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“Simply loved Turtle Bay Beach Club”

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Turtle Bay Beach Club
Ranked #14 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 August 2011

I have never written a review before because I've never before been so impressed with the standard of service at any hotel or resort I have stayed at. It is simply outstanding! Every single member of staff was staggeringly helpful, eg when we needed some weighing scales for our daughter due to a medical problem, Celestine at reception had someone go to her home to collect hers for us to use!
We had the slightly more expensive Lamu rooms, and they were well equipped and spotlessly clean (with the odd slightly cracked tile, but this is Africa!) We had asked for a quiet room and that's exactly what we got. The food was delicious, again with delightfully friendly but not overbearing staff.
We had a 3 night safari to Tsavo East, West and Amboseli, and highly recommend our guide Raymond Kingi from Kingi safaris (google him). He was knowledgeable, helpful, accommodating and professional in every way, as was his very safe driver.
I also recommend the tuktuk drivers Barak and Elijah (ask at reception), whom we used on several occasions.
Finally, do go to one of the orphanages, we went to God our Father orphanage and it was moving without being overwhelming, and a good experience for our teens in particular to see how the other half live.
3 cheers for Turtle Bay Beach Club!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank Gill T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 August 2011

We have just returned from two fabulous weeks at TBBC and are already thinking of planning a return visit....A first for us to any hotel we have ever visited. I don't know why this hotel worked so well for us as it isn't the most luxurious we have stayed in or didn't have the biggest range of facilities but somehow it managed to tick all our boxes. The staff at TBBC are the friendliest and most helpful of anywhere we have ever stayed. Eric at the pool learned where we liked to sit on the beach and would put our recliners and towels out for us...no rushing down at eight to grab the best loungers! The waiters on the beach and restaurant were fabulous and got to know our names and what we liked to drink...especially Ratibu, Erik, Kedange and Khamish. Also the entertainment team were excellent and worked hard to keep everyone occupied but were not pushy and were happy if you just wanted to read your book...my husband and son took part in many very enthusiastic games of waterpolo ( somehow descended into water rugby!) and beach volley ball.
Our two children age 11 and 13 had a great time and met loads of friends...infact we hardly saw them as the kids would often eat together and then be off somewhere around the hotel. The resort is quite small so it does feel safe and it is easy for the children to meet up.
The hotel has an adult only pool so if noisy kids and pool games aren't your cup of tea you can easily give them a miss.
There is also a little beauty parlour...quite basic but very reasonable and they do a fantastic massage and good pedicure.
There is some building work going on next door to TBBC at the moment but it isn't very noisy. However you may want to request rooms away from this if you like a good lie in!
There are beachboys but the hotel has a private area on the beach where they can't come to, so it is easy to sit on the beach without any hassle, and unlike many kenyan hotels TBBC does have loungers on the beach..a must for us as we like the sand between our toes! Having said that the beach boys are actually very nice and informative...we mainly spoke to Captain Alan, Simon and Victor... they sell trips and do a fantastic beach walk where you can see the Moray Eels and a Glass bottom boat snorkelling trip which was great fun. I think the trick might be to decide on day one who you are going to deal with on the beach and then tell the others when they approach who you are using....but if you just say you are going for a walk they will leave you alone and it is perfectly safe.The only draw back about the beach is the seagrass at this time of year which is thick and covers a lot of the sand.
There are also little shacks on the beach...Peter jones, Harrods, Argos etc that sell knick knacks and we told them we would come to them at the end of the holiday and spend with them....which we did and we bought something small in every shop...It did end up adding up but at least we knew it was going directly to those who needed it.
We went on a three day two night safari to East and West Tsavo which was out of this world. We booked before we went away with Abdul from Tunda Tours and he was excellent. I had done a bit of research about where I wanted to stay and Abdul got the accommodation I wanted and we seemed to get the best tents in both camps we stayed at. We stayed in unfenced camps and both were very luxurious with beautiful rooms and the settings were stunning. In Tsavo East we stayed in Galdessa in a family tent with four poster and huge bathroom. It had a connected area with beds for the kids. I think it might have been number 12. In Tsavo West we stayed in Severin and had a suite with a huge tent and viewing deck overlooking a waterhole and along a decking area there was a separate tent for the kids. I think this may have been The Mizwani suite. This camp also had a small infinity pool and spa. Our driver for our Safari was Steve and he was excellent and we managed to see everything apart from the Rhino ( not many people we spoke to saw a rhino).
While at TBBC we also visited The Happy House an Orphanage set up in Watamu by a lady from Lancashire. It is an amazing place. We had decided before our visit to sponsor a child but you don't have to and this is not pushed in anyway but you may want to take some food or make a small donation if you visit. We also went to the Turtle Sanctuary where you will see rescued turtles. We were extremely lucky as there was a turtle nest on the beach outside the hotel and we were present when some of the hatchlings made the dangerous trip to the sea...something we will always remember.
We had an amazing and very relaxing trip, we really didn't want to come home and hope to return soon.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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7  Thank OxshottLadies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2011

This was our second visit and it was almost as good as our last visit. The staff are charming and helpful, the rooms really nice and the food delicious. Other than a mix up with our room it was wonderful. We will be returning next year and we will be bringing our friends with us. The dive centre was really good and even though the weather was bad we managed to get one dive in and were lucky enough to see rays, morays, starfish, octupi, lionfish, potato bass, scorpion fish etc....Our DM was fantastic and made sure we didn't miss anything. You can not go wrong staying here! The best room is the Club Rooms near the tennis courts, they look out onto the gardens and are really peaceful at night. Definitely use the tour guides on the beach - they are a lot cheaper and quite safe, the rock pools are worth the kshs500 each...and you are contributing to the local economy (just a note: the guides will often take the marine life out of the rock pools and feed the morays for you get to get better pictures - PLEASE DONT ENCOURAGE THIS! )
Turtle Bay is money well spent!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank CynthiaG001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2011

I have just returned from a 2 week holiday to Kenya, staying at Turtle Bay Beach Club. The hotel was as described in the broshure, with well maintained grounds and a good choice of facilities. The transfer time is nearly 2.5 hours from the airport which is tiring but the staff made check in swift and provide a drink and cold flannel on arrival ( which is a nice touch).

Our room was very basic, it had a large double bed and one single bed, with a mosquito net that covered them both. There was a hair dryer and plenty of sockets however storage space is limited so I lived out of the suitcase. The room was large and had a fan ( which was extremely noisy at night on full speed!) The bathroom had a bath and shower however there is a mesh panel on the wall meaning sounds travel from around the hotel through this vent. Thus meaning it could be noisy, lots of door slamming and kids squeeling. We also had to endure the builders to the left of our room, who started work at 8am. This wasn't too problematic as we wanted to get up around this time.

There was a safe in our room, but you had to get a key from reception to use it. The staff at the front desk are very friendly and efficient. They will book early wake up calls and provide you with a breakfast/ lunch box if requested.

The hotel is on the beach front and there is a raised plateau of sand where the beach boys can't taut for business, which can be off putting, This is manned by 24 hour security. In addition the entertainers at the hotel will invite you on a beach walk, which we felt was a less intimidating option for two young female travellers.

We opted to stay by the adult only pool, which was a lot quieter than the main pool, which was used for various activities and games. There were always plenty of loungers and the pool team are extremely helpful and provide foam towelling cushions. Whilst around the pool the entertainment team came to offer activities which include walks to the village, darts and aqua gym. There is something for everyone but the team aren't pushy and understand if on the odd day you'd prefer to relax.

The USP for this hotel is certainly the staff who are attentive, friendly and polite. They always looked happy and would go out of their way to ensure you had a great holiday. Meal times at Turtle Bay were heavily influenced by Indian cuisine,with a lot of spicy dishes and curries. They also serve some English dishes such as Shepherd's Pie and Bakewell Tart. The food is well cooked but can be a bit oily.

Each evening there is an entertainment act that can be enjoyed by the whole family, these include singers, magicians and a snake talk from then local Bio Ken centre. I was particularly impressed by The Pagan Acrobats, who could easily be in the Cirque D'Soliel!

We didn't book a trip with our rep but did book online with Ray Kingi of Kingi safaris. I would thoroughly recommend Ray, as he is very knowledgable and a very nice genuine guy. We stayed at the Voi Wildlife Lodge for one night as part of the package.

I was impressed with my first experience of Kenya and strongly believe that it is the great team of staff that make Turtle Bay so popular and successful.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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4  Thank hulahula17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2011

I travelled to Turtle Bay Beach Club with my friend; we stayed there from 5th August – 19th August 2011 with Thomson.

Airport arrival – We arrived at Mombasa airport, which was very basic and took quite a while to get through the visa queue. We were given forms on the plane, but we were given another form to fill in once we got to the security gates. Our visa fee of 50 US Dollars was paid up (save an extra 2,000 Kenyan Shillings for the exit fee to be paid on the way back home though).

We met Alex the Thomson Rep outside the airport and he took us to the bus, which then travelled straight to the hotel.

Transfer: The hotel is around a 2 hour 30 minutes drive away from Mombasa airport, driving through Mombasa was an eye opening experience. The road is very bumpy but once you reach the hotel you understand why so many people go year after year.

Check in: This was smooth and quick, as soon as we arrived at the hotel, we were given a passion fruit juice and a lovely cold flannel. We were then given some brief forms to fill out, and gave over our passports to be photocopied. Our bags were carried to our room (205) and we could then go to lunch and get our locker key, which was given to us at the cashier’s office by reception. Cards are given on check in which can be swapped for pool towels.

Room: Our room was basic but comfortable with two single beds, fan and our own balcony overlooking the building work. We could hear the work that started at around 7.30 am, but with the fan on could hear nothing.

We also had tea and coffee making facilities but not tv, this didn’t bother us though as we were in the room to only sleep and spent little time in the room.

We had a mosquito net covering both beds (one single and one double), both beds were very comfortable and the mosquito net didn’t let any in during the night.

Bathroom: The bathroom was basic with a toilet, shower, sink and soap. I found the water pressure to be lacking but the water was always hot but there were no toiletries provided other than soap.

Food and drink: There are two restaurants (Pizza Garden and Buffet Restaurant), which can be used on the All Inclusive tariff and there’s also a restaurant that you can pay to visit, called The Blue Turtle. We didn’t go there but the menu sounded delicious and fairly well priced but we were happy with the Pizza Garden and buffet restaurant. An African Night was held once a week with specialities.

Food at the buffet consisted mainly of delicious curries including an okra massala which I am going to try and cook back home. We had chicken tandoori a couple of times as well as fresh naan breads a couple of times a week. Cottage and pie and roast beef and pork also featured on the menu as well as things like vegetable pancakes, which were delicious.

At breakfast the buffet included items such as croissants, sausages, potatoes, baked beans, an egg station where you could have pancakes, omelettes, eggy bread and also fresh fruit.

We also loved the pancakes at 4pm by the main pool; there were small pancakes and large ones available with lime, honey, sugar and chocolate sauce.

Cocktails: The cocktail menus was great with lots of choice and you an even ask for a cocktail you would like if it is not on the menu. Alcoholic Cocktails included Turtle on the Rocks (rum, pineapple juice ands grenadine), Dhawa (Fermented Cane Juice, lime juice and honey).

Non alcoholic cocktails were great as well, with a choice from Virgin Pina Colada, Traffic Light (mango and pineapple juices with grenadine and green food colouring), Coke Float, Fanta Float and my favourite the Sawa Sawa (Pineapple and Passion Fruit Juice with greandine!)

Beach: We went in August and so the beach was covered in lots of seaweed, we didn’t venture much onto the beach, but I did to have on the camel. I paid 500 Kenyan Shillings for a 15 minute ride up to the wishing rock and back which I enjoyed! I did have a few beach boys come up to meet trying to sell their goods but I just told them ‘no thank you’ and they left me alone.

Safari: We felt that the safaris offered by Thomson were too expensive and had looked up the prices of different safari companies before we left. We decided to book with Raymond Kingi of Kingi Safaris based on previous comments on Tripadvisor. During the holiday I emailed Ray to see if he could meet us at the hotel reception to discuss the safari and prices further.

In the meeting Ray asked us if we would mind going along with some Italians, we didn’t so we were all booked to go the next Saturday!

We felt so at ease with Ray and felt totally confident in our booking and couldn’t wait the couple of days until we could go! We’d booked a one night safari to Tsavo East National Park staying at the Voi Wildlife Lodge including 3 game drives for £160 each which was the best price I could find.

We couldn’t have been happier with our choice, Ray answered all of our questions about the animals and if he wasn’t sure about a species of bird he’d brought along a book to check them. He’d also brought a pair of binoculars but we felt we didn’t need them as we could get up close enough to the animals without needing them!

The safari started with us being up picked outside Turtle Bay Beach Club at 6.45 am, we’d booked breakfast boxes the night before for the journey. We got into the safari bus, met the Italians and were driven to Tsavo East National Park. We stopped at the park entrance to get out where we saw lots of baboons, civet monkeys, storks and a big crocodile that was really close! This was a 15-minute opportunity to use the toilet and have a browse of the shop, but mainly to look at the animals.

We got back in the safari bus and drove to the Sala Gate, where the driver paid the money, handed over some licence and then we were allowed through! We drove just inside the gate and saw a huge African Elephant covered in red dust from the red soil with massive tusks. Our first sight of big game! We stopped to take pictures, Ray checking that we all had time to take plenty of photos.

We then drove further on where we saw a herd of zebra which was great to see, we saw many animals. We then drove on to a river where we could get out of the vehicle to say ‘Jambo’ to the hippos which was an amazing site! All together we saw these animals: Elephants, Zebra, Water Buffalo, Hippos, Crocodiles, Rock Hyrax, Cheetah, Giraffes, Warthogs.

At lunchtime, we were driven to the Voi Gate and then onto the Voi Wildlife Lodge where we had 2 hours time to check into the Lodge, have lunch and have a quick swim in the pool there which was lovely and refreshing!

We had another game drive following lunch and then returned back to the lodge for dinner where we saw a herd of elephants and a giraffe come to the waterhole which was a magnificent sight. The food in the lodge was lovely with plenty of choice, we also had a comfy night’s sleep in the room but I woke to see a Giant Centipede on my bed which scared me to death! One of the wonders of sleeping in a lodge I suppose and we also had a cockroach in our room.

We had a lovely breakfast with the choice of fresh omelettes amongst much else, checked out of the lodge and went on our 3rd and final game drive at 6.30 am. Following this we were dropped back at the Turtle Bay Beach Club, I’d love to do another safari and will book again with Kingi Safaris hopefully spot the elusive rhino, maybe a leopard and have already recommended the company to a friend who is looking to go to Kenya next year.
This is Ray’s website www.kingisafaris.com I would recommend anyone to book with him and hopefully I can go back when funds allow!

Entertainment: The Fun Base Team organise all the entertainment during the day, including activities such as a beach walk, water polo, darts, water aerobics and various kids’ club activities. We went on the organised walks along the beach and also into Watamu Village and took part in the water aerobics and darts competitions that were fun.

At 9.15 pm, there is a show every night which changed every day for the two weeks. I found the entertainment to be brilliant for an All Inclusive hotel, the acrobats in particular were excellent and I also enjoyed the informative lecture called Snake Show from Bio Ken Snake Farm.

Antimalarials & mosquitoes: I took doxycycline as an antimalarial and suffered no side effects, which I was very pleased about and they only cost £7.50 for a holiday of 2 weeks. I did have about 10 mosquito bites over my 2 week stay, and think I got these when sitting at the evening shows and this was despite covering all exposed areas with DEET spray. My friend who didn’t use DEET wore longer clothes and only received around 3 mosquito bites so I will try doing this next time.

It is the staff that really make this hotel, they ask for your name when you first arrive and then remember it for the rest of your stay. They really can't do enough for you and are always asking if you are enjoying your stay and how you are finding Kenya.

If anyone has any questions, send me a message and I’ll try to answer any that you might have. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone planning on spending some time in Kenya, the staff can’t do enough for you, and there is plenty to do from here, however please remember this country is on the African continent and go with an open mind.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank MexicoPrincess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2011

We had a lovely relaxed holiday at TBBC. There were things for the adults to get involved in i.e. water aerobics, water polo, beach volleyball but no one was pushy so if you wanted to laze around and read your book you could. Our kids ( 11 and 9 year old boys ) had a whale of a time making friends and playing endless games of table tennis !
This is definitely not a 5 star resort but was comfortable, staff very attentive, food not only non stop but of a good standard, very child friendly and well worth a visit.
There was a build up of sea grass when we went but if you turned left on the beach of the hotel and walked past "Hemingway's", "ocean sports" and a few other houses through an alleyway to blue lagoon beach ( about 1 km walk) there wasn't any sea grass there and the water was lovely.
We were approached a lot by local touts but if you asked them to go away they did..... we also did a deep sea fishing trip with a charter out of Hemingway's ( I don't know why but the T.B.B.C. person organising trips only worked from 6 - 9pm when we were there - maybe book in advance ? ) It was excellent - my husband caught a black marlin and a sailfish, my 11 year old caught a 28kg Sailfish and I caught a sailfish. There were many that we weren't able to haul in due to the fact that they all seemed to come at once !
We didn't really enjoy the creek fishing as we didn't have many bites but James was a lovely old man and very personable.
I would definitely recommend this resort to any one with kids who is looking to relax and perhaps do a bit of fishing. We never got to the turtle sanctuary but perhaps next time ? My son also loved the snake park and got to handle some of the snakes.

Room Tip: I would recommend a sea view room but away from the table tennis table and darts board if you are li...
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank LisaDubai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2011

The hotel staff are fantastic and the most friendly we have ever met!. Very impressed with the 'Managers cocktails' night as every member of staff was introduced - from front of house to the gardeners - this made you feel very welcome!. Not unusual to see the manager, Damien, wandering around chatting to guests and he even remembered our names!!. Every review about this hotel is spot on - it is a 3* hotel but the staff are definately 5***!!. We were very disappointed with the seaweed on the beach and agree with other reviews that this should be highlighted when booking, as saw pictures of it in January when it is pure white!. We had an ocean view room and it is worth the upgrade, but be prepared to hear some of the evening entertainment and it also has the table tennis and childrens area behind it, so again can be noisy at times!!. Don't be afraid of "the beach boys" - they are full on and approach you as soon as you step onto the beach, but are very friendly and can be useful for certain trips ( recommend visiting the rock pools to feed the eels). I wanted a particular gift to take back and one of the beach boys went to the local village for it and brought it to the beach the following day!. They enjoy the banter when you haggle for your gifts and will knock even more off if you have things to trade ( take socks and pens in particular! ). The hotel take you for daily beach walks and sometimes you visit the local villages - pencils, pens and sweets are great for the children and you will be mobbed by lots of excited faces!!. We loved the whole ethos of this hotel and left things like our suncream, hats, pens and pencils to the many great causes they support. We were at the hotel for our wedding anniversary and this had been mentioned when we booked. This is the first hotel where this was acknowledged and we were totaly spoilt!!. We had a wonderful breakfast brought up to our room; a basket of fruit and a bottle of bubbly and a three course meal in their ala carte restaurant!! A lovely hotel and a wonderful introduction to Kenya! P.S. travel from airport to hotel is about 2.5 hours along very very very bumpy roads ( not mentioned in brochure!! and if you go on the Tsavo safari you can be travelling for up to 7 hours before you get to your first camp! )

Room Tip: upgrade to an ocean view room as have a fridge which others do not and are a lot bigger.
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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6  Thank becks m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Turtle Bay Beach Club

Address: PO Box 10, Watamu, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Watamu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Family Hotel in Watamu
#8 Romantic Hotel in Watamu
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Watamu
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
Price Range: £94 - £278 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Turtle Bay Beach Club 3*
Number of rooms: 145
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Turtle Bay Beach Club Hotel Watamu
Turtle Bay Beach Hotel
Turtle Bay Beach Resort
Turtle Bay Beach Club Kenya/Watamu

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