- Lamu is like no other part of the Kenyan coast. It’s where Africa and Arabia convene. Hundreds of years of trade have left an indelible impression on both the architecture and people. The sea is as warm as your blood and dhows still cut through the water with the northerly Kaskazi wind in their stained sails. If you leave the town of Lamu, you might feel a little warm from hurrying along its' narrow streets and head south for a couple of miles when you come to the village of Shela and the Peponi Hotel.
- Peponi Hotel is a family run hotel. It’s one of those legendry hotels, the type where, to have holidayed in Lamu and not stayed or visited Peponi, is a troubling omission.
- The hotel is run and owned by Carol Korschen. Her wonderful husband Lars, whose family opened the hotel in the sixties, died a couple of years ago, but his spirit is still there.
- Peponi Hotel stretches along the beach, white and sun-drenched. The sea at high tide, pushes against its' walls. The village of Shela, a sanctuary of tranquillity after the busyness of Lamu Town, is a perfect mass of white buildings, stacked on each other with Peponi as its foot. Red bougainvillea sit brilliantly against its white walls. You’ll probably need your sunglasses to take it in.
- The pulse and soul of Shela is Peponi Hotel. It’s where you meet for sundowners if you’re staying in a private house, it’s where the locals bring their dhows to take guests on sunset sails and it’s where Carol and her long-time manager, Andrew, hold court. The food is really delicious, not surprisingly much of it comes from the sea but they do a fine burger as well. The beach to the south of the hotel, is seven miles long and if you fancy a swim, get the tide right please as there can be a current. You can swim across to the Island of Manda.
- One thing you would not expect miles from the epicentres of fashion is great shopping. Wind through the streets of Shela, past a few donkeys and children playing in the tight streets, and you’ll come to Aman. Aman is owned by Sandy and she’s got great taste and a fabulous collection of dresses, tops, sandals and things for the home. She takes cards, leave your husband at the Peponi bar. He’ll be terribly bored anyhow!
- Prepare to be charmed by Shela and Peponi. Fall in love and return often, we do, this is one of the best hotels in the world. Carol, please never leave.
Need to Know
Amazing family run hotel
P.O Box 24 - 80500, Lamu, Kenya
28 unique ocean view rooms
Option to eat in the main dining room, on the roof terrace or under the stars
Fresh seafood, sushi and traditional Swahili style cuisine
From £168 per night