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Peponi Hotel

Lamu, Kenya

The most stylish hotel on the Lamu archipelago, and perhaps on the entire East African coast. This legendary institution is a favourite with expats, film stars, and royalty.

Price

Starts from $280 per room, based on two sharing, with breakfast.

Strengths

For sheer charm, you can’t beat Peponi Hotel. It justifiably has chalked up a superb reputation for fine dining – one place you can reliably find dressed crab – and great cocktails.

Weaknesses

In expanding, the hotel has added on a new garden wing of rooms. These, while finished to a similar standard of those in the old part of hotel, lack the quirkiness and individuality of the older rooms.

Style & Character

Returning to Peponi’s is like meeting up with an old friend. Until his death a few years ago, owner Lars Korschen was almost always in resident, and his widow, Carol, continues to manages the hotel along with another long-timer, Andrew. You’ll find most Lamu residents propping up the bar here at some time or another, but only hotel guests get to enjoy the main verandah looking out over the channel towards Manda Bay.

Location

Peponi is in Shela, the quieter (if increasingly en vogue with the expat resident crowd) village about three miles down from Lamu Town. The hotel itself is situated on the beach, being almost the last property before the expanse of beach stretching away round the island.

Service & Facilities

For a hotel, Peponi has a very personal feel, which even the best small hotels might find hard to retain over many years. Most guests fly to the mainland, and take the hotel launch over to the beach in front Peponi, where they are usually met. Reserved for guests is a lovely pool facing the sea for when it feels too much to walk to the beach.

  • Pool
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Boat trips
  • Snorkelling gear
Rooms

Much thought has gone into Peponi’s breezy rooms, and every one differs from the other. All take advantage of sumptuous Lamu furnishings from day beds to swinging beds. Taking pride of place above the main restaurant, with wonderful views of the channel, is a large honeymoon suite. As mentioned above, the hotel has added a new row of rooms in the adjacent sea-facing garden, which while very comfortable and tastefully furnished, arguably feel less special than the rooms in the main hotel.

Food & Drink

Even if you’re not staying here, you’ll probably end up eating at Peponi’s restaurant at some point during a stay in Shela. The restaurant serves up excellent seafood dishes from lobster to crab, with lighter options such as crab pasta for lunch. Drinks are also given loving attention here, and sundowners are served with bitings on the verandah.

Family Friendly?

Peponi is not especially geared towards children, but there are plenty of things to occupy the kids, whether it’s splashing in the pool, proximity to the beach for making sandcastles or day excursions to snorkel, with lunch on an island.

Value for Money?

Peponi could probably charge more than it does, but we’re glad it doesn’t. For what it offers, Peponi is decently-priced, although what you save on accommodation you’ll probably shell out for food and wine.

www.peponi-lamu.com

Reviewed by Catrina Stewart. Stayed in November 2016.

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