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Hotel Msambweni Beach House and Private Villas Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
Msambweni, Mombasa south coast Mombasa, Kenya -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Private and secluded, this south coast gem is worth the journey to its somewhat off the beaten track location. Small yet stunning, the Msambweni Beach House and Private Villas make a great getaway for couples not bothered about being further away from the action. We appreciated Msambweni's casual luxury in a serene and unpretentious setting. You'll have to be content to do nothing though, for there are few on-site leisure facilities and its distance from the bright lights of Diani means you'll most likely stay put.

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    • Hotel Msambweni Beach House and Private Villas

      Msambweni Beach House and Private Villas   -   © Luis David Alvarez / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel Msambweni Beach House and Private Villas

      Msambweni Beach House and Private Villas   -   © Luis David Alvarez / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 3.0 /10

    Msambweni is a small village on Mombasa's south coast, 15 miles from the Tanzanian border and about an hour's drive from the Likoni Ferry crossing to Mombasa Island. Allow almost two hours (with ferry crossing) when travelling to and from Moi International Airport.

    Accommodation 8.95 /10

    Whether in the main building, the ocean suite or the villas, each room has a private veranda, TV/DVD, fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. Three double rooms with ensuite bathroom are found on the first floor of the beach house; room #1 boasts the best view of the three, followed by #2, while #3 has a partial sea view. The crisp and clean look can be put down to the white stone walls, creamy-coloured drapes and white linen on the bed which is nestled in a matching, white stone base. The bejewelled cushions add a touch of modern bling, while the shell-trimmed mirrors keep the look fairly natural. Each room boasts a large terrace with lounge corner and alfresco dining area. As seen elsewhere in the beach house, the heavy Lamu doors with brass fittings are gorgeous, coated with a thin layer of white paint to give it a rustic, almost vintage feel. Each ensuite bathroom in the main house boasts a large stone tub and separate shower with wooden slat base.

    Our favourite room was the ocean suite luxury tent; entered via a Lamu door, it is spacious and private. The queen-sized bed on a carved wooden frame is laid with crisp, white linen and gold cushions that shimmer under the light. The room has been carefully decorated with sea shells, arabesque lanterns and intricate sculpted Lamu furnishings including an ornate wooden chest placed at the foot of the bed. The tent opens on to a large terrace with day beds. The wooden deck floors and the use of natural materials and warm colours further add to the suite's casual luxe feel.

    Two of the three thatched-roof villas boast their own BBQ, Jacuzzi and infinity swimming pool with ocean views. Each has two bedrooms decorated in traditional Swahili style plus its own chef and waiter.

    Overview 9.45 /10

    Msambweni is a relatively new property; built in 2004, it consists of a main house containing three rooms and an adjoining ocean suite luxury tent, plus three private villas all perched on a coral headland. Arriving at Msambweni is one of those "wow" moments; after stepping through the heavy double doors to the open-air lounge, the first thing that strikes you is the blinding natural light and the luxurious, bright white décor. A mix of traditional Swahili and modern elements, the room is awash with ornate details (from the carved trim of the Lamu doors to the decorative grills and the arabesque lanterns) that really make an impact upon first sight. To the left, a dining area; to the right, a bar and seating alcove with bejewelled blue cushions; and directly in front of you through an arched doorway, steps that lead directly into the stunning infinity pool (25m long) with amazing views of the Indian Ocean. "Wow" indeed.

    A quick walk down the white stone, winding boardwalk will bring you to a cosy area with uninterrupted ocean views, often used for bonfires and socialising over an early evening aperitif. Attached to the side of the resort is a gift shop (with internet corner) and 'marketplace' where local craftspeople sell their wares. A gravel path takes you past a tiny banana plantation down to the beach. Besides floating in the pool or lazing by the ocean, guests may play ping pong, beach volleyball, tennis, or embark on guided walking or bicycle tours of the nearby villages.

    Food and drink 8.95 /10

    There is no restaurant as such here, but the advantage of this is that guests may eat practically anywhere, and at any time. A three course set menu is devised daily for lunch and dinner, which often includes fish and seafood options, given Msambweni's coastal location. A hearty breakfast and afternoon tea are also served. The cuisine can be described as international, with something to please everybody. The kitchen is flexible though so if something is not suitable, there is always an alternative available. The menu we saw included options such as gaspacho white snapper, grilled prawns and calamari, and oven grilled rock lobster.

    Staff at the Msambweni try and have you moving around during your stay to avoid boredom setting in; this might mean dining on the beach one day, poolside the next, on the veranda of your villa or in the dining area of the main beach house another day. The meal plan is full board and includes local soft drinks, juices, house wines, cocktails and a selection of beers and spirits.

    Beach 8.95 /10

    The beach at Msambweni is very different to elsewhere on the south coast and seemingly a world away from the hive of activity that is Diani. Here you benefit from the same warm waters and white sands stretching more than 200m, but in the most private and tranquil of settings. Under the shade of a massive Baobab tree is a handful of sun loungers and day beds. A raised gazebo is used for beachside massages, while toilets and outdoor showers are provided nearby. Fresh beach towels are folded away in an upright canoe, while beach attendants are on hand to serve refreshments or lend you snorkelling equipment and reef shoes. We really liked the fact that while guests can enjoy the sun, there is also plenty of lush vegetation that provides shady corners to hide away in.

    RHP

    To know

    This property places emphasis on privacy, romance and luxury and it has them in spades; however the absence of children's facilities means it is not recommended for a holiday with the little ones. Guests receive a complimentary cocktail and massage during their stay. The hotel is closed in May.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      massage, spa

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      tennis, football, beach volley

    advantage

    • The décor
    • The infinity pool
    • The privacy and seclusion

    disadvantages

    • Few on-site facilities
    • A bit far from everything

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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