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“Fantastic”
Review of Hemingways Watamu

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Hemingways Watamu
Ranked #19 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Nanyuki Town, Kenya
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Fantastic”
Reviewed 22 March 2014

A gorgeous hotel and wonderful attention to detail. This is my fourth trip to this coastline and first to Hemingways and it is by far the best hotel along this strip of beach. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. The food is delicious and plentiful and the service amazing. The whole complex is kept immaculately clean and the staff are considerate and blend into the background until needed. Having lived in Kenya for two years now this is by far the best service I have received anywhere. I also used the spa and the massage was amazing. I would thoroughly recommend it and am hoping to go back very soon.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank 332JaneM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fred K, E-Commerce Executive at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Jane,

Our greatest joy comes when we have a satisfied guest. Thank you for your kind review and recommendation. Looking forward to hosting you again!
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250 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
107 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2014

We just spent a weekend at Hemmingway's, and overall had a wonderful stay. The stay are extremely welcoming and work to make sure you have a relaxing time. The food is very good in comparison to many other hotels on the cost, the rooms are spacious and very well appointed. And with the resort overlooking a fabulous bay in the Indian Ocean. This also means that there are plenty of activities such as diving, snorkelling, deep sea game-fishing and the ubiquitous dhow trip ready on hand.

My only gripe are the many rules that are posted everywhere and a couple that took the shine off our stay. Once we arrived we were told that the dress code for men at dinner was trousers, a shirt with a collar, and closed toe shoes. If I was in London or even Nairobi I could understand this, but on the coast it was a little odd, and we were not given adequate warning. We thought we would be able to bluff our way in, but no, we were absolutely not allowed to sit with other diners, in an open air environment, as I was wearing a t-shirt with flip flops.

My other peeve was that checkout was a hard and fast 10am, late checkout would incur a 50% room fee. considering this is a resort where many guests from Nairobi leave at 1;30pm to catch the 3:00pm flight on a Sunday this seemed a little odd.

But these things aside it's still a lovely place to visit and relax, just remember to take a collared shirt and closed toe shoes!

Room Tip: The junior suites are well worth the extra money
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank michaelmoulsdale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fred K, E-Commerce Executive at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this review, 9 April 2014
Dear Michael,

Thank you for your review and we are delighted that you enjoyed our location. I do apologise for the fact that we need to give some rules as I know this can be a little irritating. We do ask our guests not to use their mobile phones in the main public areas but to step away so as to keep the quiet and relaxed holiday feel of the hotel for our other clients. With the reception we get in this area quite often mobile calls require quite a loud volume!

We do also ask our guests to change from beach and pool side shorts and t-shirts to trousers and a shirt with a collar (polos shirts are fine) for the evenings. Sadly we have found that some clients are quite content to come to dinner in the same somewhat grubby clothes that they may have been fishing in all day and so we do ask that everyone changes for dinner. However, you should have been informed of this before your departure from home and I do apologise that you were not made aware of this before you arrived.

Warm regards
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Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2014

We arrived at Hemingways, Watamu, in January for our second visit in two years, having enjoyed our previous visit very much. We were not disappointed this time either - everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Our room was clean and of a good size and the large mosquito net meant that you did not feel claustrophobic (not that we saw any mosquitoes)
We enjoyed swimming in the two pools, relaxing on the front looking at the wonderful view and snorkelling on the old reef just in front of the hotel where there are plenty of beautiful fish. We also went out deep sea fishing with skipper, Steve, and were very successful, with plenty of large fish and also a sailfish. We would recommend this trip to anyone keen on fishing even though it is expensive.
The food was of a very high standard, with afternoon tea included. Evening meals were a mixture of waiter service and buffet meals. The buffets were excellent with plenty of choice, and it was wonderful to sit outside for our evening meals with excellent local bands providing music to entertain us.
Thanks must go the George for managing to change our flight to Hemingways Ol Seki in the Masai Mara from Mombasa (with a 4a.m. start!) to Malindi (with a more civilised 8a.m. start!
We would like to thank all the staff for making our stay so perfect, we'll be back!

Room Tip: We've only been in the ground floor rooms on the south side and they are very good.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kathy N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fred K, . at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this review, 11 February 2014
Dear Kathy,

It is our joy that you enjoyed your stay with us and would even like to come back. You are most welcome. Steve is an excellent skipper and we are glad that you managed to have a successful fishing experience.

We guarantee that your next visit will be equally as rewarding, if not better!

Warm Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Witney, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 January 2014

We stayed at Hemingways in 2007 and had the best holiday ever and had talked about returning for years. We returned in January 2014 and were disappointed on most levels. The rooms had been refurbished and were comfortable and clean, it was great to be able to sit up in bed and look at the ocean, but there was one small wardrobe with 6 hangers in and absolutely no drawers or shelves to unpack onto - subsequently we asked for more hangers ( received 6) and lived out of our suitcase placed on top of a chair!
I had emailed Omar about a severe nut allergy I have and received an email back assuring me that he had NOTED it, as he met me in reception upon my arrival in 2007 and guaranteed no nuts would be served whilst I stayed in Hemingways I felt very assured that it would be the same this time. I didn't see Omar on arrival and our first evening meal had hazelnut desert on it. The next day I spoke to reception and they took me to discuss it with the Chef, he brought out my email highlighted with the allergy and apologised for the desert the night before, he then told me Omar was away for 3 weeks and didn't know who replied to the email! No nuts were then on the menu but we were very cautious. The food was not as we remembered and to be honest overall it was very disappointing. The highlights were the fish are group caught freshly cooked and served to our table.
I talked to the spa about a facial and wasn't convinced that they knew which ingredients were in their products - so I couldn't book anything :(
Everything seemed very tired, the staff were extremely friendly but lacked the polished service of 2007.

Room Tip: Facing the Ocean with a balcony for the views
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank 331Lesley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fred K, Manager at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this review, 3 February 2014
Thank you for your comments and we are truly sorry that you did not enjoy your holiday with us as much on this visit.

We did indeed receive your email telling us about your nut allergy and this was received and replied to by Chef Omar on the 6th January; he did not go on his leave until the 15th January.

On the night of the 14th January, your arrival night, one of the dessert choices on the Table D’ hote Menu was a Chocolate Hazelnut dessert, we agree, but there were alternatives on the menu and it was clearly marked as containing nuts.

Over the course of the next day, 15th January, I personally met you as did our Sous Chef Johnrick Njape. You explained to us that your nut allergy was extremely serious and that you could not take the chance of any cross contamination at all. As such, we arranged to remove all nuts and products with nuts from the kitchen entirely for the entire length of your stay and I personally checked that this had been done and confirmed it to you. I regret that this had not been done beforehand but we did not realize how strong your allergy was and that we would need to completely remove nuts rather than simply indicate items that contained them. I do apologise.

I do also regret that you did not enjoy our meals as much as the last time and can only wish that you had let me know this whilst you were still here so that we could have addressed the problem. We received extremely positive remarks on our meals from other returning clients during the period of your holiday and I do regret that you did not feel the same way.

I am also very sorry that you did not find the shelving and cupboard space in your room spacious enough for your needs. We have made a note of this and will see if there is anything we can do to increase the number of drawers and shelves in these rooms for the future.

Thank you for your comments; it is only through constructive criticisms such as these that we are able to improve our service and ensure that our future clients will enjoy their stay.

Best regards,

Melinda Rees
Manager
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Wells, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 January 2014 via mobile

Strange review as we have not stayed yet.
Booked to stay in January 2014, but had to cancel due to illness. Sent proof and hotel were fantastic in refunding my deposit even though it was chargeable. Thank you so much!
Will re-book soon.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Jack O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fred K, Manager at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this review, 3 February 2014
Dear Jack,

Thank you for your kind compliments. Sorry about your illness and we hope you are recovering well. We would be delighted to have you visit us when you are fully recovered. Looking forward to your visit!

Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Spalding, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2014

As the Beach leg of our Kenyan adventure this hotel more than met our expectations. The location on the Indian Ocean is simply stunning and the activities are plentiful and amazing.
Renown for it's Deep Sea Fishing, the hotel also works for the Non Fishing visitors like ourselves. The Food is excellent, expertly prepared by Chef Omar and the place has a friendly feel that has long since left many other holiday locations.
Luxury comes as a norm and the chances are you will be rubbing shoulders with someone famous, however the biggest draw for this hotel/resort is the people. Every member of staff is genuinely pleased to meet you and are the friendliest guys and girls we have ever experienced on holiday. To mention any single one would be remiss but we would say that the ship Belinda and Jeff run is a happy ship and one we feel we want to visit again and again.
Kenya is a fantastic country to visit and this is a fantastic place to stay when you visit!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SkeggyItIsNot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 December 2013

By far the best holiday experience. The staff were extremely helpful and pleasant. We stayed in the deluxe twin rooms which were clean and comfortable. The food was excellent and we really enjoyed the dinners under the stars. The hotel also organized for our trip to the Bio-Ken Snake Park and the Gedi Ruins and provided complimentary transport to these sites. All in all, a place I would visit again and again

  • Stayed December 2013
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Visitor_in_Dar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hemingways Watamu

Property: Hemingways Watamu
Address: P.O. Box 267, Watamu 80202, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Watamu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Family Hotel in Watamu
#7 Luxury Hotel in Watamu
#10 Spa Hotel in Watamu
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Watamu
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
Hotel Class:5 star — Hemingways Watamu 5*
Number of rooms: 74
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hemingways is nestled on one of the world's top ten beaches and few places can compare for relaxation. Every one of our 74 rooms offers an views of the ocean and the endless white sands of of the Watamu Marine Park. Gentle sea breezes tame the hot equatorial sun keeping the tropical landscape surrounding the gardens, pools and terraces cool and comfortable. Simple yet luxurious this very personal hotel has tradtional thatched roofs, white washed walls and uses bright local materials for decor and furnishings. Friendly helpful service in a relaxed and elegant setting where mobile phones are silent and stress has no place. Our chefs make the best possible use of the abundant offerings of the Indian Ocean, the delicious organic meats and an abundance of home grown fruits and vegetables from our farms. Special diets are happily catered for; let us know what you need. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hemingways Hotel Watamu
Hemingways Hotel Malindi
Hemingways Resort Malindi
Hemingways Watamu Kenya

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