The Charming Lonno Lodge
What We Love
- Daily breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- Stunning architecture that blends Swahili style and Italian design
- All rooms are equipped with a kitchenette and a balcony or patio overlooking the Indian Ocean
- Wines served at the restaurant are imported from Italy
What To Know
- Italian owners provide a very warm welcome
- Rooms feature international electrical outlets, so no need to pack an adapter
- It's a quiet resort with just eight rooms; don't expect a party scene
- Staff can arrange excursions, guided tours and game drives
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Located in Watamu, a fishing village on the Kenyan coast, Lonno Lodge is a petite beach retreat with just eight guestrooms. Built from native materials including coral limestone, the property combines Swahili style and Italian design flourishes — the creative vision of owner and architect Aldo Calegari. Stone archways, carved wood doors and imported furniture dot the resort, and palm-shaded walkways cut through the gardens, linking the open-sided public areas to the guestrooms, which are in an observation tower. There’s access to a private white sand beach, and the restaurant serves Italian and African cuisine under a lofty thatch roof. Solar panels and wind turbines boost its eco credentials.
Bed and Bath
The guestrooms are dominated by individually designed kingsize four-poster netted beds, which are topped with imported Italian linens. Built-in daybeds and antique Somali sofas are scattered with cushions and pillows covered in Maasai prints, and African carvings and artwork decorate the walls. All rooms feature a kitchenette and come with a balcony or patio overlooking the ocean and coral reef. The spacious bathrooms feature Italian porcelain fixtures and African soaps and bath products. Flat-screen TVs, DVD players, free WiFi, Italian coffeemakers and water dispensers come standard.
The breezy restaurant overlooks the pool and the ocean beyond and serves top-notch Italian cuisine. A five-course menu includes such traditional dishes as risotto with asparagus and pumpkin ravioli. African dishes incorporate fresh fish and ingredients bought at the local market. Spend leisurely days around the pool or lounge on the gorgeous stretch of white sand just in front of the resort. There’s no spa, but massages are available in a raised thatch-roofed hut, and the staff can arrange ocean and land excursions, from snorkeling adventures to game drives to Kilimanjaro treks with experienced guides.
In the Area
Lonno Lodge is within easy reach of Tsavo East National Park, home to the Big Five (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino). The historical ruins of Gede, once a thriving Arab seaport, are a 20-minute drive away; there you can learn about the area’s Swahili origins and the Kiswahili language, still spoken today. Additional excursions include a guided trek to Mount Kilimanjaro, an expedition to Amboseli National Park, which is considered one of the best places in Africa to spot elephants, and the Maasai Mara national reserve. Closer to the resort you can stroll out on the seabed at low tide to see normally submerged islands, or explore the Mida Creek lagoon in a canoe.
How to Get There
We needed a break from the usual Kenyan hustle, and even though we know and love Watamu like home, Lonno Lodge was a step above the usual standards of upmarket accomodation - Silvia and Aldo the owners, and their staff all welcoming and supportive, but not intrusive, the food fantastic, the Lodge itself an oasis, and our tower room a luxury and cool retreat above the coastline's heat. Highly recommended to those who are searching for just that little bit of extra during a trip to the Kenyan coast.
This is a beautiful place to spend some time relaxing. Our hosts Silvia and Aldo are charming and go out of their way to see that all your needs are met.
This small boutique lodge is architecturally stunning set overlooking the ocean. It is the perfect marriage between the beauty of Africa and the flair and style of Italy.
The food is prepared and served with love and care and is of a high quality we especially enjoyed the fish courses which followed the most delicious pasta entree.
If you are lucky enough to visit be sure to check out Alan and the bar staff’s cocktail
repertoire they make a mean mohito!
Sylvia arranged for a local yoga teacher to come in early one morning and three of our family enjoyed a fabulous yoga session in the shaded open air yoga space overlooking the Indian Ocean... magic!
My husband enjoyed a wonderful massage from one of the in-house staff and was only sorry he hadn’t booked her earlier in the week. All the staff are absolutely delightful we were thrilled on the day of our very early departure to open our room door in the tower to find a handsome Masai porter waiting to carry our luggage down to the car. Now that’s service!
The hotel is peaceful and calm and the salt water pool heavenly for cooling off in. It was a real struggle to tear ourselves away but we will definitely return to this idyllic establishment which as it says in its title is utterly charming. A huge thank you to all the unobtrusive staff at Lonno we loved our stay!
We chose Lonno Lodge for the last three days of our holiday in Kenya, and wished it had been a longer stay there. The apartment was huge, with a balcony, a bedroom, a shower room (beautifully appointed), a dining room, a service room and an outside table and chairs, and a view to the sea (not more than 100 m away).
The architecture of the hotel was amazing and unlike anything we'd seen before - using local materials but with Italian style. The decor was complemented by unique African artefacts - masks, wall hangings, pictures.
The infinity pool was tempting at all times of the day, and there was a wide choice of loungers - in sun or shade, moving or still, with excellent shower and toilet facilities nearby.
The fixed supper menu varied from evening to evening, and the hosts responded generously to individual preferences: the food was delicious.
All the staff were well-trained, polite and helpful.
The Lodge is on an unmade up road from Watamu, but tuctuc drivers take it slowly and carefully. The compensating advantage is the peacefulness of the surroundings.
Above all, we enjoyed the welcome from our hosts and their four fine dogs: they offered a wealth of information about what to do and where to go - but frankly, spending the day on the property was very tempting too!
My husband and I spent just under 2 weeks at The Charming Lonno Lodge in February. From the moment we arrived, until the moment we left, everything was absolute perfection!
This lovely boutique resort is nestled at the edge of Watamu and is a quick ride by tuktuk into town. We found ourselves venturing into Watamu several days and other days we lounged around pool, went for endless walks on the beach during lowtide looking for sea creatures, indulged in several massages and just plain relaxed while sipping on some fabulous mixed drinks and the occasional Tusker Beer. There are so many things to do that are minutes from Lonno that should not be missed - Gede Ruins and The Bio Ken Snake Farm to mention a few. Watamu also has some excellent restaurants, shopping and some great beaches that definitely need to be explored as well. We always felt 100% safe and never once had an issue, so ensure you venture out to explore this beautiful seaside village!
Now, onto Lonno....
Accommodations: top notch, exceptionally clean, amazing ocean views, incredible architecture and design, timeless local decor in which every piece you see has been hand picked and placed, excellent shower, toilet water etc., beautiful ocean breeze that flowed through our room during the evenings, relaxing sound of the ocean that put us right to sleep every night. We were fortunate enough to book the Top Tower Room - we spent hours every night on our roof top balcony watching the millions of stars and the moonlight reflecting on the Indian Ocean as we pinched ourselves in amazement.
Food: superb! The full days menu is available first thing in the morning and they will accommodate any and ALL food preferences. (In my case, I do not eat shellfish. Silvia ensured that every substitute was to my liking before anything was prepared, which I thought was very sweet). Everything is made fresh daily and every bite is mouth watering. To be honest we couldn't wait to check out the menu first thing every morning. Prepare to gain some weight!
Service: OVER THE TOP!!! The staff are incredibly friendly and accommodating and it is very apparent that everyone at Lonno loves their job. From the grounds crew in the early morning to the housekeeping staff, everyone always said "jambo" and had a huge smile on their faces when we saw them. As Lonno only has 8 rooms, you really get to know the staff and develop a friendship with everyone. Aldo and Silvia have really prided themselves in their business and it can be seen from every level. Simpy amazing!!
Grounds: Breathtaking and meticulous!! Lonno is the cleanest well kept resort we have experienced - anywhere!. The plants are flowers are so vibrant and well maintained, the sand was always raked to perfection, even when the tide goes out the sea weed is raked away from the stairs. We often just walked around and were in awe at the flagstone walkways, and the many quiet little areas to sit or lay and watch the ocean.
Overall, we couldn't have been happier that we chose Lonno Lodge for our first vacation to Kenya. If it wasn't the 18 hour flight to Mombasa we would be going here every year. Silvia was a HUGE help to us in organizing a tuktuk ride into town several days as well as the 4 days we left the resort to go deep sea fishing. She even got up and met us at 5:30 am to give us our lunches and wish us luck. This made our vacation completely effortless and 100% stress free - thank you so much, this was truly appreciated.
Lastly, a HUGE thank you to everyone at Lonno for making our vacation the best it possibly could have been. We had so many laughs (especially with the Maasai, Allan and Elias). Your generosity and thoughtfulness will never be forgotten and our first trip to Kenya far exceeded any of our expectations. This is the first time that I have ever shed a tear leaving a vacation - sorry Silvia! I will try my best not to cry next time haha. We will definitely be back and we cannot wait.
Aldo and Sylvia have created a wonderful haven of peace and tranquility on the East African coast. Lonno Lodge is deservedly the No 1 place to stay in Watamu. Sylvia has boundless energy and every whim and desire of her guests is catered for with speed and grace. Meals are set menus but every food allergy and dislike is happily accommodated. The pool is warm and inviting and it's hard to drag oneself away. They employ a formidable staff all excellent at their jobs. Alan is a genius behind the bar creating the best mojito I've ever tasted. I've even tried to find one since being back in London but Alan's is still the best. Great atmosphere, superb architecture and design, every whim catered for, what's not to love?