The Majlis Review
The rooms in this spectacular hotel are in three villas, and as each has a sitting room with white couches, antique Swahili furniture, and African paintings and sculptures, you'll feel as though you're staying in an ultrastylish private beach house. Two of the villas have swimming pools in front, and all look out onto the beach. Rooms are large with spacious en-suite bathrooms, and the Royal Suite has magnificent views and antiques. The whole property suggests a designer with a gifted eye for detail. The food is excellent, with a focus on seafood, and because the owner is Italian, there's always a pasta course. Nonguests can book for lunch or dinner, and it's worth making the short trip here from Lamu just to immerse yourself in the surroundings.
Off the Path Eco-Resort
Originally conceived as an Italian family's winter vacation home, Kenya's two-year-old The Majlis is quickly turning into East Africa's most intimate and eco-friendly beach resort. Arriving by the scenic 15-minute boat to the Majlis's shore on Ras Kitau bay is a treat in and of itself. The property's three coral-hued Italianate villas have been divvied up into 25 rooms and suites, each with private terrace and African décor. Every room and common area displays unique African artifacts and family heirlooms, and the public drawing room showcases a private art collection that includes Julien Schnabel originals (personally bestowed to the owners) on sailcloth. Sundowner cocktails are served on a thatched-roof terrace bar, while fresh seafood is the byword at the alfresco restaurant. The archipelago cruises are unforgettable and, for the adventurous, there's a range of activities on offer, including fishing, snorkeling, and side trips to nearby Lamu Town, the oldest and best-preserved Swahi