14 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"What a gorgeous place. Weather amazingly hot. staff all very friendly and have a vast knowledge of where to go , What to do etc.
This was my first ever trip to Afirca and the people at Southern Palms made myself and my new wife feel at home and made for a very enjoyable holiday.
I would highly recommended this hotel jsut for the scenery and general relaxed feel about the place. We were well looked after but tipping is always advised (not expected) as it gets you a more personal service. Eventhough the staff couldnt do enough for us.
YES i would return and stay here again."
- Travel date: Mon 2nd of January 2012
Could do better
"Location is good, rooms could be better (beds were rather small for a 4*)for what advertises as a 4 star. some food was very good but main meals left a lot to be desired, good if you like fish bat if you are a carnivour."
- Travel date: Fri 28th of January 2011
What a fantastic place!! I went with a p...
"What a fantastic place!! I went with a party of 4 and they all absolutely loved it!! The beach was amazing, the food- great (breakfast was my favourite too. lol). The acommodation was nice, clean and with tv and dvd player for those who like to stay inside =).
The monkeys were very fond of our balcony also, so i didnt go out there. lol. But got some fantastic photo's and being that close to nature is what being in Africa is all about I suppose.
We did the 1.5 night stay at Tsavo East, which was fun, but more than enough time for us. we were gagging to get back to Southern palms. lol.
The staff were great!! Just get used to saying Jambo ALOT!! But you dont mind at all, because they are so nice.
Entertainment was the best I've ever had on holiday. acrobats, live animal shows and cultural performances.
All in all, a great place to stay. would definately go back!!!!"
- Travel date: Sat 31st of May 2008
We arrived at the complex late in the ev...
"We arrived at the complex late in the evening and were checked in very efficiently by the friendly and helpful reception staff. The management had kept the buffet restaurant open for us which was much needed!
The room was a standard double with a four poster bed. Although quite basic, the room was immaculate and had a balcony facing the pool area. Monkeys liked our balcony too and there are lots in the grounds of Southern Palms. The room is cleaned on a daily basis.
The pool areas were amazing - one being in a giant horseshoe shape with a swim up bar in the middle and sun loungers all the way around the outside, and the other being a small fresh pool with a swim up bar and a jacuzzi in the shade. There is regular and friendly service by the bar staff throughout the day.
The complex is right on a stretch of beach which is how I imagined paradise to be. There is brilliant snorkelling in shallow waters which is included in the all inclusive deal. You can get hassled by touts on the beach, which can get a little tiring, although if you stay immediately outside the hotel area you tend not to be bothered by them.
The main food is a delicious buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with all manner of delicacies, including some traditional favourites as well as African dishes. Breakfast was my favourite! There are also 2 a la carte restaurants which you can visit once a week each - an amazing open air BBQ / Grill restaurant where you choose your food and watch it being cooked for you. This was divine and I would have eaten here every night if possible!
The second is an Italian restaurant, and the food was average - not bad but I have had a lot nicer. There are also snacks available throughout the day
The daytime entertainment team were fantastic with lots of sports such as water volleyball and table tennis and water aerobics. There was some nighttimeâs entertainment shows (a snake show was quite scary) and discos afterwards.
Most of the staff were extremely helpful and friendly and went the extra mile to assist.
Safety / Security:
We had been warned before we arrived to exercise caution and not leave the security of the hotel alone. However, each morning I left the hotel and ran between 8 - 13 miles along the main roads and found the people to be extremely friendly and more bemused by me. We never felt threatened at all, and while I would recommend not venturing out after dark, in the daytime it is fine.
There are some fantastic market stalls along the road outside the hotel and I would recommend you visit them! Especially Titus the Rasta man who makes exquisite wood carvings at very reasonable prices, and you can see him carving them.
We did a day in Mombasa booked through a local taxi company which cost us about Â£10 per person (including tip) for 4 people. The actual price was Â£30 but we enjoyed it that much!
Other excursions we would recommend are a trip to Haller Park to feed the endangered Rothschild Giraffes and see the Hippo and tortoises and also a nighttimeâs voyage on the Tamarind Dhow. That was the highlight of our week.
Overall I would thoroughly recommend a trip here - we had an amazing relaxing time and didnât want to leave."
- Travel date: Thu 14th of June 2007
My partner and I have just got back from a stay at Southern Palms. We went with Apollo travel and Somak and were very happy with both. The only down side was the Monarch flight, the seats are very narrow and although I would not class my partner as unusually large, he was wedged in tight!,so well worth paying for extra legroom so at least you can stretch your legs. We were very impressed with the hotel, extremely clean, friendly staff, fantastic pool and lovley beach. Security is paramount and they also have security guards to deter the hawkers on the beach so if you dont venture down to the water you can sunbathe in peace but even if you do go down to the sea, they really are not too persistant and very polite, after all they are only trying to make a living.The meals at the hotel are; the main restaurant, which is buffet style, excellent selection and all very nice, breakfast great!. You can also book to go to their Italian restaurant also good food and service and lastly you can book to eat in the grill, a little bland and extremely well cooked but tasted fine and we cannot complain about any of the food at all, no funny tummies throughout so that was a bonus!
We went all inclusive and found it well worth it, you can eat and drink all day if you like! Also their Italian and grill restaurants are included in the all inclusive, so you can have a change from the buffet style. I have to say that the only gripe we had was that although you are not supposed to reserve the sun beds, they all managed to have towells on them by 6.30 am!! We found that alot of people were paying the staff a back hander to put them a towell on the beds, cant blame the staff for trying to earn a bit extra cash but it was rater infuriating! I resulted in 'chuking' a few towells off when they put them on our beds infront of our balcony every day!
I would advise to take your own towells and maybe a pillow case as although the bed linen and towells are very clean, they do smell a bit 'musty', apparently it is their soap powder, but if you dont mind that then dont worry.
We went on safari to Tsavo east for an overnight stay to Voi wildlife lodge, place fantastic, spa etc. We had a great safari seeing many animals including a lion hunt and kill.
We would definately stay at the southern palms again, infact we plan to go back in November. You are sure to have a great holiday if you stay here, just get to the sun beds quick!"
- Travel date: Thu 9th of February 2006
Well worth it
"Super clean, well organised and professionally run hotel.
Absolutely no problems with food hygiene, service or quality of food."
- Travel date: Sat 21st of January 2006
Immaculately clean hotel
"We stayed at The Southern Palms Hotel between 27th Dec and 10th Jan 2006. The hotel has an army of able and pleasant staff, who are always attentive and always cleaning the grounds and amenities.
The pool in this hotel goes on forever, and snakes it way around some bars and restaurants in the grounds. The food in all the restaurants is really good, and I think works on a 10 day cycle, so (like most I suppose) you may see the odd menu twic during your stay.
The rooms are nice, we had a sea view room, which was nice and pleasant.
All in all, a very good hotel for the price and location. Only downside I would say, is that the waters in the showers/bathrooms appear to be salty, and not fresh, which is a bit offputting when you first notice it."
- Travel date: Mon 16th of January 2006
"My girlfriend and i travelled to the Southern Palms, Diani Beach with Somak for 2 weeks on 5th December. We have both agreed that it was by far the best holiday we have had. The hotel is great - the staff very friendly and helpful, the food is exceptionally good and obviously the venue amazing.
The best things to do are - obviously a safari - Masai mara is apparently the best but given its location is also the furthest away and therefore the most expensive - we went on the parks and peaks safari with somak and had a wonderful time - don't be disheartened though the first safari lodge - Nguilia isn't much to write home about, however the other 2 are amazing - oltukai and salt lick. Be prepared for a lot of very bumpy driving - at least 6 hours a day and some very early starts, but in return you get amazing scenery, food and of course seeing all those animals in their own habitats - we saw all the big 5 and plenty more! I would definately recommend visiting Alibaba's restaurant - leaflets are to be found near the travel agents info boards in the hotel reception - they will pick you up and take you home - it is basically a very nice restaurant in a cave which has been oped up at the top so you can sit at your table and look up and see the stars and the moon! It is however expensive - bill for our modest choices was about Â£55 - it was worth it - it would cost a lot more in the UK.
Other worth while trips include the Dolphin Dhow (tickets from Somak) and the Tamarind Dhow.
AVOID the somak mombasa trip at all costs it was th only bad bit about the holiday - it consisted of the driver taking us to what appeared to be a number of gift shops whioch belonged to friends of his and then when we arrived at Fort Jesus the principole focus of the day we were told that we had 18mins before we left!
Apparently you can negotiate with the local taxi drivers and 2 + people can arrange their own trip to mombasa for the sdam or less money but spending more time there and deciding what to do and when.
Last thing to say is that Diving the Crab (the local diving company) is very professional and will bend over backwards to help - they gave me a 30 min pool check for free which really consisted of a 1:1 refresher - very useful.
EMAIL ME IF THERE ARE ANY QUERIES"
- Travel date: Sun 1st of January 2006
One of the best holidays ever!
Just got back from Kenya, where I've spent 2 weeks holidays on all-inclusive basis with my girlfriend. We've booked it through Apollo Travel / Somak Holidays after reading good reports on this site and after giving up my other destination (Coral Palm through African Safari Club), which we do not regret.
The complete package was very well organised, everything ran on time, transfer was satisfactory, welcome speech OK...
But, it is the hotel I want to tell you about: we were immediately offered a welcome drink in an impressive entrance hall in front of the reception desk. Receptionists did a good job by quickly sharing all the info needed, the porters were many and they took our baggage into the rooms. More or less, all the rooms are with pool view, some with full or partly sea view. We got a groundfloor room no.131.
Room is relatively large, with one double and one extra single bed, all with mosquito net. Large wardrobes, one with safety deposit box (extra charge - I believe it should be included in the price). Air-condition and phone, no TV (didn't need one...). Writing desk and two chairs, enough lights. The balcony is large, with a table and chairs - enjoyed sitting there late afternoon, before dinner. The bathroom is very large, unusually modern sink with liquid soap, toilette, shower with bath gel and shampoo. What we did not like was the annoying odour of moist in the towels, like if they were not dried properly.
All the facilities are great, but 2 swimming pools (largest in East Africa) are something very special: well maintained and clean. Enjoyed having a drink at swim-up bars...
Beach is nice, white sands which get very hot in the sun. If you want a place at the beach, you have to beat the Germans who get up early and throw their towels on sunbeds, reserving them... The only way you can fight against them is with their own weapons: be earlier than they are! Sunbeds are bit out-of-date, but comfortable and you have free towels and mattress. Take care, sun is VERY strong and you can burn easily.
The sea is always warm and very pleasant for swimming, sometimes is water very low and you can walk to the reef. Do not step on the dark areas under water, you can get hurt - keep walking on the sand only.
Beach boys will attack you one way or another. I was dealing with them and did some negotiations about the prices, but I managed to book a boat trip with snorkeling at the coral reef, dolphin watching and lunch at Wasini Island for much less than offered by tour operator. Look for Leo & Nicholas, they will book it for you. The boys are honest, in the matter of fact, and a little deposit is necessary to confirm your booking. Don't forget to bring some candies for the children at the island...
We did the same thing with the safari: booked it through Ali-Baba, directly on the beach and had great two days in Tsavo East, staying overnight in Voi Wildlife Lodge, which is superb. On the return journey do not miss a chance to visit a Masai village, it's some experience! All in all, we got the safari cheaper than through hotel agencies, we had exactly the same programme and stayed at the same place like the other, more expensive tours did. Safari was organized through local agency Gichmak, our realy good driver-guide was Mulaki.
To visit Mombasa is the cheapest way by taxi. Talk to so,e taxi drivers and set the price. We got one for 3500 schillings. In front of Fort Jesus you can get local guides, who will make private tour not of the fort only, but of the old town and market as well. Should cost around 2000 schillings, set the price first!
Hotel has few different restaurants, but we have decided that absolutely the best food and greatest choice of different dishes was in the main restaurant. Their Indian chef, mr. Singh, takes really good care and communicates to everyone about the food quality. Just in case you might have any digestion problems, report to him, he will help you with some "miracle" seeds... Buffet style food was much better than in most of the places we've been to before (and we travel a lot, we both work in tourism).
Two supervisors, mr. Ramadan and mr. Peter, take care that everything runs smoothly. But it is not a big deal, because they have really good service; the staff is always in a good mood, very helpful and kind - they make you feel most welcome to their beautiful country. All the waiters were great, but I have to mention Robert, Navsi and Mugala...
There's lots of sports activities you can join, from water aerobics to beach volley, palenque to waterpolo... Animators will come around and make you join some of the activities. We made friends with John, Samuel, Aisha, Eddy... They took good care of us and helped us understand Kenyan people better
Each evening something is going on in front of Boriti bar: snake show, acrobatics, folklore dances, games, sketches, dancing... Drinks are served around the tables and Hellen and Justus will be happy to bring you some. If you prefer standing at the bar, you will see hard-working bar-tender, Boniface.
The drinks included in the all-inclusive board are domestic drinks only: all the soft drinks, water, beer and some spirits like whiskey, gin, rum, vodka... Imported drinks you have to pay for. There are cocktails as well, we highly recommend Cuba Libre, their Pina Colada is not the best one in the world... Drinks are served up to 11:30 P.M. only, but this is hotel with mostly serious folks anyway, and there's absolutely no need to have notorious drunks around.
At night you can even go out and have some fun: talk to the animators, they tell you what is "in", but do not miss Shakatak disco (be ready to meet "malayas" out there), or great beach-bar 40 thieves and maybe some beach-party in some of the other hotels. At night use taxis only, during the day it's fun to go by mataku (van-taxi).
Safety in the hotel is very high: security officers are all around; even the employees can not enter the resort if it is not their shift!
Absolutely the worst exchange rate is in the hotel; not far away is Barclay's bank with better rates, but they charge comission. Best rates, however, are on the black market, in a little booth on Ukunda gas station, near the market.
We DO recommend this hotel to anyone who wants real holiday without any headaches. We can't think of anything going wrong in the hotel at all... It was beyond our expectations. And, as we said in the hotel questionnaire, greatest treasures of this resort are the people! Talk to them, ask them things, learn few swahili words and respect them! You will be surprised how much can you get from that holiday!
Miran Ibrahimagic & Sabina Huiseinbasic
P.S. If you are happy with the service you receive, do not forget a little tips - it means a lot to these hard-working people, who don't get paid very well for what they do. And tell them hello from us, we are sure they still remember us..."
- Travel date: Mon 19th of December 2005
"We have been 2 weeks all inclusive at the Southern Palms Hotel in Diani Beach. The staff are impeccably polite and the hotel is kept amazingly clean at all times. The food can get boring althugh you can pop to the African Pot before Barclays bank on the main Road. Go for it, because the food and service are definetely top quality and the price is ridicouslously cheap. If you are adventurous, you should try to catch one of the mini buses that stops outside you hotel. The music is just great and you won't regret it! It is about 0.20 pence to the shopping centre, while a taxi would cost you Â£3 pounds....which is still cheap. If you fancy diving you must go the the Diving the Crab Diving Centre within the Hotel and ask for Tim...he is great!!!...Have a great time.....we know you will."
- Travel date: Sun 11th of December 2005
Super Southern Palms
"WMy husband and I stayed for 2 weeks all inclusive and had a wonderful time. The beach is beautiful-lovely white sand. Although it says sunbeds not to be reserved everyone does so be warned! If you can't beat them join them! The food is excellent in the main buffet restaurant. The Italian was very good too as it is in the open and has waiter service. The beachside cafe served rather greasy food but the location was nice and it was only lunchtime anyway. Afternoon tea was good,which we soon got used to. The drinks were no hassle and the staff were helpful and mostly friendly.The cocktails were strong and the red wine by the glass was perfectly acceptable. We did a two night safari through Somak to Tsavo East and West parks, which was fantastic, although the road out of Mombasa is the worst road I have ever been on and dangerous because of its potholes and dreadful state in general-not for the faint hearted! Don't let this put you off though as the safari was superb."
- Travel date: Sun 4th of December 2005
"I have just come back from a week at the Southern Palms and have to say that it is the best holiday I think I have ever had. The hotel was incredible, the beach was stunning and the people, although a little slow, were friendly and helpful. The food was fresh and lovely tasting, and the seafood restaurant was absolutely gorgeous. The rooms are a very impressive size and the pools were extremely clean and tidy. All of the surroundings were clean and neat, and the gardens were beautiful. I would have no hesitation in recommending this hotel to people, and will be going back early next year for longer! Please email me if you have any questions about this hotel."
- Travel date: Mon 14th of November 2005