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“Easter Week at TBBC”

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Turtle Bay Beach Club
Ranked #13 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Certificate of Excellence
Germany
Level Contributor
70 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Easter Week at TBBC”
Reviewed 18 July 2010

The SCUBA diving center at TBCC is very convenient. It was the first stop I made to arrange for some dives. The staff was helpful and very service oriented.

On the hotel side, I had to change rooms THREE times due to faulty air conditioners and noise. The noise was a result from the disco at night by the pool. I asked for a quiet room when making the reservation, but in true Kenyan style, no one ever listens, or anticipates what a guest might like, they wait until the guest complains then they say sorry....-- Hakuna Matata... anyway this was a point of some frustration but the British manager made things right.

The food, despite it being a buffet was actually very good, especially the fresh grilled king fish at night. I spent days by the new adult pool relaxing, it was very nice.

Overall I enjoyed my stay despite my initial apprehension of an all inclusive resort.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled solo
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Thank Jakob G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Paris, France
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2010

Avoid this hotel at all cost. We found the rooms were 1 star quality and nothing like we expected. They were really tired and gloomy. The service was ok but we would NEVER go to this hotel again.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank wosster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kampala
Level Contributor
90 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2010

This week-long break was booked at short notice. Living in East Africa, I spotted a window of opportunity, such that we could get my husband away from work, and have time with our family (daughter just 20, son 16.) It had been strongly recommended by a client also EA resident. So having researched their website, and considered other options, I made the decision to book at TBBC, mainly due to the recommendations (and number position) with Trip Advisor.

I did know it was low-season, but hadn't stopped to think about wind and rain (it was raining as we got to Malindi airport, and very windy!) Cold and wet, we arrived in the hotel not really knowing what to expect. We had no idea about the wrist band system, different bands for under 18s, which we found out later was meant to be an ID marker re the serving of alcohol (which the staff don't take any notice of anyway.) There is certainly room for improvement on the TBBC website in this and other regard. For example,, they have a massage/beauty room, but trying to find someone to give a treatment was tricky, although we managed in the end and had a good pedicure, it would have been helpful to have known it was possible in advance. Not all beach-wear requiring treatments were available though, as someone had taken the waxing kit elsewhere! That area was a bit dark and dingy. Apparently we should have had an orientation, but maybe because lunch was almost over as we arrived that explains why we didn't get it.

Our first impressions of the place were certainly coloured somewhat by the weather (clearly out of control of the hotel), but we were not expecting loud-mouthed chain-smoking fellow-countrymen and women on "faraway shore" package holidays - thankfully, we were not yet in the "school holiday" of our country so not as many visitors with energetic children as is clearly possible, looking at the amount of acccommodation in the place. And the decor takes some getting used to, although everything is freshly painted, some of the colour combinations in the dining areas and covered banda (entertainment), coupled with unfortunate overplaying of 1960s and other greatest hits, including Christmas songs, loudly at breakfast, gave the place an air of a holiday camp. Staff obligingly turned the music down when requested, but it usually crept back up again.

One of the things that was most frustrating was the minimal provision of seating beside the poolside for non-smokers, (although there is a demarkated area for smokers which had been put in place by the Kenyan Authorities, to restrict proximity to the food serving and main dining banda) but when it rained, there was no control at all. That was most unpleasant.

The beach itself was covered with seaweed, but this is dead turtle food, so anyone who complains about that needs to stop and think for a moment about the logic. Also comments about crabs are laughable really, I have seen much bigger hermit crabs in Pemba (due south) and they are quite entertaining, no bigger than a walnut and cunningly the same colour as the sand. What bothered me most about the beach was the beach boys, ahtough the security guards really do a very good job at keeping them at bay. You don't get harrassed as such, it's just that they frequently adjust their walking pace or direction so that they can intersect and cross your path as you head to the sea, or hang around in packs at the periphery. Honestly it felt a little like being preyed upon, so I didn't really find the beach at all relaxing, athough we did walk the length to Turtle Rock past all the lovely private residences, litter picking all the way back things that kill turtles like plastic fishing line and bottles tops.

Having said all this, we were impressed by the choice, presentation and quality of the food, which is buffet style. I can't imagine why anyone would have an issue with it. The chefs and cooks are incredibly obliging, and are masters of their art, be it handling 3 different types of egg prep at breakfast, or speedy handover of fresh mango, melon and pineapple. There is a huge amount of team effort involved there, and that must be commended. In addition, the poolside/dining waiting staff were non-stop in their service, and work tirelessly. Similarly the poolboys will move any bed wherever you would like it, be it beach or pool. There are windbreaks on the beach area, so it was possible to get shelter from the wind, which gradually became calmer and warmer as the week went by. We certainly had some hotter periods, but there were frequent days of rushing in and out of showers.

We took opportunity to use the watersports centre. Our son learnt to windsurf and get certification so thank you to Emmanuel and his team. We were also able to take one dive on the inner reef, but it really was the toughest dive we have ever done - so much surge at 10 m you had to hold onto the reef so stop either crashing into someone else or damaging the coral, but we did see a sleeping turtle, and 2 blue spotted rays, and a sea snake, amongst a miriad of great fish. We would definitely want to come back to this area in the Oct-Dec period in order to get a chance to dive on the outer reef (with much calmer seas once the winds have changed in August), and see whalesharks and dive with dolphins. Thank you also to Jo in the dive shop.

We took the opportunity to take the rickety old bikes out twice, which was loads of fun and so good to get out of the complex. Once to the excellent and famous snake park, only 3 km flat cycle north, and subsequently to the Turtle rescue similar distance south. We had seen a turtle release the day before. Both of these places are well worth a visit, the turtle place is free so you can make a donation instead. Both are working to education local communities giving small financial incentives to protect the turtles and call when caught in nets, and also not to automatically kill the snakes.

We were not tempted by any of the excusions, but with only a week, we wanted to be wise with the time we had. The only thing we would have done, is a trip to Mombasa, but self-tailored. The hotel would have happily arranged that for us. I would strongly suggest that if you were staying for 2 weeks, a change such as a safari, would be a good idea, because there is little else to do really. We did use the tennis court a few times, dodging the ponds of water on it, but had fun nontheless.

As the sun came out more frequently, and the week went by, and we got a chance to sit by the pool in the sunshine, I gradually found myself enjoying the place more, and unwinding, to the extent that I felt disappointed to be leaving.

We had been told we need to leave at 12.00 by reception, when our flight was at 13.45. This was a big mistake, as it is only 20 mins drive, we could have left at 13.15, it's a tiny airport with one check in desk. Other people from the hotel arrived well after us, so that was a bit confusing, we got the impression they had called and knew about the delay. I would also not recommend 540 the airline either. We had a delay at Malindi of an hour and a half (which meant we could have had 2 hours more by the pool or a chance to have lunch) and greater delay at Nairobi, so 3 out of 4 of our flights with them were delayed overall.

It would be interesting to return later in the year to profit from what the sea has to offer as I found it too rough to enjoy at this time. Whether we return to TBBC remains to be seen.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank ShellyRM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2010

Just got back after a 2 week stay at TBBC (late June early July). After a lot of searching for a hotel in Kenya we opted for TBBC because of the fantastic reviews on here. Everyone has got different ideas of what's good and what's not so this is purely based on what our personal preferences are. We decided to stay in a superior room (Lamu) which we thought had to be better than a standard room, wrong. We spoke with other guests who were in standard accommodation and they all had better rooms than the Lamu rooms. It was the bathroom we had an issue with, very old and tired, floor got soaked every time you showered from the old shower over an old bath with an ill fitting shower curtain, the toilet didn't flush very well so we had to turn the shower on and aim it into the loo to give it a proper flush. Also the sink taps had very little water pressure. We did see the rep and asked to be transfered into a standard room but couldn't as that is technically considered 'a down grade' so we ended up with an upgrade to ocean view which had a much better bathroom. Our Thomas Cook rep was great and said the reason the standard rooms are better is that they've been refurbished whereas the Lamu rooms haven't. The new bathrooms in the standard rooms with a separate walk in shower makes a huge difference compared to the cramped bathroom we had in our Lamu room. As it stands at the moment a Lamu room is probably the worst standard of accommodation and shouldn't attract the premium cost over and above the standard room price (which it currently does). The food was fine, different menu's every day and what there was was nice but we've had a lot better with a wider variety each day (even in Kenya a few years ago). We ate in the Blue Turtle a couple of times which was great, highly recommended. The staff were great, they do look after you but call me cynical but if you thought you were going to get a nice tip wouldn't you do the same. We were there at the wrong time of year to see the beach at it's best, lots of seaweed which is natural and didn't bother us but we were told how good it looks without all the seaweed later in the year. Overall we enjoyed our holiday and met some lovely people but unlike many others we wouldn't go back. I hope this review hasn't offended anyone as it's only our personal opinion.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank janordickie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Altrincham, Cheshire
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2010

My husband and I stayed here for weeks on the all inclusive basis. We were in one of the beach rooms (A14) so had absolutely gorgeous views of the beach and the Indian ocean.

The room was small but nicely furnished and had everything we needed (in these rooms the use of the safe is free). The bathroom was large but the window (it was at the top of the wall so way over head height) backed on to the corridor and didn't have glass in (just a mesh to stop bugs) meaning anyone could hear what was going on. I think the room could have been a little cleaner - there were coffee rings on the dressing table that I could clean off with a baby wipe.

The food was brilliant, you'd never go hungry here! We had a big fry up everyday (still working off the holiday weight!) and lunch and dinner were always varied and plentiful. You have to try the naan bread that is cooked fresh outside, it's amazing!

The staff are a huge asset to this hotel. Erick, Hamish, Ratibu and Wendo all made our holiday as they were friendly, kind, always joking and always happy to help with anything. The staff on the front desk weren't as friendly which is strange considering they are your first point of call.

The facilities are good but limited, we had a couple of rainy days and there literally is nothing to do. We sunbathed on the beach everyday as it was nice to get the sea breeze and the waiters were always coming round ordering drinks. Night entertainment can be a bit too much. Also one day during the week lots of different people and stalls are invited to the hotel and set up round the main pool area. I'm in favour of supporting local trade etc but I don't like it "rammed down my throat" at my hotel - it made me feel very uncomfortable.

Overall the hotel made our honeymoon one to remember (we used Tunda Tours for safari who were excellent!!) and we can definitely see why there are so many repeaters! We also had one meal in the a la carte restaurant (only 11 per head, it was amazing!!) and I would recommend to anyone to go!!!

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Laura W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
birmingham
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2010

A very good place to stay. Service and food are particularly fine. No need to dine in the a la carte restaurants, unless you want to sample the seafood specialities. Plenty of quality food, and the menu varied daily. Probably the best food I've ever had on either a half board or all inclusive basis.
Staff seemed genuinely friendly.
Yellow weavers, a heron and a pack of monkeys reside in the hotel grounds, if the monkeys think you've got food in your bag, they'll tryu and mug you.

Sunbeds by the pools are quite limited, so an early towel on the beds is essential, although there are plenty of beds on the beach. Too many kids by the "noisy pool", which gets the best sun, but there is an adults only "quiet" pool.

A safari is a must, we booked a 3 day 2 night trip, with JT Safaris via the internet before we travelled. For a slightly lower price than the ones offered by the major tour operators, we got a safari van with an excellent guide / driver (Francis) for just the 2 of us (similar vans in the Tsavo East and West parks had up to 7 or 8 passengers) so there was plenty of room. Saw plenty of lions and elephants, a couple of leopards plus plenty of other animals. Came back with 100s of photos.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank ian037
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 July 2010

We selected this hotel on the basis of Trip Advisor reviews and weren't disappointed. We booked two weeks accommodation and then a safari with the fabulous JT Safaris (also based on Trip Advisor recommendations). It's cheaper to do it that way than to book a safari and beach package with a tour operator and you don't have to pack up your room when you go on safari. The quality of safari is also better.
The resort isn't flashy, but it does have a wonderful chilled out atmosphere, the most attentive and friendly staff you could hope to find and the food was excellent. I have never encountered this quality of food on an all inclusive package and ate some of the best steak I have ever eaten in my life.
You feel very safe in the resort but also, and unlike other resorts closer to Mombasa, you feel safe outside the resort too. Yes, the beach boys are initially a bit overwhelming, but we got to know two of them, Jackson and James, who were gentle, polite and took us on a tour of the village that gave us an insight we wouldn't have had if we'd ventured out alone. They also introduced us to feeding Moray eels in the rock pools and showed us the wildlife living in the coral.
We had a truly memorable holiday, for all the right reasons.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank RMNUK
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

Property: 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
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Watamu
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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