Shela, Lamu Island, Kenya

New 6000 ft² traditionally inspired Boutique Hotel in third-world environment using local craftsmanship, materials, labour, dhow and donkey transportation.

Ground floor entry reveals a large central courtyard with lounges and a dining table setting for 10. Large vaulted doors lead to the terraced south-facing breakfast garden and another west-facing evening garden.

Accommodation comprises 4 x 650 ft² suites with balcony day-rooms, sitting areas, some with a child’s bed, kingsize beds and ensuite Swahili style shower bathroom.

The owner's self-contained apartment has 2 bedrooms, a large lounge, kitchenette, and in the “tower” a panoramic sundowner gallery.

All carved architraves and doors were from re-claimed heritage sources with all FF&E locally sourced. 200+ year old Swahili bed frames were re-strung and used as day beds in the lounge areas.

The owner directly contracted out the building work, and details were developed with local trades to achieve the final build form.

FF&E, lighting and solar hot water units were all sourced in Kenya.

Undisclosed value.


Courtyard entry

Dining for 10

Lounging area with traditional stucco and alcove work


Lounging area with swing bed to terrace


Suite sitting area with traditional child’s bed


Garden terrace with breakfast table

Suite sitting area with door to balcony day-room


Each balcony day-room can be combined with the adjoining day-room to form a 2-suite apartment by removing separating panels. This allows for private dining for groups of guests.


Owner’s bedroom and sitting area


Sundowner gallery