Hotel Review: Distant Relatives Kilifi
Kenya’s most popular boutique coastal eco lodge has been pushing the boundaries of modern environmentally-friendly design since 2012. Extremely popular amongst backpackers, it is also a choice destination for groups of Nairobians looking for a different kind of affordable relaxed weekend by the coast.
Prices vary according to season and types of accommodation.
Camping will see you spend as little as Ksh.600 per head in low season and Ksh.1300 at peak season. Dorms fluctuate between Ksh. 1000 to Ksh. 2400, again depending on the season. For private rooms and shared Bandas expect to pay somewhere around the mark of Ksh.3000 per head although depending on the number of occupants.
For a complete list of their prices make sure to visit their website.
No one on the North Kenyan coast, comes close to Distant Relatives in terms of eco-design and fun, quirky vibes. This is a great place to come and let your hair down and make a bunch of new friends from near and far. Wile away the hours at the bar-side pool with a special Dawa cocktail in your hand, this is the lodge’s hub for all the fun and games, or wander down to the intimate beach and let yourself go in the warm gentle waves of the creek.
As long as you know what you signed up for, you’ll find yourself not wanting for anything. If however eco toilets, backpackers, merry younguns, music and a lack of private chill space are not your idea of a good time, then you might want to consider going somewhere a bit more upmarket.
Set high above the Kilifi creek, the lodge is about an hour’s drive from Malindi and an hour and a half from Mombasa. A few kilometres from the city centre it is easiest accessed with a tuktuk, cab or, if traveling with little luggage, a motorbike taxi.
Style and character
Ecological concerns informed the planning of the living quarters which are built using a mixture of wood, bamboo and cement, with roofs made of local Makuti coconut thatching. Their raised waterless eco toilets are a feat of permaculture home design.
The main reception and bar area are situated in a colonial style, large open-plan bungalow which looks straight onto an oval shaped pool surrounded by chaise lounges and pool chairs. To the side of the main house, a raised stage gives onto a volleyball court and is sometimes used on weekends for small concerts and events.
Service and Facilities
When sleeping in dorms and safari tents, communal toilet facilities are the only option but the bigger rooms and bandas have eco toilets, sinks and lovely open air cold showers. Rooms come with fans but no A/C. A communal kitchen with shared fridge facilities are available for self-catering with a “free food” section containing goodies from guests past.
The Rooms are spacious and airy, the bandas have an enclosed outdoor boudoir and shower space, and the dorm beds are accommodating with mosquito nets that don’t engulf you in your sleep. In total, the lodge currently hosts 5 safari tents, 4 private rooms, 11 bandas, 2 dorms (8 pax each) and camping grounds.
Food and Drink
With one fixed a la carte menu and one that changes daily, there is no lack of light or filling food options to choose from at Distant Relatives. Their signature cocktail, the Dawa, comes refreshingly topped up with ginger beer. People in the know always turn up on friday night to sample some of the delicious free local oyster platters on offer.
Value for money?
Prices have inched up over the past few years but this is still pretty good value for a coastal stay.
A delightful stopover for relaxed, no-frills families.
Distant Relatives Eco Lodge and Backpackers
phone: 0702 232323
Reviewed May 2018 by Katy Fentress