I’d always wanted to visit Homabay for a very long time mainly because of the good things my friends say about it and the other reason was to find other fun things to do in the vicinity and places to stay. And so I picked a weekend for this adventure. Being a weekend the roads were less busy and smooth.
Just a few kilometers between Kendu Bay and Homabay town I spotted a freshly erected signage. It was boldly written Golden Rays Hotel. Instantly I let my adventure begin here…..and indeed I discovered a hidden treasure.
Golden Rays Hotel is a true definition of a boutique hotel – small in scale, full of character and intimate. A 20 min drive from Homabay Town, Golden Rays is very much an isolated off road location different from the bustling resort town of Homabay. The place is quite rural and I must admit my heart dropped a little on the way there, as I passed small village center-Osiri which for me was a far cry from the beach paradise I was expecting. It was with great relief when we arrived at the hotel where state-of-art structures stood against the magnificent views of the expansive waters of Lake Victoria… I was completely blown away.
This hotel is built on a hill with endless views of the lake, and everywhere you look your eye is hit with varying shades of blue from the water in front and hills surrounding you. The sound of lapping waves and the wind generated water pump dominates your ears to provide a soothing backdrop as well as confirming how wonderfully close you are to the lake.
It might have been a wrong time to visit this place since it was the season for the dreaded water hyacinth but the beaches here are mesmerizing with rich tropical vegetation and a varied landscape with slopes and hills. Located on a virtually deserted Osiri beach, I got to enjoy the general luxury of a tranquil setting.
Here are some of the best experiences I sampled:
Let me tell you about the rooms, they are awesome! Their simplicity exudes good taste, great comfort and restrained luxury. Each room has uninterrupted views of the lake and provides visitors with a private enclave where they can do what they please (honeymooners would thrive here!). Bathrooms features a sleek and modern design, with all-white furnishings, large geometric mirrors and amenities. Walls elegantly painted and a sophisticated rain shower.
For me food is where boutique hotels differentiate themselves from the rest! I have this bias against hotel food which is based on buffet lacking authenticity and ultimately resulting to uninspiring boring food. This was far from the case at Golden Rays Hotel where it was clear that a lot of effort has been placed to ensure guests have a great culinary experience. I learnt that most of their food are done instantly and from fresh food items. I loved their fish! Picked directly from the lake, cooked and served in one seating. The dishes here are simple and expertly made with a lot of focus placed on fresh ingredients. Though they are still trying their menus since the hotel is still new, they seem to have great culinary concept which is evident as the food is consistently good and unique from what I’ve experienced.
It was epic, extremely exciting! At first I thought it was a ball of fire sinking under the calm evening waters of the lake. I sat at the balcony of my room sipping hot cappuccino as I researched about Salinero Hotels somewhere deep at the heart of Mwanza, Tanzania. It will be my next destination.
Then the sunset happened, spreading its golden rays across the water. It’s sight to behold. If there is something that will make me come back here is the sunset experience.
Fishing Expedition and Cruising
Better part of my second day was spent out of the facility. I visited the old homabay jetty; it is run down now but still holds together the relics of the good old days when ships and other giant water vessels used to dock here. I boarded a small motor boat and had an experiential cruise into the lake. Tried the fishing amidst heavy waves, it was phenomenal. For starters it might be a bit scary but it’s a worthwhile adventure.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, my experience at Golden Rays Hotel was amazing. Like many boutique hotels the rates here are a little higher but definitely worth the money. The attention to detail stood out with careful consideration being placed on the smallest things which collectively contributed to a great experience. Golden Rays Hotel is perfect for those whose priority is complete relaxation with a touch of seclusion.
The setting all around is beautiful from the structures, lake views – it really has all the attributes for an ideal beach getaway. Though they are still working on couple of amenities to make the facility complete, I completely fell in love with the place. I hope when I come back the swimming pool will be ready!