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“Did not meet expectations”

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ManFriday's Mida Cove
Ranked #12 of 31 Speciality Lodging in Watamu
Reviewed 5 February 2014

Our welcome at Malindi airport didn't go too well - our driver (and manager of the camp) was late, had forgotten to re-fuel on the way and asked us to move aside a bit in order to make some place for the car's spare tyre on the back seat. Took us 1.5 hours to get to the camp (normally 25 mins). Not the most fun way to start your Christmas holiday.

As a group of 6 Kenyan residents, we are quite used to some discomfort, but it seems that these guys have made an art out of it. Manfriday's Camp has the location and setting for a very special holiday experience, but the place unfortunately lacks any form of pizaz. Apart from being overpriced, one is led to believe from the camp's website that each cabin has its own swimming pool and terrace. Not true. In high season, one swimming pool was out of order, construction was still going on in several rooms, sailing boat and surfboards were not working, furniture was broken and our matress was full of mould, the list kept on growing.

Nevertheless, one just had to turn its back to the rooms and enjoy the nice sea views to soon forget all these issues. Lunches and dinners were well-prepared by the hostess Sonia and her lovely staff, which was a big plus. If only this kind of hospitality could have been reflected in the facilities and by the rest of management, our holiday would have been the dream it should have been.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Bas20121314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sonja A A, Owner at ManFriday's Mida Cove, responded to this reviewResponded 17 February 2014

I am truly sorry that you feel so disappointed in your experience at Manfriday’s – in our conversations during your stay I was under the impression that you were comfortable and happy. That said, may I address your comments -
The welcome – apologies that you were picked up late – I understand this was no more than a few minutes and resulted from the fact that the only petrol station between Manfriday’s and Malindi Airport had run out of petrol that day. This was indeed unfortunate. With regard to the spare tyre – the vehicle used for your transfer was a Noah, this is an eight seater vehicle (for four of you) but is a bit short on baggage space. The mistake was in putting the tyre on the back seat rather than an item of your baggage. Again, this was unfortunate and I do apologise.
The length of the trip – it generally takes 35 – 40 minutes from Malindi Airport to Manfriday’s. I understand that a detour was made, on your request, to the Gelateria in Watamu. This would account for the extra time.
The discomfort – Mida House, where your group of four stayed – has, aside from the two en-suite bedrooms, a lounge area, a seating area on the forest side of the house and a roofed deck which is generally used for breakfast service. A plunge pool behind Mida is reserved for the exclusive use of the house. I am truly sorry you did not find it comfortable.
Having addressed the issue of swimming pools and boats in response to your friends, I will not repeat this, other than to say that our website does not promise a private pool per house.
Broken furniture - one of your party pointed out that the chair in Mida B bedroom was unstable – this chair has since been removed for repair. I am not aware of any other broken furniture.
Mouldy mattress - we have established that the design of the built-in bed is the cause of this problem and we have rectified it. I must add that the mattress itself was not mouldy, but had absorbed a damp smell from the space underneath, nevertheless, unpleasant enough. Also be reminded that as soon as this problem was brought to my attention we replaced the mattress and I believe you were comfortable thereafter. All the same, I do apologise again for the experience. It is unfortunate that a guest had to bring this and the chair to my attention and I have asked housekeeping to be more vigilant in future.
I will lastly thank you for the kind words regarding our food and service.

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5 - 11 of 18 reviews

Reviewed 29 January 2014

Wonderful quiet location well away from any other establishment. No beach boys to harrass you and no locks or doors necessary in this part of Kenya.
The accommodation is lovely and quirky, our apartment had a stone bath full of seawater as well as a shower. Great for cooling off.
Excellent service from the owners and staff with wonderful food served as and when you want it.

A single and a double canoe are available to use to explore the cove with mangroves and along the coast but unfortunately the sailing catermarans were out of action.
The beach is not sandy at times so it is essential to have shoes for swimming and there are good walks along the coast when the tide is out but be careful in case you get cut off by an incoming tide and have to take an overland route.

Room Tip: Best rooms for privacy at far end away the pool.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Podglenuig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2014

This place really has potential and one can see that it has a very well designed set up.

Unfortunately the management (except for Sonja) is really very poor and totally incapable of running a business like this. We have never been treated so rude during a stay.

In the peak of high season there were still rooms under construction, we had to move 3 times in 4 days. Even after we agreed to the request to make the full payment 6 months prior to arrival, so the construction could be finished in time. Didn't happen.
Everyone is in the same pool, so if the place is fully booked there is not a lot of privacy.
There were supposed to be several boats for guests to use, but they were broke or in such a bad condition that one wouldn't want to go on. Kayaks were the only things available.
When we asked for a boatride to Watamu, there was not enough petrol.
There was mould under the beds, there was no water pressure at times..and this is just the beginning of a long list of disappointments.

Luckily we had great company of our friends and Sonja did a great job with her nice food & staff.
In current state and under this management we would definitely not recommend to stay at Manfridays.

Room Tip: The room at the pool is nice, although little privacy as there are no doors towards pool and bar.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank rose413
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sonja A A, Owner at ManFriday's Mida Cove, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2014

Thank you for your feedback, we do take client comments seriously and as such, I would like to respond to some of your comments:

I will firstly apologize for any rudeness you may have experienced, it is never acceptable.

I will also agree that the room you were to occupy was not up to our standard, and in recognition of this we placed you in Jack’s House for two nights of your stay. Since we could not offer you Jack's House for your last night we refunded you in full for your third/ last night and accommodated you in our Garden Cottage, and fed you free of charge on that third night. We believe we did our best to recover.

Privacy around our main swimming pool - when we are fully booked it is not possible for any one group of guests to have exclusive use of the main pool. It is for this reason that we have a private plunge pool between Mida House and Jack’s House and a private plunge pool in front of Stonehouse.

Seaworthiness of our boats - both our motorized skiff and the Mosquito catamaran, are fully functional and although the skiff may well need a paint job, we regularly and safely ferry guests to and from Watamu.

Boatride to Watamu - I am not aware that there was any issue with petrol for the boat, I understand that the boat was on the water and ready when your friends decided to drive to Watamu instead. This was probably a better idea than taking a young baby on the boat.

Mould under the beds - this refers to the build-in-bed in Mida A - we were informed of this problem on the second last day of the guests stay and the mattress was immediately replaced. If we had been aware of the problem earlier, we would have resolved the issue immediately.

Privacy at Jack’s House - while some of our guests are comfortable with the openness of the design, with privacy being provided by the curtains and blinds, we accept that this is not sufficient for everyone and we are planning to provide a more substantial frontage to the bedroom.

Finally, we do our best to give our guests a positive experience and a relaxing holiday and we are sorry that in your case we did not succeed. I do thank you for your positive comments regarding the design and potential of Manfriday’s and am pleased that you were happy with the food and with our staff.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2013

My boyfriend and I had a wonderful time staying at Manfridays! It’s simply an amazing, unique place. The rooms and grounds are lovely, the service is excellent, the food is delicious, and Papu and Sonya are great hosts. I can’t say enough good things about this place!

There are lots of options for things to do around from swimming to walks on a serene beach to visiting nearby Gede to lounging in one of the many wonderful spots at Manfridays!

We can’t wait to go back!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank katie648
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2013

I stayed for four nights at Manfriday’s towards the end of August 2013, and just loved it. The staff were all helpful and courteous, and the rooms are beautiful, each one with its own unique and lovely natural driftwood, shells and flotsam décor . The hotel has a sense of abundance of space with spread out houses and plenty of inviting casual “chill spots” so that you can choose to socialise or withdraw as you please – or join others at the outside bar in the evening and enjoy Manfriday’s deliciously limy sundowner ‘dawas’. We liked swimming and paddle ski-ing in the bay (once we’d waded through the seaweed), lazing in the hammocks and swing beds, and walking up and down the beach at low tide – extensive wave erosion of the coral and rocks has created a surreal landscape.
It’s not a budget destination - I don't usually spend as much on accommodation, but it was definitely worth it for the perfectly secluded relaxation. Oh, and the food was absolutely delicious! Thank you Sonja and Papu

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Sunbird0510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2013

ManFriday's is an amazing place to get away from it all. Located away from the crowds, it has beachfront access to lovely white sand that is rarely visited by tourists. The suite-style accomodations are really lovely, open to the tradewinds and wonderfully appointed - ours had a direct view of the ocean and private seating areas where we enjoyed our full breakfast delivered each day. Sonja and Papu provide fun hospitality, starting off with a ceremonial just picked coconut drink, arranging activities for us including snorkeling out to the Coral Gardens reef, a boat trip around Mida Creek, a drum and dancing show by the local tribe (fantastic!) and even a yoga class. No TV (yay), long walks exploring the tidal rock pools, total relaxation. We ate the majority of our meals at ManFriday's and each one was a culinary delight, many cooked over a hibachi and featuring local delicacies. One has to realize that the beach in this part of Kenya is remote, power is solar and can be intermittent but who cares, the geckos and millipedes are friendly, and showers are refreshingly at room temperature. Also, for those security-minded like us, we felt very well cared for and protected. Thank you Sonja and Papu for creating this really special place in paradise.

Room Tip: Talk with Sonja - ask for a room with a view of the ocean
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Helen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2013

A super special place. It is in a gorgeous spot - a fair drive away from the main road and near no other hotels - so secluded and completely untouristy. You have the lovely beaches to yourself (except for a few local kids and fishermen), and the sky at night is stunning. What Sonja and Papu have built is even more special though, I thought. They have used local materials (lots of driftwood, coral and shells, and beautiful sun-bleached (or so it looks!) stone) to make gorgeous places to stay. They are unique (all unexpected nooks and crannies) but very recognisable as inspired by Swahili architecture. And luxurious! And we found the hospitality incredible. Everyone is absolutely determined that you will get the most out of your stay. We went at the start of rainy season and so were the only people there, so Sonja and Papu upgraded us to their best property (with our own small pool), and gave us heaps of free drinks. They also got a local group of drummers in to entertain us, just because they thought it was the sort of thing we might enjoy (which we did). The staff are absolutely lovely and take great care in their work - we were completely pampered. And Sonja clearly loves chatting with you about what you want to eat - she throws out lots of options, having already asked you for likes and dislikes before you arrive, and everything we ate was yummy. And so much! I put on 5 pounds in 4 days! (though clearly you don't have to eat as much as I did!). All in all, fabulous - naturally and handcraftedly beautiful place, run and staffed by people thoroughly dedicated to ensuring you enjoy yourself.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank lkcLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about ManFriday's Mida Cove

Address: P.O. Box 5797, Watamu, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Watamu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 31 Speciality Lodging in Watamu
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On a pristine stretch of Kenya's Indian ocean beachfront, Manfriday's Mida Cove offers four individually designed Beach Villas. Located just off Mida Creek -a world bio-heritage site- a Marine National Park and a bird watcher's paradise, Manfriday's is something new and very different in luxury beach destinations. Manfriday´s combines all the convenience of a hotel - from full-board food & bar service to house-keeping and recreation - with the personal intimacy of private villas. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
ManFriday's Mida Cove Kenya/Watamu

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