Msambweni Beach House: Our full report
Far to the south of Diani Beach, where the coast consists of cliffs above the beach, Msambweni Beach House ...... (confusingly renamed as "Villa MB" in 2022) looks out across the Indian Ocean. With only four rooms and three very private villas, it provides privacy and exclusivity, with a high level of service, and all in a spectacular setting.
Msambweni Beach House is unlike any other accommodation on the Kenyan Coast and it oozes style and luxury. This is where sleek, modern aesthetics meets traditional Swahili style, with whitewashed walls accented by rustic wooden beams and door frames, the distinctive curves and arches of Swahili architecture, and bright cushions giving the occasional pop of colour.
The main house features a bar with baraza style benches, a small dining space (often used for breakfasts), and a curio shop stocked with beautiful art, jewellery and hand-crafted items produced by local artisans. To the front is a huge infinity pool with views over the Indian Ocean. Here there are a number of loungers, and secluded spots where private dinners are often arranged. On the clifftop at the edge of the property, there's a sundowner platform, with a fireplace - a lovely spot to socialise with other guests in the evening if you want to.
Upstairs in the main house, there are three air-conditioned double bedrooms with fixed beds – though these are easily large enough for a second bed to be added to form a twin. As with the rest of Msambweni Beach House, they are decorated in crisp whites, with flowing mosquito nets framing the beds. All are en-suite, with twin basins and rainfall showers, bath robes, hair driers, and complimentary toiletries. Each room has one or more balconies, either with views over the pool to the front or the gardens behind.
Next to the main pool, separated by a small wooden walkway, is the Ocean Suite. This is more reminiscent of a smart safari tent, with canvas walls and a rustic aesthetic, although there are polished wooden floors and a makuti thatch roof which keeps the it cool during the day. This is a comparable size to the main rooms, however being free-standing it provides a little more privacy, and the views from the balcony are wonderful.
In addition to the main rooms and ocean suite, there are three private villas. These can act as self-contained units, each comes with a private butler and with drinks and meals served to your villa, although you also have access to the pool and facilities at the main house. They vary slightly in layout and location:
The activities you can do at Msambweni Beach House run the gamut, from cycling through the nearby bush and farmland on one of their mountain bikes to various excursions, table tennis and volleyball, or simply chilling on the beach in the deep shade of the coral cliff. There's also a small massage hut, with in-room massages possible on request. Diving can also be arranged via Diani Marine PADI dive centre up the coast on Diani Beach.
Msambweni Beach House is planning to build a new property on adjacent land. Their intention is to have a number of luxurious villas, with eight apartments per villa. These will be set in tranquil gardens and with a number of different swimming pools and water features, and access to the same stunning stretch of beach. They aim for this hotel to have the same DNA and aesthetics as the main Msambweni Beach House, on grander scale. Please ask us at Expert Africa for any updates.
With its blinding white walls, distinctive Swahili-style architecture and stunning infinity pool, this is one of the Kenya coast's most enchanting places to stay. You'll be quickly seduced, as we were, by the combination of light, space and colour around the house and villas, by the intriguing and almost deserted beach and caves at the bottom of the cliff, and by the graceful, low-key service of the staff.
Country manager: Kenya
- Kenya Coast, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- 3 nights or more.
- Access is usually via Diani Beach (Ukunda) Airport, followed by a road transfer of about an hour.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- The food at Msambweni Beach House is high-quality, creative and very tasty, with set menus with choices that vary each day. With its proximity to the ocean there is an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood, although they can happily accommodate vegetarian and specialist diets, as well as individual requests with sufficient notice. Due to the remote location, the only practical option is to stay on a full-board basis.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- There are no set locations to eat. People often eat by the pool, but you can choose almost anywhere, including on the beach or on your verandah. There are no set meal times.
- Drinks included
- Unusually for a beach lodge of this quality, all drinks are at extra cost, with the exception of drinking water which is provided in all the rooms. Soft drinks start from around $3, and local beer or a glass or wine from around $6.
- We think the villas at Msambweni, each with an enormous private pool, would provide an idyllic setting for a romantic honeymoon. Come here for luxury and exclusivity, with attentive service and laid back atmosphere.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- With its beautifully styled private villas, grand infinity pool, excellent food, and acres of secluded beach, Msambweni Beach House provides a luxurious beach retreat on the Kenyan Coast.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Well behaved children are welcome. Families are usually accommodated in the villas, with Villa 3 being most suitable.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- Msambweni Beach House has a fairly adult atmosphere, however the villas are self-contained and are suitable for families.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back-up generator.
- Fee Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, including on the beach. Guests can also make use of the laptop and printer in the shop/office.
- TV & radio
- The rooms in the main house have TVs.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The water is slightly brackish.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There's a first aid kit at the house and the staff are first-aid trained. Diani Beach Hospital is the preferred local medical centre in an emergency. The local Msambweni Hospital is also available.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Askaris and guard dogs look after the beach side and there is day and night security on the property.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers throughout and regular fire drills.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry service is available at an extra charge - around US$3 per item – using a machine and tumble drier.
- Limited foreign exchange facilities are available.
- Accepted payment on location
- Visa and Mastercard are accepted with a surcharge. They don't accept American Express. You can also settle any extras in cash, in Kenyan shillings, Pounds, US dollars or Euros.
Other lodges in Kenya Coast
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Kinondo Kwetu is a small, owner-run, all-inclusive boutique lodge of exceptional quality situated on a remote stretch of beach south of the busier Diani Beach area.
Pinewood Beach Resort
Pinewood Beach Resort is a relaxed resort-style hotel at the far south end of Diani Beach - an area known as Galu Beach.
Asha Boutique Hotel
Diani Blue is a low-key but stylishly comfortable small guesthouse, with high levels of service, in a busy, central part of Diani Beach.
The Sands At Nomad
The Sands At Nomad is a good-value, laidback, family friendly resort with lots of Swahili character.
Water Lovers is a popular, low-key beach hotel in a central location on Diani Beach on the south coast of Kenya.
Driftwood Beach Club
The low-key and long-established Driftwood is a family-friendly, owner-managed, bungalow-style beach hotel on a beautiful stretch of sands just south of Malindi town.
Ocean Sports is long-established and popular beach hotel right on one of Watamu's famous and beautiful bays.
The Mnarari Club is located towards the seaward end of the beautiful Killifi Creek, and is an enduring favourite on the Kenya coast.
Peponi is a long-established beach hotel, renowned for its good food, located in the village of Shela on the south side of Lamu island.
The Sands at Chale Island
The Sands at Chale Island is a beach resort offering plenty of activities and beautiful flora and fauna all around.
Alfajiri Villas is an exclusive, owner-run, hideaway property consisting of three unique villas in a central part of the north end of Diani Beach.
Afro-Chic is a modern, Mediterranean-style ten-room boutique hotel on Diani Beach, with good food and a pleasant pool.
Kutazama is an owner-managed, boutique luxury lodge in the Shimba Hills in a stunning location overlooking the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary.
Shimba Lodge is a picturesque tree-hotel overlooking a forest waterhole in Shimba Hills National Park, with an aerial walkway and abundant wildlife.
Serena Beach Resort
Serena Beach Resort is a large beach hotel on Shanzu Beach, north of Mombasa town, on Kenya's Indian Ocean coast.
Long-established resort hotel with a strong British following and a good reputation for deep-sea fishing.
Manfriday's Mida Cove
Manfriday’s Mida Cove is a stylish beach lodge, suited to those who are sociable and will enjoy the engaging hosts and the convivial atmosphere they create.
Tamaarind Village is a well managed apartment complex close to Mombasa city, with excellent restaurants, pools and visitor services.
Tijara Beach is one of the smallest and quietest beach properties on Kenya’s coast, with a focus on rest and relaxation away from other tourists.
Manda Bay is a luxury beach hideaway in a remote corner of an island in the Lamu archipelago, on Kenya's northern coast. It has a huge range of water sports on offer.
Lamu House is a boutique hotel on the waterfront in Lamu town, with a swimming pool, bar and terrace restaurant.
The Majlis is a modern 27-room resort hotel on the beachfront of Manda island.
Diamond Beach Village
Diamond Beach Village is a rustic, owner-built, owner-run beach lodge, with simple rooms made from local materials, located where Lamu Creek meets the Indian Ocean.
Kipungani Explorer is a relatively large rustic beach lodge on the west coast of Lamu island.
Kizingo is an owner-managed, rustic, barefoot beach lodge on the southwest tip of Lamu island.
Che Shale is sand-and-palm-tree beach lodge of rustic bandas, dedicated to kitesurfing and chilling out, located on a remote and beautiful bay half an hour’s drive north of Malindi Airport.
House on the Beach
House on the Beach is a comfortable family-size, private beach house with a large pool set by a cave complex, and a delightful garden leading down to the beach, in a secluded spot on Tiwi Beach.
The Maji is a small, well managed beach hotel on the northern stretch of Diani Beach in southern Kenya.
Swahili Beach is one of the biggest resort hotels on Diani Beach, with a spectacular lobby and cascading swimming pool.
Funzi Keys is a remote beach property on its own private island on the far south coast of Kenya. Rustic in style, it will suit you if you cherish exclusivity over modern design.