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“Magical natural hideaway”
Review of Kanani House

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Kanani House
Ranked #11 of 28 Watamu B&B and Inns
Reviewed 3 March 2012

Returning to Kanani House for a second time was even more of a relaxing experience than last time. We took my parents along and the set-up was ideal - we each had our banda but could get together by the pool or in the evening in the airy communal area.

What I love about Kanani is that it's so peaceful. You're surrounded by nature and it somehow forces you to relax and recharge. The shaded area up by the pool is perfect for reading, and watching the dhows sail by and the sea birds flock and move at various stages of tide. The pied kingfishers are still there, a family of three, often to be found in the coral rock cliffs to the left of the passageway down to the sea. We loved walking out to the islands at low tide, looking at the birds and all the life bubbling away in the shallows.

Because there's so little light pollution, the star gazing is wonderful. After supper we'd walk down to the end of the garden and sit on the stone seat overlooking the ocean to spot satellites and shooting stars.

We visited the Gede ruins, the remains of a Swahili settlement that reached its heyday in the 15th century. It was better preserved than I expected: a fascinating slice of East African history. It was definitely worth taking a guide around to explain the detail of each building. It's about a 15 minute ride from Kanani in a tuk-tuk so an easy journey from Kanani.

We also took dug-out canoes at sunset around Mida Creek to look at the birds and ate crab samosas in a little restaurant run by the local community group at the end of a board walk they've built through the mangroves. Sasha and Ollie put us in touch with the people who work with the community group who run this.

Elvis and the gang looked after us superbly with their gentle coastal charm - and a passion for English football (useful if anyone's interested in match updates). Elvis's cooking was great, using lots of ginger and local spices. Grilled fish and stir fried vegetables was our favourite.

If you want a five star tourist hotel with plasma TVs and air conditioning, Kanani House is clearly not the place, but if you want an idyllic natural getaway it's pretty magical.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank hpinAfrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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15 - 19 of 31 reviews

Reviewed 16 January 2012

Robinson Crusoe, shabby chic environment. Three very comfortable separate bandas, and one communual banda, all linked by paths to the wonderfully positioned pool that sits on top of the 20ft cliff looking out to sea. Great views, access to beach via tunnel, very private. Good position 2km from centre of Watamu. Staff wonderful, especially main guy Elvis who is a great chef.
We took 2 children, 4yo and 2yo, and they loved it. Paths between rooms have the odd stone for stubbing toes, and pool needs a gate to stop them getting access alone, but other than these small point good for kids too.
Not ideal for those wanting air conditioned sealed rooms, but perfect for those wanting a relaxing beach-style restful place cooled by the sea breeze. Would definitely return.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Felix L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2011

The place is a hidden gem, with lovely views of the ocean. The staff are friendly, and particularly the food was outstanding. There is a feeling of safety, and seclusion. Ideal as a getaway for couples, or a group of friends. Be careful what season you visit, the trade winds can make the nights very windy and uncomfortable. Access to the sea is restricted, but the pool more than makes up for that... There are local attractions (the gede ruins, the snake farm) but its best if you just want peace, quiet and seclusion.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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1  Thank Wwmaina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2011

Great location and relaxing environment, but a lot of this was undone by staff who were lacking in professionalism as well as the poor accommodation (living quarters).

The owners have definitely invested a lot in the place but need to keep a closer eye on maintaining the quality and reputation of Kanani House.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank M P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2011

We really enjoyed our time at Kanani House! The location above the ocean, with great views was so beautiful.

Elvis was great! He was a great host, tour-guide and chef!

Kanani house was so peaceful and we hope to be back again soon! 

  • Stayed: September 2011
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Thank macmartinis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kanani House

Address: plot 399, Fire Road, Watamu, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Watamu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 28 B&Bs / Inns in Watamu
Price Range: ₹ 5,829 - ₹ 14,249 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kanani House is set on six acres on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. We have 3 double bedrooms, which can be rented individually, or the whole house can be rented on an exclusive basis. Kanani is fully staffed, with a great chef and two house stewards so our guests can relax completely.Kanani House was designed and built by an English couple with a passion for Kenya - we wanted to give guests a real taste of Africa at the coast. We have a strong environmental commitment, local and sustainable materials are used wherever possible and almost everything is handmade by local workers. We were inspired by the upcountry private safari lodges as well as the local architecture to build a house more like an African Village than a conventional western house. Each bedroom is a private cottage with en-suite bathroom set in the landscaped indigenous garden. The rooms are screened for privacy but open to the sea breezes. Kanani is a Robinson Crusoe experience - we have no landline, TV or computers, so you can get away from the stresses of modern life and unwind. Access to a small private beach is at low tide through our tunnel - hand carved through the fossilized coral rock, and securely gated, or you can walk or take a tuk tuk to the public beaches. If you're feeling less adventurous, you can just laze by our infinity pool overlooking the ocean. There are lots of great things to do in and near Watamu: snorkeling, diving, dolphin watching or sailing in the Watamu Marine Park; walks in the Arabuko Sokoke forest and the Gede Ruins, canoe trips, fishing, horse riding and windsurfing can all be arranged. We hope you can come and stay at Kanani House soon! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kanani House Hotel Watamu

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