20 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"wow twas fabolous the pool and the beach were jus to die for tho they shld clean up tha back wash thats piling at the beah and change bed sheets like daily instead of jus decorating it with petals of flowers wich wasnt a bad idea also tha disco shld be spiced up a bit with bands only one band i saw playin for a very limitted time"
- Travel date: Tue 28th of April 2009
Definitely would come back...
"Hotel was lovely.....great bar and restuarant 10 minutes walk up the beach......beach boys were lovely and friendly and really helpful.....all points made the holiday fabulous!"
- Travel date: Fri 24th of April 2009
What a very pleasant surprise!!
"We went to Kenya in order to go on safari---all those brilliant David Attenborough wild-life programmes finally overcame my misgivings about Africa (all we ever see or read about is war, famine, corruption, A.I.D.S.etc.etc.) So it was with some trepidation I arrived at theRoyal Safari and Beach Club. The welcome was so warm and friendly and although it was mid-morning we were allowed straight in to our apartments where a much needed shower was quickly utilised (we had travelled over-night).First port of call was the beach, (my husband and I being a couple of elderly beach bums) and although it wasn,tÂ the best beach we,d ever seen it was long and almost empty.Except for the Beach Boys. I had been warned about the Beach Boys from several sources and initially I was very wary. It took approximately 5 mins. for me to make up my own mind about the Beach Boys---they are priceless!!! We had the best two weeks holiday with their help so between them and the first class Royal Safari and Beach Club we feel we had the best value for money holiday ever. I can,t wait to go back!!"
- Travel date: Sat 28th of March 2009
Great place to stay
"We arrived late Saturday evening, a little dubious after reading some of the reviews on here.
We were very pleased that we had arranged for the resort to meet us at Mombasa airport, as the road to the resort is dreadful and if we had been in a taxi with a stranger picked at the airport we would have thought he was taking us somewhere to murder us. (the road is actually that bad) arrived at the resort and had a great welcome. the apartment we were allocated was ground floor really large and was spotless. Furnishings were more than adequate, yes the air conditioner was a little noisy, but nothing too bad. we had taken sewing kit for the mossie net after reading othr reports, however this was not needed as the net was in excellent condition. Sunday there were many people wanting a trip to the supermarket and Simon arranged for a bus to take us, we didn't have to wait for the Wednesday trip (so get together and bully them).
As previously stated the minimarket is mini in everthing but price.
Restaurants on site,
main restaurant very poor menu choice we were fewd up with the choice after only one day.
Beach (Seafood) restaurant was much better, as long as there were no function on that night, if you wanted a-la-carte menu on these nights you will be told that is possible (it is but the choice is then reduced).
TRUST THE BEACH BOYS, they do at first seem to be a pain in the rear end, but once you get to know them they are great people, use them to take you to the Maridadi restaurant at lunch time, it won't cost you, they get a commission from the restaurant, you can then arrange for the restaurant to send a car for you in the evenings, if you ask reception to ring for you they will charge you 150 ksh about Â£1.50.
Everyone at the resort is very friendly and will go out of their way to help you.
My greatest annoyance (if you can call it that) please check your glassware when you arrive AND as you leave the appartment, on our return to the airport there were four couples, and everyone had been charged Â£1.50 for a cracked glass, that none of us knew about.
We went on a Champagne Dhow adventure (not cheap) but absolutely fabulous.
All in All a fabulous place to stay and I recomend it to you."
- Travel date: Tue 24th of February 2009
An experience to be remembered
"I reserved this location as a recommendation from RCI. Not having been to this part of Africa I had no idea what to expect. Here comes the rub. The trip from Mombasa had me doubting my choice from the minute we entered the taxi right to the drop off at the resort. The rule of the road is "there is no rule" so just sit and bear it. On arrival I was pleased to see that my fears were unfounded. The resort was clean, spacious and the staff fantastically friendly and helpful. The unit we were given was large spacious and more than adequate. The resort is quite remote so you do need to be prepared to move around to get provisions and to fully enjoy your stay. The mini market in the resort is a shocker. Not nearly enough selection or supplies and their prices are high so don't wait for the free shuttle on a Wednesday (if you arrive on a friday or Saturday) take local transport to the supermarket and buy provisions there. The price you will pay for the transport, if you book through the Beach Boys, will be somewhere around 1200 shillings but will more than make up the difference over the course of 4- 5 days of provisions from the shop on the resort premises. On the subject of the beach boys, USE THEM. They are pleasant, friendly and extremely helpful. Yes they are past masters at selling and should be cloned by any sales manager but...they have the best prices and they will go to any length to get you what you want. We used two guys, Adam and Garry, who were fantastic. Once you have set up a rapport with one or two of them the others get to know this and leave you alone.
The restaurants at the resort leave a bit to be desired. Their prices were not good for the quality. Try a walk...a long walk along the beach (north) to the Sun and Sand for lunch. Their prices are great for lunch food (burgers etc).
The beach is dissappointing as there is a large coral reef about 750 metres off the beach that prevents the tide from remaining close to the hotel. The result is a very long walk in ankle depth water to the sea. However, if you want to be adventurous, get the beach boys to take you forr line fishing and a swim or snorkling. Snorkling in the marine reserve is good, partiularly if you are new to the experience. Great fish species.
The resort staff and the beach boys were what made our trip memorable. Thanks to Julia, Adam and Garry."
- Travel date: Wed 14th of January 2009
Wonderful staff but the place is a dump
"Kenya was amazing but the same cannot be said for the Royal Resort. The setting for the resort is fabulous and could so very easily be a dream location. You have the Indian Ocean on your doorstep, the staff are very friendly and the pool and garden areas look very inviting. But do not be fooled as once you enter the apartments the dream very quickly becomes a nightmare!
The resort was in a very poor state and has suffered from lack of any investment since it was built. This is certainly not a luxury resort - more the standard of a 1 star Indian hotel.
The only thing going for the apartments was their size but we found them dirty, poorly equipped and badly maintained. We looked at a number of apartments and all were pretty much the same.
The airconditioning did not work properly and was so loud you could not hear the TV even at full volume. If you did endure the noise there was no way to control the levels so the rooms quickly became damp. Many of the windows were rusted shut or did not close properly.The mosquito nets provided were a waste of time as they had gaping holes in them and were more the sort that you took camping. Whilst we had a plentiful supply of towels the bed linen was well worn and pillows had that lumpy feel that comes with old age! The gas hob should have had a danger warning.
This area is prone to power cuts but the emergency lighting of course did not work. We luckily had taken a torch with us or else we would have had to sit in the dark till the emergency generator kicked in. No candles were provided.
The on site minimarket was a joke being very poorly stocked and a complete rip off. The resort does offer a courtesy trip to the nearest supermarket approx 30 mins drive away but only once a week on a wednesday. Obviously another ploy to get you to spend your money in the resort. When we eventually did get to the supermarket we found the same bottle of wine purchased in the mini market for 1400 kenyan shilling was only 700 shillings in the supermarket. Even basics (at least those that were in stock) like water etc were considerably mpre expensive .
The standard of food in the restaurant was at best mediocre and uninspiring pseudo european fare rather than offering guests a sample of african cuisine. Wine and drinks were UK prices.
I decided to cheer myself up and get a treatment in their "SPA" but the absence of basic hygene was apparent and the masseur had had a one day course in Mombasa and reading some books so I gave it a miss!
The location was extremely rural and you did feel very isolated. This meant that you were at the mercy of the resort to exploit you at every opportunity to get anywhere or do anything as hire cars were not an option unless you are experienced at driving in Africa.
So can I recommend anything about this place.
Well yes- the staff were all very friendly and helpful and I think embarrassed about the standard of the resort.
The beach boys - again recommend Moses and also Hassan who took us on the coral walk which was excellent and the visit to their village.
Do not be put off by the boys on the beach. They are mostly friendly and licenced and will leave you in peace once they get to now you. Would check with them first vbefore booking any trips via resort.
Also recommed Maridadi restaurant but yes its expensive.
In hindsight I wish we had gone to another resort as this was the only negative thing I can say about Kenya. Go just don't stay at the Royal reserve!"
- Travel date: Tue 4th of November 2008
"Got back yesterday & have had one of my best ever holidays. Was a little disconcerted driving down the lane to the hotel in the dark & wondering what we were going to! I should have visited this site beforehand. The hotel looks better in daylight. The staff are amazingly friendly & genuine. The laundry service is very cheap & I took advantage after a dusty safari week.I won't go on because people have covered stuff. The beach boys are great. Ask for Thomas who has a young nephew to support now. He will take good care of you and show you the local village & schools if you wish. If you're an educationalist, take paper & pens. The schools have nothing & cram 25+ pupils into small rooms.
Majengo Academy is worth a visit & would appreciate any financial support. It will only cost you approximately Â£45 a year to sponsor a childs education.
Local restaurannt Maradadi is very good & will send a bus for you. Walk aong the beach to make a booking.
- Travel date: Mon 25th of August 2008
Top Marks for Friendliness
"There are quite a few reviews on this hotel so I shall try and stick to extra information.
The location of the Royal Reserve is a bit off the beaten track but don't let that put you off. Once you get familiar with the surroundings and the people you realise that nothing is a problem. Their moto is 'Hakuna Matata' which in Swahili actually means 'Nothing is a problem' ! You can get transport to the main road for 300 shillings using the hotel vehicle or if you feel more adventurous you can take a back seat on a motorbike for a few shillings.
The nearest village is Mtwapa, again accessible from the hotel at around 500 shillings. There is a medium sized supermarket there, also a very good butchers called 'Sun City'. Generally meat is a bit tough in Kenya but the chicken breasts are very succulent and their mince meat is almost fat free.Very good sausages too! Far superior and fresher than that available at the Nakumatt Supermarket and cheaper as you will find there are prices for tourists and prices for locals! There is also the fruit and vegetable market here at Mtwapa and you can stock up very cheaply.
If you wish to go to the Nakumatt Supermarket, there is a free bus service the hotel runs on Wednesday at 9.30, but don't worry, if the first bus is full it runs as a shuttle service and the driver will make his next pick-up at around 10.30.
If everyone on the bus is agreeable and you are on the last shuttle, you may be able to ask the driver if he can stop at Sun City butchers as he drives right past it. If this is the case it would be kind to give a small tip.
Transport from the hotel is free on Sundays for anyone who wants to go to any Sunday religious service(if staff at reception are unaware of this arrangement ask for the maintenance manager-he knows!). Again a tip would be a kindness.
For those who are on special diets, Elias the restaurant manager is more than ready to oblige. We had a gluten-free diet to deal with. He had not heard of it before but listened and learnt and fully understood. He even took a copy of the 'safe' and 'unsafe' lists which I had brought along with me. When the soup of the day contained gluten, he even offered to make gluten- free French onion soup.
Regarding the beach boys. At first they may come to you en masse and it may seem overwhelming, but they are really lovely people. I can honestly say not a swear word was heard from among them and they are very courteous and thankful that tourists are travelling to Kenya. They are just trying to make a living- times are hard. Just find the 'going' price from the hotel staff or other guests then you are in a position to barter. Would thoroughly recommend a couple of the beach boys escort you on a beach walk through the corals at low tide. Agree a price and a number of escorts, so you are not overwhelmed and you will find it more interesting than you imagined.Bring shoes you can wear in the water due to the sea urchins. There were 4 of us and we agreed for 2 escorts. The price can vary from 600-1000 shillings for 2 escorts depending on how long you are out there for.
Back to the hotel. It is very well run. As mentioned nothing is a problem, they will sort anything out to the best of their capabilities.It is like a large family run business and in a few days you will know everyones name. The shop is not very big but if you want something that you cannot see just ask, they are very obliging and will do their best to get it for you.
- Travel date: Sun 27th of July 2008
'Beach Boys' are the way forward!
"I visited this hotel with my family in April 2008. The hotel staff were extremely welcoming, friendly and helpful, and despite April technically being the rainy season, the sun shone for the entire week. The resort has a good size swimming pool, with a pool bar served by very attentive bar staff. The accommodation is spacious with all facilities to make your stay comfortable (mosquite nets, air conditioning, fully equipped kitchen etc). We ate at the resort restaurant several times and the food was good but not outstanding.
Contrary to advice from hotel staff, we ventured onto the beach to bartar with the 'beach boys' for deals on excursions. We struck a good deal with a young man called Jonathan, for a boat/snorkelling trip and two day safari - far cheaper than the price quoted by the hotel, for 'exactly' the same trips! We were so pleased with the Jonathan and his driving partner George, that they ended up being our personal tour guides for the entire week!
The highlight of the visit was a two day safari to Tsavo National Park (East and West). Jonathan and George picked us up at 5am and in two days we drove 900 miles and saw a spectacular range of animals: lions, giraffe, leopard, elephants, antelope, ostrich, hippo's - amazing! The trip included an overnight stay and meals at a lodge in the national park; the standard of accommodation was very good and it was an incredible experience to wake up to an African sunrise in the wilderness! On the return journey to Kikambala we asked Jonathan to arrange a visit to a Masai Mara tribe, where for a cost of Â£40 per vehicle, they allowed us to look around their village and to observe some of their customs.
Following the fantastic safari experience, George took us on a driving tour of Mombassa, which included a stop at a co-operative workshop, where we saw how the beautiful wood carvings are produced by extremely talented carpenters. We ate at the resort several times that week, the food was good but not outstanding so we asked Jonathan and George to take us in the evening to a place where local people would go. They took us to a local outdoor restaurant where the prices were a fraction of the hotel's and the food was delicious. Jonathan and George shared a meal with us and happily talked about life in Kenya, whilst keeping an eye out for any potential trouble! On the last day, Jonathan took us to a local school for orphans so that we could give much needed pencils, paper etc, as well as some sweet treats, which the children loved. He also prepared a fabulous beach barbecue for us in the evening with prawns, fish, lobster, chicken, rice and beer - the perfect end to a perfect holiday!
The 'beach boys' Jonathan and George really made our holiday; they allowed us to see parts of Kenya that we would never have seen if we had taken the more 'tourist friendly' tours run by the resort. They spoke very good English (and German), were always polite, courteous and friendly and went out of their way to ensure we had a great holiday."
- Travel date: Fri 4th of July 2008
A Place for Malaria Lovers
"After staying in a wonderful eco-lodge in the Massai Mara (Olonana) my family was looking forward to a relaxing 1 week stay on the Kenyan coast.
When we checked in at the Royal Reserve, we were informed that apart from another family we were the only guests. It was surprising therefore that they arranged to put us in a 2 bedroom unit on a top floor at the end of the resort.
Although the staff were nice, we were profoundly dissapointed with the resort. The rooms were not clean and the malarial nets had huge holes in them. In fact, someone had left the window open in the master bedroom prior to our check-in with the result that we must have had about 1,000 insects in the bathroom.
As we had checked in late in the day, we decided to stayat the resort for that night--the next day we checked out and moved into the Serena Mombassa resort (which was exquisite)
We obviously had a different experience than others that have stayed at the Royal Reserve based on their comments on Trip Advisor."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of July 2008
Wonderful staff !!!
"Just returned from my 3rd trip to the Royal .I went with my friend and her 35 year old daughter whose response was " it's the best holiday ever!" This was their 1st trip to Africa and they are already working out when they are going back!! Although the place is so wonderful it is the people who have the greatest impact .. they are so genuinely friendly and welcoming .. the smiles and laughter was infectious. All the staff deserve a big thank you. The local people are just a friendly .. we had an exciting stroll to the reef .. you really depend on their support !! Take a short stroll to the local primary school .. staff or locals will accompany you there.. the kids love the lollipops which turn into whistles !!! May was great .. the safari was truly amazing .. 12 lioness and cubs hunting water buffalo and using the vans for cover.. unforgettable .. Thanks Abdul (Kaya Tours) we saw everything and more ... enjoyed it so much ..all of it"
- Travel date: Mon 9th of June 2008
"We stayed at the Royal Reserve and Safari Beach Club.
We were there for 2 weeks and it is the first time I have ever wanted to stay longer.
The complex was good by African standards and the service was great. 2 pools, one very warm and one that was cool as in shade. Massages were cheap and very good. Mo is excellent.
Food is different an unusual mix but tasty.
We met two other couples at airport and we grouped together to do Safari and visits to Mombassa.
In this group we had a birthday and an anniversary and the hotel staff went out of their way to make it special for the people concerned.
It was very quiet when we went in March but that made it better in a way as when we went on Safari it was quiet and not to many vehicles on the same drives.
Beach was a bit of a disappointment as it is very shallow and not good for swimming as lots of seaweed and sea urchins but if you take the beach boys advice they will walk you out to the reef. All you need is a snorkel, rubber shoes and lots of sun screen.
Guys on beach were great. Moses and Sammy were two that we got to know and they aranged everthing for us. Nothing was to much bother for them.
Even went to a local school and fell in love with all the children as they were so sweet.
All in all a great holiday and wonderful people who are now suffering as tourists are not visiting.
Worth a visit.
Diving is great. we used Peponi Divers. Sven and Thomas very helpful with novice (me ) and experienced divers alike.
- Travel date: Sat 26th of April 2008