If you like boutique owner-run properties with colourful charm, personality and lots of art drawn from various cultures, Cozy Point Homes in Malindi might be just the place to go.
All set for a romantic weekend away from Nairobi, my boyfriend and I met at the entrance to this lovely house off Malindi’s Casuarina Road.
Sabina Vivaldi who owns this property with her husband shows us around, and proves to be a very hands-on host for the duration of our stay.
The makuti-thatched house is spread across three floors with a very high ceiling. The main door leads to a living area with a large collection of books and numerous exotic objet d’art.
We walk through the next door with a large lounging and dining area, given there is no front wall.
The decor here draws inspiration from the house’s Kenyan location, the owners’ Italian heritage and their travels around India. The seats upstairs are made from traditional dhows or fishing boats.
The upholstery is bold and colourful with everything from bright yellow chairs to colourful Indian embroidered pillowcases and footstools.
Then there are the paintings and sculptures; a striking painting by the artist Giampaolo Tomasi portrays a chief of the Mijikenda tribe, Armando Tanzini sculptures portray African subjects true to the surrounding landscape and paintings full of life and passion showcasing African expressions by the talented Alexandra Spyratos adorn the walls, complete with the paintings born of travels in the savannah by the artist Mariangela Verriello.
The Italian taste of Lalla Spagnoll's decor is unmissable.
The harmonious blend of these three cultures makes for a truly cozy home away from home.
Some of my favourite decor elements include the potted plants around the main lounge which blend seamlessly into the garden, rustic chandelier which hangs above the round dining table, two decorative elephants on whose bodies are intricate paintings which tell elaborate stories which one could spend hours unravelling, and the swimming pool which becomes beautifully lit along the edge once the darkness sets in.
We spend the evening pottering between the pool and sundeck, only hopping out ever so shortly to top up our glasses of Prosecco and for a three-course Italian dinner which starts with freshly-made ravioli and is crowned by some homemade gelato.
Sabina and her husband joined us for dinner of trading all sorts of stories as they recommend some activities for us to do around town.
Since I love her collection of breezy dresses, she gives me some contacts, and the next morning we are off shopping from the town’s tailors, shoemakers, basket makers, craftsmen and fabric sellers.