Harpers-Cover

Harpers

The chic retreat

Baytil Ajaib, Lamu, Kenya. Baytil Ajaib, which means ‘house of wonder in Swahili, is the ultimate in African chic. The

beautifully restored townhouse mirrors the traditional stone dwellings found throughout Lamu’s old town, and blends opulent Arabian furnishings with elegant Swahili decor. Antique rosewater decanters and incense holders line elaborately carved wall niches and, in the sunlit courtyard, birds swoop down to perch on the covered well. Four interconnecting apartments, each with a private verandah, provide seclusion, and the pillow-strewn harem terrace is perfect for larger gatherings. What else? After a day spent exploring the archipelago by dhow or wandering Lamu’s winding streets, let the chef and full staff prepare tuna carpaccio or

freshly squeezed lemon juice for you. Baytil Ajaib’s rooftop opens to a view of stone houses and minarets, with dhows passing in the distance.

- Apartments, from about £85 a person a night. Book with Chic Retreats (020 7978 7164; www.chicretreats.com).

- Elie Losleben