Kinondo Kwetu: Home Away from Home


Anytime you check into a fantastic luxury hotel, you think “I could live like this” but at Kinondo Kwetu, we literally wanted to move in. Sitting on the edge of a sacred forest of Diani Beach, Kenya, this former house became a hotel when the rave reviews and support of friends pushed them to open it to the world. Owners Ida and Philip can now host 38 guests in suites decorated to perfection, the chicest entertaining spaces, and grounds that honor the hotel’s Swahili name “home away from home.”

We arrived to Kinondo Kwetu and it was as if we had fallen into an ELLE DECOR spread. As avid collectors and Ida a former fashion exec, the owners’ mix of antiques, fabrics, and accents could take the headline “Boho Africa.”

The series of suites and villas are built from coral rock, plaster, and macuti thatch with plenty of breezy windows in between. This double-decker beauty was ours for the three days.

Our canopy bed was sweetly decorate with a heart made of bougainvillaea petals and accented with hibiscus.  The room was beautifully decorated without distracting from Diani Beach’s greatest asset: the Indian ocean. On the second floor we had two patios and on the first, the porch wrapped all the way around with cozy seating nooks and hammocks to sway with the sea.

The beach that spans the property, with its driftwood lounge chairs covered in terry cloth cushions and khoi khoi pillows, beckoned us to sit back and soak up the surrounds. The turquoise tides change dramatically throughout the day, but as they recede members of the local Digo tribe come out to pay homage to the sacred rock. Paper prayers are left in its crevices and cast out to sea when the time comes.

The food at Kinondo Kwetu was unbelievable (especially the fresh fish!) with the setting making us savor everything that much more.

One of our favorite spots to enjoy lunch was on the old Kinondo boat. Washed up on shore during a hurricane, the boat, rather than hauled off to the junk yard, was turned it into a fanciful dining room.

Another thing we adored about Kinondo Kwetu was the familial nature of things. In the evenings, we would meet at the Mama Ta villa as if we were gathering for drinks at a friend’s place. With antique chess sets, beautiful coffee table books, and a well-stocked bar it was an easy place to get comfortable.

As much as we could have happily lazed the days away, we motivated to partake in Kinondo Kwetu’s plethora of activities and excursions. For our trip to Paradise Lost, horseback riding on the shore, the Africa Yoga Project and more, check out our next blog.

Much love from Diani Beach,
Anne & Mike

Kinondo Kwetu invited us to be their guest; however all opinions are our own.

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