Hemingways Watamu

“One of the finest luxury hotels on the Kenyan Coast”
Budget level: Mid-Range
When to Go
All year
Property Type
Kenyan Coast

Following a complete redesign, Hemingways Watamu re-opened in January 2018 reclaiming its position as Kenya’s most iconic beach hotel. Located on Turtle Bay within the protected Marine National Park of Watamu, Hemingways Watamu is a tropical paradise for snorkelling and diving amongst breathtakingly beautiful coral and multi-coloured sea-life.

A beautifully quaint fishing village located on the Kenyan coast, Watamu is 120km north of Mombasa and 25km south of Malindi. The area has developed a fantastic reputation for its white-sand reef protected beaches which line the Watamu National Marine Park.

The 2018 USD 11m refurbishment of Hemingways Watamu has transformed the classic and much-loved old hotel into a spectacular property unrivalled on the coast of Kenya. Designed by a South African architectural firm Hemingways Watamu has 39 airy hotel rooms, all with direct ocean views. There are also 21 spacious one, two and four-bedroom residences available, offering exceptional space and privacy.

In addition to the pristine white sand beach, Hemingways Watamu offers two swimming pools and a brand-new spa. The restaurant is positioned overlooking the ocean and serves fresh local produce with a strong focus on seafood. Returning guests have been delighted to find the renowned ‘Hemingways Bar’ relatively untouched, continuing as a much-loved focal point in the hotel. As with all properties in the Hemingways Collection, superb service is paramount. Hemingway Watamu reopened with many of the original Kenyan staff who have been part of the personality of the hotel over the last 30 years, ensuring the charm and warm hospitality of Hemingways Watamu remains the same.

Each of the 39 beautifully appointed rooms at Hemingways Watamu offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean and the endless white sandy beach of Watamu Marine Park. Measuring over 40sqm, all rooms are bright and airy, with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies providing exceptional views of the Indian Ocean – a view you wish you woke up to every morning. There are 13 newly renovated Deluxe Ocean View Rooms on the second floor of the North Wing and 26 Ocean View Rooms on the ground and first floor.

These 21 ultra-lux apartments are located in the South Wing of the hotel and offer 1, 2- and 4-bedroom configurations. The Residences have been designed and finished to the highest degree of modern coastal luxury and feature majestic open terraces with magical views of the beach and Marine Park, comfortable lounge and dining areas flooded with natural light, en-suite bathrooms and fully equipped contemporary kitchens. Guests of the Residences enjoy full access to all hotel facilities with the added benefit of being completely self-sufficient if that’s what you’re looking for.

Hemingways Restaurant is an alfresco brasserie style restaurant featuring modern flavours with a focus on fresh local seafood with a hint of Swahili spices. The menu is supplemented with top of the range imported beef and lamb from South Africa.

Hemingways Bar is reflecting the traditions of big game fishing, the Hemingways Bar is iconic. Sensitively updated to retain the history and feel of the original Hemingways Watamu, the Bar offers abundant natural light and fantastic panoramic views of the bay.

It is virtually impossible to snorkel in Watamu without seeing at least a few dozen species inside the main reef, whilst divers outside the fringe reef stand an excellent chance of viewing the magnificent whale shark and manta rays that are seasonal visitors.

If underwater exploring is not your style, not to worry! From windsurfing, sailing, kite surfing, to dolphin watching boat trips, bird spotting walks or boat rides, gentle walks to explore the rock pools, or simply lying on the beach, the Watamu beach offers something for everyone.

Hemingways Watamu is renowned for deep sea fishing and has also recently pioneered humpback whale watching excursions during the months of June to September. The migration of the majestic humpbacks along the coast of East Africa is truly something to behold.

The waters off Watamu offer hugely diverse fishing opportunities and it is one of very few places where three types of Marlin, Sailfish, Broadbill Swordfish and Short bill Spearfish are all found. With a series of underwater mountains easily accessible offshore, bait fish and the predators are concentrated, unlike the situation in the open Ocean. Hemingways Watamu was the pioneer of the practice of ‘tag and release’ of billfish on the Kenyan coast. Fishing charters are 10-hour full day excursions or 5-hour half days, depending on your preference and normally kick off just after sun rise when conditions are calm and often best for an early catch.

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