Lamu Island has been popular since the '70s and its mix of sand, sea and Swahili (African-Arabic-Indian) culture is still so compelling. A private-house-turned-hotel, this new addition to upmarket spots on the isle is located just 20 minutes from Lamu Old Town - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its proximity to the town, the hotel is incredibly restful, shaded by neem and acacia trees, with a balmy sea breeze. The five thatched nyumbas (houses), built and decorated by local artisans, include Acacia, which has a private garden, carved four-poster Swahili bed decorated with a peacock motif and an outdoor roll-top bath. Wow factor: Gliding through the mangroves on the hotel's dhow and eating lunch on a beach is unmissable. Go: Book with Turquoise Holidays; call 01494 678400 or visit for more details or email <a href=""></a>