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“just counting the days before we can go back”

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Watano Beach Houses
Ranked #10 of 21 Diani Beach B&B and Inns
Reviewed 23 March 2012

we went over to kenya to spend some time for a very special birthday of a close friend of ours, and special it was.

watano beach house is in a complex made up of one lovely huge main house which is situated in lush tropical gardens and a stones throw from the stunning beach and ocean, and some lovely charming small houses dotted around the beautiful gardens. a lot of our friends stayed in the main house and had nothing but praise for it. we ate with them every night there and wow the food was amazing and nothing was any trouble for the most wonderful staff i have ever come across. big smiles and hellos all of the time, washing done for you without even asking, and genuine enthusiasm to talk to you and do anything to make your holiday even more fantastic than it already was.

anyway we stayed in the lovely and charming dolly house, we wanted a little more privacy and it was perfect as we were with everyone but also had some time to ourselves. a cute balcony with an old bed made up to be a very comfortable lounger, perfect for when you simply needed a bit of shade to read you new book. monkeys came visiting and tried to steal your snacks (that can be bought from the shops less than 5 mins up the drive way.....so convenient.) once through the door there is a small room with a large 4 poster bed and plenty of space to put your clothes. it is very basic as is the bathroom, but it was clean and perfect for what we wanted, a romantic little house that was simple and comfortable. don't expect luxury, but this is priced as budget and it worked well for us and we couldn't have been happier.

back to the staff, i can't possibly say enough to to do them all justice, i felt by the end of the 10 days that we were part of the watano family and will go back as soon as we can.

if you want a boring all inclusive, faceless, expensive, luxury hotel (where you could be in any hot county) don't go here. if you want amazing service with friendly staff in a wonderful walled tropical garden, on the beach with a lovely salt water pool, enough sunbeds never to have to fight for them and local shops within 5 mins this is your place so book it now. and we loved the dolly house !

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank blanchbaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 14 reviews

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
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  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank DarrenJames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank ghmckdxb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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2  Thank flamyRome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2016
Google Translation

Room Tip: Stort rum med AC på vänster sida när man kommer upp för trappan.
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  • Stayed: February 2016, travelled with friends
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Thank Elisabeth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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 #10 of 21 B&Bs / Inns in Diani Beach
Price Range: £89 - £170 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 
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