About Kilifi Bay Beach Resort
- high speed internet in room
- swimming pool
- shuttle bus service
- free internet
- bar lounge
- free parking
- wheelchair access
- free wireless internet in room
- room service
- air conditioning
- meeting room
- non smoking rooms
- laundry service
- family rooms
- breakfast buffet
- airport transportation
- outdoor pool
- pets allowed
- hot tub
- kids activities
- poolside bar
9 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"2 march 2006.
we have returned from two weeks at the kilifi bay beach last night our room no 25 what a view, nice clean cool air conditined room, beach and gardens well kept.
food and drink fine, hotel staff a credit to the hotel.
please remember this is a 3 star hotel in Africa but i would give it a extra half star for there apple pie and custard the beach and beach bar.
if you want 5 star go and pay for 5 star hotel."
- Travel date: Thu 2nd of March 2006
Kilifi Bay is Wonderful
"I've just returned from a wonderful one week holiday in Kilifi Bay Beach Resort with my two kids. I can't understand why it has received any bad reviews.
The hotel is lovely, as are the staff who run it.
The water supply to the shower/basins was a somewhat lacking but Kenya is suffering from a terrible drought (some areas have been without rain for over 3 years) with crops failing, people going hungry, women and children having to walk miles to the nearest well/clean water supply, and infant mortality, as a direct consequence of the drought, on the up. As the water shortage is completely beyond the control of the hotel management we felt the lack of water to the showers was quite acceptable.
We experienced only one power cut during our stay, and that only lasted for about an hour. The hotel staff was very efficient lighting candles and lamps, and we had been provided with candles and matches in our room. We asked âMr Tomâ the manager when we might expect power to be resumed â he had spoken with the power company and they had told him about an hour. As it turned out, this was accurate. The power cut was beyond the control of the hotel management and we felt they handled the situation well.
I didnât see any dangerous electrical cabling myself. Running electrical cabling directly from a socket may look quaint but in principle should be safe enough, if it has been wired correctly.
Btw â for those of you who donât already know, the power sockets in Kenya are the same as ours here in the UK. So, you can take out hairdryers, battery re-chargers etc and they will work fine without an adaptor.
During the spare time we had at the hotel my kids practically lived in the larger of the two pools. The hotel requires that children are supervised in the pool at all times â so I spent a fair amount of time in the water myself. I can confirm that the water was clean â there was no debris floating in it and a member of staff frequently took a pool net around the pool. The water was a little cloudy but we all swallowed copious amounts of it in our time swimming and splashing about â and none of us suffered from any stomach upsets. We didnât swim in the smaller pool so I canât comment on that.
There is a cottage next to the main pool which provides pool towels to guests. You sign them out and sign them in when you return them. Iâm not sure if the hotel allows them to be taken on to the beach but as they are signed out I guess they donât really mind (hakuna matata) â as long as they come back safely. So â you shouldnât need to pack towels.
There were several pool activities scheduled every day â aqua-cize, water polo, beach volleyball. I joined in the aqua-cize once â¦ not really my cup of tea but quite fun. The staff were wonderful with my kids who were far more keen to join in the activities â they really took good care of them and made sure they enjoyed themselves (giving them lots of help and encouragement in the water polo matches). The staff try to recruit guests for these activities but donât pressure you if you are unwilling. There was also entertainment laid on every night â we had local dancers, acrobats/jugglers, a reptile/snake display etc. Very good.
The beach and sea are stunning. There are a few âtradersâ on the beach who may try to sell you their wares but I was only hassled once in the 3 or 4 trips I made onto the beach, so not a major irritation. I think the hotel does a pretty good job patrolling the beach and keeping the traders clear of their frontage.
I was stung twice by jellyfish. Of course, the presence of
"unfriendly" jellyfish is a risk you run swimming off the coast of many countries - again, not something that can be controlled by the hotel. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer the same fate thereâs no need to panic. I was assured by the security guard
patrolling the beach that the jellyfish are not dangerous. The one that stung me was quite small; clear jelly but with bright blue âbeadsâ along its tentacles. It felt like a nettle sting and had completely worn off after about an hour. The second time I was stung my arms ached a little, but this too only lasted a short while. My kids who were swimming with me were not stung at all.
If you are wading in the sea while the tide is out I would advise wearing something on your feet. There are some prickly little customers (urchins) lurking under some of the coral. [One guest I got chatting to (ex-army) told me the best way to treat a sea urchin wound is to cover it with a poultice of toothpaste! Fortunately I didnât have to try this remedy out myself]. However, when the tide is high it comes past the coral reef and well up the sand, so you can swim safely without needing to wear any beach shoes. The
first time I went to swim at high tide I took my shoes and left them under the steps of the beach bar. The tide came right up to the bar. I had completely forgotten about my shoes. As I made my way back up to the cottages they had disappeared and I figured they had been swept out to sea. However, as I walked through the beach bar (which was open every time I passed through and serving chilled drinks â¦ can I take the opportunity to thoroughly recommend âStoney Tangawesiâ which is a little like Ginger Beer, but much nicer?) there were my shoes, safely stashed behind the bar. The
security guard had spotted them and moved them to safety.
The hotel doesnât operate a flag system for the beach. I donât know how dangerous the tides actually get but I guess it could be useful to have a visible warning. However, there always appeared to be a security guard patrolling down on the beach/around the bar and he seemed to be knowledgeable. If youâre unsure if itâs safe or not I reckon heâs the man to ask!
On the subject of bars â¦ as I mentioned â¦ the beach bar was open every time I went down to the beach and on several other occasions the kids popped in there as it seemed to have a good supply of their favourite tipple - blackcurrant Fanta. The pool bar was also open and fully stocked at least until 6pm and the bar up by reception was open from around 6pm onwards (certainly until after the eveningâs entertainment). So there was always a bar open and the only problem we encountered was we drank their Stoney supply dry! However, they were restocked by the next day.
The food throughout the week was delicious and varied. The main restaurant serves a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Always plenty of fresh fruit (and no problem with flies when we were there). The cooked breakfasts are excellent but my favourite were the freshly made pancakes, done to order. The lunch and dinner menus always offered soups (their clear soups are very good indeed), pasta and/or rice dishes, vegetable dishes, meat dishes, and
salads (wonderfully tasty tomatoes). We tried pretty much most of what was on offer and none of us have suffered any stomach upsets.
We went on several day excursions and ordered packed lunches from the
kitchen. These were always ready waiting for us at reception. They werenât very exciting but they were quite adequate.
On the morning we left we had our wake up call at 3:00am, breakfast in the restaurant at 3:30am and pick up at 4:00am. We were only expecting a cuppa and perhaps a pastry or two, but no! the full cooked breakfast was laid on, plus pastries, fresh fruit, cereals, toast, and my favourite â the pancakes! All for the 10 or so guests who were leaving that morning. Incredible.
There was a tv located in the games room which I was very glad my children never seemed to notice! The tv was never switched on (hurray! Thank heavens for small mercies â¦ having travelled out to such a beautiful and interesting country I would have been very disappointed if they had remained in couch potato mode) so I canât vouch for how well it functioned. There was a functioning tv at the pool bar - several guests gathered there to watch the 6 nations rugby.
Our cottage was kept thoroughly clean with fresh linen/towels every day. Infact we did suggest that the hotel should operate a system like most European/American hotels â that towels left on the floor are to go to the laundry, but otherwise they should be left alone. In a country that is suffering through such a severe drought it would seem prudent to adopt any practice that helps minimize water consumption. A group of cottages is allocated to one member of staff, so you get the same person every day. Quite nice as they are very friendly and you can build up a rapport with them and they can tell you a fair amount about the local area.
My cottage had one king size double bed, one single bed (in a little
âannexeâ accessed via an internal door, with its own sink, cupboards and desk) and one inside day bed. There was a day bed outside on the veranda too. If the hotel can rig up a mozzy net above the indoor day bed Iâd say there was plenty of room to accommodate two adults and two kids (infact I didnât see any mozzys at Kilifi â so you may not even require the mozzy net).
My parents were also staying at Kilifi Bay Beach Resort during the week of 10th â 18th Feb. They are very well travelled and would never accept substandard accommodation. My father in particular is very thorough when it comes to researching, planning and organizing trips abroad. This is their third trip to Kilifi Bay Beach Resort. I think this speaks volumesâ¦
Although not strictly part of my review of the resort I thought it might be useful to include a brief description of the excursions we made during our week there (certainly the resort is well located for accessing several interesting places):
1/ Two day/One night safari to Tsavo East. We travelled to Buchuma Gate (about 3 hours drive). We managed to fit in three game drives (one from Buchuma Gate to Voi Safari Lodge â a drive of about 2.5 hours, one evening drive and one early morning drive. Most morning drives leave the lodge at 6:30am. I recommend leaving at 6:15am â if youâre first out, as we were, you can get to the game before anyone has disturbed them. By about 6:25am our vehicle was surrounded by 15 lions â not aggressive (well, if you stay in the vehicle anyway) but very curious about us! We spotted lion, elephant, cape buffalo, gazelle, buck, loads of birds, dik-dik, genet cat, and a honey
badger. No leopard or cheetah (although they are there) and no rhino (thereâs only one left after the poachers killed the rest). We exited Tsavo through Voi Gate and drove back towards Mombassa and visitedâ¦
2/ Haller Park. Beautifully restored wildlife park (was a cement works!). Not as ârealâ as safari but the animals are in pretty large enclosures rather than little cages and you walk along a cleverly landscaped trail. Worth a visit even if just to meet Owen and Mzee (a baby hippo washed out into the Indian Ocean last year; having lost his parents they shipped Owen to Haller Park where he immediately struck up a close friendship with Mzee, a giant tortoise. They genuinely seem to care about eachother and can be
seen nuzzled up to together and going for walks together. Owen can be quite protective of Mzee, who was bigger than Owen when he first arrived!) Quite spectacular watching the crocs being fed!
3/ Malindi. We drove up the coast to Malindi and took a glass bottomed boat out to the coral reef. Take some bread with you as you can swim with the fish at the reef â you can barely see the water for the beautiful multi coloured fish and they will eat straight from your hand. The kids were entranced. We also spent about 40 minutes on our own perfect desert island â just pure white sand surrounded by turquoise sea. Bliss. We tied this in with a trip toâ¦
4/ Gede (Gedi?) â an ancient ruined âghostâ city. The city was abandoned over a very short space of time, I think around the 17th Century. This is no boring pile of rubble â plenty of nooks and crannies and passageways and walls, all of which you can wander around freely. Watch out for the âbottomlessâ wells â no safety guards like weâd expect in the UK. There is another ruined city on the outskirts of Kilifi (Mnarani) â it is far less extensive as they have no funding to excavate, but it is still worth a visit
as it is in a beautiful location with a fantastic view over the inlet at Breeze Point. Also has the biggest baobab Iâve ever seen.
5/ also tied in Malindi with the Snake & Crocodile Farm near Siversands Beach / Driftwood Club. Surprisingly good. Looks unimpressive when you arrive but they have a good collection of snakes (you can handle the python â¦ if you want) and have hundreds of crocs, from little tiddlers to great big killers (one named George Bush!). They also have a charming 102 year old giant tortoise called Maria. She has a mind of her own and is quite clear about who is supposed to get all the attention if you enter her enclosure. She will follow you relentlessly until you give her a good scratch under her chin.
6/ We travelled to Kachororoni to visit the children we sponsor through Plan International. Drove through some amazing countryside and was quite an adventure bouncing along tracks that barely qualified as tracks! We were taken out by Plan International staff in their own vehicle (free of charge) â they are keen to show you the projects they are working on in the areas they are assisting.
Well, wherever you end up on holiday I hope it is wonderful!"
- Travel date: Thu 23rd of February 2006
Absolutely shocking hotel, what a shame...
"We stayed at the Kilifi Bay Beach Resort during the first two weeks of
January 2006 on an all-inclusive basis and paid Â£600 (GBP) each. Overall,
our holiday experience was no where near as bad as those of some of the
other guests who stayed during the same period. However, seeing the review
that has recently been written by a TripAdvisor member based in Nairobi
(could this be the hotel itself? look at the brochure-style photos) who
talks about the afternoons being like "tea at the Ritz with champagne", we
felt obliged to give a more accurate description of what the hotel was
This hotel is deemed by First Choice to be 3-star... so on this basis
alone, you cannot expect 5-star service or treatment. However, 3-star does
not mean no-star, and some of the problems that this hotel is/was
experiencing are totally unacceptable. The brochure states that the hotel
has 3 bars : this is not strictly true. There are 3 bar "areas", but they
do not all function as you would expect or all at the same time. The
pool-bar closes at 6pm. During this time, there is no other bar open and
generally only one member of staff manning that bar. At 6pm, a smaller bar
close to the reception area opens. This bar usually had 2 members of staff
working there but one side of the bar is used as a serving hatch for those
drinks being taken into the restaurant so if you stand there, it might take
a while to get served. The third "bar" is a counter down by the beach
(supposedly "open" all day until sun-set) with a sign above it saying
"coconut bar". This area is never staffed and only comes into use every
now and again, say, every 1-2 days where one of the gardeners will bring
down a bunch of coconuts and serve them (with straws/spoons) to whoever
fancies one. This would be great, if it was a daily, permanent feature,
but becomes defunct if you can a) never get a coconut (a typical reply when
I asked for one was "tomorrow"), b) never find anyone to possibly get you a
coconut from one of the trees in the grounds (another typical reply was
"i'll check for you" and then you would never see that person again) or c)
never find anyone at all. As regards the champagne comment, apparently
there was no champagne at all in the whole Kilifi area, nevermind just at
out hotel! One of the guests that we chatted to said that he had paid a
member of staff some money to go off and see if he could find a bottle,
anywhere, for his friend's birthday.... he came back empty-handed.
There are two pools. The smaller one is not generally used and so looks
unkempt and dirty with debris floating on the surface of the water. The
main pool is smaller than it looks in the brochure and surrounded by
worn-away grass that, in most places, is just dirt. The sun-loungers are
falling to pieces and some do not adjust at all which makes it impossible
to lie comfortably on your front. The shower point close to the main pool
often didn't work due to regular water cuts.
The photos left on this website by other guests showing the TV room with no
TV, the bare electrical wires etc are all also true. One day we walked
past reception to see someone drilling at the bar counter. The wires to
the drill (which we had to step over) were stuck directly into the socket
without a plug!
The food was very hit and miss. At breakfast there were wonderful fresh
tropical fruits such as guava and mango on offer. However, they were
prepared very early in the morning so by the time you wander up, they are
covered in flies (no covers or cling-film), so you take your chances! We
had one very good meal - a seafood platter with 3 lobsters, crab, prawns
and octopus if you wanted it.... that was great, but you had to pay a
supplement for that if you were staying all-inclusive. Our platter for two
cost around Â£20 (GBP). Generally the food was of a poor-medium standard
and served uncovered. One night the flies were so bad that the staff lit
candles next to each of the salads to deter them, which made the salad warm
and droopy. If you love wine, I would strongly advise you not to drink any
of the all-inclusive wine (we did not venture into the wine that you could
buy). It is served from cartons and is truly disgusting.... the white wine
was particularly bad.... much better off sticking to something like gin &
tonic (without ice just in case).
The room that we stayed in (Room 35) was generally fine up until the last
day of our holiday. Our air-con worked most of the time (apart from during
frequent but usually short power cuts), the room was clean and we usually
had fresh towels every day (sometimes they would forget to bring them, but
you can easily get them from reception). On our last day, the water was
cut at approximately 6.30pm throughout the hotel. We spoke directly to the
hotel's General Manager who assured us that the water would be back on soon
and that the pressure was "currently building back up" - he even introduced
us to his "water technician". An hour later, my boyfriend had still not been able to
have a shower (I'd just finished as the water was cut) and wanted to go to dinner, but not feeling sticky and
covered in sand and suncream. We spoke to the manager again, who repeated
the same thing. At 8pm, still no water, so off we went again to speak to
the manager. Surprise surprise, he repeated the same thing. We told him
that we were fed up of being lied to and would simply like a reasonable
idea of when the water might return. He assured us "any time now, in 10
minutes". By 10pm, my boyfriend having eaten dinner without having had a shower, and
still no water back on, he had no choice but to get into the pool and have
a wash. Our coach was coming at 4am the next morning to take us to the
airport and there was no way he was prepared to take a 9 hour flight back
to London in the state that he was in. No-one stopped him from getting in
the pool, there were no staff members around to bother! At 4am the
following morning, we arrived at reception to collect our packed breakfasts
(these had been arranged the night before for us to take to the airport -
we were told to expect a carton of juice, pastry, etc.). We were told
"there are no packed breakfasts for Room 35, the chef did not do them, so
you don't have any, no" - no apology, nothing.... just unbelieveable!
The ONLY plus side to this hotel is it's breathtaking location and
fabulous, mosquito-free weather. The beach is perfect, although it could
do with a life-guard and/or possibly a flag system telling you when it's
safe to swim. One girl was badly stung by a jelly fish whilst we were
We would not go back to the Kilifi Bay Beach Resort and have since written
a letter of complaint to First Choice and are waiting to hear what they
have to say. It is such a shame that this paticular hotel just happens to
be on one of the most beautiful beaches we've ever seen."
- Travel date: Tue 7th of February 2006
Holiday from Hell
"Our family of 3 went to Kilifi Bay Hotel and we now find ourselves dumbstruck and incensed at some of the wonderful 'reviews'. This 'hotel' managed to leave us with no electric, no food, no power, no swimming pool (6 days out of our 14), no poolside or animation team, and the child friendly" pool for our daughter hadnt been ever used or cleaned, as well as having no life guards. My wife and I, ended up arranging to take the sunbeds down on Christmas day to the beach as we had nothing in the hotel to do for Christmas day and myself and another guest ended up arranging to get the two canoes (one oar!) and trying to organise beach games (with only one ball!). Our daughter was electrocuted with over 240 volts of power on Christmas day and a guest had to pull her off the poolside shower, we then ended up at the Kilifi Bay "Hospital" - not a place we'd recommend for any European to be, especially not when in a Third world country (there were 2 children to each single bed and they were clearly dying from AIDS/Malaria/Hepatitus), thank god our daughter however, is still alive.The Hotel management were utterly appalling and even tried to ask us for payment for the bottled water we had used trying to help resuscitate our daughter, who was totally paralyised down her right side at the time of the incident. We are obviously now in a lengthy and expensive legal battle for our daughter and for my wife and I for the total distress and trauma we have been through- that is totally the fault of the Kilifi Bay Hotel (owned by Mada Hotels). The tour operator we used have admitted verbally that the hotel "slipped through the net" when being double checked for whether they could take the capacity over the "festive period". My wife has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress disorder as well as suffering from nightmares, along with myself and my daughter and we have not been able to maintain a 'normal' life since our return from this hotel. In no way, would we honestly want anyone to go through the most terrible and life threatening experience that we have had to endure as a family. This hotel showed a total disregard for our safety (see other reviewer photos of the electrics) and we will be ensuring that we try to let anyone who is even contemplating booking - to think again. There are lots of lovely hotels in Kenya- this is most definately not one of them."
- Travel date: Fri 3rd of February 2006
"Just read some of your reviews on kilifi bay .I was gobsmacked at some of them .I found the whole holiday very stressfull .Food bad Service bad Room bad .Even the First Choice Rep very poor .Would not recommend Kilifi bay"
- Travel date: Wed 1st of February 2006
"We have just returned from the most amazing 2 weeks at this resort. We did not experience any of the major problems mentioned in other reviews on this site.
We booked a late deal with First Choice and felt we had exceptional value for money. I do agree first choice need to ammend their inclusions there is no al la carte option and most standard rooms do not include air con.
We did not find issues such as no TV room to be a problem, the food was amazing they managed to keep it varied for the entire duration catering very well to all tastes. The put on BBQ's and theamed nights and will even set up a private meal on your balcony if you ask.
The staff work so hard and really make the holiday a delight. Again we found them to be so attentive and never had to wait to be served drinks or food at any time of day.
The resort is very low key and not walking distance to any real bars or restaurants. We research and chose this hotel for this very reason so were not disapointed. The beach is stunning and safe to walk for miles and miles, the main pool is very well kept as are the gardens. There was entertainment throughout the day if you wanted to join in but was not in your face if you did not.
We chose Kenya and specifically Kilifi and it exceeded our expectations - lets not forget it is a third world country this is evident the second you step foot outside your 'all inclusive resort'."
- Travel date: Wed 25th of January 2006
Aviod Kilifi Bay Beach First Choice
"Poor Poor and thrice Poor.
Since going to Kilifi Bay Hotel with First Choice I have been diagnosed as having had Salmonella. This hotel has been identified by my EHO as the likely source of the outbreak. An investigation is underway.
The hotel had regular and extended power shortages, the food was 'warm'and so were the drinks.
There is no lifeguard on duty at any of the pools and the beach is public without a lifeguard. With strong oceanic tides and coral reefs - a risk to those not experienced with water. During our stay a local boy was drowned in the rip tide.
With 'delayed' service for snacks (up to three hours for a childs meal of chips and burger) and only one buffet restuaurant - wait for it , if you wanted off the menu you had to book it 8 hours in advance.
One barman for all three advertised bars - the sum does not add up and yes long waits for drinks were experienced
I did not think the hotel was value for money or to the safety standard that europeans expect and I will not be returning to this resort or recommending it to others."
- Travel date: Sat 21st of January 2006
Major Problems Experienced
"We have just returned from 2 weeks at Kilifi Bay (over Christmas and New Year), booked through First Choice. From our arrival at the resort until the day we left we experienced problems which were not rectified - which include, but are not limited to: electric shocks from our shower; generally poor standard of electrics throughout the hotel (including bare wires stuck directly into sockets); lack of aircon in the room; glasses of water filled straight from the tap and not bottles; food which ran out early or was cold; sheets which were only changed once a week; and no tea and coffee facilities in the room. The "safety deposit box" is simply an envelope stapled shut and put in the hotel's "safe" in a room behind reception. However, when we asked to see the safe our request was refused.
The First Choice brochure states this hotel has two restaurants, a snack bar, and 3 bars. This is incorrect - there is one buffet restaurant and a snack bar (which is only open until 6pm and has a very limited menu). The A La Carte restaurant simply does not exist. The "Beach Bar" is no more than a counter, and all drinks are obtained from either of the other bars by a waiter, and brought to you half an hour after ordering, by which time they are warm.
The main pool was out of action for 4 days of our stay, and the second pool was green and stagnant until the day before we left. The TV room did not have a television in it, although there was a tv situated above the bar in the Pool Bar, but this shuts at 6pm.
On the plus side, the staff were very friendly (although grossly overworked), and the location on the beach is fantastic. We believe that the First Choice brochure is misleading when describing this property, and does not reflect reality. In our opinion, this hotel does not merit the 3* plus rating given to it by First Choice (although it has only been used by First Choice since November 2005), and needs a lot of work to bring it up to an appropriate standard."
- Travel date: Sun 8th of January 2006
"we've just been a week to Kilifi bay beach hotel and it was splendid.
Everybody was frendly and did there best to please you.
Hakuna matatu was there answer to everything."
- Travel date: Wed 7th of December 2005