By: Chantal Blake
While Nairobi was the most fitting place to start my trip to Kenya, Lamu was unarguably the best place to end it. After days of excitement in the capital followed by the hustle of Mombasa, I was ready for tranquility and found that and more at The Moon Houses in Shela on Lamu Island.
Following our short flight from Mombasa, a staff member from The Moon Houses received us warmly and led us to the dhow awaiting us. Since the sea is Lamu’s highway, we zipped down to Shela in about 15 minutes. Our host pointed out Lamu Town, Manda Island, and other landmarks along the way.
Only a stone’s throw away from the jetty, our hosts escorted us directly to our Garden House villa in a manner of minutes. The two-bedroom home was airy, with high ceilings and ocean breezes circulating around us. Each bed was laid with fresh flower petals and tented with mosquito nets. Most striking was the traditional architecture that utilizes locally sourced coral, sand, and white cement for construction.
The grounds were meticulously maintained. Every morning, frangipani and hibuscus flowers adorned our dining table and were displayed beautifully around the open lounge area. Each table setting had vibrant cloth napkins and placemats, making every meal a work of art. My favorite meal of our stay included fresh cut tropical fruit, maharage (stewed red beans), and chapatti bread.
With a personal cook and house steward, we planned our menu and timings according to our preference. Our rooms were kept tidy and orderly by twice daily housekeeping services. Subtly placed lights both inside and around the property emitted a soothing, warm glow. Combined with the sounds of the sea, it felt as if the real world with its stressors and disappointments had melted away.
Overall, I was most impressed by the way The Moon Houses works in harmony with the local community. The owners continue to support medical missions in the region by partnering with Safari Doctors, just as the original property owner Dr. Anne Spoerry did. Meals are planned around locally available foods and natural, handmade body products by Natural Lamu and Cinnabar Green are stocked in the bathroom without wasteful packaging. The fragrant oils in the Moringa soap and Geranium Body Wash were so intoxicating, I had to purchase some to remember my stay by. Basking in the therapeutic scents and ocean breeze, each night we slept peacefully and every morning, including our last, we were reluctant to leave.
A complimentary stay was offered in exchange for this unbiased review. All opinions are my own.