Full of stunning aesthetics, Watamu in Kilifi County is known for its spectacular coastline, crystal clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, pristine beaches, thrilling water adventures and marine diversity.
When I met Paul Krystall, the owner of Watamu Tree House, he was warm, charming, hospitable – and barefooted.
The delightful art connoisseur and hotelier shared that he got his artistic skills from his father, the famous late Dr Eric Krystall, an African anti-apartheid campaigner and academician famously known for pioneering puppets in Kenya.
The father-son duo bought the land that was the only plot in Watamu with the original indigenous forest 30 years ago.
Award-winning Watamu Tree House is extraordinary. It is a scenic escape, a place for healing. Guests disconnect and reset; rejuvenate, recharge, and reinvent. Intimate and magnificent moments in this place become lifelong memories for ocean-loving souls.
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“It was quite the endeavour transforming this getaway into an award-winning hidden gem,” said Paul.
His father’s wife, Nina Croze, a renowned artiste and environmentalist, advised Paul not to cut trees. Therefore, he worked with the original indigenous tree footprint.
Nina designed and built the first room and decorated it with her renowned stained glass that comes in royal colours such as turquoise, green, purple, and blue.
Paul and his team took over and continued to create the Watamu Tree House masterpiece, room by room. The enchanting escape now offers the highest yoga room in Watamu with a 360-degree view of the sunrise over the Indian Ocean and the sunset over the dense coastal forest.
“We exist to share the best we know with others, which is a lifestyle in harmony with the natural environment,” said Paul, sharing Watamu Tree House’s philosophy.
With glee in his eyes and conviction in his voice, he said: “I was intentional from the beginning. I enjoy water sports and yoga. I enjoy eating healthy. I wanted to share these experiences with other people. I put this dream on a vision board on concrete.”
Watamu Tree House has received three signature awards from the Kenya Tourism Board. Epic kayak expeditions, sunset-yoga experiences, and Mida Creek floating adventures were recognised as three of the 29 experiences in Kenya.
“Did you know walking barefooted has benefits?” Aja Krystall, Paul’s daughter who manages the gem, asked. Like her father, she walks around without shoes.
“The philosophy behind walking barefooted should be no barrier between human beings and nature. You recharge with the natural polarity with the earth. It is good for your feet and ankles,” she said.
Food, an integral part of the house, is based on Ayurveda principles: gratitude and nature. They do not serve deep-fried or artificial food. They neither serve meat nor alcohol, but guests can bring their liquor.
For more, watch the Art of Living Part 1 on KTN Home