Words like fabulous, exotic, dream-like, fantastical don’t begin to do Lamu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamu, (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) justice. It was a hard choice between staying in Lamu Town or the beach village of Shela just a 45 minute walk away. When I saw the pictures of Lamu House, my decision was made.
Run by a Belgian couple basically living their dream life, the Lamu House is a beautiful place on the water right in the heart of a vibrant culture. The hotel is a walled compound of three large houses connected by an interior courtyard and three pools using classic Swahili details. My room had its own little breezeway exposed to the sky and two balconies that looked out on the bay and let the warm air flow through to naturally cool the space. Every morning I woke to calls to prayer (Lamu’s population is majority Muslim).
In the evening the hotel’s restaurant becomes a vibrant hangout for eccentric characters and local musicians. It takes a certain kind of adventurer to settle down here. The special atmosphere of the location and vibe of the tight-knit community made an unusual travel experience. Most often when we journey to far-off locales we don’t get a chance to engage with the residents so quickly but here at Lamu House the international mix of outgoing, artistic expats was a rarity for this road-weary, safari-weary traveler.