Do you want to stay in a long-established African hotel that has the standards of a high-end European hotel? If so, German-owned Severin Sea Lodge on the north coast of Mombasa will definitely deliver this for you. I adore this lodge and would recommend this peaceful, intimate and tranquil place to the lone traveller, couples and small groups.
The lodge exudes a safari vibe
The décor and ambience of this beautiful little lodge make you feel like you are in a natural safari game park rather than a hotel on the coast. The materials that are used to create the lodge, the round bungalows and the animal artefacts really give it an authentic and bush-like feel. The wooden animals and individually carved pieces of unique furniture really do make you feel like you’re in an African haven.
Whilst you may not be in a safari game park, there most certainly are some animals in the close vicinity, including a few camels that can be found on the beach outside the lodge. You can also get up close and personal with the fish if you choose to utilise the on-site and very personable Baracuda Diving School which offers diving as well as other water sports activities for guests. This is a brilliant facility because it saves you from having to go and negotiate on the beach with local beach vendors in respect to prices for activities! You are guaranteed a good quality experience for a good price.
One of the oldest hotels but with modern facilities
The lodge has been around since 1972 and is one of the oldest establishments on the north coast of Mombasa. I like it because you get the feeling that it is one of the oldest hotels in Mombasa albeit with modern facilities and rooms. This is because of the theme of the lodge and also the way that its staff behave and how they interact with you.
Don’t you love it when you go on a fantastic holiday and you return at a later date, to the same destination and you are greeted by the same familiar faces who kindly served you before? This lodge definitely offers you that because some of the staff have been around for over twenty years and they really do remember the little things like your name and what you like. These little things make you feel special and add to your holiday experience.
During my stay, I found all the staff to be extremely professional and highly hospitable. It felt like each of them had a personal stake in the lodge because of the efforts that they were taking in trying to please me. From my travelling experience, this is not common for some hotels that are of 5-star calibre and the fact that this lodge, as a 4-star establishment, has staff that truly care about their organisation is really wonderful to see. With several staff members who have developed their entire careers at this lodge, you are guaranteed consistency in the quality of what is offered.
Relax under a coconut tree by the pool and beach
Severin Sea Lodge has two swimming pools and numerous sunbeds scattered around and you get the best form of shade from the sun: enormous leaves from the coconut trees!
There is also a business centre, a cashier, a number of cute boutiques as well as a spa and fitness centre. As a fitness fanatic, I was quite impressed with the equipment in the fitness centre, which whilst limited, was of high quality. This is important if you’re going to be enjoying the fantastic food in the Safari Bar, Kisma Restaurant and the Imani Dhow. I would also recommend relaxing in the Swing Bar, where you can sip the “cocktail of the day”, whilst sitting on your very own swing which is facing the beach and the Indian ocean.
There are several activities running throughout the day including both sporting and non-sporting events. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the lodge also offers Swahili classes as this is a great way for you to learn about and embrace the Kenyan culture.
A wide selection of spacious rooms
The lodge offers various types of rooms (details of which can be found on its website). Whilst all of the rooms are quite spacious, I would recommend opting for the standard room in the bungalow or one of the deluxe rooms. This is because the authentic African feel really comes through much more in comparison to the standard rooms in the main building. With the deluxe rooms, you also get a special treat which is a large and colourful plate of delicious fruit upon your arrival!
If you fancy living like an African prince or princess during your holiday, then you should ask the staff to provide you with a room (standard or deluxe) with the four-post raised bed, which is really something fabulous to see and sleep on! The firm mattress and beautifully carved bed will make you feel like you’re in some fantastic African dream. If you can afford one of the suites and you are celebrating a special occasion, I would also recommend trying the royal suite which is absolutely enormous and overlooks the beach. The bathrooms in all of the rooms are quite large albeit very simplistic; please also note that the bathrooms have showers only.
Some of the rooms have wider doors to allow for those with physical disabilities, such as individuals in wheelchairs. However, the bathrooms in these rooms are not necessarily disabled-friendly at present. Whilst there are a few steps to take to reach different parts of the lodge, the fact that this hotel is quite small should make it easier for those with mobility issues. Although, please be aware that the floor surfaces in public areas are uneven and slightly bumpy and this is something that those with disabilities should be mindful of when making a reservation. Nevertheless, please note that most hotels in Mombasa have the same, if not similar, floor surfaces in public areas.
The strength of the Wi-Fi in the rooms as well as the rest of the lodge was quite strong and I was easily able to send emails, upload photographs and browse the internet.
The rates for this hotel vary according to the season, number of occupants and type of room selected. The pricing for a standard single room costs between 4256-8512 KES (approximately 42-83 USD) per night on a half board basis which includes breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner. The cost for a royal suite is between 18414-32019 KES (approximately 180-313 USD) per night on a half board basis.
Building a future for the community
By the reception there are a number of large notice boards with details of the charitable and volunteer work that the lodge conducts which was heart-warming to see. Whilst I have travelled to Mombasa on multiple occasions, it is not often that I have seen an establishment that is truly engaged in building a future for the community. For example, the owners of this Lodge as well as the staff are regularly involved in supporting local orphanages whether it be through financial means, materials or opportunities for some of the adolescent teenagers who are in the orphanage and are later seeking future employment.
In addition, the Lodge really cares about the environment and this is because of how it manages its waste. It actually filters and treat all of its waste for it to be re-used, once environmentally safe, in its gardens behind the Lodge. This is in contrast to and unlike other hotels which have their wastage removed from their site but do not follow-up on what happens to it and where it is released. By having an awareness that the water is being treated and filtered at specific plants and then returned for re-using in the gardens, this Lodge shows that it is caring about the environment and that’s something that I think is highly commendable.
The focus is on making you feel special
Knowing that the price that I had paid for a stay in this lodge was helping the hard-working staff earn a living and was also being spent on local orphanages made me feel good. This is because I felt like I was truly helping the tourism sector in Mombasa which has needed some support since the previous insecurities in Kenya. During my trip to Severin Sea Lodge, I felt completely safe, secure and special. If you want to get a feel for an intimate African safari without having to travel for hours, then this is the place for you. The staff are so personable and lovely and will do absolutely all that they can to make you feel welcome. If it’s your birthday, they will take note and prepare a lovely surprise for you (which I won’t spoil by listing it here!). If you’re volunteering to help the local community during your stay, they will offer you a discounted rate provided you inform them in advance. This is because they care about you, and they care about their community.
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