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“Pricey, but truly excellent!”

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The Charming Lonno Lodge
Ranked #1 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 26, 2012

The Lonno lodge is a little bit of heaven on earth. Personally I like my heaven warm, tranquil, beautiful, chilled, with gorgeous weather and amazing food - I got it all...

The owners are a nice couple who make you feel welcome but are not intrusive, the pool is beautiful, at the right temperature, and chlorine free. There is no air conditioning, but it's not really needed as there is a permanent breeze that keeps you cool, and for the eco-friendly minded, it's obviously better.

The hotel overlooks the sea, and at low tide a leisurely exploration of rock pools is highly recommended, although watch out for the sun burns! Sandy beach is a couple of miles down the road.

The one thing that could be slightly better is the meals (there's only so many 4-course Italian dinners I can stomach!), but all in all probably the best boutique hotel I've ever stayed at.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gwen27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 15, 2012

We were most fortunate to spend four nights at Lonno with our two children over Easter. We booked there because of the excellent online reviews and we were not disappointed. We have long dreamed of a trip to Kenya and wanted to make it very special. After three extraordinarily fabulous days in the Mara, we arrived dusty and tired from Malindi airport. We were immediately greeted with warmth by Silvia and Aldo (and the dogs!) and also by ice-cold freshly made fruit concoctions. Our room was style personified - simple, cool and spotless. We had a huge terrace with views over the pool and ocean. Heaven.
The whole complex is stunningly designed and there is incredible attention to detail. Architecturally, the impact is fascinating and makes the lodge feel like a tiny little Arabic village with cool alleyways and decorative, intriguing doorways. The pool and communal areas were absolutely beautiful and we spent many, many hours in their vicinity. We also enjoyed exploring the tidal reef directly in front of the hotel and were amazed to find appropriate and much-appreciated footwear supplied by the hotel.
It's hard to call Lonno a hotel though, because you feel less like a guest and more like a friend. The staff are superbly trained and ever-willing to assist in the smallest of tasks. Silvia even cut fresh aloe to apply to our daughter's sunburn. We found the meals utterly incredible given our location in the middle of (almost) nowhere. Silvia sources food from the local market daily and makes extensive use of fresh seafood. We have eaten in some of the world's top restaurants and Silvia's two extraordinary chefs would shine in any of them. Truly, we were amazed (and so, so full!) and sent our waiter to pry the chefs from their kitchen so we could thank them personally.
Silvia and Aldo are always readily available and sit down to every meal with guests, but they were completely unintrusive and clearly have an aversion to stating the obvious. Without a single sign or piece of literature, we were a million miles from the over-controlling British environment. We are sure this contributed to our ability to "switch off and zone out". Bliss.
Our only mistake was to leave from Mombasa. Far from Lonno and hideous in every way, it is a place to be avoided at all costs.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Karen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2012

Lonno lodge must be as close to heaven on earth as you can get! I arrived in Lonno lodge tired, worn out and in desperate need for some rest and relaxation after what can only be termed a horror start to the year…I hoped to get it at Lonno lodge based on the reviews I had read but I was trying to manage my expectations so as not to get too disappointed if the reviews had exaggerated the truth! Instead I met the two loveliest people on earth…Aldo and Silvia you are a TREASURE! And their beautiful dogs, wonderful staff and ABSOLUTELY stunning lodge by the Ocean are all right out of a dream! The views are breath-taking, the breeze perfect to tone down the humidity and the FOOD!!! ohhh lala! Silvia's kitchen should be awarded a Michelin star!! The food is a dream! All the right tastes, flavours, colours and textures... everything you dream that perfect food tastes like...oh to eat like that every day! However with the swimming and walks by the beach during low tide I always had room for more and even dropped a kilo or two!! If its rest you are looking for Lonno lodge is the place to be...it’s never crowded…Aldo and Silvia prefer fewer guests (bless them)! So it’s not the kind of place you go to if you want to go to a disco and have huge crowds around the buffet table. Every meal is a sit down with the most wonderful staff bringing out mouth-watering dishes, beautifully served and placing it in front of you with a smile! I love the lodge’s eco-friendly approach to handling water. They recycle everything and the drinking water is from the ocean AMAZING!! Aldo and Silvia recognise that they and the visitors are guest among the Watamu people and strive to safeguard the land …you can read all about their water recycling efforts on the website! And they don't just say it they do it! The rooms are exquisite with attention paid to every detail, the view, the bed, the decor, the bathrooms and a little kitchen area perfect for making tea and enjoying it in the evening on the balcony listening to waves crush onto the cliffs! Aldo and Silvia are always around, ready to share a laugh or offer some helpful advice on places to see and visit and the best part is they sit down with the guests at meal time which is so nice and truly does make you feel like you’re visiting friends. I truly found no fault with Lonno lodge and I told Aldo and Silvia to expect me at least once a year. It’s always lovely and refreshing to meet people who are passionate about what they do and go out of their way in every way to ensure perfection in every detail, all I can say is truly heaven must have fallen down at Lonno lodge. Thank you Aldo and Silvia, I had the best holiday ever and remember to call me when you are in Nairobi!!

Room Tip: All the rooms have beautiful views but like all the other reviews say the top tower room which I had...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Brenda O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2012

My husband and I have vacationed all over the world, and this, without a doubt, was by far one of my favorite holidays ever. The lodge is absolutely stunningly beautiful. The detail in the architecture is superb. Sylvia and Aldo were quite simply the most gracious hosts ever. The dinners were divine. Six course meals while listening to the sound of the ocean, impeccable service, delicious wine, what could be better? We have twin two year old boys - and in the last six months have also taken vacations to Barcelona and Paros Island in Greece. This was, in comparison, so much more relaxing. I actually felt like I was on vacation. My in-laws vacationed with us also and my mother in law couldn't get over how comfortable the bed was and how beautiful the view was. As I write this my husband and father in law are looking at pictures and talking about how magical the vacation was. Thank you Aldo and Sylvia for a beautiful memory that we will all treasure.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Katherine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2012

Our stay was too short although we were able to extend by a day. Lonno Lodge is a gem in the contradiction that is Kenya. From our welcome by Silvia, Aldo and the dogs through to our departure five days later we would be hard pressed to find fault with any aspect of the hospitality we received.
Our accommodation, with its wonderful ocean view, was as good as we have experienced anywhere. Silvia and her staff excelled in the kitchen and the dining room staff too were there when they were needed although perhaps too attentive sometimes. The overall ambience of the Lodge, pool and access to the reef at low tide made for a memorable holiday and, not to forget, the weather was perfect!
We would certainly return although the 35 hour flight to Kenya from Australia, via Abu Dhabi, was a challenge and flying into Malindi rather than Mombasa preferred.

Room Tip: First floor gives an unimpeded ocean view
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Elizabeth T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2012

We arrived at Lonno Lodge after a 4 day safari at Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara (especially the latter highly recommended, check our review of Royal Mara Lodge). We just wanted to relax for a few days with our family as this was a one week break. Well relaxing at Lonno Lodge is easy!

The place looks almost too good to be true. The design of the grounds, the gardens, the rooms. Everything is just perfect. The attention to detail from the owners (former architects in Italy) is outstanding. We also loved the large and beautiful pool.

The food is great too with the Italian roots clearly visible. It is all prepared by the African staff and they surprised almost every time with great starters, fantastic pasta's and lovely main courses (often fish).

Aldo and Silvia do everything to make your stay to your liking. They arranged our next hotel and the transfers and went out of their way to make sure everything was as we liked it without being "in our way".

The rooms are fantastic too - great architecture again and every detail is thought of. Our 2 room, 2 stories suite had a great balcony where we could relax once the kids went to bed.

As for the location: note that while the lodge is right at the sea - there is no private beach (well there a small strip is but you wouldn't want to lay or swim there because of the heavy sea weeds.) We went to the beach after a low tide hike across the reefs and found it busy and unattractive and didn't mind spending our time at the Lonno pool instead.

Getting there: we arrived from Malindi airport (we flew with Fly 540 from Wilson Airport, Nairobi: a cheap way to get there). From Malindi it's only 25 minutes with the very comfortable Lonno Lodge car (seating a family of 5) arranged by Silvia and Aldo. When we left we went to Mobasa - 2.5 hours.

All in all we had a fantastic time and would certainly recommend this lodge to anyone going to the area.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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Thank thijsvanschadewijk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2012

We wanted to stay somewhere by the coast in Kenya which was a little extra special for our honeymoon and Lonno Lodge was absolutely spot on! Small, with it's own personality and excellent attention to detail by the hosts it is a truly wonderful find.

We stayed in the Top Tower Room with its own private rooftop with stunning views - We would book this particular room again of we are ever lucky enough to go back.

The food and staff also require a mention as again, both were outstanding.

A little more expensive than we usually go for, but well worth it and a real treat for our honeymoon.

Magical.

  • Stayed: March 2011
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Thank MarcusandSallyJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Charming Lonno Lodge

Address: 390 Kanani Road, Watamu 80202, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Watamu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Watamu
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
#1 Luxury Hotel in Watamu
#2 Romantic Hotel in Watamu
Price Range: $285 - $359 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Charming Lonno Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Charming Lonno Lodge Watamu is a luxury hotel on the sea side of the Watamu Marine Park, Kenya. Its secluded structure, with nested private tiny beaches, is the optimal spot to relax and indulge on the white beach of Kenya. Despite the proximity with the sea, a huge double swimming pool with salt water is available for our guests. Guests whose presence is limited in number to provide everyone with privacy, silence and top quality service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lonno Hotel Watamu

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