Islands that have put Kenya on the world’s leisure map
Posted Thursday, July 5 2012 at 18:01
Kenya’s resorts that have become popular with world famous visitors
- Funzi Keys Resort, located 35km from Mombasa's Diani beach and on Funzi Island, has been voted several times as one of the six best privately-owned islands in the world.
- The Majlis Resort on Manda island’s Ras Kitau Bay is the only five-star resort in Lamu.
- Kizingo Resort on Lamu Island.
- Rusinga Island Lodge on Lake Victoria.
- Island Camp, one of the lodges located in Ol Kokwe Island on Lake Baringo.
Little is known about the one kilometre-long and 30 metres wide paradise that keeps royals, renowned actors and actresses periodically jetting into Kenya for holidays.
Yet much can be said about Kenya’s all-inclusive, exclusive private island resorts that are only accessible by boat or ferry.
Located 35 kilometres from Mombasa’s Diani beach and on Funzi Island, is Funzi Keys Resort whose main building stands 17 metres tall and is sandwiched between the pristine white sand, green eucalyptus tree forest and mangroves of Shirazi.
Voted many times as one of the top six privately-owned islands in the world and featured in Conde Nast, a US travel magazine that targets those with a taste for the finer things in life, and also voted in multiple television programmes abroad, Funzi Keys has become a favourite spot for the world’s celebrities who want to escape from busy lifestyles and from the ever intrusive paparazzi in their home countries.
From the clear blue waters that surround the resort during high tide, the white sands, Swahili menu, local materials used for construction that resemble the Omani architecture, hand carved wall designs, an Arab dhow-like pub (resembling the handmade wooden Dhow used by Arab merchants in the East Africa coastal trade in the early 18th century) and antiques such as Sultan of Oman plates, everything around leaves no doubt that one is in an exclusive establishment.
Here, expensive imported wines and spirits flow freely since money is not a problem for the takers. One has the option of a beach front deluxe room going for an inclusive (room, meals and drinks) price of $140 (Sh15,600) per person per night (resident rate) or a bungalow with a sea view and all the amenities that make for a luxurious stay.
These aspects, coupled with feedback from patrons, is what led Claudia Torriani, owner and manager of the resort, to believe they are offering something exclusive to clients at Funzi.
“We offer our clients total freedom here. They leave us saying “we have been Funzied,” she says.
“This is because at Funzi, we have no set time, no rules, no timings, no dress code and no set venue for any activity. Guests do what they want, when they want and how they want. Since many of them lead stressful lives wherever they come from, our task is to help them to detoxicate their mind, body and soul.”
Claudia believes that Funzi Keys will remain a cosy, luxurious home away from home that they are ready to share with the world for years to come.
On the Lamu archipelago sits another private resort with spacious rooms and beamed ceilings, large windows, terraces with spectacular views of the beach and the ocean beyond apart from the manicured gardens and swimming pools.
The Majlis Resort on Manda island’s Ras Kitau Bay is the only five-star resort in Lamu. It was originally part of a set of three private villas, which were converted into a resort.
The villas are perfectly constructed with the archipelago’s natural resources that combine white coral blocks with hand-carved timber.
The furniture, doors and windows were hand-made by a select group of carpenters who worked at the resort for two years before the opening. But even in all this, Stefano Moccia, the resort’s managing director feels they still need to work more on the details as part of their future plan.