Design & Interiors

Homely Apartment Wins Tourists’ Hearts

Cowrie Shell Beach apartments
Inside the hotel Cowrie Shell Beach apartments in Mombasa. Photos | Courtesy 

A hammock on a balcony, a red kitchen, furniture curved with a coastal touch, an indoor pool and an amazing garden facing the sea, are perhaps the things that won the hearts of travellers who picked Cowrie Shell in Mombasa’s north coast as one of the best hotel apartments in Africa.

The little-known apartment hotel, especially among Kenyans, was among the five from Africa nominated in the recent World Travel Awards together with Lawhill Luxury Apartments in South Africa that took the crown.

More holidaymakers and business travellers are opting for furnished serviced hotel apartments which allow them freedom and privacy and are cheaper for families and groups.

Big families, big groups

Some of these hotel apartments come with domestic servant quarters (DSQ) for families that travel with their helpers during vacations.


Paul Kinoti,a director at ACL Real Estate Consultants said in a previous interview that most tourists favour apartments because average Kenyans may not afford to stay in hotel rooms especially if they are travelling as a big family.

“A family of five can, for instance, book a three-bedroom apartment or stand-alone house,” said Mr Kinoti.

Daniel Kyalo, the Cowrie Shell Beach Apartments general manager said what attracts most guests is the ambience. The living room is tastefully furnished with leather sofas, a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, a minibar with doors that lead the eyes out to a beautiful view of the beach and ocean. To give visitors a natural feel of the coastal city, the furniture is made of coconut trees.

“Most of the furniture is made of the coconut wood. We want people to feel the Coast vibe and a taste of modernity,’’ said Mr Kyalo.

Cowrie Shell is among the growing number of serviced apartments in Mombasa and Nairobi that are seeking to capture a relatively new market for home-away-from-home stays.

Most are built in secluded areas away from the city noise and beach boys.

Travellers also prefer hotel apartments because they get to dine out and enjoy Mombasa or Nairobi nightlife in full, instead of being confined to a room. They also experience the real culture of the locals and do other outdoor activities such as city tours to old Mombasa town and nature walks in Haller Park.

“Some tourists stay in and eat at Suli Suli restaurant while others cook their own food,’’ said Mr Kyalo, adding that most domestic tourists prefer cooking their own meals in the apartments while international tourists look to taste local cuisines in different hotels.

“Most young people actually prefer Cowrie Shell because of its proximity to the best nightlife entertainment joint,” said Mr Kyalo.