Hemingways Watamu: The Lowdown

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Tides have come and gone along the Kenyan coast, but Hemingways has remained a reliable favourite. Its reputation came from stellar deep-sea fishing, but today it’s a charming luxury hotel with a much broader appeal.

What’s Hemingways Watamu really like?

Hemingways is built in a horseshoe, curved around the pool, tidy lawns and fluttering palm trees. In front, a retaining wall drops straight down to the Indian Ocean, with the beaches stretched on either side of the hotel. The North Wing has just 39 rooms- Superior rooms on the ground and first floor, and stylish Deluxe rooms up on the top floor with lovely views out over the bay.  The 1,2 and 4 bedroomed apartments are in the South Wing, and have their own kitchen, dining and bathroom areas as well as full use of the hotel facilities.

These include the main restaurant, cafe and pool bar, as well as the original Hemingways Bar- the setting for cocktails and tall tales of the fish that got away. Guests also have use of the on-site wellness centre, a gym, and a tennis court.

What can I do at Hemingways Watamu? 

As the name suggests, deep sea fishing is hugely popular at Hemmingway’s, with half and full day charters available. The season runs from July- April, but the absolute best time, including for blue Marlin is probably from around November to April. However, though there is definitely a hotel with a great reputation for fishing, there’s a huge amount of activities in general.

Elsewhere on the water you can try paddle boarding, windsurfing or kitesurfing, or take a sunset cruise on a dhow on Mida Creek. In the water there is snorkelling in the marine park and a PADI dive centre. Watamu is a marine park which makes for some fantastic snorkelling and diving, however we should mention that when the kusi monsoon blows (roughly June-October) there’s often a lot of seagrass in the water or on the beach. The pay off though is that this overlaps with whale season when humpbacked whales can occasionally be spotted from the shore, and there’s a lovely pool to swim in throughout the year- sea grass or not!

On land there’s a 72 par course at Vipingo Ridge, around 40 minutes away, and the Gede Ruins, what remains of an ancient Arab town.

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