Just got back from 10 days in Watamu. Stayed at Mauro's unit at Fortamu, which is simply amazing!
- The unit is beautifully furnished, very clean, and well-stocked. Has a view of the ocean and gets amazing breeze all day. Has wonderful amenities including AC in the bedrooms, a backup generator, wifi, and a washing machine.
- Mauro is incredibly responsive -- both by email and Whatsapp. And Jeff, the onsite caretaker, took very good care of us. Mauro had also organized with Stanley, a great cook, who produced a steady supply of Italian and Swahili delights for us. And did all the daily shopping and produced detailed accounts.
- Fortamu is in North Watamu, a bit removed from the main drag, which I liked as the beach seemed less crowded than others in Watamu. One can easily get to town (e.g. grocery store, gelato shop) etc with a Tuktuk for KES 100 ($1). The property - has 2 pools (one more shallow for children and a big one where one can swim laps) and direct beach access to one of the nicest beaches in Kenya. One can walk along the beach to Papa Remo restaurant (150 meters) for a sundowner or dinner, which we did a couple of times.
- This was our second long stay in Watamu in a rented house/apartment. The previous one was also very nice but did not have a back-up generator or direct beach access. Given how hot the Coast can be and how unreliable Kenya power can be, we really appreciated having the generator. And having the beach right there for lounging (there are lots of beach beds in the private part of the beach), going for morning runs, and for entertaining our 2 year old son (we took him down to the beach several times a day and during low tide, we could walk out to a sand-bank and go exploring the rock formations off the coast).
The management of the property (Fortamu rather than Mauro's unit as such) seemed generally good in terms of cleanliness, security etc., and the onsite manager seemed very nice. However, I would recommend the following improvements:
1. Have one reliable electrician who deals with the property. There was one night when the back-up generator wasn't functioning properly. The manager had one electrician come out to fix it around 8pm, but he didn't do a very good job. So it failed again around midnight. The Manager then called a second fundi who seemed much better. In talking to some of the staff working at Fortamu, I got the impression that there wasn't one go-to electrician who serviced the place, which seems like a mistake.
2. The pool is closed from 9.30 pm to 9.30am for cleaning, which seems like a very long time! For families with kids, the opening time is a bit late. Our son was up and about at 7 and wanting to jump in the pool by 8! And we too would have liked to swim laps in the morning before the sun gets too hot.