Dhow House

Shela, Lamu
View Gallery
Dhow House
Shela, Lamu

“A spectacular private villa and perhaps the chicest beach house in Africa”

A glamorous and expansive private retreat quietly tucked away amid lush tropical gardens on the fringes of sophisticated Shela, the Dhow House is a stylish and secluded sanctuary with all the attractions of beach and village just a few minutes’ stroll away.

Dhow House accommodates up to 14 guests in 7 ensuite bedrooms

All About Dhow House

“Shela’s Dhow House overlooks the sea and is fronted by a beautifully-designed pool and its whitewashed exterior is dominated by a charmingly quirky turret. Stone floors, ornately carved furniture, sunken seating areas, shuttered openings and carefully-chosen pieces of art are all arranged to make maximum use of Lamu’s light, and the accommodation works for families or groups of friends alike.”

Harper’s Bazaar

“A spectacular private villa and perhaps the chicest beach house in Africa, this seven-bedroom home is generously proportioned, comfortably accommodating 14 people in airy and sunshine-flooded rooms. Tasteful accents throughout the house reflect both the owner’s eclectic style and Lamu’s exotic history. The gardens are stuffed with palm trees, hibiscus and flat-topped acacias, with a tamarind tree providing the fruit for fresh juices every morning.”

Departures Magazine

A delightful and distinctive hidden gem of a property with a rare Lamu combination of pool, gardens and beach access, Dhow House offers guests the best of all worlds. It has five double luxury ensuite bedrooms in the main house accommodating up to 10 guests plus a garden family suite for up to 4 additional guests with two bedrooms and a shared ensuite bathroom.

The four ground-floor guest bedrooms are all accessed from the inner courtyard. The roof is one huge terrace, overlooking gardens and swimming pool. This makes it is a wonderfully cool and spacious place to relax. On the top floor is the ensuite master bedroom wing and massage/yoga room

The property comes fully staffed with manager, chef, housekeepers, stewards, boat captain and pool man/gardener. All rooms are spacious and beautifully designed. Stroll out of the bedrooms and into the frangipani-scented gardens, infinity-edged pool and polished open-plan entertaining space, with sunken living area and quirky bar for winding down after a long day at the beach.

The house mmanager can help organise outings and excursions such as sundowner dhow safaris, waterskiing, snorkelling trips and picnics on Manda Toto Island, guided walks around historic Lamu Town and trips to the Takwa Ruins on Manda Island. Private or group yoga sessions and tuition can be arranged (mats are provided) as can Thai, Swedish and Deep Tissue massages and beauty treatments.

Dhow House sits less than 50 metres from the seafront, near a traditional dhow-building workshop and close to the eastern tip of Lamu Island. The island’s main beach is just a few minutes’ stroll from the house, as are Peponi Hotel and Shela’s other attractions. Lamu Town is two miles north of Shela, and Manda Island and its airport are just a short boat ride away across the Lamu channel.

Summary
  • A gorgeous hideaway designed and furnished in opulent Swahili style
  • Elegant and dramatic inside and outside living & entertaining areas
  • Perfect for a serene and luxurious break at the beach
  • Dazzling 13-metre swimming pool and lush tropical gardens
  • Rooftop massage and yoga room, multiple al-fresco terraces and verandas
  • Direct private access to Shela seafront and beach
  • Welcoming and professional management and team of staff
  • Exclusive-use accommodation for up to 14 guests in 7 ensuite bedrooms
Destination – Kenya Coast

tbc

Location - Lamu

Tucked up against the beautiful, unspoilt northern Indian Ocean coast of Kenya, Lamu Island is one of the most beguiling places on earth.  Little changed in centuries, Lamu has long been renowned for the warmth of its welcome to visitors, its rich and colourful maritime trading history and its distinctive Swahili culture – a unique amalgam of African, Arabian, Indian and European influences. Unique and unpackaged, tranquil and traditional, sleepy yet sophisticated – in a world that is increasingly rushed and regimented, Lamu remains a wonderfully authentic and unhurried retreat.

Lamu is just 8 miles long and under 4 miles wide (less than 13 x 6 km) with few vehicles and no real roads, almost all transport is still by sailing dhow or motorboat, donkey or foot.  Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the oldest living town south of the Sahara and the best-preserved settlement in East Africa.  One of Lamu’s glories is its traditional Swahili Architecture – its unique stone townhouses, many dating from the early 18th Century, are celebrated for their intricately carved wooden front doors, imposing entrance porches and shady courtyards, the grandeur and elegance of their interiors and their beautiful decorative stucco plasterwork.

Simple yet stylish Shela Village sits two miles to the south of Lamu Town at the start of the island’s wonderful 8-mile beach. One of the most relaxing and seductive places you will ever visit, Shela has a languid, undisturbed atmosphere all its own.  In the past few years numerous ravishing holiday homes and guest houses have been built along the village’s pretty waterfront and jumble of narrow sandy streets. Beyond the legendary Peponi Hotel, centre of Shela social life, the beach stretches almost as far as the eye can see – miles of empty white sand facing the Indian Ocean and backed by magnificent dunes.

Getting to Lamu is easy – forcing yourself to leave can be harder.  Lamu is best accessed by air and there are several scheduled flights per day to and from Nairobi’s Wilson and JKIA airports.  Flights land at the airport on next door Manda Island. Manda is less than a mile away from Lamu and the boat trip across to Lamu Town or Shela Village takes only a few minutes.  Some flights also arrive or depart via Malindi or Mombasa.

In Detail
  • Central living area with sunken ‘conversation pit’
  • 5 ensuite double bedrooms
  • 2 bedroom garden suite with shared ensuite bathroom
  • 2 dining areas
  • 3 terrace areas and roof top
  • 1 guest cloakroom
  • Fully-equipped kitchen
  • 13-metre pool, poolside dining
  • Pool shower & beach towels
  • Beautiful mature gardens
  • Solar hot water
  • Speed boat and captain available
  • Yoga tuition, massage & beauty treatments available
  • Yoga mats
  • 4G Safaricom network
  • Free 4G WIF
  • House manager
  • Six members of staff
  • 24-hour mains power (240v)
Visitors' Book

“What a spectacular house and staff! Katie and Philomena organised the most wonderful birthday celebration and the staff looked after us incredibly well. Even the puppy and tortoise! We loved every minute of our stay. We are so grateful and will be back!”

“This house is so special and decorated with so much taste and love. I had a wonderful time! Thank you for everything and special thanks to both Martin and Philomena.”

“This place is a hidden gem. We’ve had an amazing stay here thanks to the wonderful staff, with special thanks to chef Martin for the delicious food and Philo who’s the best hostess. I’m looking forward to returning!”

“What a wonderful place to stay! We feel so lucky to have experienced an unforgettable few days! So much thanks to Philomena and the team for looking after us and for cooking such delicious breakfasts. We would love to come back again…”

Rates

tbc

All About Dhow House

“Shela’s Dhow House overlooks the sea and is fronted by a beautifully-designed pool and its whitewashed exterior is dominated by a charmingly quirky turret. Stone floors, ornately carved furniture, sunken seating areas, shuttered openings and carefully-chosen pieces of art are all arranged to make maximum use of Lamu’s light, and the accommodation works for families or groups of friends alike.”

Harper’s Bazaar

“A spectacular private villa and perhaps the chicest beach house in Africa, this seven-bedroom home is generously proportioned, comfortably accommodating 14 people in airy and sunshine-flooded rooms. Tasteful accents throughout the house reflect both the owner’s eclectic style and Lamu’s exotic history. The gardens are stuffed with palm trees, hibiscus and flat-topped acacias, with a tamarind tree providing the fruit for fresh juices every morning.”

Departures Magazine

All About Dhow House

A delightful and distinctive hidden gem of a property with a rare Lamu combination of pool, gardens and beach access, Dhow House offers guests the best of all worlds. It has five double luxury ensuite bedrooms in the main house accommodating up to 10 guests plus a garden family suite for up to 4 additional guests with two bedrooms and a shared ensuite bathroom.

The four ground-floor guest bedrooms are all accessed from the inner courtyard. The roof is one huge terrace, overlooking gardens and swimming pool. This makes it is a wonderfully cool and spacious place to relax. On the top floor is the ensuite master bedroom wing and massage/yoga room

The property comes fully staffed with manager, chef, housekeepers, stewards, boat captain and pool man/gardener. All rooms are spacious and beautifully designed. Stroll out of the bedrooms and into the frangipani-scented gardens, infinity-edged pool and polished open-plan entertaining space, with sunken living area and quirky bar for winding down after a long day at the beach.

The house mmanager can help organise outings and excursions such as sundowner dhow safaris, waterskiing, snorkelling trips and picnics on Manda Toto Island, guided walks around historic Lamu Town and trips to the Takwa Ruins on Manda Island. Private or group yoga sessions and tuition can be arranged (mats are provided) as can Thai, Swedish and Deep Tissue massages and beauty treatments.

Dhow House sits less than 50 metres from the seafront, near a traditional dhow-building workshop and close to the eastern tip of Lamu Island. The island’s main beach is just a few minutes’ stroll from the house, as are Peponi Hotel and Shela’s other attractions. Lamu Town is two miles north of Shela, and Manda Island and its airport are just a short boat ride away across the Lamu channel.

Other handpicked properties