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“Definitely not worth the bucks”
Review of Hemingways Watamu

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Hemingways Watamu
Ranked #20 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Reviewed 15 January 2010

Very poor service, total lack of presence of the management.
Definitely not children friendly
Probably a nice hotel if you are English, but for the rest of the world, a nightmare !

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with family
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4  Thank Michiel L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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203 - 209 of 252 reviews

Reviewed 10 December 2009

I booked into Hemingways for a couple of days of relaxation after a few weeks where I'd been travelling around a lot.

I timed my visit perfectly, as I arrived the week before their busy period so there weren't many guests staying. Check-in was very quick, and all my bags were taken to my room whilst I had a quick look at the stunning beach.

The room itself is very large, furnished in a fairly colonial style with a lot of dark wood. THERE IS NO TV in the room, so if this bothers you maybe you should stay somewhere else. For me it was great as I spent all of my time by the pool or on the beach. They do have free Wi-fi throughout the hotel, although the reception in some romos isn't particularly strong.

The rate I paid meant my breakfast and dinner(along with afternoon tea by the pool) was included, so I ate my meals in the resort. Breakfast was very good, with a nice selection of fresh fruit and a big choice of cooked food too.

The afternoon tea was also of good quality, plenty of little sandwiches on offer. Both evenings I was there I thought Dinner was exceptional! There are only 2 choices on the 'inclusive' menu for each course (they have an a la carte menu that costs you extra and has more choices) but if you like a wide range of food you will have no problem picking something you like. After my previous evenings at a different all-inclusive hotel I thoroughly enjoyed the food on offer here. Compliments to the chef !!

My only gripe with Dinner is the fact they operate a strict 'No Jeans' policy. Most of the clientele are older couples so it's not an issue for them, but as a younger person on holiday I don't generally carry a pair of smart trousers and haven't owned a pair of chino's since I was 12 !! I can see they don't want people turning up in Jeans with big rips in them, but the pair I had were very smart, very dark and cost me a fortune ! However it just meant that I ate in the bar rather than on the terrace, but I can see some people may have been very annoyed by this rule.

Watamu beach, where the hotel is situated, is a fantastic looking beach. The national marine park is a short boat ride away and you can go snorkelling there (after paying the park entry fee + obscene skin tax). It may have been beacuase the hotels weren't particularly busy, but I didn't have any trouble with the beach boys when I went onto the beach. A quick 'No thanks' and they left me alone. As I wasn't around for very long, I didn't get a chance to go on a fishing trip, but looking at some of the pictures it seems as though they catch some seriously big fish off the coast here !

The staff here deserve a special mention, every one of them was helpful and friendly without exception. There was no question they couldn't answer and nothing seemed too much trouble for them. Highly commended.

I'd recommend this hotel if you want a relaxing break and enjoy good food, just remember to take a pair of long trousers !

If not having a TV in your room upsets you then go somewhere else. They do have a TV in the bar where you can watch all the live sport so you won't miss anything important.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled solo
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2  Thank Blackheathbloke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2009

If you like to be bombarded by over size men talking loudly about game fishing, while sorry looking wives skulk by the pool; this is the resort for you.

If, however, you appreciate a refined establishment where standards of food, wine and service are held in high esteem, best not book here.

It is sad, because the location and setting are fantastic - it is just spoilt by the wrong clientele

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled solo
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1  Thank petchieplus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2009

I've recently returned from a week at Hemingways, and there were good and bad points but the good definately outweighed the bad.

First the good points:
The staff are amazing. So friendly, so kind, they remember your name and nothing is too much trouble. Ronald and George were especially great.
The location is stunning - the beach is beautiful (although the beach boys pounce on you within seconds of you setting foot on the sand...)
Great excursions - we went deep sea fishing, to Malindi and snorkelling - all fantastic.
All rooms now have wi-fi, which is great.
The pool is the loveliest one you'll find- perfect temperature, spotless and lovely. Infact the whole hotel is spotless, no fag butts or anything like that anywhere.

Now a few minor gripes:
The food. Given that Hemingways is by the ocean and they fish every day why is there never 'Catch of the day'? Or just nicely grilled fish? The fish we eat was often from frozen, which seems silly given the proximity to the sea.The food really needs to improve, I'm really not a fussy eater but I struggled ( as did the whole of our group) to find something to eat on a couple of nights on the set menu. The food hygene is very good though. The buffets are fun, but its slightly weird to be eating mexican food in East Africa! I wish the breakfast didn't end at 10am, as we seemed to get the dregs every day, but that said the staff were always lovely and bought us fresh coffee and toast as we sneaked in at 9.59 most mornings!

The rooms. The bedrooms are fine, clean and simple - but for a 'luxury' hotel...why can't they have TVs? Some people love getting away from TV admittedly, so maybe that's just me!

The 'entertainment' - its a little cheesy and after 2 hours of clarinet ( or was it an oboe) I was going a little stir crazy. The singers on buffet night were good, but also a little cringey!

All in all, a lovely hotel which I plan to return to. At maximum there are 180 guests so I imagine it could get quite busy, but the staff are great, the place is stunning - having popped into Turtle Bay and Ocean Sports it is definately the best on the beach!

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank Ditagirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2009

One of the best run and located hotels on the Kenya coast. Well worth a visit, as well as a stunning beach!

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled on business
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Thank Inamd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2009

Unlike the previous reviewer, I found Hemingways to be the most welcoming, friendly and beatifully located hotel I've ever had the pleasure to stay at.

The staff are a real credit to the hotel - they really can't do enough for you, and by the time we left, they really did feel like friends (not something I've ever experienced in a hotel before - I tend to keep myself to myself, but their friendliness was infectious!).

The setting is beautiful - so close to the sea that you can hear the waves at night, and it's incredibly peaceful and relaxing.

The food was really good - evening meals were a combination of buffets on a couple of nights and then a five course meal on other nights. The set menu had three or so choices for each course, and then there is an a la carte if there isn't anything on the set menu which takes your fancy (though we always stuck to the set menu and were never disappointed). The wine list is mainly South African, and there were plenty of nice bottles to choose from The breakfast buffet was great too, and I would say that the food hygiene was first class.

There was music on the Saturday night. I'm not normally one for entertainment in hotels, but the singer was really good and even I was dancing (normally unheard of). Once again, the whole friendly, good natured atmosphere seemed to be infectious.

If you are into fishing at all, definitely go out on a fishing trip. I'd never been fishing before, but husband is mad keen, so I thought I might as well go out on the trip I'd organised for him - I was so glad I did. I had a brilliant time, and the kitchen cooked one of the tuna we caught for us that night - best tuna I've ever had!

I have never been to Benidorm either (usually holiday in Italy), and to be fair there are a lot of English people in the hotel, but I think the similarities with Benidorm end there (saw palm trees instead of high rise hotels, didn't spot any lager louts, don't think they usually have a turndown service in Benidorm...) and the only question is when, not if, we'll go back.

PS - the first lady of another African country was staying there with her family + entourage when we were there - not sure whether she would normally holiday in Benidorm?

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Snaffle100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2009

Sorry, this was awful.
Felt like I was in Benidorm (although I have never been - best avoided) . No privacy, rooms too close. Standard room was average, you could be anywhere... Food ok, but the buffet with the 1980s English music was awful (they should have played wonderful african music, which they did when i requested it, - but only one song!). . They try, but no way for that special holiday...
On the positive side the staff was great when they realized that we were in the wrong place, upgraded us for free to the suit, but still...

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank mcbw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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:
#4 Family Hotel in Watamu
#9 Luxury Hotel in Watamu
#10 Spa Hotel in Watamu
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Watamu
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
Hotel Class:5 star — Hemingways Watamu 5*
Number of rooms: 60
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

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