About Us

Our Story

Almanara is privately owned and operated by the Giovando family. Nico (Giovando) born in Kenya and having spent some time away, returned in 2005 to begin the development of 7 exclusive villas. Nico’s daughter Alexandra was in Diani on a trip and had found the plot of land where Almanara now sits. 

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 top class service whilst creating the feel of a home-away-from-home. A sentiment that is often echoed by our guests, and comes as a natural extension of being an owner run hotel. Almanara opened it’s doors in 2007.

Gemma & Leo Giovando

Born and raised in opposite ends of Surrey in the UK, Leo & Gemma met at University in Southampton back in 2003. After graduating, and a year of travels, Leo came out to Kenya to oversee the construction & development of Almanara from the outset.

Gemma graduated into the world Fashion Promotion, working for Exposure PR in London for 5 years before moving to Kenya to join Leo in 2011.

Together they continue to oversee the operations and along with their sons Jacob & Jasper, they split their time between the UK and Kenya.

Anthony Huth

Born and raised in Kenya, Anthony was schooled in Nairobi and was introduced to the restaurant industry at age 16, working in various establishments around Nairobi, including the Talisman in Karen.

After completing his Chef Diploma at Prue Leith Chef Academy in South Africa, he returned to Kenya for 2 years where he worked in various positions including head chef, food stylist & executive chef.

Anthony then took his career to the UK where he worked in Jamie Oliver’s famed Jamie’s Italian in Manchester. During this time Anthony gained a wealth of experienced working in one of the top restaurant chains in the UK.

Having returned to Kenya in 2017 Anthony has since joined our team as Executive Chef & Assistant General Manager for Sails & Almanara where he has created our delicious menu’s and oversees the restaurant and hotel operations.

Cathy Giovando

Cathy was born in Somalia, and having moved to Kenya in 1952, she spent her early years in Nairobi. In 1972 Cathy & her husband Bruno built and opened Kimana Lodge in Ambolseli and oversaw hosting and operations for 10 years. In 1998 she moved down to Diani where she opened Fishermans Cafe Restaurant.

Over the 10 years of operations, Cathy created a restaurant that quickly became a favourite with the locals and one of the top places to eat in Diani. Cathy oversaw the construction of Almanara and – after 3 years in the Massai Mara managing Ole Seki – she returned to coast where she now hosts our wonderful guests.