There are no signs to Heavenly House. Nothing to indicate that we took the right turnoff onto the right dirt path. At the next junction we have no idea if we should go left or right. Or left or right again. Just as we start to think we’ve made a terrible mistake and we’ll be lost for hours with hungry children screaming for food – boom – we found paradise.
As we unloaded our most precious (and hungry) cargo, it became evident that this is no normal beach house. Huge front doors open up to a grand central staircase. A tasteful waterfall runs behind the stairs, gently gliding into two elegant pools on either side of the entrance.
Walking around the staircase, an open living room empties directly into a three-tier pool looking over a lush garden before finally leading to the beach. The front-tier of the pool is actually in the living room – a shallow shady section where kids can be easily watched by their more lounge-inclined parents.
Our introductory tour continued through a ground floor nautical-themed children’s room with two sets of bunk beds, a common-area bathroom with an outdoor shower, a stand-alone studio and a long dining room running directly into the living room/pool-watching area.
Upstairs we were led through a huge master bedroom with a veranda overlooking the Indian Ocean, three ample additional bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, and a glass encased yoga room perfect for getting your downward dog on. Continuing up, the top story is one giant wrap-around outdoor patio, with a bar at the back and a constellation of chaise lounges with a panoramic view of the ocean at the front.
I later found out Heavenly House was designed (successfully) with great care and at great expense to feel like a sophisticated and chic Pallenberg Bay home. Everything in it, including all the custom furnishings, were imported from South Africa (for those into the details, interior design was led by Derrick Tabbert of Kim Hutton Design in Johannesburg).
After a quick meal and naptime for the kids our main mission began – get into our chill zone. It wasn’t hard. Nearly instantly, the soporific effects of chef Martin’s giant seafood feasts set in. A routine was soon established – eat, chill, swim, eat, chill, swim, eat, chill, go to bed. The only thing breaking up this bliss were the sporadic demands of our two-year old and my daily self-flagellating jog down the beach.
For those with more newborn-free time, kite-surfing looked incredible. After about 1pm the winds started to pick-up and a battalion of kites hit the water. Heavenly is only a few minutes walk from where Tribe Watersports drops people in – I’m told they can get anyone gliding across the water with a bit of effort. Kitesurfing isn’t the only main water activity on offer – there are plenty of dolphin and whale watching tours, plus a plethora of snorkelling options nearby.
While all this sounds amazing, it’s the diving that most excites me. My wife and I have had the great pleasure of diving around the world, but have yet to dip into Kenyan waters with tanks on our backs. For now we enjoy the family friendly activities we can do together.
One of the great benefits of being on Turtle Bay beach are the low-tide shallows. You can walk a few hundred meters into the ocean and stand only knee deep, striding on shell-less sand the entire way. My toddler daughter and I spent hours and hours waddling in those shallows carefree, playing with wet sand and marvelling at the occasional glimpse of a fish.
Then, sunned out, we’d climb up the short embankment to Heavenly, where we’d often be greeted by a troop of monkeys hoping to snatch up any post-beach snacks. After a quick hose-down to wash the sand off our feet, we’d plunge back into the pool, swim over to the living room, towel off and lie in the warm shade until something terrible prompted us to move again.
In one corner of the pool sits a little statue of Buddha. I am not a Buddhist, nor do I pretend to know much about it, but I can tell you that a week at Heavenly made me zen.
And this, I think, is why there are no signs to Heavenly House. Once you’re there, you don’t want to leave so there is no need to find your way back.