THE MAJLIS RESORT
Ras Kitau Bay, Manda Island
25 rooms & suites
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Lapped by gentle waves at the confluence of three ancient trade routes, the islands of the Lamu Archipelago have been shaped by the cultures of Arabia, India and Africa. Pea-green minarets rise above the narrow streets, palm trees rustle in the wind, and mangrove creeks snake through the forested interiors. Tucked away in this East African paradise, on a lush swathe of land called Manda, is The Majlis.
Originally planned as a private residence, this intimate hideaway evolved gradually from a family home into a sumptuous white-coral retreat with 25 bedrooms and suites. Stepping from a traditional dhow boat and into the spellbinding beachside resort, guests are greeted by an intoxicating blend of Swahili tradition and European luxury. Threading the entire design ethos together is the hotelís name: The Majlis. In the Arabic language, the word majlis conjures up images of a beautiful place, reserved especially for entertaining honored guests. And itís exactly what the resortís designers have created: a welcoming space where you Ė the honored guest Ė can consider yourself at home.
Now as in ancient times, boats creak serenely between the sand-edged isles that make up the Lamu Archipelago. From Manda, the fertile atoll thatís home to The Majlis, itís a ten-minute sail to Lamu Island. The Old Town here, a Unesco-listed World Heritage Site, is a stunningly well-preserved Swahili settlement with museums that show off an exquisite collection of cultural artifacts. Away from the monuments and mosques, visitors can embark on game drives and safaris, go wakeboarding on a mangrove creek, or charter a boat to one of the archipelagoís remote islands for a diving trip like no other.