14 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Best holiday ever
"First thing hotel reception staff were pleasent rooms were clean but slight dampness due to aircone found the room was cleaned daiy and the cleaning staff very pleasent as were the waiters especially Dennis. Swhalli and rashid the pool was fantastic food good every one made you feel welcome and relaxed wich we needed after a five day safari.would recommend this hotel spoke to the owner and found her hard but fair wanting the best for her guests"
- Travel date: Thu 15th of December 2011
Where do I start? What a brilliant hote...
"Where do I start?
What a brilliant hotel this actually was. As we drove down the drive to the hotel, we were all very impressed by the landscape and gardens and were knocked off our feet when we got in the reception area. The rooms are out of this world and I also agree that the rooms were slightly damp, but again you've got a balcony.
The food was out of this world, again can't complain about any of the meals. Get talking to Wycliffe and he'll let you make (or at least attempt) your own pancakes.
The hotel has a BBQ on the beach every Sunday, which don't get me wrong is really nice but you are constantly pestered into going every week. Try it you'll be impressed.
The beach is nice and clean and they also have security on the beach to stop the locals trying to sell you goods. Don't worry they are all very friendly but can sometimes get on your nerves.
The hotel staff are extremely friendly and very helpful - we made friends with quite a few of them and still keep in touch.
Our Rep Salim, was also very friendly and helpful and would certainly go out of his way to sort any tours, complaints (doubt if there would be one), or even just to come and say "Hello".
The Safari is recommended very highly. We went to Tsavo East and West and also Amboseli, which were full of every animal you wish to see in Africa. Our tour guide (Eddie Murphy) was brilliant and he went out of his way to ensure we saw what we wanted to.
Am looking to returning to this hotel sometime in the very near future.
Go on book it - you'll be well impressed!
- Travel date: Wed 17th of October 2007
Have just returned from this hotel and b...
"Have just returned from this hotel and been very disappointed with the experience. A deluxe room with a sea view was booked and paid dearly for and is not what we received.
We were on the fourth floor and could just make out the sea as the palm trees blocked our view. We had a spa bath but only two of the jets worked. The room smelt when we turned on the air con and the remedy for this was for the staff to turn off the aircon!
The drink prices were huge no wonder the only time you saw people in the bar was at happy hour 6pm-8pm wine (small glass) KSH400 Ordinary wine bottle KSH2,500. Whenever you visited the beach bars staff could not understand that you did not wish to eat but just have a drink very frustrating as there English was very good.
The Spa is very overpriced Exotic Foot Treatment (pedicure) KSH2, 400 very ordinary therapist did not seem to know what she was doing. Lovely chair but was not offered the massage facility which it had, no foot massage, messy nail polish (more time was spent trying to correct the polish than on the rest of treatment) no top coat on nails - better service at beauty school.
At check out 10AM sharp the bags are stored in the luggage room and all facilities of the hotel are available for use. When changing for home this has to be done at the pool showers no toiletries offered you have to chase staff to get towels no hairdryers available and very little help from staff - now that you have spent your time and money they do not want to know.
I would not recommend this hotel as I think they love themselves a lot more than their customers. Pity because the location and style of the hotel was great.
By the way the food was fantastic."
- Travel date: Wed 17th of October 2007
This was a wonderful and beautiful setti...
"This was a wonderful and beautiful setting for a fantastic holiday.
The rooms were clean and tidy, although the air con kept the rooms damp so our towels and swim wear didn't dry out in the bath room- still who cares when you have a balcony.
Beware monkeys are everywhere! They sneak into your rooms if you don't keep the doors shut!
The staff are very friendly and always keen to sell you a safari even if you've already been on one! The safari trips are a must in Kenya and will leave you wanting to come back to Africa for more!!!!!!
The food in the hotel was excellent and there was nothing I didn't like. The only complaint I have was the bar prices were a little high and the spa was very over priced compared with what the actual workers got in wages and tips. That said, I would recommend to any one to stay here- especially if you like animals."
- Travel date: Wed 25th of July 2007
"Just returned from this hotel that is stunningly beautiful inside and outside with modern african touches everywhere from wallhangings to piantings in the "zebra " bar., shell and flower decorations and a glass floor in the entrance with fish swimming under it!! The Indaian ocean is just moments away through shaded areas , grass roofed bars and numerous luxurious sunbeds, Unfortunately the perfect image stops there! The reception staff are unhelpful and sometimes rude, expecting guests to make phone calls to sort trips out etcand unhelpful when presented with problems about the rooms. We experienced problems with being charged for meals we had not had so if you charge things to your room check carefully when pay ing they also are inclined to say they ha ve no change for any note you have, convert prices to dollars at strange exchange rates! and generally expect you to be very generous with your money. Food in the evening was frequently cold and the plates never hot or even warm , we made several complaints after a fish evening that resulted in 7 of us eating hardly anything except pancakes ( these are made fresh so a safe bet) , managers appear to have little power and we felt overall management ruled by fear. There was some improvement at the end of the holiday with the meals but the staff did little to encourage guests to stay in bar areas or use the excellent japanese restaurant - a very small discount was given if eating here- The bedrooms were average with finishes in the bathrooms poor, ask for robes they will eventually arrive! Sheets used were bobbly and quite uncomfortable - certainly not 5 star. Safari to the Masai Mari - we flew - was fantastic and we were lucky enough to have two guides and one jeep for us both most of the time. ( Somak) We stayed in Serena Lodge and enjoyed it all from the early morning rides, sunsets, and rhino hunting to the hippos outside the room at 1.00 a.m.!- they eat grass very noisely!, food here good and coffee and tea were constantly available. Buy gifts here as there is no bartering, hated the system in the shops as nothing has a price. Beach boys could be a nuisance and it was hard to know who was genuine, we left pens, paper etc at thje local orphanage ask Tony from the animation team to take you there, only a few minutes from the hotel but not safe to go alone, in fact you cant really go out - certainly not at night except to very local shops and then still get hassled. Good time of year to go we thouight no insects to bite us, not too hot, and plenty of sunbeds!. The spa was good with staff there very welcoming - are they under diffferent management? - Overall generally felt the money had been ploughed into the building and not the service - better management with more experience would help make this stunning hotel first class , dont expect to go out for a stroll though!"
- Travel date: Fri 1st of September 2006
Dont expect a five star hotel
"We booked this hotel on the back of the reviews posted on this site, as we have done so many times before. The main plus of the hotel was the food. There were four cooking stations, where food was cooked freshly for you, and the standards were superb. Apart from daily pasta dishes, roasts (the beef was knockout) and a bar b que station there were other tureens of hot tasty dishes. The chefs were always happy and everything was immaculate. The deserts were also very good and our boys loved the freshly cooked pancakes and choc sauce! The waiting staff could be slow and the service deteriorated somewhat when the hotel started to get busy, we waited over an hour for our lunch in an almost empty restaurant. We too met others on the way home who had severe food poisoning from other hotels, so food hygiene should be a serious consideration when you are visiting kenya, on this front the hotel wins hands down.
The public areas of the hotel are also exceptionally clean and very asthetically pleasing. Lots of space and very airy. There is also a great little cake shop for an afternoon nibble! Unlike some, we did not find the prices of drink too expensive and our bill at the end of the 12 night stay was remarkably low, yes you could buy beer from the local supermarket cheeply, but the prices didnt drive us to do so. Our lads (11 and 13) loved the kids club which had various playstations, table tennis, snooker etc and the animation staff were superb with them, arranging football and volleyball on the beach. The beach front is beautifull and clean.
The Spa was good and gave one of the best massages I have had anywhere. Prices were similar to back home, Â£40 - Â£50, but we were told the best places to get your treatments were on safari where the costs were half the price.
Ok, so theres the positives, unfortunately for us they ended there. The rooms were basic, unimaginative and the cleaning service was not great (i had to strip the bed one day to make sure that it was changed by the maid) Bedlinen and pillows were cheap and bobbly. We also had a few items of clothing dissapear(be careful on the last day) We were told we would have a sea view and changed rooms to another room, from where about a square inch of beach was visible. We later found out that just about everyone had changed room,as they seem top offer you the worst rooms first in the hope you will take them. The main manager was indifferent and had obviously came across this scenario on numerous occasions!
Despite the fact the hotel was not full, it was not easy to get a place by the pool as there was always towels over the beds first thing in the morning, so if your an early riser you will do ok. Two days before we came home our son badly sliced his knee on the pool edge and had to be taken to hospital for stitches. On close inspection large areas of the pool eges were dangerous and had tiles missing etc. Remedial work started to the edges the day after the accident so it may be safer by now.
We were always by the beach and the beds and umbrellas were good and relatively well spaced for privacy. The only thing is the beach boys who pester the living daylights out of you. Yes they have to make a living and yes they are living in dire poverty, but we found that no matter what you gave them, including the shirt of your back, it was never enough. Please be carefull when going into the sea, the first few meters are fine when the tide is in, but further out the place is loaded with sea urchins. We witnessed several people with foot injuries from either these or stone fish. The snorkeling is certainly not worthwhile in this area, there are few fish to be seen and the reef is almost dead. We were told by another family that even the snorkelling out at the national park was very poor compared to places like thailand. The watersports centre which is in the hotel grounds send the staff out to try and get business so expect a few visits from them, prices are reasonable but haggling will get you a few quid off the jet skis etc. Dont bother with the glass bottom boat theres little to see and the viewing area is tiny.
Evening entertainment is dire! But kinda comical too. There is little to do in the evening but as the season picks up this may change. By the end of the holiday we were looking forward to going home, which is a first for us. Book a safari to break up the time, it is well worthwhile and the mian reason we went on holiday to Kenya.
Also if you are up for it there are lots of schools/orphanages that will appreciate pens, paper etc, limit the sweets and take toothbrushes for the children. Nico, barman, in the Sands nightclub told us of an orphanage in his village, which we went to see and we are planning to set up a support network back home. Would we return? No, the hotel and what it has to offer was not enough to entice us back."
- Travel date: Sun 16th of July 2006
Loved this hotel
"My family and I spent two wonderful weeks at the Diani Reef Beach hotel we stayed 24/05/06 - 07/06/06. We had a fantastic stay the hotel was immaculate. It has been recently refurbished so everything brand new and clean. However, a positive for us was the hotel was only 50% full so we never had to queue for anything etc. We stayed in rooms 4045 & 4046 these were interconnecting rooms as we had our two boys aged 9 & 11 with us, they were sea facing rooms. The rooms had plenty of space and the air conditioning was great, in fact on several occasions it got too cold. Every day the maid serviced the room and we had no problems with anything going missing etc. The highlight of the day was at 5.30pm the Monkey's would arrive on the balcony waiting for food or treats (we later found out you shouldn't feed the Monkey's, as they can scratch, however, these Monkey's were very friendly). There was a mother holding her tiny baby which was so lovely to see. Around 7pm the Bush Babies came to the Balcony, they are so cute!! I used to read my book with a class of wine before we went to dinner, with a Bush Baby sat at my side.
A tip would be to bring some wine with you, I brought with us a box of wine which kept cold in the fridge. A glass of wine is approx Â£3.30 in the hotel. You can buy wine from a small shop, which is nearby but I couldn't tell you what the quality would be like. The shop sells beer which is approx 40 pence in the shop but expect to pay around Â£2 in the hotel.
Another positive I never saw one mosquito - they spray the hotel twice a week, so none of us got bit at the hotel.
The staff at this hotel were incredible so very friendly. I can honestly say I believe they were totally genuine. Amos the chappie who gave out the pool towels was just lovely as was each and every one of them. The main pool was clean, however, for those with children they have taken down the water slide. The reason they gave was health and safety. The second pool was being refurbished so I guess this would be good. There was plenty of sunbeds and they were comfortable and clean. The beach was lovely and you didn't get harassed very much by the beach boys as the guards would send them away. Beach boys were a problem for guests staying down the beach at the Southern Palms. The gardens and grounds were lovely with Monkeys running around, very well maintained.
Restaurants were good and the food was great, however, we do like spicy food and we had that in abundance. The Chefs were very clean and on some dishes they prepared it in front of you. The Head Chef would keep a check on the buffet and send anything back he thought was not up too scratch. On the day we were leaving a top European Chef was due to arrive. None of us got any tummy problems - I know that some people we met on holiday were staying in a hotel nearby and they got food poisoning.
Entertainment in the evening was ok, however, we sometimes met up with friends at a quieter bar, but the children enjoyed the various acts.
The children's club was brand new with t.v.s and playstations, pool, table tennis, ice hockey etc. As the hotel only had a handful of children staying there wasn't much activities organised for them - however - they had a fantastic time without this.
Safari, we booked an excellent 2 night 3 day Safari with DM Tours - we booked this before we left the email address is [-]dreamkenyasafaris[-] and ask for Judy Thorn. We booked a jeep just to accommodate our family and the driver was Teeto - he was just incredible and so knowledgeable. I felt very safe with him as our driver. Some people booked with the Beach Boys, but this was never a consideration as we were travelling with our young sons. We managed to see nearly every animal - and the accommodation was the best they had on safari. It cost us approx Â£225 each and 50% discount for the boys.
Whilst we were at the hotel we booked one of the hotel taxi drivers for a day who took us to their local village, wonderful!!! Just remember to bring sweets and gifts for the children - they were so smiley and appreciated the gifts we bought.
What can I say, I could go on for ever,,, as you can tell we had a super time. I certainly think this was the best hotel in the area as some of the hotel on route didn't look anywhere near as nice - we generally book long haul and have travelled to many places, however, Kenya will always have a special place in our hearts. If you require any further information please feel free to email me Maxine."
- Travel date: Tue 4th of July 2006
The upgraded rooms are amazing
"We had our honeymoon at the Diani Reef in January 2006. We upgraded to the premium room, which was fantastic - large sofa's in the living room, a bar, a dining table, a huge bed and a jaccuzzi bathroom with double sinks. The hotel was wonderful, of a high standard and very relaxing with primarily couples. There were fresh flowers and intricate carvings everywhere. We did visit the spa in the hotel which is also exceptional, having a special couples treatment room, although it was a little pricey! There are plenty of bars and restaraunts and the quality of the food and drink is good, with most food being freshly prepared for you. The Tepanaki restaraunt was certainly the highlight and where we decided to spend our 2 week anniversary. As well as a three day safari we went out of the hotel to several different restaruants and would highly recommend getting out. Kenya is a magical country with some wonderful people. There are only a few things that were less than perfect 1. The administration of the front desk was slow and sometimes inaccurate 2. There is a strip of public beach between the hotel's private beach and the sea. This area was constantly prowled by local peddlers and we couldn't take a paddle in the sea without getting severely harranged! 3. Tipping is a way of life and a huge supplement to low wages, as such we found ourselves tipping for everything - we even tipped the front desk when he pulled our bill together! That said none of these minor things can take away from a wonderful experience and unforgettable honeymoon."
- Travel date: Sat 15th of April 2006
An amazing holiday!
"We have recently returned from a holiday which we spent 2 weeks at Diani reef resort and spa. We had the most amazing 2 weeks and by far the best holiday in both our experiences!
We spent equal amounts of time around both the beach and poolside which have beautiful surroundings due to the grounds staff keeping the trees, plants and palm trees looking presentable. We did encounter the problem of the 'other' nationalities (as another reviewer quite rightly named them!) putting their towels on beds and silly o' clock in the morning but we managed to find a bed most days.
The staff at Diani reef are very pleasant and always polite no matter what time of the day and considering they work very long hours it was nice to see .
We decided to go on a safari but rather than pay the travel operator aprox Â£1000 we decided to find a travel operator outside the hotel on recommendation from another couple staying at the hotel. We went with "Roge travel" (about 2 mile taxi ride outside the hotel) and we had a 1 night, 2 day safari in the masai mara for 2 people at Â£500. It was the most amazing experience and well worth venturing outside the hotel to try the Kenyan local tour providers. We were looked after from the moent of being picked up taken to the air-strip, picked up the other end in masai and taken to a lovely camp site where we stayed and then met on return to Diani. This safari really made our holiday that little bit more special and we would definately recommend it.
We have already made the decision that we will more than likely return to Diani reef at some point over the next couple of years, an all round great holiday!"
- Travel date: Wed 29th of March 2006
Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, Kenya was great
"I spent two weeks at the Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa in Kenya in February 2006 and can highly recommend the resort. The refurbishment mentioned in some of the reviews is still ongoing, but does not affect your peace. The design and layout of the resort are very tasteful and authentic and this is by far the best hotel on Diane Beach.
The beach is beautiful, but due to the nature of the coral reef and its tide, it is difficult to swim. You can, however, walk further up the beach towards Tiwi, where you will find the beach and water much more pleasant.
Contrary to other reports I did not find the beach boys a menace. They do approach you, but also respect a "No". In general I was amazed by the friendliness of the Kenyan people.
Our local tour rep did everything in her power to discourage us from using the local beach boys for booking excursions, but some of my fellow guest recommended that I should book my Safari through one of the local agencies.
I followed the advice and had two wonderful days at the Governors' Camp in Masai Mara. If you wish to save some money on your excursions I can highly recommend that you contact BeckerSafaris on the web.
In addition I booked an excursion to Shimoni and Wasini Island. The snorkelling is excellent in the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park.
If you like me are a keen snorkeller, please do not bother with the local snorkelling trips from Diani Beach. The coral reef is dead and there are no fishes to be seen.
Other people have mentioned that the slow service is an issue, but I would argue that this is easily made up for by the excellent food and facilities of the resort. I stayed in a standard room and it was nice and bright and fresh bed linen and towels were provided on a daily basis. Please be advised that not all rooms have sea view.
I did not find the food and drink to be too pricy. I noticed that only very few guests made use of the beautiful Spa and would advise the management at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa to review their prices for the treatments as they seem quite excessive.
The challenge is to leave the beautiful resort and your sun bed in order to explore the amazing country of Kenya."
- Travel date: Wed 22nd of March 2006
Good Hotel but needs some attention to staff
"Good Hotel referbished to a high standard in Kenyan standards, needs some work on food and staffing problems, when all this is sorted out will be a 5* at the moment I would grade this hotel as a 3*plus."
- Travel date: Mon 20th of March 2006
A very comfortable and friendly hotel.
"We stayed at the Diani Reef Hotel & Spa in Jan 2006 and had a really wonderful time. The service was a little slow but this is typical of the way of life in Kenya and you should not expect things to be done as fast as you would at home. The staff get paid a pittance and work very long hours and are so very friendly so it's not worth getting impatient or rude.
We stayed in a standard room - very comfortable with free bottles of mineral water every day, and bath robes, slippers etc. Got a bit fed up with the limited TV channels (CNN, BBC World, Discovery and some sports channels)but you are not there for watching the TV! Would not bother getting an upgrade as the rooms are bigger and more difficult to keep col with the air conditioning.
Drinks at the hotel were fairly priced for a posh hotel. I would rate the hotel as a UK rating of 3-4* rather than 5* but in Kenyan standards it was luxurious.
The only issue was getting sunbeds by the pool - "other" nationalities notorious for getting their towels by the pool first in the morning lived truly up to their reputation! We had to get up by 7.30 every morning to have a chance at two sunbeds under a shade. Shades were hard to come by and there were not enough to go around in the hot sun.
Overall though, a memorable holiday - if you get the chance you MUST do a safari - Tsavo East was fantastic."
- Travel date: Fri 3rd of February 2006