“The Majlis is a sophisticated resort overlooking the Indian Ocean with crystal-clear azure waters where guests can live a luxurious experience by the ocean. The resort offers 39 rooms and a panoramic restaurant where guests linger over meals and cocktails”
BACKGROUND AND CONCEPT
Ideally located on the beachfront and with breathtaking views over the bay and Lamu island, The Majlis is one of the most elegant hotels located on Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago, off Kenya’s Northern Coast. The boutique hotel offers 39 exquisite deluxe rooms and suites divided into three beachfront villas. Its architecture, crystal clear private beach, fantastic swimming pools, exquisite furnishing, Swahili rugs, air-conditioned rooms and world-class service made for an amazing stay. The serene and immaculate beach and grounds could not have presented more beauty or a better experience.
The Majlis sits on the north coast of Kenya in the Indian ocean. Designed and built to reflect Lamu’s heritage tradition. The Majlis combines 39 superbly appointed luxury air-conditioned suites built with Western comforts and local tradition. State-of-the-art facilities include two bars, a gourmet restaurant, two swimming pools and an activity centre which graciously co-ordinates a wide variety of full-day experiences for you.
- Shela Beach – 1 min walk
- Old Mosque – 1 min walk
- German Post Office Museum – 40 min walk
- Manda Airport – 10 min boat ride
- Lamu Fort – 42 min walk
- Takwa Ruins – 9 min drive
Greeted by name, the concierge swiftly relieved me of my luggage which was whisked up to my room whilst I checked in. Check-in was quick and simple and the team were very friendly, ensuring I knew all the essentials such as breakfast timings and spa opening hours
I stayed in the royal suite with a view of both the pool and the Indian ocean. Each window has linen curtains tied back that can be unleashed across the window to block out any light at nighttime. I tried to keep them open as much as possible, as the view is just too gorgeous to cover.
The rest of the room is decorated perfectly, but not overly crowded, more minimalist and functional and definitely kept hold of its Swahili roots. A wooden bed added to the ambience of the room and really brought the whole room together.
The rooms have no TV. This was not a problem for me. I think this was actually one of the reasons I enjoyed my trip so much. But if this is a must for you then keep this in mind while booking.
FOOD AND DRINK
Quality and refined service come together in two spaces that offer an experience filled with warmth: the restaurant and bar at the Majlis. Here guests can enjoy a fabulous view of the ocean from the dining room or on the panoramic terrace while watching the boats pass by. The bar becomes the perfect meeting point for having a cup of tea or coffee, and at night it’s the perfect spot for sipping cocktails in an elegant, laid-back atmosphere.
The resort, mainly catered for relaxation and the romantics at heart, also offers various different activities and adds to the experience of the stay.
Swimming can be done in the two pools of the hotel or in Ras Kitau bay. For guests who wish for some adventure, you can swim from the hotel across the channel to the beach of Shela village on Lamu Island. The distance is about 800 meters and the estimated time is 20-25 minutes depending on the current in the channel. One of the hotel boats can follow the swimmer(s) to the other side and provide transport back to the hotel.
I decided on a 2-hour sunset dhow ride, and it was definitely the highlight of my stay. I had the entire dhow to myself. The captain used the wind to sail, making sure the cruise was not noisy as I absorbed the marvel of nature in the calming waters of the ocean. We travelled deep into the mangroves and watched the sunset over the water. To make the trip special, I was provided with a bottle of wine and snacks such as nuts and popcorn, and crisps.
The resort also can provide deep sea and reef fishing experiences for those who love to catch fish. Choose from a half-day to a full day of guided fishing to catch striped, black and blue marlin, wahoo, tuna, and many other types of fish.
If you want a more traditional fishing trip, you can take a river-creek fishing adventure where a traditional hand line is used to catch the fish. Although I did not partake in the fishing, I saw others who did, and I believe they had a good experience.
The Majlis has two gyms, one located close to the pool bar with several fitness machines (runner, exercise bike, multi-functional equipment) and one in the garden called “the Jungle gym”. The gyms offer a wide variety of equipment to exercise the whole body and are popular with both adults and children (over 6 years of age) who want to stay active all day long.
The resort has several mountain bikes which can be used all day long by the guests. From the back of the hotel, there is a dirt road that leads to the coral quarry of Timboni (6-7 km) and also to the Takwa ruins (10-12 km). If requested, a sports coordinator is available to accompany the guests on the trip.
For active guests, jogging can be done on the beach seafront or at the back of the hotel where there are several tracks. Depending on the level of fitness, the resort recommends two jogging trips, one to the coral quarry of Timboni (6-7 km or about 40 minutes) and the second one to the Takwa ruins (10-12 km or about 1 hour and 20 minutes). A personal trainer is available, if required, to accompany guests.
After all of the physical activities that the resort offers, there is always time for a relaxing massage. The spa at Majlis Lamu provides 30 and 50 minutes massages for the relaxation of your muscles or simply to reduce life’s stress.