Magical Watamu House w/Lagoon Views

House - Entire home/flat · Mida Creek, Watamu, Mombasa, Kenya

This is a luxurious eco-house with sunset views to the horizon over a huge tropical lagoon, set in a tranquil spot amongst the trees, birds and villages.

We spent over a year carefully designing the house and the result is absolutely magical!

The Space

Note - the map isn't accurate, this house is on the water and you should check the reviews :)

This price is for the whole four-bedroom (sleeps 12), luxurious house with 3 permanent staff (cook, cleaner etc) set in tropical gardens with coconuts, cashews and mango trees, overlooking Mida Creek (a tropical lagoon), minutes drive from one of the best beaches in Kenya.

This is a magical house in one of the nicest, most peaceful spots on the coast. It has just been listed, which is why it is currently much cheaper than the other houses in the region.

The house is the culmination of a lifelong dream - to build a tropical, sustainable, paradisiacal retreat in this part of the world. At night, you won't see a single other artificial light as you drift off to sleep.

The house overlooks the waters of Mida Creek – a huge, stunning mangrove-fronted lagoon where you can swim, watch local fisherfolk, take dugout canoe trips (the house has its own), watch ospreys, flamingos, hawks and other wildlife, go fishing, or just listen to the sounds of the local people who have been living in the same way for thousands of years. There's nowhere else quite like it.

The house is set in a 5.2 acre fenced plot filled with cashew nut trees and a number of other smaller trees we've planted. The plot is nestled among local villages, palms and lush vegetation. It feels like it is in the bush (that’s a good thing!), although it is only a 10-minute drive from half a dozen excellent, lively restaurants and bars in Watamu, a 25-minute drive from Malindi airport and a 2-hour drive from bustling Mombasa. We can arrange for you to hire a car if needed.

The staff members who look after the house full-time are Joseph – an excellent cook who has been preparing food for foreign visitors for more than 30 years - Morris, the cleaner, caretaker and gardener, and David who's on hand at night. There is no extra cost for these guys, although they appreciate a tip. Joseph can cook a huge number of different types of food from vegetarian pies to meat and super-fresh seafood feasts, as well as baking his own bread. He is happy to go and do the shopping for you, if that's easier. Morris will help you with anything you need, from cleaning to babysitting to fetching coconuts from the trees for you for a midday cocktail.

The house consists of a large open building, which has two large bedrooms - the upstairs room (bedroom 3) has 2 double beds (one perched in the roof and one kingsize), and the downstairs room (bedroom 4), which is completely netted can be used either as a chill-out room or a bedroom with 2 double beds (see photos). In the remainder of this bit of the house there is a large living area and dining table in which to chill and relax - with fitted sofas, a hanging chair, and hammock - in addition to a kitchen, storeroom and a toilet / shower.

Right next to the main building there is a 10-meter high 'tower' building with a funky spiral staircase that consists of an open chill-out area downstairs and two bedrooms (bedroom 1 & 2 - both king-sized double beds and ensuite bathrooms) with amazing views the higher you go, and a flat roof, with a panoramic view over the whole creek and to the horizon beyond, which is a perfect place for sunbathing, yoga, beers or evening dinner. The sun sets on the other side of the creek in the evening - this is unique to this house as most of the other houses in the region have eastward views.

We've taken pains to try to reduce the impact on the local environment with the house. That doesn't mean it's not effortlessly luxurious – it is, but we are not fans of air-conditioning and swimming pools. All rooms have excellent ventilation and fans, if needed. For us, taking a sunset dip in the creek in the evening as the sun goes down is way better than chlorine and pumps.

The beach is a 10-minute drive away and you can also swim in front of the house around high tide (2x per day).

Watamu is famous for its 7-km long white sand beach and pristine turquoise ocean that caters for world-class kitesurfing, diving, fishing, sailing, kayaking, waterskiing and more. In the town there are many excellent restaurants and bars, and even more in nearby Malindi.

Other local adventures include the Gede ruins, the Arabuko-Sokoke forest, cycling, Tsavo national park (2-hour drive and one of the best game parks in Kenya), bird walks, surfing, the ice-cream shop and much, much more.

There is also internet and mobile access at the house if you buy a dongle locally. We've also left a Bose stereo for ipods/iphones and computers and all linen and towels as well as cleaning etc is included. There is also a karum board, backgammon, some DVDs if you have a computer/player and a number of books.

Quite simply, it's one of the most relaxed and peaceful places on earth. Enjoy!

Guest Access

Guests will enjoy the 5 acre plot to themselves.

Interaction with Guests

The prices is for the entire house, inclusive of staff (cleaner and cook).

Room type: Entire home/flat
Bed type: Real Bed
Accommodates: 12
Bedrooms: 4
Beds: 6
Extra people: £7 / night after the first guest
Security Deposit: £200
Country:
City:
Cancellation: Strict

Overall Guest Satisfaction

Accuracy
Communication
Cleanliness
Location
Check In
Value
  • Hi all I have to say the house was Amazing , Joseph the cook was very good all you have to do is buy what ever you want from the market and he will cook it or you can get him to shop for you . If you get he pick i would stay in the out house it has some amazing view over the bay when you go up to the top also what made the stay even better was and the kids busy was a guy call Steve who ran a place call Active escapes they do every Activity you can think of from riding thought the Jungle to sea fishing the shop is at a place call hemming ways . Now for the bad bit ...I would give the house a 5star + if it had Wi-Fi please make this happen next time I'm back thanks

    October 2012
  • Wow! What a lovely spot! The house is truly beautiful with an open concept that pictures just can't capture. We enjoyed being removed from the beach scene and liked being nestled in the village, but a vehicle is a definite asset. The walk into Watamu - a highly recommended destination - is just a little far. Great place - highly recommended.

    January 2012
  • This was the most tranquil, restful vacation our family has enjoyed in a long time, and Ruby Hall gets the lion's share of the credit. We wanted to do a beach vacation with our children, but we didn't really want to stay at a crowded beachfront resort. We also didn't want to spend a week "plugged in" to Internet and television (or loud parties outside the windows). Booking Ruby Hall gave us a week truly "away from it all," and we relished every minute.

    The house itself is an invitation to relax. The open area downstairs made a central gathering place where we could sack out on the built-in couches and read books (there are quite a few tucked away in nooks if you don't bring your own). Escaping the heat of the day off the beach meant lounging in the hammock, sipping cool fruit smoothies whipped up by Chef Joseph (he is a NATIONAL TREASURE!). And the beach was only a 15-minute drive away and easy to access through Ocean Sports (we really enjoyed exploring the reef during low tide).

    Every evening, we came home to an utterly mouth-watering feast prepared by Joseph, who can prepare fish in so many amazing ways (and don't miss his sukuma). The breeze picked up right at sunset and kept us cool all night. It's definitely worth climbing to the roof of the tower on a clear night to see the stars--brilliant!

    If you don't want the typical "tourist" package vacation, this is the place for you. Yes, it's going to be a bit hot midday without a/c, but you acclimate within a day or two, and then you really enjoy the bird calls, the breeze rustling the palms, and the locals singing as they harvest coconuts. Simply magical. Thanks, Tom, for building this special place and sharing it with the rest of us!

    December 2011
  • Having been to Watamu a few times before I hadn’t been aware of this hidden gem away from the relative hustle and bustle of the area around Watamu beach – Mida Creek is there ready and waiting for a pre breakfast swim, the Boardwalk restaurant (one table on a wooden platform perched over the creek is just ‘round the corner’ (of the intriguingly entangled mangroves) with its sensational crab samosas, local village life meanders on around you and Watamu beach as well as little sandy coves of joy are just a short drive away. And that not even mentioning some of the other great restaurants nearby where crab, seafood and Tusker is plentiful.

    However, we found that it was a little too tempting just to stay at Ruby Hall and gorge ourselves on Joseph’s delicious culinary fare as well as the oysters from the resident Mida Creek Oyster Man.
    A sundowner on the roof terrace at the top of the Tower (Mnara in Kiswahili I think) gives you a sunset over the water which is a rare sight on the Kenyan coast.

    The house itself is stunning, spacious, open and airy and the master bedroom where we were fortunate enough to be has the most fantastic views of the creek and the plot. There are touches of Swiss Family Robinson all over the place (a film dear to my heart!) and it’s just such a great place to crash out.

    Joseph and Morris were incredibly helpful and friendly throughout and I look forward to seeing them again when I come back to stay (which is without doubt the plan!).

    Joci and I were given the daunting task of arranging some of the pots and plants around the house and battling with a complete lack of innate aesthetic vision (I speak for myself and not Joci!) I just hope this was done with the same flair as everything else in and around the house.

    Anyway, that probably enough from me as I wouldn’t want the house to become booked up for the year making it impossible for us to sneak in another visit in the near future!
    Thanks Tom, we had such an unforgettable time - thanks for showing us the ropes and for being such a great host!

    December 2011
  • A crew of 12 of us spent last weekend at Tom's house in Watamu and we had a fantastic time. The open air feel of the place is quite unique (though be sure to pack your bug spray!). I loved the location - I've sometimes stayed in houses right on the beach but this was different and fun -- the house is located in the middle of a coconut tree forest, surrounded by local villages and right beside the Mida Creek that is very pleasant to swim in if you get the tides right (aim for high tide). Joseph the chef can organize the 10-minute, Ksh 200 tuk tuk ride to the beach, or you can rent a car. Sundowners on the roof deck of the "tower", looking out across the Creek was quite wonderful. And we sure did eat well - Joseph prepared some amazing seafood feasts (fish, lobster, crab calamari) and we ate to our hearts' content. There are still a few parts of the house that need the final finishing touches but nothing that takes away from the relaxing experience that my friends and I had last weekend. Can't wait to get back one day. Oh, and if you go to Watamu, don't miss the "orange" gelateria in town - particularly the chocolate and passion fruit combo - my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    November 2011
  • True to Tom's word, this house is absolutely magical. A few friends and I spent an extended weekend in Watamu and while we spent the requisite time on the beach, exploring nearby Mida Creek, and touring the Gede Ruins, I have to say that we also spent a large chunk of our time simply lounging in the house; it is so open, inviting, and relaxing that you don't really feel a need to leave!

    The house is staffed by Joseph, an amazing chef, and Morris, a very friendly and helpful house manager. Joseph and Morris were very helpful in everything from arranging massages to calling transportation for day excursions to helping minimize the number of mosquitos attacking you at night (it's the coast - there are tons of bugs -- huge ones -- everywhere). And the best part is if you decide to take advantage of Joseph's cooking skills (which I highly recommend you do!), all you have to do is set a menu with him, give him the cash to cover food and his transport costs to the market, and you can come home to an excellent home-cooked meal! (One word of caution is to be specific if you do not want "mzungu" meals, which are clearly more expensive to prepare).

    While some may find the non-beach front aspect of the house as a disadvantage, I thought it was actually very nice to be a bit removed from the beach and the associated beach boys. It is very easy to take a tuk-tuk to Watamu town (400-500 shillings round trip) or Gede Ruins (600 shillings round trip). Taxis are also available. The beauty of this house's location is that you are really integrated into the surrounding nature; one of my favorite memories from the weekend was walking to the creek and learn about some amazing local initiatives to preserve the creek's mangrove forest and wildlife and then taking a canoe ride around the creek!

    If you're going to Watamu, I highly recommend this house. Would go back in a heartbeat the next time I'm in the area!

    October 2011
  • House was very nice and the staff was amazing! Tom is great and dealt with all questions quickly and efficiently. The beaches at Watamu (25 minutes away) were gorgeous and we enjoyed the break here from Nairobi. Would be nice to have solar heating for the water in future as it was cold to shower in the morning/night but this wouldn't be a problem in the peak summer weather.

    August 2011
  • Truly magical place! Difficult to describe. Just go there and FEEL it for yourself!

    September 2013
  • We had a lovely stay at Ruby Hall. The house has a wonderful design, with an open living area and two comfortable hammocks for lounging. We spent lots of time relaxing and reading in the hammocks! Joseph cooked us a delicious seafood dinner, and we had fun wading out into the creek at low tide.

    The house is a long walk from the beach (nearly an hour), so it's preferable to take a tuk-tuk or car to the beach. If you're looking for a house close to the beach, this is not the right house, but if you're looking for a quiet, peaceful house away from the tourists of Watamu, Ruby Hall is fantastic.

    August 2013
    Tom
    Response from Tom:

    A car is just 5-10 minutes so we wouldn't recommend walking but the secluded nature of the property within easy access of the tourist facilities is why we think its even more special. Thanks for the kind words.

  • This place is pure magic as it states in the description... Joseph is the sweetest man on the planet and made sure we had everything we needed from water, food, and of course a few cold tuskers, he arranged us to get a tuk-tuk to town, and our transfer to Malindi... Tom told me that one night was too few and he was right.. 1 month is too few to stay at this magical place... If you want to unplug and are on the coast near Mombasa or Malindi.. stay here for a couple of days.. you will not be disappointed and can experience the magic of Ruby hall for yourself.... I will be back for sure and am counting the days until I'm back in Kenya!

    Tom was very prompt and easy to work with... a prime example of why airbnb works.

    July 2013
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I've used airbnb for a while and had only positive experiences. I live and work in the UK, but my heart is normally in Kenya and I spend lots of time working on excuses to get back there. I'm a social entrepreneur and have started a few different businesses in the environmental sector. I love building things that make the world a bit better and a bit simpler - a hard balance sometimes. I believe perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but nothing left to take away.
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