The Majlis hotel is a privately owned luxury beach hotel on Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago, off Kenya’s Northern Coast. It is one of the most unique luxury resorts in Kenya.
With a superb beachfront location and breathtaking views over the bay and Lamu Island, it offers the perfect setting and the ideal accommodation for barefoot luxury and informal pampering on your trip to Kenya. The boutique hotel offers 39 exquisite deluxe rooms and suites divided into three beachfront villas.
The rooms, all presented in timelessly elegant Lamu Island style, are very spacious, well appointed, and fully air-conditioned. The Majlis restaurant will not fail to impress with a panoramic view of the bay and the finest cuisine.
Additional state-of-the-art facilities include two bars, two swimming pools, and an activity center that co-ordinates a wide variety of water sport activities.
ROOMS & SUITES
The Majlis Hotel is located on Lamu Island and offers elegant and luxurious accommodation, in understated design complementing the natural beauty of Lamu and its tropical location.
The beach hotel faces Lamu Island and comprises 40 superbly appointed Superior and Deluxe rooms, Junior and Royal suites divided into 4 villas. Each villa opens onto the white sand beach and boasts of a private veranda with panoramic sea views.
The villas were constructed making use of the archipelago’s natural resources, combining white coral blocks with hand-carved timber. Particular attention was paid to integrating the villas among the indigenous trees and plants, to enhance and to preserve the beauty of the local surroundings.
The rooms are spacious with traditionally high beamed ceilings, large windows and terraces offering spectacular views of the beach, garden, swimming pools and the Indian Ocean.
Tastefully designed and decorated with tailored fittings, all rooms evoke the East African heritage with doors and furniture hand-carved according to the local Lamu tradition.
Suites boast of a large bedroom area with a king-size bed draped with highest-quality linen bedding and roll-down netting, a generous en-suite bathroom, a private veranda, electric fans, and a safe. Wireless internet access is available in each room, which is also fitted with air conditioning to guarantee a peaceful night.
The en-suite bathrooms feature a hot and cold-water shower and a classic “baraza” seating area covered in cushions.
THE MAJLIS RESTAURANT
The Majlis Restaurant is a focal point of the hotel due to its unique architecture and excellent cuisine featuring International, Italian, Indian and Swahili dishes. The restaurant is open for in-house guests as well as for external guests.
The Majlis Restaurant offers the finest dining in the Lamu archipelago featuring the best in local produce and fresh seasonal ingredients.
We regularly purchase seafood in the morning from local fisherman returning from the sea on their way to market. The Restaurant’s cuisine tastefully combines international dishes with the best local produce.
Breakfast is served in the morning in the open plan dining area. In-house guests can choose from the à-la-carte menu, which includes fresh fruits, home-baked breads and pastries, cereals, eggs as well as a full English breakfast.
The Restaurant is open at lunch and dinner offering à-la-carte menu with a selection of cold & warm starters, soups, pastas & risotto, fish, meat, vegetarian and desserts.
The offering includes vegetarian, daily-catch seafood, wood-fired pizzas, and a range of international dishes. We also offer romantic candle-lit dining ‘al fresco’ under the stars.
The Majlis bar and lounge areas
The Majlis bar and lounge areas are an ideal place to meet with friends in Lamu for a cocktail or to relax during the day enjoying light snacks. Guests are invited to enjoy the evening drinks at sunset or admire the stars after dinner.
A wide selection of alcoholic beverages is available at the Majlis including fruit juices, cocktails, beers, wines, champagnes and spirits.
There are three bar areas within the hotel, namely: the pool bar located near the Majlis building, the beach bar and the terrace bar located on the first floor of the restaurant. All bars offer panoramic views of the Ras Kitau bay, Shela village and Lamu island.
If you are seeing absolute serenity and relaxation while at the beach, spa treatments are definitely the way to ensure your body and mind are in perfect alignment with each other. Let the time stand still and let your senses and emotions take over.
We offer a range of massages which include a variety of massages, scrubs & wraps, facials and beauty treatments. The sessions range from 30 to 120 minutes and can be organized in our Jungle spa or on the beach seafront.
The pools with panoramic views
The Majlis Hotel offers two pools where the guests can enjoy. Each pool has panoramic views over the seafront overlooking both Ras Kitau bay and Shela village on Lamu Island.
The pools were built in the shade of the indigenous acacia and palm trees offering a cool contrast to the warm African sun. The pool bar serves a variety of refreshing drinks and a fabulous assortment of light snacks.
The natural surroundings of Lamu islands are spectacular and offer a variety of activities to suit all tastes and to keep active all day long. Lamu’s rich history as a former sultanate marrying Arabic and African cultures can be admired though excursions and Boat Excursions trips during safari and beach holidays in Kenya.
The Majlis is one of the best hotels Lamu Kenya and offers a series full day and half day experiences which focus on wellness, Swahili culture, sports, arts & crafts as well as environmentally conscious excursions.
The Lamu archipelago has the most spectacular and beautiful sand beaches that can be a perfect option for spending safari beach holidays in Kenya.
The main activities to enjoy during Kenya safari beach holidays are deep sea fishing, day trips by dhow or by speed boad, kayaking, kitesurfing, paddle surfing, waterskiing, and windsurfing, in addition to Dhow Trips and full moon Dhow Cruises.
If you wish to enjoy snorkeling in Kenya, Lamu Kenya is the perfect destination for you. The Lamu archipelago, a World Heritage Site, is a biodiversity hotspot with a rich coral reef and mangrove ecosystem.
Our guest relations staff and sports coordinator will be happy to provide more details and to organize tailor-made and Kenya holidays all inclusive as per your preferences. Please contact them at reception during the day or at the terrace bar in the evening.
Excursion around Lamu Island by boat
Lamu Island is the island facing the Majlis hotel. Depending on weather, the trip around Lamu Island can be arranged clock wise from the open sea or by following the channel between the mainland and Lamu Island.
The boat will stop on the beach of Kizingo point. On the way back, there is an option to visit the Matondoni or Kipungani villages. The trip is typically organized by speed boat but our dhow sailing boat can also be used.
This is a half day trip and can take up to 3-4 hours. The Majlis will provide for a speed boat with captain. A barbeque lunch can also be arranged at your request.
Excursion around Manda Island by boat
This is a half day trip on the other side of the island with stop-over in Manda Toto, a small island made up of sand off Manda Island. Access to the other side of Manda Island is possible by navigating into a narrow mangrove channel on the west coast of the island.
The excursion can be organized with a speed boat or by dhow. This is a half day trip and can take 3-4 hours depending on the stops. The Majlis will provide for a speed boat with captain and drinks. A barbeque lunch can also be arranged at your request.
Excursion to Kiwayu Island by boat
Kiwayu is a small island in the north eastern part of the Lamu Archipelago, situated in the Kiunga Marine National Reserve. The main attraction on Kiwayu is the tidal pools and snorkeling/diving pools located on the eastern side of the island.
We can organize a boat trip to the island with picnic lunch. This is a full day trip and it takes about 1 hour & 1/2 one way by boat. Fishing can also be organized on the way to Kiwayu.
Game drive safari to Lake Kenyatta
The Majlis is ideally located to offer you the best of Kenya’s beach & bush without having to commute too far during your holidays.
Across from Lamu Island, on the mainland, lies Lake Kenyatta, an area of pristine indigenous bush, rich in wildlife, including zebra, topi, hippo, waterbuck, buffalo, warthog, elephant and other seasonal game.
The Majlis offers a half day safari with a guide from Kenya’s Wildlife Service. Depending on the tide level, it is possible to organize the trip in the early morning or late afternoon.
Departure is from the hotel by boat to reach Kenya’s mainland (15-30 minutes depending on the tide level) and then by Jeep (15-40 minutes) to reach Lake Kenyatta and the wildlife area. This trip is for maximum 4 persons and requires 24 hours notice.
Excursion to Tana River delta by boat
The Tana River starts its long journey on the slopes of Mt Kenya and meets the Indian Ocean just south of Lamu in a magnificent River Delta, teeming with birdlife and game.
Considered to be one of Kenya’s great coastal wilderness, it is a wildlife refuge and a particularly important site for thousands of breeding birds. The river boasts more than 40 recorded fish species and this rich environment is a haven for elephant, lion, buffalo, crocodile and over 800 hippos.
The Majlis offers a fantastic day trip to into the Delta, by boat from the hotel to the River (1 hour & ½ one way) and includes fishing on the estuary, fascinating bird and animal watching with a qualified guide and a visit to the historical Town of Kipini.
The trip is for maximum 4 people. This excursion can also be organized by private plane (10 minutes from Lamu’s airport) and it is possible also to book an overnight stay at a small lodge located on the Tana River delta.
Deep sea fishing in the Lamu archipelago waters is famous worldwide both for its variety and for the quantity of sport fish caught, including Marlin (striped, black and blue), Sailfish, Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Barracuda, Giant Trevally and Kingfish.
The best fishing season is from October through to April and is a wonderful way to spend either a half or full day out on the Indian Ocean. Deep-sea fishing requires 24 hours notice.
Reef and river-creek and fishing
Reef and river-creek fishing in the mangrove channels can be done with traditional hand lines. Our boat captain will bring you to the best spots in the area. This is a half day activity.
Watersports & Snorkelling
The Majlis offers a full range of water sports. The calm waters off the Ras Kitau bay and the Takwa mangrove creek behind the hotel are ideal for water-skiing, wake-boarding and doughnut rides. The Majlis has two speed boats specifically dedicated for these activities.
Waterskiing & wakeboarding
Depending on the tide level and wind direction, waterskiing is possible in the Ras Kitau bay or in the mangrove channel (Takwa creek) which is just 5 minutes away. We have a range of water-skis and wakeboards both for adults and children.
Windsurfing & Kite-surfing
Windsurfing & kite-surfing is possible on the seafront of the hotel in the Ras Kitau bay. We offer windsurfing and kite-surfing lessons with a professional instructor.
The Lamu archipelago offers some of the finest snorkelling. Daily excursions are organized on our motor boats to a destination of your choosing, including a picnic lunch on an isolated beach.
Two of the most highly recommended sites are Kiniyka Island (30 minutes south-east of Lamu) and Manda Toto Island (40 minutes north of Manda Island).
The Majlis has on offer two wooden canoes and also a single and a double fiberglass kayak which can be used on the seafront of the hotel or in the mangrove creek. The mangrove is a fascinating place to explore and encounter many species of colorful birds and fish.
If you wish to engage into an adventurous paddling tour, we recommend a tour at high tide from the seafront of the hotel to the pontoon in the mangroves or vice versa. Estimated time for this adventurous trip is 30-45 minutes.
The Majlis kite school
The Majlis kite school is located on Shela beach, one of the best spots in Kenya and considered among the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Transfers from the hotel to the kite spot take about 5 minutes by boat and can be arranged at all times.
The spot is very wide and quiet, making learning easier and safer both for beginners and intermediate/advanced riders. The location has a sandy bottom with no corrals and, most importantly, there is good reliable wind all year long; over 70% of the year there are 12-20 knots.
From July through End of September, the wind blows all day from early morning till sunset. From end of November until end of May, the wind picks-up from 11:00 am and keeps blowing till late afternoon.
Beach and cross-country jogging
For our active guests, jogging can be done on the beach seafront or on the back of the hotel where there are several tracks.
Depending on the level of fitness, we recommend two jogging trips, one to the coral quarry of Timboni (6-7 kms or about 40 minutes) and the second one to the Takwa ruins (10-12 kms or about 1 hour and 20 minutes). A personal trainer is available, if required, to accompany our guests.
The Majlis has several mountain bikes which can be used all day long by our guests. From the back of the hotel, there is a dirt road that leads to the coral quarry of Timboni (6-7 kms) and also to the Takwa ruins (10-12 kms). If requested, our sports coordinator is available to accompany our guests on the trip.
Swimming can be done in the two pools of the hotel or in Ras Kitau bay. For guests who wish for some adventure, we recommend to swim from the hotel across the channel to the beach of Shela village on Lamu Island.
The distance is about 800 meters and estimated time is 20-25 minutes depending on the current in the channel. One of our boats can follow the swimmer(s) to the other side and provide transport back to the hotel.
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.
Lamu is an Indian Ocean destination with an important history and culture. We enclose the main highlights followed by a description of each excursion.
- Lamu Archipelago
- Lamu Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Oldest and best preserved “living” Swahili settlement in East Africa
- There are more historical sites and monuments than the whole East Africa combined
- Several museums to visit
- On Manda island, you can visit the Takwa ruins
- On Pate Island, you can visit Siyu Fort and the Shanga ruins
Trip to Lamu Town
Lamu Old Town was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in December 2001. UNESCO describes it as: “The oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, retaining itstraditional functions.
Built in coral stone and mangrove timber, theTownis characterized by the simplicity ofstructural forms enriched by such features as inner courtyards, verandas and elaborated carved woodendoors”.
Most important attractions are the fishing and vegetable markets, Lamu Fort, Lamu Museum and the whole stone Town. This is a half day trip to be organized preferably in the morning when there is a lot of activity in the local markets. A guide will be available to show the Town and accompany our guests.
Trip to Matondoni village on Lamu Island
Matondoni is a local fishing village and dhow building site. The village is located on the western side of Lamu Island, about 8 kms from Lamu Town. The village is famous for traditional handicrafts such as weaving straw mats of palm leaves and making ropes of coconut.
The excursion can be organized as a half day trip and it can be done by motor-boat or on our traditional Mozambique-style dhow sailing boat. This is a half day trip and it can be combined with a visit to Lamu Town.
Trip to Takwa Ruins on Manda Island
The Takwa settlement is situated on the south side of Manda Island, in the Lamu District. It was founded around year 1500, and abandoned around 1700. The Great Mosque at Takwa is relatively well preserved.
The other structure remaining of importance is the Pillar Tomb, which has an inscription with the date of 1681-1682. It is reported that when Takwa was abandoned, its inhabitants settled just across the bay at Shela on Lamu Island.
This is a half day trip and it can be organized by speed boat and by dhow (30 minutes), depending on the tide level. For those wishing to be more active and do some sports, we organize also a mountain bike trip to Takwa from the hotel (about 10 kms one-way) which takes about 30-40 minutes one way.
Trip to Pate Island
Pate Island is the largest island in the Lamu Archipelago and it lies between the island of Manda and Kiwayu. Main attractions in Pate Island are Faza Town, Pate Town, Siyu Fort and the archeological site of Shanga.
FazaTown, on the North coast, dates back to the 13th C, when it was almost destroyed by the Pate army. It was resettled and then dealt the same blow in 1587 by the Portuguese. Faza is now a modern Town and the central administrative center for Pate Island.
PateTown is situated on the South-West coast of the island. The Town of Pate was founded by refugees from Oman in the 8th century and re-founded by members of the Nabahani family, also from Oman, in 1204.
The 18th century was known as the “Golden Age of Pate”, when the Town was at its height of powers and also prospered in fine arts. Builders constructed some of the finest houses on the East Africa coast, with extensive elaborate plaster works.
The downfall of Pate Town came as a consequence of continuous quarreling/warring with its neighbors from the end of the 18th century. In 1813 the famous “Battle of Shela” took place at Shela.
This was an attempt by Pate, allied with the Mazrui clan from Mombasa/Oman, to subject Lamu. The attempt completely failed and many were killed. Only a handful of people managed to return to Pate, and their losses were felt for years.
By 1892 the number of inhabitants had fallen to only 300, down from 7000. Agriculture and fishing are the main economic activities of the day. Siyu Fort is located on Pate Island, at a point opposite Siyu Town across the tidal channel, which bisects the island at high water.
It lies some 25 km to the north east of Lamu Town and can be reached by boat from Lamu, up a long mangrove lined creek which is only navigable at high tide. Siyu is the only Town that built a fort of its own, unlike Mombasa and Lamu where the forts were erected by foreigners.
Shanga is an important archaeological site, situated on the South-East coast of the island. It was excavated during an eight year period, starting in 1980.
The earliest settlement was dated to the eight century, and the conclusion drawn from archeological evidence (locally minted coins, burials) indicate that a small number of local inhabitants were Muslim, probably from the late eight century onwards, and at least from the early ninth.
Shanga was abandoned between 1400-1425. This is a full day trip and must be planned at high tide. A cooler box with drinks and lunch will be organized.
TRANSFER & SCENIC FLIGHTS
Lamu can be reached by air from Kenya’s main airports, namely: Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi. All flights land on Manda Island, just across the channel from Lamu.
The Majlis can also organize a tailor-made pick-up from Kenya’s main airports for those guests wishing to save time or avoid having to fly to Lamu with local commercial airplanes. Daily flight trips can also be pre-booked to exclusive destinations in Kenya along the coast or in game parks.
Scenic flights are highly recommended as small planes can fly over beautiful stretches of undisturbed beaches, thick mangrove forests, remote islands, or the bush where wildlife can be spotted.
Willing to enjoy holidays in Kenya Africa? Lamu Islands serve as an ideal destination for you to enjoy your holidays in Kenya. The Lamu Archipelago is a small group of islands situated on Kenya’s northern coast line. It is made up of Lamu Island, Manda island , Pate island and Kiwayu Island.
Lamu Town is the headquarters of Lamu District, one of the six districts of Kenya’s Coastal Province, which borders the Indian Ocean to the east, the Tana River District to the south-west and the Garissa District to the north.
Lamu Town is the oldest living Swahili town in Kenya, comparable to Zanzibar in Tanzania. The town dates back to the 12th century.
Due to its unique location along Arabic, Indian and African trade routes, Lamu Kenya flourished as a maritime hub whose main population, the Swahili, engaged in international trade, fishing and farming.
The architecture of Lamu in Kenya is uniquely Swahili, with its narrow streets, storied buildings, intricately carved wooden doors and numerous mosques. Tightly built along narrow streets bordering the seafront, Lamu’s architecture and rich Swahili influences make it among the most charming spots for Kenya luxury holidays.
The ‘Old Town’ is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its cultural significance. Lamu Old Town’s museums and fort are maintained and managed by the National Museums of Kenya.
These include the Lamu Museum, known for its exquisite Swahili ethnography exhibits; the Swahili House Museum, a restored 18th century house, reflecting the life of privileged Lamu Swahilis; the Lamu Fort, built in 1814 by Bwana Zeid Ngumi, the last Sultan of Lamu; and the German Post Office Museum, showing the post office when it was operational in the late 19-20th century.
You can visit these places during your Kenya all inclusive holidays. The surreal landing at the airstrip on Manda Island and brief journey across the channel in a dhow set the stage for an area which lives on the warm waters, making a perfect option for all inclusive holidays to Kenya.
Donkeys are the sole means of transport in Lamu Kenya and are sure to fascinate children and adults alike.
Unspoiled archipelago with many islands Lamu Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site Oldest/best preserved Swahili settlement in Africa. Several museums and ruins to visit More historical sites than the whole East Africa.
The Majlis works closely with members of the local community to conserve the environment and improve quality of life. Our aim is to build a brighter future for the local people, environment and wildlife. The Majlis is involved in several community projects in Kenya, that are listed below:
- Active contributor and sponsor of Wamba e Athena Onlus (WAO), an international association that sustains project in the sanitary and social sectors. In Kenya, WAO founded the Catholic Hospital Wamba (CHW) in 1969 which is located 400 km northeast of Nairobi. The hospital provides invaluable sanitary services to about 200.000 people in the area. On top of being a hospital, CHW has a school for nurses and offers secondary school education.
- Active contributor and sponsor of ANIDAN, an NGO founded for providing care and addressing the needs of young children in Kenya. On the island of Lamu, off the northern coast, ANIDAN has a Shelter where they house one hundred children and also feed, dress, care for and educate over two hundred children. ANIDAN not only keeps them off the streets but also tries to develop their family and social environment.
- Over 95% of the Majlis’s staff is Kenyan, i.e. 75 people. We are committed to hiring local talent to train and to support the local community. Each member of the staff has a family of 2-3 kids. Hence, the Majlis supports a community of about 300-400 people.
- The Majlis supports the local soccer team of Shela village called “Bright Stars” and makes contributes to the local orphanages directly and with the kind generosity of its esteemed guests.
Policy on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation
The Majlis has signed the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. The hotel condemns all forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children and supports every child’s right to a safe and secure childhood.
The Majlis is committed to the principle that everyone has the right to grow up and develop without fear of exploitation or harm. The protection of children from sexual exploitation is a moral imperative, and socially responsible business policies and practices must reflect this principle.
The Majlis strictly complies with all applicable laws and regulations regarding the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including the prevention of the use of its premises for such exploitation.
New Hybrid Energy Power System
Kenya operates a 220/240V service. Plugs are three point square plugs as used in the United Kingdom.
Located on Manda Island (Lamu archipelago) with no public power supply, the Majlis has been relying on its generators to produce electricity for the resort.
In line with the environmental policy of the hotel, The Majlis has decided to reduce its dependence on gasoline and to invest in alternative energy with the objective of reducing carbon emissions below 30%, and eventually to zero.
The Majlis has installed solar panels and wind turbines. The combined hybrid energy system of 40 KVA covers over 50% of the energy needs of the resort and allows running the daily operations of the hotel such as the kitchen, laundry and administration.
With no guests or limited number of guests, the hotel can run 100% on alternative energy. In addition to the hybrid energy power system, the Majlis promotes energy conservation and energy utilization.
We have undertaken energy efficient measures to reduce energy consumption such as utilization of low consumption bulbs, and we time the utilization of all utilities that require energy as to avoid concentration at any one time.
The staff is required to pay attention to reduce energy consumption and to switch off any appliance that is not being utilized or needed. Most critical garden lights work on an independent solar battery system.
Other Eco Friendly policies, solutions and actions
In addition to the hybrid energy power system, the Majlis follows a policy to avoid wastage of resources and to preserve the environment. Main highlights include:
- The Majlis aims at reducing the utilization of chemicals for its needs. Among action plans undertaken, the Majlis utilizes an eco-friendly technique to tackle the issue of mosquitoes and sand flies. The island is full of Neem trees of Indian origin. The leaves are boiled and the essence is sprayed into the ground. This technique has proven to make sand flies sterile, eventually stopping their reproductive cycle. Over 90 percent of the sand flies have been eliminated from the resort.
- The Majlis was built entirely with local produced material. The 3 villas are built using coral blocks sourced at the Timboni quarry located 2 Kms from the resort. All the doors, windows and furniture was built by 24 Kenyan skilled carpenters on the back of the resort. The Majlis continues to rely on local workforce and source materials locally.
- All fresh ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, rice, bread and potable water are sourced exclusively in Kenya.
- We aim at sourcing the freshest deliveries locally to support the community and to avoid packaging and transportation costs.
- We are focused on adopting an environmentally sound transport strategy. There are no cars or motorbikes in Lamu and all transportation is done by boats. We are shifting our reliance of 2-stroke outboard engines for our boats to 4-stroke engines because they are more energy efficient and less noisy.
- Water is a scarce commodity in Manda Island. We recycle some of the water for garden use. We have also trained our staff to reduce consumption of fresh water and use salt water instead, whenever possible. Our pools have salt water. Finally, we are using water efficient washing machines to minimize waste of fresh water and we heat the water with a solar hot water system.