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Msambweni Beach House
Msambweni Beach House
Msambweni Beach House
Msambweni Beach House
Msambweni Beach House
Msambweni Beach House

Msambweni Beach House


4°30’29.5"S 39°28’10.3"E

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:

  • Villa 1 and Villa 2 are two-bedroom villas, with a main bedroom downstairs, and a smaller canvas-walled bedroom upstairs; the main bedroom has air conditioning, although not the second bedroom which can become a little hot and stuffy during the day. These villas are a good size, and feel fresh and bright, decorated with the same crisp whites as the rest of the property. There are plenty of spaces to rest and relax, with spots for indoor and outdoor dining, and each villa has its own large private pool (although Villa 1’s pool is noticeably larger than the one at Villa 2).
  • Villa 3 is even larger, with three gorgeous bedrooms (all air-conditioned). This would be a great option for a family or for friends travelling together, and the secondary bedrooms in Villa 3 are of a much higher standard than the smaller bedroom in villas 1 and 2. Outside, there's a stylish T-shaped infinity pool in addition to a whirlpool bath.
  • A small path leads down to an expanse of palm-fringed white sand beach, which is wonderfully picturesque. Msambweni Beach House has no direct neighbours, and its remote location means that this section of beach remains blissfully quiet. Several loungers are set up on the beach, and a couple of tables provide a good lunch spot. A nice touch is the phone, set into the coral cliffs, which allows you to order food and drinks from the beach.

    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.


    Our view

    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.

    Richard Trillo

    Richard Trillo

    Country manager: Kenya

    Geographics

    Location
    Kenya Coast, Kenya
    Ideal length of stay
    3 nights or more.
    Directions
    Access is usually via Diani Beach (Ukunda) Airport, followed by a road transfer of about an hour.
    Accessible by
    Fly-and-Transfer

    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.

    Special interests

    Honeymoons
    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
    Luxury
    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

    Children

    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
    None
    Special activities & services
    None
    Equipment
    None
    Generally recommended for children
    Msambweni Beach House has a fairly adult atmosphere, however the villas are self-contained and are suitable for families.

    Communications

    Power supply notes
    There is a back-up generator.
    Communications
    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
    Mains
    Water supply notes
    The water is slightly brackish.

    Health & safety

    Malarial protection recommended
    Yes
    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.

    Activities

    • Birdwatching

      Birdwatching

    • Boat trip

      Boat trip

    • Scuba-diving

      Scuba-diving

    • Snorkelling

      Snorkelling

    • Watersports

      Watersports

    Extras

    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.
    Money
    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.

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