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
- Eco friendly
- 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 honestly have never been to a better place before. The Charming Lonno Lodge is beyond everything. The lodge offers much more than we could wish for.
Silvia and Aldo are AMAZING hosts: we had a very good connection and enjoyed every minute we could stay in their little paradise.
It's just amazing how The Charming Lonno Lodge is an all-in-one: friendly staff, delicious fresh food and very clean and tidy rooms. We have been here once two weeks ago, and we plan on going a couple of more times in the future. No place we'd rather be!!
If you ever have the chance to go to Kenya - Watamu: don't hesitate and go to The Charming Lonno Lodge!!!
We loved almost everything about the hotel. The size of the hotel, the food, the friendly people, the amenities etc. Everything was amazing. We shall definitely go back. Our only downside was the sleeping arrangement for families with young children but overall its a good place for families.
We also loved the fact that booking, checking in and out was very seamless.
Thank you Sylvia and Aldo
This is a beautiful hotel. Everything was excellent. The staff particularly so - but our experience at Laikipia was the same, so expect that being fun, charming and helpful is just the Kenyan way. The bedrooms are big, and really comfortable. And the salt water pool meant we did not want to go into the sea. It has a superb location, although the unmade road for the last kilometre is a bit lumpy - but it does stop bikes and car engines from racing by, and adds greatly to the peace and quiet.
The food was quite a highlight. Very tasty indeed.
We thought Watamu itself and it’s beach over-rated, but the Lonno Lodge isn’t. It was a terrific and restful 4 days after our safari. Many thanks indeed to Silvia and Aldo for making it all happen....
I always enjoy staying at Lonno Lodge. If you're looking for serenity, friendly staff, and some of the best food in Watamu, then Lonno Lodge is the right place. You can tell that so much care was placed into building and running the property, and the owners and staff give Lonno Lodge that "charming" touch.
I really have so much good to say that I don't know where to begin.
Never started by reviewing the art at the hotel, but this hotel IS art. Aldo tried building with existing Watamu builders, and gave up. He then employed 60 people and trained them how to build using this amazing technique. Thick coral bricks with lime mortar - a very pale cream colour with a slightly different shade as mortar. The rooms/houses are all slightly different shapes but entirely in the Coastal style. And then the dining room, lounge and bar: wow. The detail. The dining room backs on a coastal traditional orangey wall. But to draw attention away, they've hung curtains that are tied in the middle but stretched top and bottom so they hang like a dress. Best of all, it remains cool no matter the temperature outside so it's like a trip to the Coast when we were children before aircon. You can fall asleep with the rhythmic sound of the tide. Except you sleep instead of boiling.
The rooms are spacious, airy, and have ample light despite Aldo's efforts to minimise direct light which carries heat with it. The bathrooms clean and gorgeous. There is healthy DSTV in the room - but we only used it for about 20 minutes of news each evening.
The pool is salt water but doesn't feel abrasive like a swim in the sea. It's warm, and it has an amazing view. When you're done, you can stroll over and collapse on one of the swing-beds looking at the pool or the sea; or go and rest on a platform bed that doesn't sway. There's a very well priced massage service right by the sea, so you lie down hearing the waves crash.
Sure, there is no beach here. It's all coral. But no beach means no beach boys to harass you. You can walk out through the coral towards some islands, and if you really want a beach, take a tuktuk or car down to Papa Remo and pay for a day pass (the food isn't as good as at Lonno so don't stay too long). It's far more important to have your little island of paradise.
The service and food in the restaurant were fantastic. Reasonably priced too. A range of fish and meat and the team is very flexible.
And then Silvia and Aldo-unbeatable hospitality. Lovely people. Keen to help. You feel like you're staying with old friends.
This was EXACTLY what we wanted. Aldo and Silvia might be surprised to see this given how mobile we were, but if you're a bit highly strung and active - this IS the place to go to shut down, to relax, to feel truly alive.
They were also great with our young baby.
I want to come back every year, forever!
The downside - the downside is that little tiny bit of anger you feel that somehow Aldo and Silvia have built the coastal paradise you always dreamed of; and you're not the owner!!