Hemingway's Watamu occupies a fantastic location on the beach. Being one of the older hotels in Watamu it has a significant beach frontage that affords great ocean views in most of the rooms.
The hotel itself is slightly dated. The plaque in the lobby indicates that it was opened in 1988. Some areas of the hotel seem to show its age and could do with some renovation. The decor is... interesting... Lots of large plastic fish trophies adorned the lobby and bar area. I guess this is an ode to the big game anglers who seem to be regulars at the hotel. Not to my taste personally.
The atmosphere in the hotel likewise reflects an old style of hotel service and travel. Breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner are all included. It has a very packaged tour feel about it although there were none there when we were visiting (low season). You get the impression that this is a place that people tend to come back to regularly as evidenced by the elderly British couple who had been back every year for the last 22 years.
Our room (222) was large and clean and had a great balcony overlooking the water. I believe that generally the second floor rooms in the hotel are the best solely for the view.
From a service perspective we were disappointed. While the staff were generally friendly, particularly the bar/restaurant staff, the smile was not matched by efficient service. Despite being low season with few other guests we were regularly waiting longer than expected for drinks and food service. The tours/activities desk was particularly disappointing as the staff did not appear particularly knowledgable (or were indifferent). For example when told that the hotel car (complimentary for guests) was not available to take us to the Gedi Ruins they suggested we catch a tuk tuk which would cost 1000ksh return. Thinking this was expensive we found one ourselves for 250ksh one way.
Overall, the hotel is nice. I personally wouldn't stay here again over other options downed the beach however this is largely attributable to personal tastes rather than anything particularly wrong with the hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hemingways Watamu is an iconic tropical paradise on the Kenyan coast sitting right in the middle of the pristine Watamu Marine National Park with its idyllic white sand beach and turquoise waters. The exceptional personal service and sincere charm of this established hotel has come to represent Kenyan coastal luxury to so many travellers for close to 30 years. There is so much to do here - learn to kite-surf; get your PADI certificate, take a sunset dhow cruise on Mida Creek, play a round of golf on the nearby world class golf course, Vipingo Ridge; or go on safari for a few days in Tsavo or the Maasai Mara. If that all sounds a little too energetic, relax around the pool with a good book as you work your way through our cocktail menu. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Hemingways Hotel Watamu
- Hemingways Hotel Malindi
- Hemingways Resort Malindi
- Hemingways Watamu Kenya