Set inside the Watamu Marine National Park, this jewel of a beach resort on the Indian Ocean combines traditional Kenyan hospitality with a stunning natural environment. The sublime white sands of Watamu, kissed by the gentle waves, invite you to relax with a gentle stroll each morning, as you make the tough decision between a spot of sunbathing, or big-game fishing – for which the area is known. Though your idyllic base is also a springboard for golf, watersports and even safaris.
Take your time and let Hemingways’ expert therapists knead you back into shape at the luxurious spa. A soothing candle-lit space, it offers three private treatment rooms where you can escape the stresses of everyday life and relax with the gentle aromas that waft through the air. A coconut scrub here, a chocolate butter massage there and you’re sure to want to stay all day. Should you choose to, then take your pick from purifying facials, wraps, manicures, pedicures, waxes and a range of potions and lotions that will be just the tonic.
Only 20 minutes’ drive from the hotel you can tee off at a five-star golf resort, Vipingo Ridge. Panoramic views of the Indian Ocean fan out from the fairways, with 18 holes of pure golfing heaven. Water features offer a precarious habitat for brave birds and the verdant surrounds are a delight for the senses, not to mention a challenge for anyone thinking of getting a hole in one. The 72-par course is complemented by a large practice area and 300m driving range. Sink a beer in the Swahili-style clubhouse and watch the sun setting over the treetops.
Bright, airy and filled with natural light, the superior rooms at Hemingways give you a feeling of escaping the real world. Offering easy access to the beach, they have views over the pool, gardens and blue water beyond from their balconies, and come with twin or double beds, with an extra if needed. Deluxe rooms feature a bath and shower, as well as a perfect position on the lawn. The suites take the luxury up a notch, with expansive living spaces and prime views.
The hotel’s namesake, writer Ernest Hemingway, was a keen fisherman and Watamu is one of the world’s great fishing spots. Join a crew to go hunting for Blue Marlin and other whoppers, or simply relax on the water with a sunset dhow cruise on Mida Creek. Discover the incredible array of wildlife that Kenya has to offer on a safari in Tsavo or the Maasai Mara and you’ll realise this is no ordinary beach holiday. A spa and gorgeous outdoor pool are the perfect way to unwind whenever you feel like a little downtime.
The seafood on the menu here hasn’t had to travel far, brought in fresh by local fishermen. Tropical fish and crustaceans are teamed with organic, locally grown vegetables and exotic spices. Treat yourself to Japanese-style sashimi with a hit of wasabi, or tuck into tuna steaks, red snapper and lobster or crab. Dinner is served on the main terrace or pagoda, with wonderful ocean views. Wake up to breakfast by the beach; or take lunch or afternoon tea poolside with rich Kenyan coffee, crepes and cakes.