We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Fantastic setting, slightly disappointing accommodation.”

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Watano Beach Houses
Ranked #9 of 20 Diani Beach B&B and Inns
Ko Lanta, Thailand
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Fantastic setting, slightly disappointing accommodation.”
Reviewed 6 July 2011

This is a bit of a mixed review, I hope not to discourage people from staying at Watano, it’s in a gorgeous setting and a way better option than any of the faceless package tour 'holiday villages' with 300+ apartment style rooms that are dotted along Diani beach.

First, the good. Watano is a large compound situated in the northernmost third of Diani's beach road. The popular 40 Thieves Beach Bar is a short 20 minute walk south along the beach. Just up the track from the compound on the main road there are two decent supermarkets and the Tropicana Bar. When I visited it was just at the end of the low season and the bar staff were chatty and friendly - I'd recommend the bbq'd beef skewers.

The walled Watano complex consists of a number of cottages of different styles spaced irregularly in lush tropical gardens. The front of the compound has the main large colonial style 'Watano House’ and the gardens extend right onto the white sandy beach, a large grove of shady palms and a decent sized pool. There are picnic tables, double sun loungers, thatched sitting areas and quite possibly the comfiest padded sun loungers I've ever sat on! Its spacious and really quite idyllic. If you have kids, they'll have lots of (safe) fun rampaging around the gardens looking for monkeys - its definitely a family friendly location.

The staff are friendly (you'll be "jambo'd" constantly) and helpful - my housekeeper Mohammed pretty much grabbed any chance he could to make sure everything was ok, and completely surprised me one day by not only washing some clothes i'd left out specifically but pretty much everything washable!

Security is 24/7 and they'll also stop for a quick friendly hello and a chat.

So all good right? Convenient location, gorgeous setting, great staff and security. Well no - I was staying at the budget "Dolly House", which on the outside looks quite charming, with a large veranda, table and chairs and big outdoor carved African sofa. Get close though and the dirty, grubby front door gives an indication of what’s in store.

The inside was filthy, I don't mean surface dirt, I mean battered furniture, walls covered in scrapes and marks, and a shower area that was more mold than tiles. The only saving grace was the giant mosquito netted four poster bed that took up 50% of the space. Along one wall is a battered shelf with a calor gas two ring stove and sink, as well as a fridge, toaster, plates, cups and kitchen equipment. The entire interior needs gutting and repainting. Every day the bathroom sink was full of dirt, I'm guessing from termites in the roof.

The Dolly House is the smallest and cheapest at Watano. I've stayed in lots of budget accommodation all around the world, I know not to expect 5*, and I wasn't expecting air con, hot water, etc. I don't mind a few bugs and occasional gecko turd - it’s the tropics and to be expected. But the interior really was utterly horrible, and a real shame as it could have been great if it was just even a little bit better maintained, had fresh paint and the dirt, bathroom mold, and general grubbiness removed.

The Dolly House is only one of the cottages at Watano, the others are all larger and looked better maintained - the big house in particular looked fantastic, I was briefly in the kitchen and it was modern and spotless. If I come back I would definitely consider staying again but only in one of the other cottages. My advice if you are planning a stay here would be to ask for some recent interior photos of your cottage first, other than that the location and beachfront setting is way better than staying in one of the main resorts.

The dirty accommodation was a bit of a let down but I've given a 'very good' rating mainly for the brilliant location and great staff.

Room Tip: The Dolly House was very dirty - the main house looked amazing however
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DarrenJames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

14 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    8
    5
    0
    0
    1
See reviews for
5
Couples
0
1
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2011

It's hard not to relax at Watano House. Good view. Blue sky, turquoise ocean, white sand, and lush green landscaped gardens. A nice large main house, with its own salt water pool and a variety of peripheral structures to hang out in, either with by yourself or with your friends. Cushions in every corner, including an especially large and extra soft bean bag. Cooked meals prepared by a dedicated army of chefs. Decide what you want to eat. As a rule, the meals will be prepared late, there will be many of them and the food will be brought out slowly to tease and tantalize you, but it will always be really good.

Overall, an amazing beach holiday.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ghmckdxb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
108 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2011

We rented out Watano house for a week for my 30th birthday. We loved the airy house, the daily massaged, the fresh fish, the incredible chef, and the whole staff. There is nothing negative to say it. The house is huge, right on the beach, with lovely grounds and salt water pool. Diani town is a 5-minute walk up the road, where you can go shopping.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank flamyRome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these Diani Beach hotels
0.0 mi away
Afrika Pearl & Spa
Afrika Pearl & Spa
#17 of 29 in Diani Beach
4.5 of 5 bubbles 147 reviews
0.0 mi away
Diani Sea Resort
Diani Sea Resort
#4 of 29 in Diani Beach
4.5 of 5 bubbles 964 reviews
0.0 mi away
Jacaranda Indian Ocean Beach Resort
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.0 mi away
Diani Bay Resort
Diani Bay Resort
#29 of 29 in Diani Beach
4.0 of 5 bubbles 31 reviews
0.0 mi away
PrideInn Express Diani
PrideInn Express Diani
#19 of 29 in Diani Beach
4.0 of 5 bubbles 101 reviews
0.0 mi away
Kinondo Kwetu
Kinondo Kwetu
#13 of 29 in Diani Beach
5.0 of 5 bubbles 110 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Watano Beach Houses? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Watano Beach Houses

Property: Watano Beach Houses
Address: Watano House Opposite Petrol Station | Diani Beach, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80401, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 20 B&Bs / Inns in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Watano Beach House is a large 8 bedroom beachfront villa with a private swimming pool. Behind the beach house are several smaller guesthouses with beach access. The property is centrally situated on Kenya's most beautiful beach, walking distance from shops and restaurants. All houses are fully furnished and fully staffed with well equipped kitchens. The rest of the world simply fades away as you gaze out at the vast Indian ocean from the lush palm filled gardens. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Jovago.com and Priceline so you can book your Watano Beach Houses reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing