All inclusive beach holidays in Lamu, Kenya
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    Shela House, Shela Village, Lamu Island Kenya & Shela Beach Houses Rental Lamu

    Shela House is a large colonial-style beach house which has been renovated to retain its original style and charm. The bedrooms are large and spacious and there is a dayroom and library but most of the time is spent on the rooftops eating fresh seafood, playing games, reading, snoozing on the day beds. The house staff at Shella House are extremely friendly, helpful and capable and bar an indication of which seafood delicacy you would like to sample next, will look after you discreetly and unobtrusively. They will look after meals, give you information about what there is to do in Lamu Island and how to get around (there are no cars on Lamu) and generally make your stay a thoroughly pleasant one. There is a lot to do on Lamu but it will only take you a day or two to realize that you don't have to feel guilty for just kicking back and relaxing. A restored colonial era village house of great character for nine to eleven (9 to 11) people, well shaded with plants and built on three floors around an open courtyard, the house well and an ancient gardenia.

     

    Old Lamu doors open into a hall and an open inner courtyard edged by a baraza sitting and eating area Two staircases lead to the five ensuite bedrooms — three double bedrooms, another with two large four-poster single beds and a smaller single bedroom. There is also a nursery room with a cot and two children beds adjacent to the master bedroom. A second floor dayroom and terrace provide additional lounging areas with a small library of books for all ages. Most time is spent relaxing on the two rooftops in hammocks and sun beds or in the walled garden across the passageway. From here one has a view over Shela Village and the channel between Lamu and Manda Island. This is where our guests relax, play cards, listen to music, have their sundowner or just gaze out at the night sky. Lamu is a Muslim town and it is worth remembering that alcohol is not readily available here. You can have a pleasant sundowner on the terrace of the nearby hotel, Peponi, and one or two other places but most guest houses and hotels don't actually serve alcohol. You can however bring your own with you. Shela House owns four private villas in Shela Village on Lamu: the Beach House Lamu, the Shela House Lamu Island the Garden House and Palm House Lamu Island. Both Shela House Lamu Island and Palm House are located in Shella village. It is here that Shela House Management has been running private holiday homes since 1992.

     

    The houses are designed to offer visitors a completely relaxing holiday in unusually luxurious yet eco-friendly setting. The company was a pioneer of the village clean-up committee, which still exists today and was also a founder member of the Shela Bursary Fund. This has four luxury villas, ranging in size from accommodating 8 to 12 people, all are set in the winding passages of Shela and its surrounds. They have all been designed in a traditional Arabic style with a central courtyard and rooftop lounging area with the rooms coming off the bougainvillea covered walkways. With views out across the roof tops and the bay beyond these are all cool and peaceful surrounds in which to enjoy the island. Each offers access to the excellent beaches and the old town. Guests have the option of hiring the beach villas on a self catering accommodation only or full board basis. Built around a courtyard, well and garden, Shela House is a compact three story build. The front entrance leads either through to the courtyard, or towards two sets of stairs, which provide access to the bedrooms and roof terrace. The style is luxury chic, and much of the furniture and decor is locally sourced. Together with dining and seating areas, there are 5 en-suite bedrooms, 3 of which are doubles, 1 a twin, and the last a single. All have their own balconies. Palm House is similarly designed - although it has an additional side garden, which can seen from the lounge and dining room. Slightly smaller than Shela House, it has 4 en-suite bedrooms - 2 doubles, 1 master and a twin. The master has two balconies. With the gardens, an open terrace on the second floor, and a thatched rooftop, there are plenty of open spaces, and the style is again much like Shela House's. Both houses come with their own staff. The chefs are on hand to discuss possible menus - international, Swahili fish. The food is fresh - bought off the beach, in the local market, or flown down from Nairobi. Activities include swimming, snorkeling, village visits, and dhow trips.

     

    Beach House Shela Village Lamu Island

    Beach HouseView Gallery

     

    Beach House Shela Village Lamu Island

     

    Beach House is one of the most breathtaking in Lamu Island, with a location directly overlooking the channel, a horizon pool that makes you wonder where the water ends and the view of the sea begins. The rooms have their own balconies and an uninterrupted view of the Indian Ocean. A large, cool beach front house for twelve to fourteen (12 to 14) people with four double rooms and one dormitory style quadruple, all ensuite. On the first floor, raised above beach level, there is a stunning, edgeless fresh water swimming pool. It has a bar area and low comfortable baraza seats. Up the first flight of stairs is a large dining and living room, leading out onto an alfresco terrace, shaded by huge entwined acacia and baobab trees. Another door leads onto the wooden deck above the pool – a perfect dining area – and to two doubleRead More

     


    Garden House Shela Village Lamu Island

    Garden House ShelaView Gallery

     

    Garden House Shela Village Lamu Island

     

    Garden House is located in Shela Village on the island of Lamu on the north coast of Kenya. This small private house is tucked away in a secret walled garden at the southern end of the village. Garden House is an intimate little pad, set on the edge of a walled garden. The rooms are cool and shady in the typical Swahili style; built from white-washed coral with thick walls and plastered ceilings to keep the heat out. There are not many places where you can have the option of staying in your own private house and still enjoy the comforts, excellent service and food of a hotel but in Lamu you can do just that, Garden House sits on the corner of a small walled garden, screened by large neem and palm trees which are alive with the song of birds.Read More

     


    Palm House Shela Village Lamu Island

    Palm House ShelaView Gallery

     

    Palm House Shela Village Lamu Island

     

    Palm House is situated near the sandy beach of Lamu Island, Kenya, the Palm House is a rental beach house near Shela Beach in Lamu, Kenya, whose architecture and interior design is influenced by Swahili style. Palm House is designed around an open courtyard with a Pemba palm. The living and dining areas look onto the courtyard and another small side garden. It is spacious, yet compact - two doubles and one triple bedroom on the first floor, one double master bedroom on the second floor, all en-suite with private balconies. The second floor has an open terrace, which leads off to a small covered baraza area in front of the fourth bedroom.Read More

     


    Shela Village Lamu ISland

     

    We welcome you to Shela village (or Shella village as some prefer to spell it) on Lamu Island in the archipelago with the same name. Shela Village is a tangle of narrow sandy lanes, tall stone houses, smaller thatched dwellings, mosques, ruins and a spacious square ringed with a few market stalls and small shops. The beach starts a five minute walk from the village and is a reason why people return to Lamu again and again - seven miles of golden sands that are never crowded, with a sea clean and ideal for swimming, bodysurfing, diving, wind surfing, skiing, fishing or boating. Shela Village is located about 3km south of Lamu Town and although being only about a tenth of the size, probably has ten times as much decent accommodation. This is one of those places where cool expats and old Africa hands have their own private bolt holes and during the main Kenya holiday seasons the place fills with large family groups. Although one could argue that the extent of foreign ownership of property in Shela village detracts from its authenticity, the fact remains that most visitors find this to be a much more laid back and pleasant place to spend a few days than Lamu Town itself.

     

    There is a good small beach hotel on the waterfront, Shela House being the original and best. Like Goa, Lamu was among the heartlands of the hippies in the sixties, representing their dreams of freedom and of a modest and uncomplicated life. The fishing village of Shela with its 1200 inhabitants located at four kilometers southeast of Lamu Town, within a walking distance of 45 min and can be reached by boat in 15 min. During the first decades of the 20th century, there where only a couple of stone houses in Lamu, apart from the clay huts of the fishermen and the old mosque, which dates from the 17th century. In 1930, the English governor had built a colonnaded villa, which faced the beachfront and thus changed Shela Village skyline. In 1967 the house became the legendary Peponi Hotel, Shela’s unchallenged landmark and society hub until today. A unique crowd of locals, expats and visitors meet at the Peponi terrace every day for their sundowners. Here it is nearly impossible not to make friends and become part of the bright Shela community. Explore Shela along its placid alleyways with their houses surrounded by palm trees and bougainvillea and forget the world beyond. In the morning, the fishermen will bring their night’s catch to your door: crab, prawn and red snapper. Don’t miss to relax under your shady makuti roof. This is the perfect place for daydreaming. At dawn, life comes back to the main alley with its modest restaurants, shops and guesthouses. The spicy smell of the charcoal grill, where the women of Shela roast the fish, mingles with the scent of the jasmine flowers.

     

    Cruise on the beachside past old mansions and tropical gardens until you reach the dune landscape just outside Shela. Enjoy the unparalleled luxury to walk past gently shelving white sands or swim with dolphins and turtles in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Easy beach life is a daily need, together with water skiing or even surfing. If you wish our staff will deliver your picnic to the beach. At Peponi Beach, the gathering of Mozambique dhows with their low superstructure and their elegance will inevitably catch your attention. Drifting through the mangroves in these wonderful dhows is an amazing way to experience the surroundings of the Lamu archipelago. The coral reefs are perfect for snorkeling and diving. The captains are skilled sailors, full of the typical disarming Swahili heartiness. Make it a perfect day by cruising Manda beach at sunset – candle light dinner included, watching the moon rise. Or meander around the narrow waterways full of mangroves on your way to the magnificent Twaka remains on Manda Island. Make sure you have the time for a daytrip to Kipungani, an unostentatious town that harbours two ecological resorts and has a gorgeous beach. There is great fishing from well equipped flying bridge boats. You’ll find black, blue and striped marlin, sailfish, barracuda, yellow fin, broadbill and many more. Whatever you decide to make of your holiday - here in this magical place you’ll definitely get the spirit of Lamu!

     

    Lamu Island

     

    You have to be quite determined to get to Lamu Island – the journey involves a flight from Nairobi to the airstrip on the neighboring island of Manda, followed by a 10-minute voyage by dhow to the island – but that is exactly what makes this other-worldly place so magical. Lamu has no roads and therefore no cars and the locals get around by donkey or foot, making it an incredibly safe and unspoiled place for children to play while parents relax. You can search for sand dollars on the long golden beach, fish from a dhow, feed scraps to the Egyptian-looking cats, watch turtles hatch at dawn and buy henna-tattoos from the women walking along the beach. Or take a break from the sun and stroll along the narrow alleys of Lamu old town and peep in through ornate Moorish doors to watch the silversmiths, woodcarvers and basket weavers at work. Cast into the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya, the island and town of Lamu is heir to a distinctive tradition over a thousand years old. Lamu Island is located in the Indian Ocean about 300 km north of Mombasa and is part of a group of islands collectively known as the Lamu Archipelago. Lamu Town, Island and Archipelago, all lie 2 degrees below the Equator along Kenya’s coast. The Lamu archipelago consists of Lamu island, Pate Island, Manda Island and as well as smaller pristine islands home to white sandy beaches and fascinating Islamic Swahili culture. Lamu Town, the oldest town in Kenya lies on Lamu Island. The island is linked by ferry to Mokowe on the mainland and to Manda Island. There are no motorized vehicles on the island; instead donkeys are the mode of transport. Lamu is a small, historic coastal town, with narrow winding streets, old mosques, colourful markets and uses donkeys and dhows for transport rather than vehicles. The only access to Lamu Island is either by “dhow” (wooden boat) or by air.

     

    The airstrip is located on Manda Island. The Islamic Swahili culture and lifestyle of Lamu and the surrounding islands are a mixture of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian, Portuguese and Victorian influences. Of all the old Swahili towns of East Africa, Lamu is one of the very few remaining substantially intact. Lamu Island has a relaxed and sleepy atmosphere, making it a wonderful place to relax and make the most of the stunning scenery, sweeping beaches, rolling sand dunes and warm Indian Ocean. The ocean continues to play a vital role in the life and livelihood of Lamu residents, and traditional sailing dhows remain a major feature. A trip on one of these wooden boats offers a highly relaxing way to explore the area, traveling to neighboring islands and fishing villages. The waters off Lamu and the surrounding archipelago teem with vibrant marine life, making it excellent for snorkelling and diving. Diving is increasingly popular here, with many superb sites remaining relatively unexplored. Over a thousand years of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian, Portuguese and Victorian British influences have all left their mark on Lamu Island, in the architecture, the language and the culture of the place. In bustling Lamu, winding alleys lead past the intricate carved doorways of white stone houses – some of which are truly majestic and still home to the very wealthy. And, because the alleys are too narrow to be negotiated by cars, the modern world has had little visible impact on this historic town. Life appears little changed since Lamu was a busy port town in the 14th century. Donkeys remain the preferred local mode of transport, and lanterns are used to light the streets after nightfall. Spices and the smell of grilled food scent the air around the markets, mosques, museums, fort and ancient houses. Exploring Lamu on foot or on donkey is a great adventure. Sitting at an open-air restaurant by the water and watching the world go by is an irresistible past-time. Fishermen haul their catches ashore, locals walk or ride by and donkeys carry their cargo. Shopping for local woodcarvings and batik is another past-time.

     

    Shela House Lamu Wedding

     

    Our four Shela houses are the ideal location for wedding parties. Overall, we can accommodate up to 40 people in our properties. Other local houses in Lamu or Lamu hotel rooms can also be rented, should there not be enough space with us. We have had many years experience in assisting with the legal logistics of Lamu weddings. The District Commissioner, who can officiate at civil weddings, is sometimes available to come to the house if guests do not wish to go to the Lamu District Office. A priest or pastor can also be arranged. Both Garden House and Beach House provide wonderful locations for a church or civil ceremony. Wedding parties can book the full board option. Extra guests who attend the wedding, but are accommodated elsewhere, can also be catered for. We can help with arranging original and memorable wedding receptions on the terraces and in the gardens of Beach House, were up to 100 people can be hosted. The menu can either be plated, buffet or cocktail style depending on preference/numbers.

     

    We are happy to work with guests on menu options. Non alcoholic beverages for in-house guests are included in your full board booking. We can help with your wine, beer and soft drinks order. Beach House sleeps 12, Shela House sleeps 9, Palm House sleeps 9 and Garden House sleeps 6. It is possible to sleep a maximum total of 14 in Beach House, 11 in Shela House, 10 in Palm House at extra costs to be confirmed at the time of your booking. We are happy to help you source any additional services, such as a photographer, DJ or band, extra boat transfers and special decorations. They will all be charged as extras. A professional photographer or DJ would have to be flown in from Nairobi. The coast has limited flowers i.e. bougainvillea and frangipani. If you require special arrangements or flowers like lilies and roses, we can arrange to have them delivered from Nairobi. For special functions we can employ a cateress to oversee all the details regarding the food for the reception, menu choices and kitchen staff. We do not recommend holding weddings from end of April through to mid July when weather can be unpredictable.

     

    Costs

     

    Lamu Island booking Information

     

    Lamu Island represents a unique portfolio of the islands’ finest small hotels, guesthouses self-catering chalets and holiday homes. This exciting new brand will introduce you to a diverse assortment of affordable holiday accommodation where to enjoy memorable hospitality in picturesque locations while savouring the magic and intimacy of the Creole way of life. With properties from some of the world’s leading luxury hotel brands, there’s a wealth of choice when it comes to 5-star Lamu Ilsland accommodation. Whether you’re planning for that perfect honeymoon, a luxury family holiday or simply looking for the very best facilities and levels of service, Lamu Island is definitely the place to be. To make choosing easier, we’ve made a selection from some of the best hotels in Lamu Island. Each of our top recommended properties offers the highest levels of comfort, with superior amenities, fine dining and unrivalled service. We assist visitors to Lamu Island with unbiased and reliable travel advice, secure accommodation bookings and payments. Local experts work closely with Lamu hotel and house owners to recommend deals and

     

    Discounts (5% to 20% off) for the best rates (guaranteed!) and hassle-free safe bookings and deposits. All house rentals and hotels in Lamu, Shela and Manda Island can be booked directly with us; our website makes it easier for visitors to find best deals and promotional offers of their best choice of accommodation in Lamu Island for a memorable stay. The self-catering facility allows clients to supply funds to the house cook, who will then do all the shopping and cooking. Menus can be requested and discussed. Expenditure is recorded in a book, which clients settle and sign off before departure. Reservations for connecting flights from Nairobi can be organised through our office. One Manda airstrip to Shela return boat transfer is included in the rental price, Please contact our office with your requested dates or simply use the booking form and we will advise you on availability. An invoice will be forwarded to you and your booking confirmed on receipt of a 25% deposit of the rent quoted. After sending the invoice, we allow for two weeks to receive the deposit. If we do not hear anything after two weeks, we will be obliged to give the dates out to the next request. On receipt of your 25% deposit, we will send you a confirmation and a statement. The balance of the rental is due 40 calendar days before arrival in Lamu. Cancellation fees are 25% up to 40 days before arrival, 75% up to 21 days before arrival and 100% after 21 days before arrival.

     

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    Why Choose us
    • Voted in Top 10 Luxury Beach Holiday Destination by Conde Nast Traveller
    • Get expert travel advice from our tour specialists, so you can tailor-make your holiday
    • An unbeatable portfolio of truly luxury beach houses in Lamu.
    • We offer real value and excellent customer service, but if you receive a better price or service elsewhere, please contact us.

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