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“Our second visit 'home' and still fantastic”

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Turtle Bay Beach Club
Ranked #14 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 December 2012

We visited Turtle Bay Beach Club in November / December 2012. This was our second visit (first visited last year) and we had a fabulous holiday. It was every bit as good as last year.

We travelled with Thomson this time - the flight was better than we expected! We arrived at Mombasa rather tired and then had to endure the usual 2 1/2 hour journey to Turtle Bay. We had forgotten how bad the journey actually is (hot and bumpy) although as soon as you arrive, you forget.

We were welcomed by Damian, the general manager and staff with a chilled orange juice and cold towel. Check in is swift and easy - no hanging around in queues here as there are enough staff to welcome everyone and complete the process.

As repeaters, we were upgraded to a Lamu room - lovely location overlooking the gardens and quiet pool, with a great view of the sea from the balcony. The room was fresh and spotlessly clean. If we're being picky, we'd say that the bathroom could do with some updating and renovation, but it was pefectly acceptable and also spotlessly clean.

All rooms have a free safe - we left ours open one day and Joseph, our housekeeper, searched around high and low for us to tell us. Thank you Joseph.

Some of the staff remembered us from last year and within minutes we felt totally at home. The food was excellent - a good variety for all tastes - and if you didn't fancy anything on offer, they'd prepare you something else. The cocktails were also excellent, a good variety and all included in the deal. If you so wish, you could eat and drink from the time you get up to the time you go to bed!

The hotel is beautifully kept - it's spotlessly clean and well maintained throughout the pool and public areas. It was incredibly hot when we were there and we very much welcomed the pool guys preparing our sunbeds every day in the shade under the trees.

This year, we went out and about a bit more than last year - down to see Julius, the wood carver, and also out into Watamu. We felt totally safe everywhere we went.

The beach boys were better this year, not quite as 'intrusive' as our last visit. One really sad thing is the story about the shops down on the beach. The story we were told is that they were bulldozed because the management of the new apartments next door thought they were an eyesore. You should hang your heads in shame!

The hotel is really fantastic, the food is good, you'd never go hungry! But what really makes this place are the staff. Every single one of them, from the gardeners, the chefs, the boutique, the cashier, reception, housekeeping, pool boys and waiters to the management team - nothing was ever too much trouble. All they want is for you to enjoy your holiday so that you can recommend to others or come back yourselves.

Turtle Bay is our new home from home. Thank you for an amzing holiday. See you next time!

Alison and Mark

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank lil_alice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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487 - 493 of 944 reviews

Reviewed 28 December 2012

We spent eight nights at this resort with a large group/party of people. Every evening we shared a table with our party of 34 and the buffet provided us with very good food. The booze was included in the deal. Each evening there was some form of entertainment which was always worth watching, usually performed by local people. The beachfront provides relaxing sunbeds, waiters bring around drinks. Swimming in the sea is warm and gentle but two large pools are an excellent alternative.

Room Tip: The rooms beside the adult swimming pool are the best, preferably on the first or second floor.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank izzyhutch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2012

I returned a couple of weeks ago from a 2 week stay with my fiance, dad and 10 year old daughter. This is not a 5 star plus hotel but then i dont have Simon Cowells money. What you do get is value for money. After reading some of these reviews I am wandering if we stayed in the same hotel. The staff are fantastic here I am not a returning customer was made to feel as special, big mention to Eric, Denis, James, Mumbo Jambo Rambo, Hamish and Daniel etc. The food here is of good quality, there isnt hundreds of dishes but there is choice and it tastes like food at home. The hotel is clean and offers tea and coffee 24hours.
I never stay in the same place twice as there is so much of the world to see but i would mind if i hate to stay here again.
The only negatives I had ere the transfer time from hotel and the fact that there is no tv or fridge in the rooms.
You will enjoy we did.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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Thank shelleysmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2012

TBBC is set on a lovely beach, has really friendly staff with the occasional sourpuss. We had a lovely complimentary anniv dinner at the ala carte restaurant, service was great and they were very accommodating of our 2 under 5s. Buffet is outstanding for its meats but otherwise nothing to write home about. Desserts ok no appropriate serving equipment for cake,so there's always a gooey messy fork which guests are expected to use to slice and serve cake. The pizza restaurant is great be sure to try it. On the other hand I had issues with the following housekeeping though friendly are not thorough at all, we had to call them back on day one. On the second day room was not cleaned because according to reception priority was rooms where new guests were checking in that day.On day three our little boy woke up to a drenched bed thanks to AC breaking down. It took three calls before maintenance finally showed up to tinker with it. Repair held up to 6th night when luckily I had the sound of dripping and took my son out of his bed and escaped with only a wet sleeve. The thing that clouded our stay the most was the near drowning incidence. Hotel had no lifeguards that day but sure enough they showed up the next day. Even worse they have no oxygen or equipment to perform cpr i.e. a mask and bag. I understand that these are legal requirements by the ministry of tourism in Kenya.TBBC are you waiting to be reported before taking appropriate action? Irrespective of how far away the doctor or ambulance is, first responders are trained to offer life support for as long as necessary until help arrives or patient passes on. This hotel has no facilities to do this,its a miracle the little boy did not die especially because he was submerged for more than 5minutes before a guest accidentally noticed him. Safety is an issue at turtle bay and I would not recommend it for this reason,also beware of the playground, the slide has no barrier at the top and a fall of 4-5 feet fair enough onto sand but injury still likely. There's a kids activity center with jugged broken drawer. TBBC I really think you ought to pull up your socks and get with it,you have a responsibility to ensure guest safety. Even the most careful can have accidents. I won't be returning unless I see some positive improvements and comments on safety via tripadvisor

Room Tip: Ground floor great if you have little ones
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Bea G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DDGM63, General Manager at Turtle Bay Beach Club, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2013

Dear Reviewer,

We have noted your comments and contructive observations about certain aspects of our food and beverage service and we should look to improve on these as a result. Regarding your air conditioner problem we are very sorry that it took three calls before the technician came to your assistance and what is more that you had the problem in the first place.

With regards to the unfortunate incident with the young boy, who has by the way made a complete recovery, following his near drowning there are a few things that we should clarify. We do not provide lifeguards at the pool and have large signs up to advise all clientele to this effect. As a result of this incident we detailed additional Kids Club and fun base staff to assist in monitoring the children's behaviour in and around the pool. The responsibility for the children in the pool still remains that of their primary carer. The reason for extra personnel was that the child involved had eaten from the afternoon pancake buffet and jumped straight into the pool which was, in part, the cause of the accident, We therefore realised that we must take greater control of the childrens behaviour around the pool. These would be the staff you referred to as the " life guards who showed up the next day".
With regards to having no staff trained in CPR etc. there were at least 7 members of staff at the scene who had been trained in basic CPR as recently as October 2012. At the time of the incident the two first responders who took control were however vastly more experienced than any trained first aider from our staff as one was a medic on a fire crew from Jersey and the other was crew from a helicopter rescue team and both had multiple practical experiences in dealing with such incidences and they were subsequently joined by two US naval medics. In such a situation my staff would obviously defer to a more experienced individual. In addition the hotel provided much of the equipment provided although our oxygen bottle was, at the time of the incident, being used elsewhere and we had to procur another bottle from a neighbouring hotel. As an additional precaution we have now made additional bottles and oxygen delivery equipment available at the pool side as well as re-equipping the trauma kit that was already in position. We have also noted the two other items in the funbase and the playgound that you mentioned and we will look to ensure that these are safe for the children. We hope this allays your concerns as we do wish to offer the safest possible environment for our guests and we apprecaite your feedback. Thank you and we hope to see you back at the Hotel for a sfae and pleasant stay at some stage in the future.

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Reviewed 23 December 2012

We went to Turtle Bay in July 2012 and again now in December. We enjoyed it so much the first time, we didn't waste any time in going back again - this time for a little bit longer. The service is always excellent from everyone including food and beverage staff around the pool to friendly room attendants. The food is truly delicious and varied but I would think that after a week it would start getting repetitious. My husband is vegetarian and there was always something for him to eat. The kids club is excellent at rounding up kids and encouraging them to take part in varied activities from Marco Polo in the pool to sandcastle competitions on the beach. And the points that you (kids and adults!) are given for taking part in activities seems to be a good incentive!
The heat in December is is probably the only reason I wouldnt return again at this time of year, and in fact it is sooo relaxing, that I found 7 days just perfect and wouldn't stay for longer. We did a snorkelling and dolphin watching excursion which we booked through one of the beach boys and it was really really excellent. The snorkelling was top quality and we were so lucky to see dolphins and actually get a chance to swim with them. We all loved it.
We witnessesd a few very grumpy guests who were trying to get checked in pre-lunch time on both occassions we were there. So this is clearly an area that needs to be worked on. But this didn't affect us at all, so doesn't impact my personal review.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Timkut68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 December 2012

We are just back after a 3 week stay at TBBC, 24/11/12 - 15/12/12.

I still think this is the best of the best in Kenya, it's only rated as a 3 star because it is a club hotel, without the word 'club' it would more than likely get a 4 star rating.

We stayed in a Lamu room L26 this time which was fine, the Lamu rooms are getting upgraded in May 2013.

I did check the room out for a rusty shower curtain rail or cracks in the wall plaster and fluff under the bed which seems to 'ruin' so many moaning Brits holidays - trip advisor is a magnet for the mentally unstable British holiday makers who shouldn't be allowed out of the house never mind into a country so lovely as Kenya.

We met a lot of old friends and a couple of new ones - Sue and Paul who seemed to love TBBC so much that they wrote a reveiw while they were still there.

The staff at TBBC are superb as is the management.

Our third week saw an implosion of Kenyan guests, the schools are on holiday now, these people both African Kenyans and Asian Kenyans love to have fun and try to take part in all the activities and their kids are so well behaved - not at all like the British Brats.

If you go to Kenya even though the goverment is totally corrupt and rip tourists off left, right and centre then go to TBBC and have a superb holiday.

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 December 2012

I was a return visitor to Turtle Bay this December after a 5 year break and was very excited to be back. The whole experience turned out to be a complete disappointment however. Average rooms, a monotonous menu (terrible dessert!), less than helpful staff and little choice by way of entertainment (a clichéd offering of traditional dancers and off-key bands playing music from 3 decades ago)! Worst of all, a young boy nearly drowned on our last evening there and the resort was COMPLETELY unprepared to respond to the situation - no doctor on call, no basic first aid / emergency kit, no ambulance on standby etc. Were it not for the intervention (and equipment) of two doctors and some US military personnel among the guests, that little boy would surely be dead. As the parent to two children under 5, I was horrified at the ineptness (and helplessness) of hotel staff. I WILL NOT BE RETURNING!

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Joanne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DDGM63, Manager at Turtle Bay Beach Club, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2012

Dear Trip Advisor Contributor,
We are sorry that the hotel did not live up to your expectations and we shall review closely the specific areas that you have highlighted as substandard. On the matter of the incident with the young boy who nearly drowned we do need to clarify a few of the points you raised.
'no doctor on call' there was a doctor on call who came and administered drugs however he had to come from Malindi where he was at the time of the incident which occured on a Sunday at 5 pm. Similarly the Ambulance which was called had to come from Malindi which it did and, after the child had been stabilised he was transferred by the Ambulance to hospital. We do have several members of staff in the area of the pool who have been trained in CPR as recently as October and we do have First Aid equipment on site which was used in the course of the boys treatment however the guests who were the first responders were far more experienced and therefore took control of the situation as were the Military personnel who also carried a very comprehensive medical kit with them. We will be reviewing our procedures and first aid inventory in relation to such incidences and upgrading them accordingly and additional training will be given to our staff. In such situations however we would always defer to the most experienced responder at the time. Once again we are sorry that you were disappointed with your stay.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
#7 Family Hotel in Watamu
#8 Romantic Hotel in Watamu
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Watamu
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
Price Range: £101 - £273 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Turtle Bay Beach Club 3*
Number of rooms: 145
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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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