12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
We visited Pinewood in March and found i...
"We visited Pinewood in March and found it to be a very good place to stay. The staff were very friendly, nothing was to much trouble if you asked. The food was fine with a good choice, well prepared and presented, we enjoyed it so much we are returning in 2008. On the down side it is quite a long transfer from the airport, on some of the worse roads you can imagine and the ferry crossing can be quite intimidating if your travelling alone, but my wife and I think it was well worth the effort."
- Travel date: 1st January 2008
Not at all pleased with this hotel... so...
"Not at all pleased with this hotel... sold as a first class hotel, but in my view it was not. We spent 10 nights wondering why we were getting so many insect bites, thinking they were mosquito bites, but it turned out that our bed was infested with bed bugs which the rep diplomatically called ants. After the mattress was changed we did not have any more bites, but there are sand flies on the beach and many people were very badly bitten by them. On a positive note the staff are friendly and the food is not too bad, although I did find all the meat on offer was very tough. Fish was a better choice. We had a junior suite with a personal chef and waiter. The range of dishes to choose from was limited, but the portions were very large. Lobster and king prawns were extra. If you did not have your own chef the restaurant food looked reasonable. Breakfast was OK. The swimming pool was used by the water sports centre for training divers and we did find them a great nuisance. Some days there could be 20 divers plus instructors in the pool - all day. Other days it might be for just a few hours. People came from other hotels on the coast to learn to dive and used our pool. I would not return to this hotel, but some people did seem to like it and had been a few times."
- Travel date: 26th July 2007
Pinewood Village - The Best
"We stayed at the Pinewood Village for 2 weeks in March 2006. The package was booked through Thomsons, but we arranged our wedding direct with the resort. This was our first trip to Kenya and we will certainly return. Pinewood Village really is a "paradise" location. Their motto is "a special place for special people" and I can only add "with special staff." We chose the option of a suite where our personal chef prepared wonderful food each evening. At Pinewood we felt so relaxed. The staff make you feel special and they will go out of their way to make your stay memorable. The beach is soft white and on your doorstep, the hotel pool is warm and the swim up bar is the place to chat awhile and just chill with a wide grin on your face. The wedding was arranged with professional courtesy and the excellent general manager arranged a photographer who provided a dvd. There was entertainment at the resort about 3 times a week, on the other evenings we would wander down to the beach bar and chat away to people who become friends. The bar staff are highly entertaining and their knowledge of football is prolific. We can't rate this resort highly enough. As we left a refurb was due to be carried out which will only enhance the luxury of Pinewood. As we finish this review we can only wish that we were still there!"
- Travel date: 28th December 2006
give me a Dawa
"Where to start .. we arrived with the knowledge we were getting married on the beach on Friday and could not have had a more beautiful experience. The Managers and Staff all made us feel very special and they were so proud we'd chosen their beautiful hotel and Kenya for our wedding. I have travelled all over the world but definitely will be returning to Kenya very soon and to Pinewood to see our good friends. Food, grounds, accomodation and friendliness of everyone we met there have put this above the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius and the Caribbean for us. I cannot thank everyone there enough for a magical time .. and I hear you're now growing your own vegetables that the guests can choose for supper .. what more can I say? To Alnoor and Ronnie .. the best was there .. sounds like you've found a little more for us all. Sue and Carl"
- Travel date: 28th December 2006
"A lovely, cosy hotel. Not as big as the most hotels in the neighbourhood, but with at least equal standards. We had a splendid time in Pinewood Village. The servants are most friendly and helpfull. They did their job not only very professional, but also with a personal touch. The swimming pool was cleaned every day although we thought there was no need to do so. We often used the bar and kitchen over there, loving the drinks and food. On the beach we had splendid evening meals with local attractions. One late afternoon we experienced a wedding ceremony of an english couple. The restaurant also offered an unbelievable high culinary standard. My wife was almost every day in the beauty salon, enjoying professional and most friendly treatment. The comfortable rooms were nicely decorated with art and surrounded by most beautiful gardens. We would recommend Pinewood Village as a heavenly resort with great service at the Kenyan Coast! We certainly will come back to that lovely paradise."
- Travel date: 23rd December 2006
Pinewood Village...... what a gem!
"I just thought this place was fantastic. The staff (particularly Salim) just couldnt do enough to make sure I was comforatble happy and enjoying myself. The food was delicious, the rooms were quite basic but spotless and very comfortable (they were also about to do a lot of refurb work as shortly after I left), The staff work tirelessly and always have smiles on their faces. The facilities close by are adequate with some nightlife just down the road but far enough away to never intrude on the tranquility of this stunning spot. The beaches are to die for and the clientele were also very firendly making this opne of my most favorite holidays. I have never wanted to stay on at a place more. I will definitley be going back. The perfect place to take a loved one or spend a honeymoon!!!"
- Travel date: 20th December 2006
A most unforgetable holiday!!
"Visited Pinewood Nov 2005 I Had previously stayed at the resort 5-6 times, visiting once or twice a year and had always praised Pinewood. Since the last visit 12 months ago (Nov 2004) the complex had deteriorated as the managers had changed. Was given a downstairs room which was dark no natural light as I couldnt open the wooden loover doors as the was no glass doors. The was no security as the was a flimsy floor lock one push and the door would open. The room was damp, musty, all my clothes felt damp I developed a wheezy tight chest, due to the damp I Have never suffered this condition before. Spoke to management about the room they said they would change room but nothing happened eventually the rep managed to change room 5-6 days into the holiday. The room was a great improvement light and airy. When we went down to the beach bar at nighttime we were told the was a lot of rats running on the bar worksurface were the was cut limes ready for the drinks and glasses ready for use. I didnt believe this at first until I saw them I had never experienced this in the 14 years I have been visiting this area. People were taking pictures on their mobile phones. One rat ran past my foot to the sand garden. One night it was so bad that the 4 guests at the bar left the area and went to the reception area to complain. One evening when I went from my lounge into the kitchen the was a rat running on the kitchen worksurface you can imagine my reaction. When I spoke to the owner about the rats he informed me that rats were not vermin and did not spread disease he laughed at me when I suggested this The beach and gardens have a lot of sand flies i had too many bites to count unfortunently I must have a allergic reaction to them as they caused blisters. I will not be returning to Pinewood, and 3 couples we had meet there each Novenber said they would also not returning. This November 2006 have been to Diani area and stayed in a 1st class hotel"
- Travel date: 12th December 2006
absolutely perfect - honeymoon
"We stayed at Pinewood Village for 2 weeks in August for our honeymoon. We took a safari in the middle, so stayed 2 nights, then 3 night safary then back for another 9 nights at the resort. It was absolutely perfect for us, a get-away-from-it-all kind of place. The road to the resort itself is very bumpy, down a path away from the rest of the hotels. But the journey is well worth it. When we arrived they brought us a cocktail each, the check-in was hassle free and they arranged a porter to carry our bags to our rooms. We had booked a suite with personal chef for the duration of our stay, and I'm so glad that we did. The rooms are spacious, consisting of bedroom, bathroom, large living area, a kitchen for use of the personal chef mainly and a verandah looking out over the gardens where the mokeys kept popping up! Food wise, we had breakfast in the main restaurant - help yoursefl, and there was loads of choice, cooked brekkie, cereal, toast, juice!! Then lunch you could have either from the snack bar by the pool or down by the beach where they have a proper clay oven for making the best pizzas I have ever tasted! They do pasta, chicken, burgers, chips, salads, you name it! All delicious, especially the burger and those yummy pizzas!!! Then in the evening we had our personal chef or for those without, you have a help-yourself meal at the restaurant. With the personal chef, there is a very long menu to choose from or you can always request something different, you choose in the day and the chef goes away to buy all the ingredients fresh, inc. all meat/fish and veg. Then she would arrive at about 4pm to start cooking and you can choose what time to be served. Every night was absolutely delicious, but I can recommend the crab claws or the veg soup to start and the veg pie or the snapper with pancakes to finish! The portions are huge but be warned, anything spicy is extremely spicy - Indian influences!! Two nights a week they had BBQ evenings down at the beach which everyone was asked to attend. Each night there was entertainment, Maasai dancers, local dancers ot acrobats - all brilliant! The resort was relatively quiet when we were there, mainly filled with couple although there were two families there with this extremely annoying canadian boy who shouted all the time! I think everyone was glad when they left. I would never recommend this place for children as there is nothing to entertain them there. It is suited mostly to couples or people looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday. We had a bit of rain most days, and when it rained it poured down! But it was tropical rain, so still warm and it went away as soon as it started. The rest of the time it was lovely, perfect beach/pool weather, not too hot that you can't sit in it for long but warm enough to have a tan! The all-inclusive package was well worth it I would say. We didn't have to worry about money at all, anything that was not included was signed for and then you had a bill at the end of your stay. Most things are included - all food, water, juices, beer, cocktails and house spirits and wine. I drank cocktails most days, very nice, and we had wine in the evening, When we got bored of the house wine we did splash out, but it was all very resonable. They also did tatsy milkshakes which weren't included but well worth the few pennies they cost! We had a complimentary massage due to being a honeymoon couple which was quite nice after being on safari, though the woman I had was quite rough! My husband had a more pleasurable time! The beach is very quiet, only one beach boy who approached us only once during our stay. He has a hut selling some lovely things, but mostly it's very quiet - supposedly very different to other resorts up the road! Next door there is a water sports centre and we decided to give jet skiing a go! It was excellent apart from the bit where we got caught in a massive wave and hubbie got thrown off into the ocean. Apart from that it's an experience I will never forget. The people at the centre know their stuff and there's loads to choose from! We didn't leave the resort once apart from the safari, and didn't feel the need to. The shop there is very expensive so get any gifts/souvenirs on your safari or if not going on safari take a trip if you can. We got everything in the Maasai village we went to see. This is definitely the best holiday I have ever been on, and Pinewood Village was perfect for us."
- Travel date: 5th December 2006
Restful and intimate resort
"We booked Pinewood Village Beach resort as a last minute holiday. Having been on safari earlier in the year the holiday was intended to be a beach holiday, just to relax. Pinewood Village was exactly what we needed. It is an informal hotel, there are small apartment blocks with approx 6 apartments per block. The rooms are basic but clean and comfortable with lovely views of the resort from the balconies. The resort is well cared for, with beautiful gardens that look natural and are well inhabited by the wildlife which ranges from very loud frogs and hornbills to colobus and other kinds of monkeys. We also enjoyed the company of the 5 kittens and exceptionally good mother cat that joins the guests for breakfast (on invitation). Coffee can be taken on the restaurant veranda overlooking a pond that is the home to a large group of weaver birds. These gorgeous golden birds are fascinating, they are skilled craftsmen who start weaving a perfect round nest in the morning and are a good way to finishing it by the evening. Food at Pinewood is ok, daytime food is served by the pool or in the beach restaurant and ranges from burgers (and greasy chips), to salads - but the best food is the pizza as they make them in the pizza fire to order. Evening meals are usually buffett style with themed nights such as Barbeque, Chinese, Indian as well as African meals - stews, joints, vegetable dishes etc. Sometime you would prefer to order from the menu and by the end of the week we were looking forward to something a little more plain at home. (We greatly enjoyed the spaghetti bolognaise on the last night!). Service at the beach restaurant can be very slow! The staff are very friendly, most of them say 'Jambo' to you (several times a day!). The beach is excellent a very long white sandy beach with very few traders. The pool is good, its easy to order a drink, there is a swim up bar. The only down side to this hotel is the constant bill signing, when you are on an all-inclusive tariff this does seem a bit ridiculous - especially signing individually for each drink and food order. Even if they just ask you to sign as you place or receive the order, as if you forget, a member of staff will come looking for you which seems very inefficient. The resort is clean, the towells do need replacing. But all in all this is a lovely resort, very peaceful, intimate and informal. We went on the Pilli Pippa trip and did see some Dolphins, the snorkelling is excellent and the guides were fantastic - checking that we knew how to fit and use the snorkels, making sure everyone was ok, safe and happy. They swim with you and point out interesting marine life -we saw moray eels, a stingray and other guests saw a large turtle. Lunch was served on a lovely nearby island. The ladies serving lunch bought out the food and sang a lovely African song before explaining the menu which was fantastic. Be careful to cover up with a tshirt as its near on impossible to get out of the sun - I also got sunstroke so make sure you are prepared!!! On our final day we took a trip to the nearby Colobus Trust. The receptionist called them and they came to collect us. The work they do at the Colobus trust is excellent - they take care of monkeys needing treatment (after road or electric cable accidents). They educate the locals and plant trees to regenerate the forest and they do other activities to protect the monkeys such as putting up the well used ladders that stretch across the road for the monkeys to cross on. The guide was really interesting not just explaining what the Trust do but also talking about the medicinal values of the plants and trees. For a one week holiday this was fantastic. Pinewood Village is highly recommended for a good break. You will come away feeling relaxed (my usual neck and shoulder ache has completely disappeared)."
- Travel date: 25th October 2006
"We stayed at Pinewood for 2 weeks in September this year, and found absolutely no fault with the hotel at all! Our trip was a honeymoon for our friends who had asked us to come along and enjoy the break with them (strange but true, I know!). After a long time travelling, we finally made it to the hotel at around 2.00 in the afternoon. Be warned, the "road" leading to the hotel is full of holes...all in all a very bumpy experience, but the good news is that you get used to it! We were welcomed at the reception with huge smiles and a much needed drink. Once we had checked in we were taken to our rooms and our suitcases followed shortly afterwards. The rooms were basic but clean and comfortable which is all you can ask for. After all, how much time do you spend in your room anyway?! The only down side was that there was very little storage space for clothes, and being someone who prefers to unpack their entire suitcase on the first day, it proved to be a challenge that I could not meet! We had fresh flowers on our bed every day, and the air con would be switched on for you at about 2pm every day if you weren't in the room, so you were greeted with a lovely cool room after spending the day by the pool. The pool area was quiet, clean and so relaxing. There is a fantastic swim up bar, and the waiters will bring your drinks over to your lounger if you're feeling too lazy to carry them yourself! Lunch can also be served at the pool (and also at the beach bar), and the menu caters for most tastes. The pizza in particular was very good, but you can also have salads, toasted sandwiches, pasta and so on. The beach is stunning, but the sea is not so good for swimming in. The water is very warm, but the sea bed is quite uneven and the sand gets churned up quite a bit so you can't see the bottom which is a real shame. We did get approached by the beach sellers, but we assured them that if they didn't hassle us for the 2 weeks we were there, we would go and buy something from them at the end of the holiday. This seemed to work...they still came and had a chat with you, but wouldn't try to sell you their wares. And we kept our word and went to see them on our last couple of days which they seemed to appreciate. Be prepared to barter long and hard for anything they're selling. We ended up paying half the original price, and even used a pair of shoes and some clothes as currency! Both breakfast and dinner were served in the main restaurant, and we enjoyed all of the meals that were served to us. Evening meals are varied as they do theme nights which include Mongolian, Swahili and Indian food nights, as well as a beach BBQ twice a week. We had no complaints with the food, and there were a couple of fussy eaters in our party! All of the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. They will love to teach you their language, so make the effort to pick up the lingo whilst you're there and you'll have a friend for life. We did a 3 day safari whilst we were there which we had booked independently. We stayed at the Porini Mara Camp, booked through Gamewatchers Safaris. A wonderful experience which I won't go into now, but please take the time to look at Gamewatchers website as the camp was fantastic (only six tents in the camp, so a maximum of 12 people at any one time). We also stayed a night at the Ndovu Bonde treehouse...again it was out of this world. Quite possibly the most surreal but fantastic place we have ever experienced. If you get the chance, you must stay here. We could easily have stayed another night there. So all in all, we really did the have the holiday of a lifetime. If you want somewhere small, intimate, friendly and quiet, you really have to go to Pinewood Village. We would definitely go back, and have recommended it to many people already!"
- Travel date: 14th October 2006
"My husband and I stayed at Pinewood for 2 weeks this time. The resort is 3* and does not pretend to be anything more. It is at the end of the Diani road in Galu. It's away from the "tourist traps" of Diani and a bit isolated - so it's for those who don't want that stuff. The plus point is that the beach is still relatively free of beach boys and you can still wander along the beach without being accosted endlessly by "curio sellers". Go to Chris in his hut on the beach and organise to buy anything you might want from him (he'll also make stuff to order) and you'll basically be left alone the rest of your stay. The rooms are large and airy and have more than enough space to spread out in (in our case diving gear!). I love the white painted floors! The bedrooms are air-conditioned, which makes them a haven in the near 100% humidity. The beds are firm and comfortable and HUGE - The best is the wrap around mosquito nets! The bathrooms are also large and, though showing their age, are clean (The Owner did mention that the bathrooms are all due for a revamp and re-fit this year when they go into off-season in May). The balconies are deep and shady, with lounge chairs to sit out in the early mornings or late evenings. We paid a suplement this time and got a sea-facing room, and it was worth every penny we paid extra! The view was postcard perfect (see photo) and the sea breeze made the balcony the nicest place to relax with sundowners. Two rooms share a huge balcony, which was great as we had friends staying in the room next to ours - but make friends with your neighbours if you don't know them on arrival! They have 4 sea-facing rooms and 2 sea-facing suites. There are two meal options: Half-board - you stay in an en-suite room and breakfast and dinner are included - taken in the resort dining room. Full-Board - You stay in a suite, you get your own chef, meals served in your suite and all meals and drinks are included. (note that there are certain drinks and dishes that incur a surcharge!) We prefer to go the Half-Board route as we find it more sociable to have our meals together with other guests - who quickly become friends. Also we prefer to be upstairs as the views are nicer, even in the garden view rooms, and they catch more of the breezes which makes it cooler on the balconies. The resort has 3 bars - one in the main buildings at the diningroom and lounge (where there is a TV and large collection of books), a pool bar which is the hub of socialising during the day, and the beach bar which is the place where everyone gathers after dinner to talk about the activities of the day and plans for tomorrow. The water-sport centre, Aqualand, is right next to the beach bar. They offer kite-surfing, scuba diving and snorkelling, jet-skis, deep sea fishing etc. We did all our diving with Southern Cross Scuba at Aqualand - great people and a good operation. Max 6 divers to a DM and Hamisi is the best - we're convinced he's got gills as he uses 40 bar on the same dive we all use 150 on!! Also, he is the best one to have introduce you to diving - he is such a gentle soul and has immense patience - he got one of our friends diving with us and she is afraid of water!!! The reps for Southern Cross Safaris and other tour operators all visit the resort every day, so finding something to do is not a problem. We found some of the prices for activities a bit steep, but it was high season and the prices all over were a little crazy. We skipped the trip to Shimoni and the Kisite marine park this time as the prices were much higher than last year, even though the diving is better. We did do the Tamarind Dhow trip twice (once for lunch and once for dinner) and the price hadn't changed at all. We also spoiled ourselves for our wedding anniversary and went up to Novu Bonde in the Shimba Hills for the night - WOW!!! If you can, just do it!! One tip for the trips out to Mombassa etc - pay a little more and get a private hire trip (your own driver and private vehicle)... The heat will get to you and you might want to get back early and with a private hire you can make up your mind to do what you want to and not be herded along with a group. We prefer to be off the beaten track a little, at a place that is intimate and friendly, a place where yo are not just a "number - this is Pinewood... the guests all greet each other and become friends, the staff know you by name and treat you like one of the family - and it is the staff that take Pinewood from the average into the exceptional."
- Travel date: 5th March 2006
Can't fault Pinewood!
"My partner and I found Pinewood whilst surfing on the net back in March 05 and whilst we thought we'd never better our trips to the Maldives, we thought we'd give Kenya a go for a change. We like small, intimate, quiet places to stay on our holidays, and Pinewood is all that and more. And boy, does Kenya challenge the Maldives! January was VERY quiet guest wise at Pinewood, although hotels on the main drag of Diani Beach were full - we had a max of 47% capacity whilst we were there - maybe 15 people around the pool on a 'busy' day! It picks up again in February so those who like a more social holiday might want to give January a miss. We booked thru' Thomson but we are going back in January 2008 and plan to travel independently as you don't need to go all inclusive unless you REALLY like your booze and food on holiday - the beer is 150KS kenyan shilling a bottle (Tusker Malt is nicer than Tusker), soft drinks 60KS and a spirit/mixer around 120KS and a good lunch around 500KS - less than a fiver. I think half board would suffice for most people. We did go for a suite with chef though (which you have to pay a supplement for if you book direct or want to upgrade from half board booked thru' a tour operator) which is a really nice idea - we didn't eat in the main restaurant at night so can't comment on the food there but the BBQ's are pretty good. The breakfast wasn't brilliant (OK but not 'wow') but you can make up for that at lunch and dinner! This isn't a 'beach' holiday - the beach is pretty deserted up at the Pinewood end of Galu Beach - you might take a stroll or a quick dip but you don't find anyone sunbathing at all - a) its too hot (in January anyway) and there is no shade at all and b) you have the beach boys (sellers) to contend with. They are friendly enough, but they can be a bit of a pain if you just fancy a quiet stroll as they can't resist coming to talk to you / try to sell you stuff EVERY time you step out onto the beach. I'd suggest go out before 9am or wait until after 6pm when they tend not to be around! However, the 10 or so guys who are based near Pinewood pale into insignificence compared to the 200 or so down the beach at Diani! It is apparently pretty awful down there if you want to venture onto the beach and security guards from the hotels are out there in force to stop you from being mobbed. The sea at Galu Beach is quite rough and tidal, and sometimes strong currents but its v v warm so take at least a couple of dips! If you are based at Pinewood for 2 weeks (rather than stopping off there after a week on safari), definitely do some trips. Trips we'd recommend are Tsavo East / Saltlick Safari - 2 very long dusty days but absolutely worth it. We saw almost every animal the reserve has to offer - including 2 kills from stalking to the kill by lionesses and their cubs, a male lion guarding his kill and a cheetah - all within 30ft of the vehicle. You stay at Saltlick Lodge and if you want to see Elephants (and other animals) up close this is the place to go - its simply amazing. They have a ground level 'look out' and if you get your timing right, you could be within inches of an elephant. The drive back from Saltlick to Pinewood is over 5hrs so beware but it is bareable - just! And beware - if you're offered the chance to go see a 'village' on the way back, its more of a tourist theme park - it'll cost you 1000KS to get in, and it looked very 'set up' to us. Might be your cup of tea but ..... We also had a night at the treehouse (Nduvo Bonde) which is just awesome. We got it thrown in as we booked with Thomson, but we've heard a rumour that if you book 3 nights @ Pinewood direct, you get one at the treehouse free anyway..... Won't spoil it for you but you HAVE to go there if you want to experience something totally unique and quite romantic to boot! One of the staff might offer to take you to the local village which REALLY IS a local village - it won't cost you anything to 'get in'! Might be an idea to donate some money to the local school - we left 3000KS for them to buy paper and pens etc - or of course take something useful out to Kenya with you to give out to the kids (pads of paper, pens/felt tips, colouring books, satchel type bags, even flip flops or clothes). We were also taken to the local 'pub' which was quite an experience..... Also did the Lost Paradise Dhow/Dinner trip - the boat trip to watch the sunset is OK - maybe a tad long, but the meal afterwards is very good - costs Â£44 per person and you get 5 courses including lobster, plus drink on the boat.... All in all, our trip to Kenya was awesome and Pinewood played a big part of that. If you stay here, read the story of how Pinewood came about - it really gives it a feeling of being something more than just another hotel. Pinewood has a real heart to it and it a labour of love for the couple who designed and built it. They are often there at the weekends so go chat to them - Nafisa is a lovely woman and sometimes works in the little shop in reception. She also paints all the paintings in the rooms - one of which we loved so much we bought it! I'd challenge anyone not to find Pinewood a refreshing change to your normal 'beach front hotel' experience. Its small, unique and the effort and devotion the owners put into keeping it that way is clear to see. I can't imagine why anyone would want to stay at a sprawling resort up the beach at Diani with hundreds of people spoiling the tranquility of your holiday!......."
- Travel date: 12th February 2006
Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa is also called
- Pinewood Village Hotel
- pinewood village beach hotel
- pinewood village beach ukunda