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“Fantastic place”

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Banana House & Wellness Centre
Ranked #2 of 32 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
zeist
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fantastic place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 14, 2012

Stayed for over a week at Banana house, Lamu in Februar 2012, together with a friend. This place is so special. We felt so much welcome and more than good taken care of by Monica and her staff. It is built in attractive Swahili style, with open spaces and veranda's where you can launch and relax. The whole atmosphere is tropical and quiet and provides many possibilities to relax and gain new energy. The spa treatments (foot reflexology!), yoga classes and fantastic meals (Lamu's best food if you like healthy, tastefull meals prepared with lots of attention) contribute to well being. What makes it special is that everything is done with respect to local culture. The view (not from the beach but a little higher from a top) is amazing, with sunrising and sunset, dhows and the sea. It is really a beautiful never-to-forget experience to visit Banana House at Lamu! It is the kind of place that you surely want to visit again when leaving.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank carolien08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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150 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
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English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2012

We really enjoyed our time at the Banana House, the atmosphere, the food, and the service were all great. It was just what we needed to wind down after a 10 day safari. We had great custom made meals served to us on our terrance.

We did however have one terrible experience with a staff member, although I don't want to berate the hotel for the actions of one individual. Long story short, we were staying in the penthouse (top floor) and had packed our bags on the final day before we were to check out. The boat wasn't leaving for a bit so we left our bags in the room. We decided to go for a stroll while waiting to leave Lamu, and my wife went back up to the room to grab something from our bag before leaving. That's when she caught the guy who had given us the best service for 4 days with his hands deep in our bag (he'd unzipped it and was full in).

She startled him, and he jumped back and began pretending to clean the room (leaving the bag unzipped), my wife checked the bag, and after I waited nearly 15 mins I went up to see what was taking so long. It was apparenlty some sort of strange stand-off for some time because as soon as I entered the terrace he wizzed by me down the stairs. My wife explained what had happened and I was furious. However, being on our honeymoon we decided to "let it go" and avoid shattering our mood any further.

Awkwardly the guy even carried our bag to the boat (still being super nice), I just shot him a dirty look and said "no tip".

So, barring that, amazing time, but it just left me so dissappointed, especially as we'd been tipping this guy well our whole stay and he seem so genuinely nice.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank medsj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bcnalex
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2012

Just returned from a fabulous week at Banana House in Shela Village on Lamu Island. Given all the travel warnings for this part of Kenya (Somali pirates etc), I had no idea what to expect. It all went very smoothly. We were greeted at the small Lamu airport and within minutes were taken by boat across the Lamu Chanel, skimming past mangrove forests, the sandy beaches and large houses of Manda Island, past Lamu Town onto Shela Village. Banana House is a five minute bare foot walk from the water front and slightly further from the beginning of the very beautiful, clean, un spoilt and empty 12 km beach. The house is built in the traditional Swahili style. Tall ceilings, arched windows, locally sourced furniture, chill out areas, hammocks etc. We stayed in the penthouse which was perfect. Simple yet very comfortable. Private. Open views to the sea. Gentle sea breezes. Like most places in Africa outside the big cities, you sleep under mosquito netting. Yes there are bugs, geckos, etc. The hotel operates as bed and breakfast. Every morning we had our breakfast delivered to our room by Salim who would arrange our table with care and decorate it with fresh flowers from the garden. Other meals could be arranged upon request. Delicious fresh fish, prawns, crab. Monika, the owner, was very friendly and helpful. Many activities to choose from, sunset sailing trips, snorkellng, water skiing. Shela is truly a special place, beautiful and magical. We were very pleased with staying in the penthouse at Banana House.

Room Tip: The penthouse was amazing
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bcnalex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Midlands
Level Contributor
130 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2011

We enjoyed our stay here - in particular our "Waiters" who were always smiling and could not do enough for us! As seen on here, there are beautiful views to the ocean, especially from the penthouse where we stayed. It was very good value having 2 rooms and a huge patio/living area.
We tended to eat at the house as the alleys around Shella may have got us lost at night, althou we did find that for our party, who do not eat fish, the menu tended to be limited to chicken or chicken.. (or vegetarian). Perhaps if we went again, we would go to one of the nearby restaurants/hotels overlooking the beach, which had far more choice. Prices of the food were good however, as was the food. Being British, it would have been lovely to have been able to make a cup of tea or coffee on our return from the days trips, but there only appeared to be the sodas in the fridge.
The only other point I would mention is that apart from when we arrived, we did not see the owners at all. It would have been nice to talk to them about the lovely area.
Close enough to the mosque to hear early morning calls to prayer!!

Room Tip: Select the penthouse - well worth the extra!
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank traveller2148
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vancouver
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 23, 2011

You wouldn't expect staff that is over attentive to be a less than desirable trait in a B&B but they wandered into our room (yes we left the door open) frequently to ask if we needed anything throughout the day, removing bug nets, untying bug nets, cleaning etc. It was a bit too much and it would have been a bit nicer to be left alone more, but on the plus side, the service was excellent.

There was also a staff member who came into our room in the evening and just hung out. Sat down without being invited and stayed for around 30 minutes to chat. He didn't seem to pick up on social cues that we were trying to relax.

Aside from this...Lisa was absolutely amazing. The property itself is astoundingly beautiful, as you can see from the pictures, it's a spacious concrete buildling, staying cool in the blazing sun, and channeling air flow through specially designed windows. There are hammocks and huge balconies to lounge on, large outdoor area and canopy beds. We slept outside for 2/3 nights.

There is construction in the off season, but it is more amusing than annoying, as you truly get a feel for the liveliness of the town. Shela is better to stay in, walk or boat to Lamu town.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank suzrushton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 4, 2011

We stayed here in Feb 2009 on the recommendation of friends. On the whole we loved it. Calm, relaxing and the BEST dinner we have ever had. We gave the chef some money to go to the fish market and he came back with crab and cooked up the most delicious thing. Nothing has come close since.

The only negative I would say is that we didn't find the female owner particulary friendly. Our shower flooded for some reason and she got quite cross even though nothing to do wtih us! The room was pretty basic but all in all good value.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank JABB_JFB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2011

My wife and I were travelling from New York with our 9 month old daughter through Kenya. Banana House holds a very special place in our memory. We loved our room (on the top floor / roof of the adjacent building) with views over the beach, water and the town. They arranged a delightful trip through town and a snorkelling trip. We feasted on crab and drank cold beers from the fridge. They were able to arrange an excellent babysitter to allow mom & dad to go out to dinner. Our daughter learned to crawl on the dining room rug at Banana House and for that alone it will always be special to us.

Room Tip: Go for the highest room of adjacent building
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  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Alan_family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banana House & Wellness Centre

Property: Banana House & Wellness Centre
Address: Plot 318, Lamu Island, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 32 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banana House & Wellness Centre is small and cozy, yet spacious enough to let you enjoy its rarity. Retreat to Banana House, a very cool, elegant private guesthouse and the wellness centre offering yoga, retreats and massages. It has great views on the sea, the dunes and the village. The house is simply and tastefully furnished in Swahili style, with many different sitting areas, daybeds and hammocks. You will feel the love that Monika and Banana have put into the house to give it a homely and welcoming atmosphere. ... more   less 
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