After thirty years running his own Antique Gallery in Nairobi Gillies with Fiammetta bought an old ruin on the island of Lamu in 1998. In those days Lamu seemed a small forgotten island in the top right hand corner of the map of Kenya. Now a new tarmac road has replaced the bumpy bush track which runs up the coast from Malindi straight to the ferry terminal. The restoration of the ruin was done with local craftsmen using traditional building skills. The coral blocks were quarried by hand on Manda island and clean sand from a dry river bed brought by dhow across from the mainland. All materials were unloaded on the beach and brought up by donkey and carried into the building by hand; no machines were used or thought necessary or even available and the buildings grew almost organically like seeds sprouting in the right place.
Fatuma’s Tower is situated within our spacious grounds containing also the owners house and other cottages; it feels, guest say, more like a village within a village. You immediately experience peace the moment you pass through the shaded front entrance.