This little hotel on the north Kenyan coast has an undeniable charm, largely due to its location and the modest scale of its facilities, though it would certainly benefit greatly from some renovations. The decor is minimalist, to say the least, and sometimes even non-existent, but the staff is welcoming and very helpful. The majority of the clientele are French or German tourists who come here for a relaxing holiday rather than to fill their days with one activity after another, and a relaxing holiday is exactly what you will find here, given there are no other buildings around the hotel, other than a few private homes. In terms of price, you can choose the formula that bests suits you, from bed and breakfast to all-inclusive.
Located in Kilifi, on the north coast of Mombasa, the Baobab Sea Lodge is easily accessible via the bridge linking this part of the coast to Mombasa. Having said that, the airport is some 44 mi away from the hotel, with a transfer time of around an hour, whilst Mombasa itself is 37 mi away.
For those who are wondering, Mombasa has little in the way of tourist attractions, but it would, nevertheless, be a shame not to take the time to visit the old town. The area could certainly do with a little freshening up, but Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese in the 17th Century with the main goal of protecting the entrance to the port, is definitely worth a visit.
Those who like to sunbathe topless should bear in mind it is simply forbidden in Kenya and punishable by law.
The Baobab Sea Lodge can't be seen from the outside. Once you reach the car park you'll need to cross a small bridge and follow the pathway leading to the hotel. You won't find any lobby here since everything is accessed from the exterior, but this does mean direct access to the reception desk. Your first contact with the hotel staff might not be that great, but the atmosphere will feel a little more relaxed as time goes on. A small fountain depicting a Swahili man and woman stands to the right hand side of the reception, and if you're looking for the pool, then you won't have much trouble, as it is just opposite the reception. It is large enough for the guests to swim around at ease without rubbing elbows or bumping heads. As for the wooden deck chairs, they look like they've been part of the scenery for quite some time, but the surroundings enjoy a great deal of sun and pleasant music emanates from the bar. You can, of course, protect yourself from the sun's dangerous rays in the shade of one of the trees in the palm grove, but don't look for any parasols, as there aren't any!
The Baobab Sea Lodge has only 30 guest rooms, which is just as well since, given the size of the hotel, it would have been difficult to squeeze any more in, though this is also what gives the hotel its charm. The guest rooms are housed in one storey buildings where each has its own little terrace or balcony. The hotel itself dates back to the 70s and it shows! The decor, where indeed there is any, is rather outdated and not very inspiring. The whole place has a feeling of gloom about it, which is a shame, as the rooms are spacious and fairly well-equipped, apart from the lack of a phone, a television and room service. The sparse furniture, just like the decor, could also do with updating, and the same is true of the bathrooms, which are large but long overdue for a makeover.
The hotel has only one restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as a buffet, and despite the various themed evenings organised, the cuisine is nevertheless rather international. Having said that, there are various local specialities for you to sample on Kenyan night. The room is covered by nothing more than a makuti roof, making it well-ventilated, but keeping it rather dark. The tables are rather well-spaced apart so guests can enjoy a little privacy, but the place certainly lacks charm. Since the restaurant is raised, the panoramic views are rather pretty, but there is a wall partially concealing the sea view!
The beaches on the north Kenyan coast are undeniably less appealing than those on the south coast, but the seafront at the Baobab Sea Lodge is relatively nice compared to others in the area. The fine sand is a lovely colour, but you will have to wear sandals when going into the sea, as you'll find lots of dead coral along the water's edge. Also, it's difficult to swim at low tide given that the sea goes right out as far as the coral reef. Being a public beach, you'll not find any deck chairs or parasols on the beach itself, but this might well be for the better as the so-called 'beach boys' are pretty virulent around here!
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