More tourists opt for furnished homes

Amani Luxury Apartments in Diani. Photo | Courtesy
Amani Luxury Apartments in Diani. Photo | Courtesy 

More holidaymakers staying in Coast are opting for furnished serviced apartments which allow them freedom and privacy and are cheaper than hotels.

Paul Kinoti, director at ACL Real Estate Consultants says the apartments offer a cheaper option to more Kenyans who want to spend less yet eyeing a fine travel to the coastal town.

“An average Kenyan may not afford to stay in hotels especially if they are travelling as a family. Hotels charge per head, it might be expensive compared to the apartments. A family of five can, for instance, book a three-bedroom apartment or standalone house,” said Mr Kinoti.

Apart from the cheaper cost, online booking sites such as Airbnb has made it easier for domestic tourists to get five-bedroomed bungalows in Watamu, Diani and Malindi which are rented out to families and accommodates up to 15 people.

Most homeowners in Mombasa, Kilifi, Malindi and Watamu are opening their unused homes to visitors who pay and others have bought apartments that are rented out to tourists.

‘‘For our family holiday, we booked a big house in Galu beach through Airbnb. We bought our food but there was a stand-by chef who made the food, including fresh tuna. We used to walk to the beach, buy fresh tuna and he fillets the fish,’’ says Joy Awino, a frequent traveller to Coast.

She adds that her friend also did a wedding in a serviced hotel apartment in Mombasa which was cheaper in terms of accommodation.

‘‘Some of her visitors with families booked two-bedroomed apartment for Sh14,000 that slept six people. At the end of the day, it is way cheaper that paying for a hotel room. It is also cozy and spacious. You have your kitchen, sitting room and bedrooms with an ocean view,’’ she said.

While the affluent might be attracted by apartments or homes going for Sh50,000 a day, Mr Kinoti says a family can stay in some that charge as low as Sh5,000, depending on the location. Some serviced apartments allow visitors to receive guests or hold parties at no extra cost.

Freedom to explore

If you are looking to stay in a cheaper serviced apartment, Mr Kinoti says, you are likely to get quality and affordable ones further away from the prime locations. The apartments give one freedom to plan their own activities and explore the coastal town like a local.

“Most domestic tourists come in as a way of cutting costs, but later on you realise there are other added advantages. In Mombasa you can freely visit public beaches or eat in authentic Swahili restaurants,” he said.

While booking, consider the family size and the purpose of the visit.

“If you coming to relax, get a space that will offer that. Be practical because you might be disappointed if you opt for a smaller space, you will leave Mombasa tired more than you came,” he said.

While some opt for self-catering in the furnished apartments, the furnished serviced ones will have everything done for you.

“You cook for yourself in the self-catering ones but guests can also order from the restaurants. You also don’t have to follow the hotels rules and meals timetable,” he said.

He adds it is also very important to inquire about the availability of water at the apartment.

“In Mombasa, water is scarce. Find out the source of the water for convenience. Also the apartments only provide for room amenities and not personal supplies. You have to do your own shopping,’’ said Mr Kinoti.

Local and international visitors have started flocking the coastal counties of Kilifi, Mombasa and Kwale for the December holidays. Madaraka Express has also increased number of visitors to the coastal counties with two daily train services from Nairobi to Mombasa.