When Hamid first showed me to my room I nearly cried from the beauty of the place! The balcony afforded a great view of the Dhow harbour and the comings and goings on the water front of Shela. Hamid was a very gracious host indeed. My breakfasts were served in my room (it being Ramadan, Hamid asked that I not eat in the main floor restaurant during daylight hours.) Breakfasts were always good, and fresh. On a coupe of evenings I also ate dinner (after sun-down!) in the restaurant. Fresh fish bought from one of the many fishermen that Hamid knows. It was always delicious! And Hamid made very amiable company too during those meals!

Ramadan meant full prayers 5 times a day at the Mosque right next door. While atmospheric, the late evening prayer did keep me awake a couple of evenings. Swalli, a local guide, has an arrangement with Hamid to offer his services to guests. Swalli is a very pleasant, very knowledgeable local who's been guiding for 40 years. Great to use, but be a little careful. He will work the maximum out of guests (he booked 2 Dhows for 3 people going to the Takwa ruins, at exactly the same time on the same day - each to pay Ksh3000 for me alone, and 3500Ksh for the other two! I found out and then spoke to the other guests, and we were able to agree to all go on the same Dhow, and finally re-negotiated with Swalli for a group price on one Dhow!).

The beds (one in the room, and a day bed out on the balcony for mid-day snoozes!!) were comfortable and clean - pillows were small and not terribly comfortable. No hot water when I was there, but I didn't mind - the "cold" was only just so, which made the showers refreshing, but not chilling. (Hamid was in the process of getting a hot-water system put in, however, even though he said "Its so warm here, why would anyone want hot water? - but the tourists ask for it....")

No alcohol served at Stopover, but Peponi has a very nice lounge just about 3 minutes walk down the waterfront if you crave a "Sundowner" on an evening. The huge, and nearly deserted beach starts at Peponi, and goes on and on and on for many kilometers.

Over all, the location was great, the room and balcony were spectacular, the food was very good, and Hamid was a very good, and interesting host. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Shela, and would love to go back to Stopover with my wife sometime (if I ever get back to Africa).

Norman from Vancouver Canada

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank PearsonVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2008

this is a lovely place to stay, right on the waterfront in Shela (just out of Lamu town, must nicer than staying in town). Hamid the owner ensures great, attentive and friendly service. The rooms are spacious, and we had a great balcony on the top floor where we ate breakfast and watched the dhows sail by. the food is good value and tasty (mostly local fare). only cold water, but i think that all of the guest houses are the same (we stayed in one other). Really recommend it for a good value place to stay in Lamu, which is pretty expensive overall.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank FL99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2007

Me and my friend stayed in Shela, for 3 nights at the stopover guest house in December 2006.
The first thing to know about Shela is that the place is very popular with EXTREMELY well heeled westerners e.g. princess stephanie of monaco has a house there. Lots of the big, old arabic style houses have been renovated ( admittedly in a very sympathetic, traditonal way) by rich europeans who come to escape the cold winters. Also, the main resort in shela is Peponis, which is a 5 stars and definetley high end!
The upshot of all this is that the locals think that if you are a tourist in Shela, you must be absolutely LOADED. Now I'm not saying that compared to the avaerage Kenyan, that is a fair comparison, but we were backpacking around on a budget and we found it quite difficult to barter to a reasonable price in Shela.
It got a bit tiring having to constantly barter the price down from astonomical starting points.
But ANYWAY... the stopover is a really lovely place to stay- it's right on the beach, very clean and simple, with mozzie nets and an ensuite. we also had our own balcony. Breakfast is included and had a great range of options. I thknk i had banana pancakes every day! I can't remember how much we paid, and obviously the price in hugely negotiable. Gets more expenzive ++ around christmas.
If u are single female travellers in Lamu, the attention from beach boys becomes very VERY tiresome. We ended up being pretty irritable with them, and after three days of it we were glad to leave. Shela is very pretty and pictureque though, and worth a visit.

4  Thank sooz27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2017 via mobile
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Stayed: February 2017, traveled with friends
Thank gabry s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2016
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Stayed: July 2016, traveled as a couple
Thank Sara T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2016
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Room Tip: Le stanze superiori sono le migliori
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  • Stayed: July 2016, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Luca V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Stopover Guest House

Address: Shela Harbour, Lamu Island, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 34 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range: $48 - $132 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Stopover Guest House Hotel Lamu Island

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