We stayed at Villa Watamu Resort for three nights over New Years, the height of the high season. We decided to stay because there was literally no other affordable beach front accommodation available.
The website is very nice and gives a good impression of the resort, but the picture of the beach with the loungers on it is a fake as there is no beach nearby. Basically a walk to the beach involves walking up to the main road, crossing over, and taking a beach path just after the Turtle Bay resort. If you travel a lot this won't be an issue, however if you don't want to walk past burning piles of rubbish while be cat called by matatu drivers then this may be an issue. When we asked directions to the beach reception offered to call us a tuk tuk, so this would be a way to avoid the walk, which is 15 minutes at least. Once you get to the beach you have to walk a bit to get to a quieter area. Generally, we didn’t find beach boys to be a problem. We just said no thanks and they went on their way. There is the option to pay and use the private beach at Turtle Bay or at Papa Remos down on the other end of the village.
Overall, our stay at the resort was very pleasant. It is quiet place with a huge pool.There are a lot of nice loungers by the pool, although no waiters came and asked us if we wanted any food or drinks by the pool, which would have been nice. The linens and towels were top quality. The rooms were well appointed and have huge balconies for relaxing on. Also, there is air conditioning, mini bars and TV.
The only thing we were disappointed with was the restaurant service, which was very unorganized. The restaurant seemed to be open all the time and naturally we thought we could dine there a la carte when we wanted to. However, we were confused when we came for lunch and there were a lot of tables free, but we weren’t allowed to sit at them. The waiter seemed very confused that we were coming for lunch. Eventually a table was carried up from somewhere for us and we were given menus for a set lunch with no price. We thought maybe the confusion was that we were on a bed and breakfast rate and not a full board rate. We asked for a la carte after noticing that other diners had a la carte and we got the menu and ordered from there. When it came time to pay the bill the bartender and the waiter both came to our table with separate checks at the same time. This was a bit overwhelming, but we paid each bill. Although the food and beverage manager helped the waiter carry a table in for us, she didn't bother to explain what was going on with the menu and the bill. Instead she stood smoking and chatting with some other diners.
On our last night we decided to try the food again- because despite the service the food was really good. We thought it would be nice to make use of the balcony and eat there instead of the restaurant. When we asked if it was possible the wait staff looked very confused and talked about it for some time in Kiswahili. Eventually they told us we could but it would be an extra charge. When we asked how much there was another long discussion and eventually they told us the extra charge would be 30% of our total bill. I thought this was a bit much, so we decided to try the restaurant again.
We had the same waiter both times we ate at the restaurant and the second time he was very vague about the menu. He brought us a set menu with no price and when we asked for a la carte he said that this was the special menu. We asked again if we could have a la carte and he said that would be fine. Again we weren't sure what the issue was and he didn’t offer any explanation. So we ordered two bbq fish with “cafe de Paris sauce, Lyonnais potatoes and steamed vegetable” for I think 1200 shillings each. Then we waited for an HOUR. Eventually when the food came we were served two orders of over salty fish and chips with steamed broccoli. This was obviously not what we ordered, but was on the menu for 700 shillings. By this point we were starving and ate the food, but when we asked the waiter what had happened to our order he got a menu and explained to us that this was what we ordered. When we pointed out that this was not what we ordered, and not what we were going to pay for (since it was on the menu for nearly half the price) the waiter acknowledged that we had not been served the food we ordered, but had been served regular fish and chips. Then he told us that he would be the one who would be held responsible if there was any mistake for our order and he didn't want to get in trouble. So he offered us a discount of 400 Shillings and charged us 2000 shillings instead of 2400. Not wanting to get anyone in trouble, we paid the bill and left. Of course as this was going on, the food and beverage manager was present and obviously had no clue what was going on.
Despite the service in the restaurant, I think this is a pretty good place if you can get a discount. I would email directly and ask for discounted rates. Overall, we had a comfortable stay, but would recommend asking in advance about the restaurant as maybe there was some information we didn't get. As well the tour that they offer to Gede is way overpriced. Better to hire a tuk tuk and go yourself for a fraction of the cost.
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- Also Known As:
- Villas Watamu Resort Kenya