Easter beckons and for the couples looking for the cool of an island escape that is utterly exclusive and sublimely different; you may like to consider ‘The Majlis’. This is a boutique hotel that is, for once, true to the original concept of the phrase, which derives from the innovative fashion boutiques of the 1960s, all of which were intimately small, intuitively personal and delightfully chic.
Exquisitely styled to suggest the privileged luxury of a sultan’s palace, this Arabian Nights retreat is located on Manda Island, one of the most beguilingly beautiful of the islands of the Lamu Archipelago, accessible only by boat. The Majlis is a secluded mansion reflecting the true essence of Lamu’s traditional heritage with twenty five deluxe air-conditioned rooms, constructed in crenellated white coral and anchored in the centre of the azure blue swimming pool that surrounds it. Attractively presented with inspired taste and in a fusion of time-honoured Swahili style, and contemporary minimalist panache, the hotel is named after the ‘Majlis’, or ‘special place’ in which an Arabian host would extend a traditional welcome to his honoured guests. The establishment also boasts of the best views of the captivating Ras Kitau bay, the idyllic Shela Village, extensive tropical gardens and mangrove forests.
A place of billowing white muslin, intricately carved archways, lavish day-beds and glittering brass lanterns, The Majlis experience offers a degree of exclusivity, attention to detail, and when it comes to indulging your palate, on offer is an impressive caliber of cuisine that is rarely attempted and seldom achieved served in its panoramic dining room or in the breezy cool of one the many terraces built using local materials like mangrove poles and thatched makuti ceilings. For breakfast indulge in: exotic fresh fruits, home baked breads, pastries, and a selection of warm fare that leave you looking forward to lunch which offers everything from the freshest catch of the day prepared with herbs and spices to delectable international dishes and finally, the exceptionally prepared evening meals conjured up by the restaurant’s own chef laid out at your request on the beach for that everlasting memory.
The hotel is heavy laden with worthy amenities: from its two swimming pools, gym, extensive sun decks to its range of relaxation areas commonly referred to by locals as barazas featuring art collections and libraries. Stefano Moccia, the establishment’s director, adds that residents are lost for choice as the hotel also offers blood rushing activities that include mountain biking, excursion trips around Manda, Lamu ,and Kiwayu Islands, scenic flights over the Lamu archipelago and Tana River Delta, dhow sailing, snorkeling, diving and cultural discovery all designed to ensure an unforgettable visit.
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