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“Nice staff, but run-down”

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Turtle Bay Beach Club
Ranked #14 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 February 2009

Although it was pleasant and the staff and service were great, the hotel itself is in need of renovations to be worth what it charges per night.
There is plenty of food selection, but the food quality is not great.
Overpriced... there is much to be desired.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank Angelique00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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801 - 807 of 944 reviews

Reviewed 19 February 2009

Have just got back from a week at TBBC. I can echo all the positive comments already written about this hotel. I have rarely experienced a hotel where the staff and guests all seem so genuinely happy. Both the large number of repeat visitors (a testament to how good this hotel is) and the newbies, like me, all seem to appreciate the care and consideration given to all guests.
From the unspoilt beach, the well above average All Inclusive food and drinks and service, simple but very clean rooms, range of activities and local attractions, gorgeous coral gardens ideal for diving or just snorkelling, to the commitment to providing the right mix of appropriate entertainment and leaving you to relax, this hotel has it all. It might officially be a 3 star hotel, but the staff and service set it way above some of the grander and less personal hotels I have stayed in around the world.
I took the advice of other posters on TA and used Abdi and Tunda Tours (post@tundatourssafaris.com) for my 2 day / 1 night Tsavo safari and had the excitement of watching both a leopard and a pride of lions for a long period of time. I contacted Abdi in advance and finalised arrangements after I arrived when he came to the hotel. The Voi Wildlife Lodge in the park was a wonderful oasis and little bit of luxury.
I also spoke with Janet on reception and arranged a visit to Silverstone Academy just up the road, a local primary school and orphanage. What a humbling and inspiring experience. I heeded the guidance of TA posters and took some pens and sweets with me and was rewarded with the largest of smiles and warmest of welcomes. Brilliant. And I have established a lifelong connection with the school.
Simple things to know: yes, they use the same plugs as in the UK, so no need for any adaptors; all water and ice is bottled and so you can safely drink and eat without worrying; they will always cook you something simple not on display (or get you ice-cream) if you ask and won't be troubled by it - although I defy you not to find something you enjoy at every meal!; as others have noted, the 'beach' sales guys will simply back away when you say you don't need anything and keep moving; the best, closest place to snorkel is by the Blue Eyes moored cruiser to the left of the beach and is easily reached at low tide; the dive school is thorough and safe and the guides very knowledgeable about the underwater wildlife; they like people to 'dress' for dinner - not overly formal but just not shorts and T-shirts in the evening, so go prepared and enjoy the 'grace' it gives to the dining experience and the opportunity to dress up!
If you're heading to the east coast of Kenya, happily endure the 2 hour transfer from Mombasa airport and enjoy a stay that will provide a lifetime of positive memories. I'm already planning my next trip and have other family members lined up to go here too!

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled solo
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7  Thank Mez65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2009

After a 15 hour delay at Manchester booked through Thompson, arrived Mombassa, the Visa queue took about an hour plus you have to pay 50 dollars, about 3am due to being in the middle of the night we were transported with 2 armed guards to Turtle Bay Beach Club.
On arriving the staff were so friendly with refreshing flannels & drinks, also a welcome meal was waiting for us, which we felt obliged to have due to there concern of the delay.
TBBC, loved it, the place is so clean, the staff are absolutely brilliant, so friendly & full of fun, they can’t do enough for you, such lovely people. The food was great lots of choice, rooms basic but adequate and clean. Pool large, garden areas and ponds beautiful. Whilst sunbathing on the beautiful beach they’re always asking if you need a drink,. There’s fun time as well if you feel like working off all the food provided. But never no pressure. Went dolphin watching, never seen so many together before, went to Midi Creek and had BBQ, snorkelling over the coral reef, all excellent, the snorkelling in front of hotel is great too. Hubby went see fishing, they caught 2 sailfish but it was a bit rough the day they went, he also looked a bit rough when he got back.

The beach boys do mither you to do the trips and buys goods but they also like to chat and discuss back home with you. First day when the tide was out 6 of them attached themselves to us advising where the moray eels, puffa fish etc are, what an educational morning, we must have been talking to them for
about 2 hours, then they try to sell trips, carvings etc. over the week once we’d advised no more trips, and that we had enough presents to take home, they left us alone or just a quick wave and hello. the odd one still shouts out to you. !They never forget your name! just to chat, they also ask if you’ll leave them your hair or skin products when you go home, which we did. My husband also took some old football shirts to give a way, which they loved. Even though I felt annoyed or harassed by them at times, you do have to remember they are desperate to earn a living just try to beat them to the sea quick.

The 4-day Safari booked through Abdul -Tunda Tours, excellent, he met with us the day before our safari at our hotel, paid him sterling , whilst on safari he also rang my mobile a couple of times to make sure we were all ok, our driver Salim was great with a wealth of knowledge and spotting animals. Went to Tsavo East - Voi Safari lodge, rooms basic & dated, but clean, food good, views amazing and wildlife excellent, saw lots of animals, so glad we went even after reading poor reviews about this lodge. Then Amboseli - Serena Lodge, the best for me, the food, rooms and the waterhole at night which you are so close to. The plains of Amboseli -saw more herds of animals and Kilamanjaro through the clouds. Then on to Tsavo West - Kiliguni Lodge armed guard on one stretch of road again but he was so friendly. Another good stopover views of the waterhole, food and rooms good. This area is more hilly and bush and volcanic, the scenery was beautiful, went to Mzima Springs to see hippo, and went to Rhino Sanctuary, saw leopard and the rest but no Rhino. Overall one of the best experiences we’ve ever had absolutely brilliant holiday, I’ll never forget the beautiful, friendly people we’ve met, and the people on the way waving and shouting as our vehicle drove past, and now when we watch the wildlife programmes I feel like I’m there, it brings it all back.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with friends
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6  Thank Becky7Derbyshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2009

The most wonderful place to stay with your family. We had two weeks of pure joy. We loved the hotel, the beach, the food and especially the staff who worked there. We miss eveyone so much. This is not a hotel for people who dont like children because there are lots of those! However I would stay there without children because it is such a happy place. I can only hope that one day we will be able to go back, I think it was great value too.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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6  Thank Jambo5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2009

Just back from a 10 night Xmas trip to the Kenyan coast with our 2 children aged 9 and 11. We opted for the Turtle Bay Beach Club which, unlike its neighbour Hemmingways, is not a luxury hotel, rather a family friendly hotel, popular with repeat business folk from Nairobi, UK and other parts of Africa. Our room was basic but always clean. The staff were wonderfully friendly and helpful and the all inclusive food was excellent - not the sometimes repetitive buffets one comes to expect - beautiful fresh fish and meat, gorgeous curries and always plenty of fresh fruit prepared to order.

The highlight of the trip however was a locally organised safari for 3 days/2 nights to Tsavo East and Tsavo West. We organised it through JOHN KENYA (real name John Makumba!) a local man who can be found on the beach in front of the hotel. We had read about him on a previous review on Trip Advisor, so we felt comfortable approaching him. His organisation was superb, his choice of lodges perfect, the driver he employed was simply superb at spotting game and imparting his knowledge of the vegetation and animals. John's local knowledge was obviously of huge benefit, being able to get us rooms at lodges at short notice etc. (we only gave him 1 day's notice of departure). We insisted on a private vehicle which was comfortable and spacious and he always carried ample water in a cooler. The newly opened ASHNIL LODGE in Tsavo East was a real highlight, our beautifully decked-out cabin surrounding a large watering hole where elephant and zebra came to graze. An afternoon dip in the pool was extremely welcome. We stayed in the Ngulia Lodge in Tsavo West for the 2nd night, which, whilst a little tired, provided ample opportunity to spot game in the surrounding area. In all we managed 5 game drives, saw cheetah and leopard amongst the thousands of elephants, giraffe, buffalo etc. glimpsed Mount Killimanjaro and stopped off at some Springs where hippo gather. The lion and rhino unfortunately stayed away but we felt we saw ample game.

One word of warning.....the drives to and from Malindi to the parks are long and bumpy. However there was so much to see on the way that the children rarely tired of being thrown around the truck. The roads in the parks themselves are vey good and besides, you tend to travel at low speeds.

We would definitely recommend JOHN KENYA. His prices seemed fair when compared to the hotel's excursions and we felt so well looked after. He can also organise any manner of other trips and excursions in the area, organise hotel bookings and drivers to local towns.

A great value for money trip !

Stayed: December 2008
4  Thank giraffeLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2008

After a 2 hour transfer from Mombasa, we arrived at the Turtle Bay hotel, hot and tired, and really pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Damien, the english manager, plus a refreshing drink.

from that moment on we were made to feel really welcome, the waiters and bar staff are fantastic, and after 10 previous holidays in Kenya, all different hotels, this beat the lot, no wonder there are so many british repeat guests, i got the feeling, a british manager knew how to have his guests treated.

We booked a 3 day safari while in Kenya as we always do, what a disaster, we flew from malindi to the Masai Mara, (plane delayed for 2 hours), on arrival we were so late, only time for a short game drive, then taken to our tented camp, OLARE, the tents and surroundings looked really nice, and were made to feel welcome by the staff. Next day we were told we would have an all day safari, taking lunch with us, oh yeah, we were back in the camp after 2 hours, then left there for 8 hours, then went out again for 1 hour when it was almost dark, at no time did any of the staff know where our driver had gone,or did they let us know what was happening, but we later found out there as no fuel for the jeep, great, there was no drinks at the bar either. Our last morning game drive was as expected, but the damage was done, our driver was useless, getting stuck, and poor spotting was normal. All i can say is steer well clear of this camp, there were some swiss guests who arrived for a 1 night stay, who never had a game drive at all, they were as you would expect, FUMING, i wish i could understand German, they were not happy bunnies.

Beach boys at the Turtle bay hotel are no trouble ,they are regulated, just have a look at their shops, it,s good fun, and they enjoy a laugh also.

We would a have been better off booking our safari with John Kenya, he can be found on the beach, and became a good friend as time went by, plus he could have saved us quite a lot of money, still we live and learn.

thanks Damien and all your great staff for making this a lovely stay at your hotel.

As for OLARE CAMP, i was never so pleased to end a safari, complete waste of money, we return in January 09, but not to this terrible camp.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank webothluvthesun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 November 2008

Just returned from our 5th visit. Love the place. Bear in mind it's a 3.5 star hotel with "beach club" in the name. In that bracket, it's very very good and the prices very reasonable. The staff are very good and the food is wholesome and varied - I have to say I get bored with it after a fortnight but that would happen anywhere. It is a great place for kids up to age about 14, mine love it. They are kept entertained and it is a very safe, enclosed location for them (this does not mean they cannot go off and drown themselves - you can't abrogate your parental responsibility entirely!). There is a nice tropical beach with palm trees and a decent pool. Protected marine park just off the beach, excellent diving. Perversely you can go deep sea fishing too - personally I believe sailfish are best left in the sea.

Hotel is popular with families, short-breakers from Nairobi, missionaries from Tanzania/Uganda on layovers, down-to-earth northerners on long stay discount deals. A friendly and unpretentious crowd. Good stopping off place for safaris (check out Tunda Tours on this site eg).

This hotel is NOT a luxury tropical beach resort. You can get married there and the cost for a big wedding party would be reasonable. I would not recommend it for an idyllic honeymoon just the two of you. It's excellent at what it does. We will almost certainly return

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled with family
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3  Thank andrewjameshoward
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:
#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: £105 - £275 (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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