Many of us flock to all-inclusive hotels and resorts when going down to the Kenyan coast, but the real luxury lies in booking yourself a private self-catered villa. One that comes with a personal chef, cleaner, wifi, private pool and doesn’t make a dent in your wallet. Diani, in particular, has plenty to choose from. Recently, we stayed a few nights at a pretty little villa in Diani called Maisha Maridadi.
Maisha Maridadi literally translates as ‘beautiful life.’ The simple, yet elegant, open plan villa is two storeys with three ensuite bedrooms and an extra double bed on the top floor, allowing eight people to stay. Four people would have to share one bathroom, though.
The rooms are colour- themed: the blue room features a huge circular bed, plenty of storage space for your clothes and the balcony door leads straight onto the private pool. This is the master bedroom. The other two rooms are equally as spacious with king size beds, lounge seating, and an ensuite bathroom.
Upstairs is a TV lounge with a round bedlike sofa, a massage bed (business cards for the masseuse can be found in the kitchen) and the double bed.
The lounge area by the pool features a big U-shaped sofa. The owners clearly put a lot of thought into decorating the space with the Big Five making an appearance in paintings and statues. The kitchen is fully equipped with an oven, toaster, kettle, fridge, pots, pans, glassware, cutlery and crockery. The villa comes with a chef and cleaner so you’re guaranteed a pretty relaxed holiday with no chores to worry about. Just plan out what you would like to eat and the chef will sort the rest out. There’s a supermarket close by called Shan-E-Punjab should you need anything.
There are two dining tables, the one close to the pool being perfect for breakfast, brunch or lunch. At night, the hanging lampshades over the second dining table create a romantic ambience for you and your friends.
Diani is on Kenya’s south coast, and Maisha Maridadi lies at the Northern end of Diani beach. If flying, there are direct one-hour flights from Nairobi to Ukunda airport next to Diani beach. If you’re driving from Nairobi, then plan for a 10-hour journey. Alternatively, you can fly or take the train to Mombasa and cross the ferry to Diani. Once in Diani, search google maps for ‘Maisha Marefu’ and you’ll find your way to Maisha Maridadi.
- Private pool
- Wifi connection
- Personal chef
- Daily laundry
- Rooms cleaned & beds made daily
- Proximity to the estuary
- No air conditioning (ceiling fans in every room)
- Not beach front (four-minute walk to the beach)
- Long wait for hot water when showering (and tends to run out after four showers). BUT who even takes hot showers at the beach, right?
- Lots of mosquitoes (all beds have mosquito nets but take repellent for when you’re lounging on the sofa)
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Usually the beach is where we escape to lay back and relax. Eating great seafood is one of my top things to do whilst there so check out Sails Restaurant, Blue Marlin and Nomad Beach Bar and Restaurant for your seafood fix. Get your adrenaline pumping and jump off a plane at Skydive Diani or try something a little more grounded such as kite surfing or wind surfing. For a full-day excursion, take a trip down to Wasini Island to spot some dolphins and snorkel in the reef. Finally, round off the day with sundowners on the estuary.
HOW TO BOOK & COSTS
We booked through an agent called Kate. Email her on firstname.lastname@example.org She manages plenty of other properties in Diani as well in case you are looking for something bigger or smaller.
Maisha Maridadi costs Ksh 35,000 per day and if there’s eight of you, you’ll be paying Ksh 4,375 each.
Budget friendly: 2/5 (considering location & food costs)
Unique Factor: 2/5 (lots of similar villas in the area)
Family friendly: 5/5
Facebook and Instagram @thetraveldote