About Us

Almanara Luxury Villas was opened in December 2007 by the Giovando family

About Us

Almanara was originally conceived as a retirement home for the Giovando family. Nico Giovando – born and raised in Kenya – left for Europe in 1971 before settling in the UK where his family and business remained for the next two decades. Having spent 25 years away, he returned to Diani in 2003 – a trip that proved to be the beginning of the creation of Almanara.

Our Story

Almanara Luxury Villas was opened in December 2007 by the Giovando family. Nico Giovando – born in Nyeri, Kenya in 1954 – spent the early years of his life in Nairobi before moving to Europe in 1971. After visiting Diani Beach with his wife Bella for their honeymoon, he did not return to Kenya for 25 years. In 2003 he came to join his daughter Alexandra who was on her first trip to Kenya. Having fallen in love with Diani Beach, she had already picked out the stunning piece of land where Almanara sits today. Realising how much he missed Diani, Nico was easily talked into a possible project, which began in 2005.

The family set out from scratch with the aim to create an experience that is unique not only to Kenya, but to luxury properties around the world. Each of the Villas was thoughtfully designed with local influences in mind, creating an almost contradictory fusion of modernity and traditional African decor. The end result is a collection of private houses that offer 5 star services whilst creating the feel of a home-away-from-home. A sentiment that is often echoed by our guests. The 6 Executive Villas opened in July 2007, while the Presidential Villa – originally built as the family home – was completed at the end of the same year.

In 2008 Sails Beach Bar & Restaurant was added to Almanara and fast became one of the most exclusive, must-to-be-seen-in restaurants in Kenya. In early 2009, the family added a brand new Cessna Grand Caravan to the collection. The plane is available for private air charters. Nico’s son Leo was involved in the project from the outset. He assisted with the development and helped implement the management team before establishing a UK Marketing and PR office in Surrey, UK. He now manages the project and is based at Almanara throughout the year.

Our Team

The team at Almanara are here to ensure you feel at home from the moment you arrive. Our guest to manager ratio is something quite unique which allows us to provide a totally personal service to our discerning clientele.

Leo Giovando

Leo, born and raised in Surrey, UK has been involved in the development of Almanara from start to present. He was on site during the construction phase and returned at the end of 2007 after 3 years at Southampton University, and a further year of travels. He now manages the project with his wife Gemma.

Gemma Giovando

After studying Fashion Promotion at Southampton, Gemma worked at Exposure PR in London for 4 years before moving to Kenya to join Leo at Almanara at the end of 2010. She now manages Almanara and handles all marketing and promotional activities.

Luke Doig

Luke, a third generation Kenyan comes from a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and has worked in top kitchens around the world including the Savoy Hotel in London and the Muthaiga Club in Nairobi. Before arriving at Almanara Luke managed Mugie Camp in Laikipia, before staring his consultancy company. Luke is now GM of Almanara, and Executive Chef at Sails.