It goes without saying most people love travelling: whether solo, with their significant other, or in a group – we are always looking forward to great hospitality and a homely vibe.
Lamu is a whole different world away from the rest of Kenya. Forget carrying the same bag you had when you went to a local event barely anything in there will suit the world oldest Swahili Settlement. If you’re lucky you’ll adjust to the heat quickly and you won’t get as lost as we did in the narrow winding streets. Ditch the cab app as well and save Captain Swaleh or Issa’s phone numbers. However, despite all of that Lamu’s enchanting beauty and preserved old-world Swahili charm will immediately suck you in. You’ll feel at home despite being so far off from the norm.
KenyanVibe recently made a stopover at Baitul Noor Guesthouse in Lamu Old Town and here’s why we highly recommend it.
After a quick walk from our boat, I can now honestly say I’m a sucker for Swahili entryways. If getting off the boat at the jetty was a portal into another world, the doorway to Baitul Noor was one to another dimension. Past this spectacular entryway is a simple yet amiable followed by a lounge area that leads on to an ornate dining room. There are giant murals on the walls by Nicola Heath and Eliamin Ali, two of East Africa’s foremost visual artists.
Despite the unforgiving Lamu heat during our stay, Baitul Noor House was constructed by people who definitely knew how to utilize the sea breeze for natural cooling. There’s a courtyard on your way in that we were told is called a Sahn, has two murals, one of Buddha in the teaching pose and the other a giant version of Baitul Noor’s Swahili inspired logo. There’s a natural feel to this space with plant vines hanging down from 20 metres up. The two-story house has a delightful kitchen on the ground floor and inviting rooms are up (a slightly steep) staircase.
Up the stairs, whoa, more art! And we don’t just mean on the walls. The rooms themselves are all works of art. The beds are impeccable wooden pieces of furniture that blend with the rest of the decors in the rooms, plus the white walls and the entire feel of the house. There are bookshelves everywhere, and the ceiling, standing fans, and mirrors are not just there for vain but to bounce natural light around the spaces. Of course, as always, we had to have Wi-Fi and we were not disappointed. Nothing in the world is worse than journalists without a stable internet connection.
They have four different room types, two dorms, a double room, a deluxe double room and a deluxe en suite double that opens up onto the rooftop courtyard. You can guess that was our fave. An added plus to the proprietor who had put up the cheesiest jokes in the bathroom like ‘save water, shower together’.
We’ve waxed lyrical about the architecture, so now it’s time to tell you about the food. Swahili breakfasts are a must-try, the delicacies were off the hook and to be fair Najma was an extremely great cook! Our hosts were extremely generous with their servings of viazi karai,kima chapati, vitobosha, mkate wa sinai and mahamri for our Swahili breakfasts.
Rates at Baitul Noor House are inclusive of breakfasts but you’d need to let their staff know if you want lunch and dinner. It’s an extra charge, but it’s well worth it. Lamu is filled with restaurants and hotels serving Swahili meals but nothing compares to Baitul Noor’s truly homemade meals.
Baitul Noor House was our home away from home. We sat on the rooftop everyday planning out our excursions while staring out onto Old Town, teased by the sea breeze and prayed that the trip would never end. Ian Olivier was exceptional, Najma extremely hospitable and every staff member so friendly!
Looking for the perfect getaway for Easter? Click this link www.baitulnoorhouse.com. Thank us later!
Feel free to give us your feedback once you do visit!