I was almost resigned to the fact that I will be the last to arrive. But I still held on to some hope that somehow, by a stroke of fate, the rest had been rerouted to Mombasa. Not because I’d miss anything major but that I didn’t want to seem like the laggard in the group. The only thing that kept popping into my mind all through the bumpy, wet and now dark Mombasa-Malindi Highway was “I’m eliminated”. But there was no camera crew around me and this wasn’t The Amazing Race. Just a strange way of keeping my mind engaged after an unexpectedly long but fulfilling trip- I got to pass by my old home.
The Village is a collection of 32 simple yet sophisticated 5-star townhouses situated in the dreamy North-Coast town of Malindi. I was part of a media team flown from Nairobi for a two-days and one-night layoff at this brand new luxury property. The aim was to get a first-hand experience of what the resort has to offer before it opens to the public.
A combination of transport misfortunes and a terminal mix up made sure I missed my departing flight from JKIA. Meaning I had missed the one direct flight to Malindi for that day. The only options I had were to fly via Mombasa and make the two hour journey to Malindi by road or go back home. I’m not one to unpack unused luggage, so there I was- stuck in a mental reality show!
Away from the demented workings of my mind, a holiday at The Village is one I would highly recommend for family, friends or company. The resort which is built on a model-base of fractional ownership opens it up to a whole other market that the travel industry in Kenya has yet to tap. Apart from being pocket friendly, the place is a haven. The Mediterranean style houses look a perfect fit on this side of the Coast. There’s nothing in the lines of explicit grandeur and the whole setup reminded me of the old Arabic houses of Mombasa’s Old Town.
The first thing that struck me when I opened the door to my villa was the space. The interiors are deceptively large with a lot of breathing room and large airy windows. And there’s no clutter, only what you’d need on a holiday. The living room has a comfy couch, a table and a big screen TV (with cable). The stylishly contemporary kitchenette is equipped with an electric cooker, refrigerator, crockery, cutlery, toaster and water heater.
There’s a bedroom and bath on either floor of the house. Both my rooms oozed the same sophisticated ambiance of the general resort. They both had AC’s and overhead fans which come in handy on those stifling humid days at the Kenyan Coast. The linen-draped beds were large and cozy and on the upper floor, you can also step out to a balcony for fresh air and better views of the resort area.
On the outside, an arched opening leads to the glorious 14 acres of unspoiled natural splendor that the villas are set amongst. The Village is separated from its sister resort, The Mwembe Resort by a stretching perimeter wall. The whole area has a swaying serene feel about it punctuated by giant canopying Baobab and Mango trees that date back centuries. The trees along with the manicured lawns create a pleasing foliage garden that magnificently blends in with four reflecting swimming pools at different points.
Each house unit has a lovely open patio complete with comfortable, minimalist furniture just in front of the pools. For color, the houses are painted in a lulling banana-mania hue while the open side-walls are bathed with beautiful murals of the African continent. Even the perimeter walls are splashed in colorful depictions of a bustling country life which cleverly gives you a sense of the wild.
Covering the villas are terracotta roof tiles which give the homes a warm, earthy look. “They get more beautiful with time,” Douglas Jackson tells me about the tiles with a hint of satisfaction. He is one-half of the brains behind this flagship project. The Briton and his Belgian partner Billy Berings always knew they wanted to bring the concept of fractional ownership to the Kenyan holiday market. The first step was of course to have a resort. So they got a Dutch architect and trusted him with everything design. Their inspiration and hope for this project is to provide Kenyan families the opportunity to experience five-star holiday luxury at affordable rates.
Other facilities at The Village that are guaranteed to make your holiday a fun experience include a tennis court, a large jacuzzi, kid’s play area, board games, gymnasium and spa. If you are not so jazzed up about paying an extra fee for laundry services, then make sure you pack your own iron box. They also offer VIP concierge service, airport shuttles, excursions, housekeeping, nanny services and round-the-clock room service.
I have to say I’m sold to this place. It’s a fabulous addition to the holiday landscape in Malindi. Being the first of its kind, I can see it opening up the fractional ownership and timeshare market in Kenya. From the invitation, I expected a show of pomp and flashiness but what I got was a minimal and sophisticated highly personalized experience.
For the discerning guest, The Village offers a range of exceptional experiences. Not even a missed flight will deny you that!
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