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“An exclusive and charming home away from home”

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Banana House & Wellness Centre
Ranked #3 of 32 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“An exclusive and charming home away from home”
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Banana House reflects the unique charme of Shela. A beautiful swahili house set in gorgeous garden. We know the owners, Banana and Monika, since more than a decade and enjoy every year the time we spend with them. The staff hasn't changed since Banana house was opened and this says a lot about the quality of the people as well as Monikas and Bananas social commitment. The relaxing and easy going athmosphere in Banana house made us even more addicted to this special island. A must for all people looking for an eco-friendly and exclusive holiday spot. The real luxury lies in the fact that the people of Shela share their paradise with us. Banana and Monika, we will be back!

Paolo and Sofia Tonti, Zurich, Switzerland

Room Tip: Banana rooftop is just fantastic
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank PaoloT325
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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151 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (41)
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English first
Scotland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2013

We have just returned from our trip to Kenya, visiting family, and having a 4 night stay in Lamu to complete our holiday.
From the moment we stepped through the door into the Banana House we felt at home. The staff were extremely friendly and welcoming, nothing was too much trouble. We got lost on our first trip out and a member of staff spotted us and escorted us back!
We loved the "sitting areas" illustrated on the website, and enjoyed many a cup of coffee and a relaxing read there. The pool was perfect after we ventured outside and sometimes got too hot.
We went on two trips, one to Lamu town which was most interesting, and one full day on a dhow in order to snorkel. This was the highlight of our stay - a beautiful boat trip, interesting snorkelling, a visit to a deserted beach and the most delicious lunch cooked on board. Perfect!
The food was lovely at the hotel, we enjoyed discussing our evening meal with the chef in the morning. The breakfasts were very enjoyable.
I don't know if we'll return to Lamu, but if we do, we'll certainly stay at the Banana House again! Thank you.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Retiredrelaxers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2013

A nice property, simple / spacious rooms, friendly junior staff and a basic breakfast of fruit, toast, eggs and tea.

Location is average – even though the beach is advertised as approx. 2-5 minutes away, this isn’t a great beach to walk on / swim in, and I usually walked to Peponi hotel and beyond (approx. 10-15 minutes) where the sea and sand is much better.

Unfortunately the cleanliness of my room and therefore my sleep quality was absolutely terrible. 1st and 2nd nights were extremely itchy and serious biting / stinging sensations throughout which resulted in a total lack of sleep - in the morning my entire body was covered in bites and massive bumps. Changed room for 3rd night which was then okay.

Patricia's (the managers) response to the issue on the 2nd morning was shocking and extremely surprising - “If you are not happy with the room you should leave” and “my staff are not comfortable with the problem you have raised”. OMG

I will not be staying here again and would advise the readers of this review to take Banana House, website and reviews with a pinch of salt. With their success seems to have come a strong arrogance and lack of care for the welfare / comfort of their guests.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Aditya S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monika F, Owner at Banana House & Wellness Centre, responded to this review, May 20, 2013
Dear Guest,

It is very sorry to read your experience at Banana House. May I inform you that we dont advertise that the beach is 2 minutes away, we are away from the seafront indeed for 2 minutes, but the swimming beach is 6-8 minutes walk along the waterfront towards Peponi. While myself I was not around I have asked our well trained staff, (they are not junior most of our staff are working for many years with us) about your problem of itching and the reaction of our manager that she offered you to be free to leave the room if you dont like it. They informed me that you had problems with the price of our rooms and our manager could not help you more than offering you to stay somewhere else if you dont like our house. May the itching be caused by other reasons than a bed? (sandflies on the beach?) Banana himself informed me that you had a nice evening where you where part of a private party organised by him together with other guests. I believe we are not arrogant and we like our guests to be treated respectful. Unfortunately sometimes it happens that we can't make everybody happy. If you feel we have treated you badly we sincerey apologise for this, we are also humans, mistakes sometimes happens.
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Antananarivo, Madagascar
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 2013

This is a beautiful Swahili house, recently renovated, with lots of charm and magic ambiance. It is not luxurious but is comfortable enough and perfectly in line with the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere of the island, with many common spaces and terraces to dine al fresco. It has a small pool and garden to cool down, an amazing cook, and they propose a wide range of activities that they can organise for you, from snorkelling to dining on a typical local boat. It is just a few minutes walk from Shela’s long sandy beach while Lamu town can be reached in 40 minutes on foot or 5 by boat.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Lekke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
Reviewed December 16, 2012

OMG I was in love when I saw that hotel
I loved the rooms too, the beach oh yes the best EVER! My cousin lived in Africa for 5 years! I Wanna live there too! The pool was awesome, i love too swim so the was Pretty good! And the Breakfast, that was very delicious! Hope you loved it too❤!!!!!!!☀

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank _alva99_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2012

Our clients visit Lamu very often as a end-of-the trip destination. Our family where the first people to stay when it just opened its doors. Must have been Xmas 2000 and we still look back with fond memories. Bananahouse is a wonderful lamu styl place. great ambiance, great service, good cooks and lovely little pool to cool off. Monica also gives yoga lessons on the same property. So what else do you need?

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank KarinBloem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
38 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2012

Very nice place and one has a piece of mind once you come to Lamu and Banana House. Rooms are basic and bathrooms are basic also, (they give a 10gm bar of soap her day) so do not expect 4 star or 5 star Lodge or resort. Great service and people at the House. The only drawback is the breakfast and food. Breakfast is very basic, fruits and eggs, not much else. Dinner and lunch if you order with the chief is a bit expensive and not what we expected after reading the reviews on trip advisor. They can do much better with Dinner and Lunch, as all the seafood around Lamu is fresh. Hope they can beef up the kitchen staff and also add value for money. Besides that, a great place to go for a great hoilday.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Nairobi_KenyaAspi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monika F, Owner at Banana House & Wellness Centre, responded to this review, August 29, 2012
Dear guest,

Thank you very much for your review and that you enjoyed Banana House so much. Your recommendations have been noted and we would like to share our thoughts with you. We believe that the beauty of Banana House and Lamu Island is its simplicity, being in nature, not needing much. You walk around in a kikoi and t-shirt, barefoot and enjoying the natural surrounding. Therefore is Banana House simply decorated, using the local materials, but with a lot of style and atmosphere. Our bedrooms are indeed not luxury, we dont have a fridge in the room, air conditioning, or a hairdryer, but we have a quiet environment, fresh air coming into the rooms, as our rooms dont have glass windows, large comfortable beds and the bedrooms have a bathroom with showers. The atmosphere is more homely. It will please you to know that we are in the process of getting our own bathroom amenities.
We have read your remarks that you enjoyed our food, though a bit more expensive than what you expected. Indeed the prices of food have gone up a lot, specially during july/august this year, as it was Ramadan and the local fishermen sold their seafood much more expensive. We like to keep our good reputation that our food is excellent quality and not expensive, so we are looking again into our costs/ quality. We regret that you have been offered only eggs and fruit for breakfast. We have informed our roomstewards that it is important that they explain our guests what kind of breakfast we serve and that guests can have a choice. We normally serve, bread, eggs in all variations, lots of fruits, fresh juices, pancakes and if people want it we serve mandazi ( swahili breakfast) or yoghurt.
We thank you again for your review and hope to welcome you once more in Banana House.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #3 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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