La Marelle, Manda Beach

An elegant and original colonial-style home, quietly situated on Manda’s secluded beach, La Marelle is beautifully designed and furnished. An ideal retreat for romantics and beachcombers, this 3-bedroom house comes complete with lovely ‘dhow lounge’, motor boat and captain.

“La Marelle House is a wonderful house with great staff and a really nice boat! And Marcella the owner is a great and thoughtful hostess!!”

Therese, Nairobi

The architectural style of La Marelle is half a world away from the traditional Arab/Swahili houses more usually found in Lamu and its archipelago. With its polished wooden floorboards, colonnaded verandas, whitewashed window shutters and green tin roof, La Marelle might be in the Caribbean or New Orleans, Sri Lanka or Assam.

A large and elegant living and dining room runs the width of the front of the house, along with a spacious veranda looking out across the garden and beach to the Lamu Channel and Shela village. The centre of the house is a large enclosed courtyard garden, and the three bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen lead off this green interior space.

The furnishings and fittings echo the eclectic colonial design of the house and reflect the tastes and travels of the house’s owner – deep relaxing daybeds, traditional Lamu chairs, antiques from Africa, India and beyond – giving La Marelle a unique, sophisticated, personal and relaxing atmosphere.

“Just to say many thanks for the rent of your villa last week. We had a fabulous time and Jeremiah, William and Ahmed looked after us very well.”

Jeremy, UK

There are numerous places to sit, lounge and take it easy around the house and grounds.  The large, secluded and shady garden surrounding La Marelle is dominated by a huge baobab tree  and even contains the skeleton of a humpback whale harvested from the beach.  Directly outside the garden gate is over two kilometers of golden sand – nice and sheltered with a gently shelving beach, it is super for swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing.

Between the house and the beach is La Marelle’s charming and original ‘dhow lounge’ – a large static dhow with makuti-thatched roof. It’s decks strewn with comfortable and colourful cushions, it is a lovely place for meals and drinks or for dozing, relaxing, reading and enjoying the view.

The house comes complete with a charming small wooden dhow with outboard motor – the ‘Kinyika’ – named after Lamu’s offshore rock where dolphins play – and a captain to pilot her.  They will collect you from the airport and take you to La Marelle, and thereafter they are at your disposal for trips across to Shela village, Lamu town or elsewhere in the islands.  Fuel is charged separately at cost – but the engine is not at all thirsty.

“A sweet, Southern-style bungalow on Manda Island. There’s a whale skeleton in the garden, and miles of creamy beach outside the gate. Suitable for a small family.”

Conde Nast Traveller Magazine on ‘Where to stay in Lamu’

There are three additional staff to help around the house – a night watchman, house steward and an excellent chef.  He will be happy to shop and cook meals as required, and local fisherman will often come to the house with fish, prawns, lobster and other delicious and freshly-caught seafood.

For eating out we recommend strolling down the beach to Diamond Beach Village which has a lovely low-key beach bar and delicious pizzas, or heading a few hundred metres north to the smart Majlis Resort.  Alternatively jump into the Kinyika and head across to Shela’s legendary Peponi Hotel or one of the many other excellent places to eat and drink on Lamu.

Summary

  • A charming and sophisticated beachfront retreat
  • Shady baobab gardens, lovely sea and sunset views
  • Lovely beachside ‘dhow lounge’
  • Motor boat and captain available
  • Sleeps 6 guests in three double bedrooms
  • Standard Rental Rate KSh. 37,500 per night

Detailed Information

Accommodation and Facilities

  • Four full-time staff
  • Motor boat and captain
  • Good cell phone and internet service

Inside

  • Living and dining room
  • Galleried courtyard
  • Front veranda with dining area
  • Two master bedroom suites
  • Double bedroom with separate bathroom
  • Daybeds and loungers
  • Kitchen

Outside

  • 1-acre plot
  • Shady garden with baobab and whale skeleton
  • Beachfront ‘dhow lounge’
  • Direct access to 2.5 km of beach
  • Sunbeds and parasols available

Further Afield

All kinds of activities and excursions can be arranged locally including –

  • Cultural visits
  • Dhow safaris
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling
  • Kite surfing
  • Windsurfing
  • Water skiing

Location

Quiet and unspoilt, it is likely you will have much of Manda Beach to yourself for most of the day. Its 2.5 kilometres of sheltered sands sit towards the southern tip of Manda Island and look out across the Lamu channel to Shela village less than a kilometre away. Towards the ocean there there are coral heads and rock pools and the remains of an old fort and cannons from the early colonial era.

Manda is home to the beautiful Takwa Ruins – the ancient remains of a Swahili town deserted in the 17th Century – accessed along a narrow channel through the mangroves which fringe much of the island. The ruins are highly atmospheric, particularly in the late afternoon light and make a memorable dhow-excursion. On the ocean side of Manda, through the shallow Mkanda channel, pretty little Manda Toto (‘Baby Manda’) Island is a nice place to swim, snorkel and picnic.

For meals and drinks out we recommend strolling along the beach to Diamond Beach Village which has a lovely low-key bar and delicious pizzas, or heading a few hundred metres north to the smart Majlis Resort or Lamu House Beach Club. Shela Village is moments away across the channel, and both Lamu Town and Manda Airport around 3 miles to the north and a few minutes away by boat.

Visitor’s Book

La Marelle House is a wonderful house with great staff and a really nice boat! And Marcella the owner is a great and thoughtful hostess!!

Therese, Nairobi

“Just to say many thanks for the rent of your villa last week. We had a fabulous time and Jeremiah, William and Ahmed looked after us very well.”

Jeremy, UK

“A sweet, Southern-style bungalow on Manda Island. There’s a whale skeleton in the garden, and miles of creamy beach outside the gate. Suitable for a small family.”

Conde Nast Traveller Magazine on ‘Where to stay in Lamu’

Rates

  • Standard rental rate – KSh. 37,500 per night (Minimum stay – 2 nights)
  • Low season rental rate – Ksh 30,000 per night (Minimum stay – 2 nights)
  • Christmas & New Year – Ksh 60,000 per night (Minimum stay – 7 nights)
  • Maximum occupancy – 6 guests

La Marelle is rented on a ‘self catering’ basis including the services of chef and staff, and the use of motorboat and captain including return airport transfers.