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“Do not stay there”

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Watano Beach Houses
Ranked #10 of 22 Diani Beach B&B and Inns
Reviewed 31 March 2013

DO NOT STAY, DO NOT BOOK! Would be the biggest mistake! Not only that it is overpriced and not good value for your money, but…MORE. We paid for the Gate House 220Euros per day for min MUST stay 10 days and 100% no return policy…this is not about the money.
Our trip with the 3 months old baby, mum visiting from abroad and my husband was a hell.
Not a first time in Mombasa, but maybe the last time…even though I live in Kenya…but this hell is difficult to forget, the owners are more driven by money and from the upper-class Kenyan society, that they do not consider ‘normal’ clients humans...,the agents do not tell you the truth…
After paying all the money only after the fact, we were told, that we cannot use the beach-front pool and police will remove us from the pool. We had to stay at the back by the gate without air conditioning, not flushing and not fixed toilet for all that time, kitchen with rusty and old cutlery and aluminum old pots, barely sprinkling shower head, renovation was done since the last time the Queen of England visited Kenya☺, dirty, slippery floors in the shower and kitchen, mosquito nets grey and dirty washed a decade ago, curtains brown and dusty, beddings old and difficult to recognized the original color, fridge not working (in Mombasa?), oven/cooker leaking gas and as old as the queen had to be disconnected for the security reasons.
When I asked the owners/agents to consider our spoiled vacation, bad service, bad quality of the house and the amenities for the young family and a visitor from Europe was informed being ‘spoiled and horrible person’ and had to accept no refund policy…
220 Euros per night in a boutique hotel in Europe you would get an excellent service and pleasant hosts…For this amount you could stay in a descent hotel in Mombasa with proper shower and mosquito nets and a fridge…

Please do not stay there, the family made enough money and does not consider this business as their core business, therefore no attention to the customers…

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank Aura_LeFamilia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WatanoBeachHouse, Owner at Watano Beach Houses, responded to this reviewResponded 23 April 2013

Thank you for your review. However I feel quite strongly that your review is not entirely accurate, and I question the authenticity of your photos.
Firstly, this property is not the Watano Beach House as your review may suggest, but the Gatehouse, some 150 meters away.
Thank you for bringing to our attention some maintenance issues that seem to have been overlooked by the caretaker staff during my recent maternity leave. You will be pleased to hear that they have all been repaired or rectified in full, with the soft furnishings and cutlery replaced. Though I believe our 24 hour maintenance team solved all your immediate maintenance issues without delay.
With regards the use of the Watano Beach House pool - you were told very clearly before you booked that the Gatehouse does not have a swimming pool, and there was no access to the Watano Beach House pool. Yet your total disregard and ‘hijacking’ of the pool at the Watano Beach House caused distress to the guests of Watano Beach House and was quite frankly rude, and unacceptable. It was not fair on my staff who found themselves torn between you, being quite rude and refusing to leave the pool, and the other guests, quite rightly upset at your intolerable behavior.
Rates during the High Seasons (like Christmas and New Year) are generally higher than other times of the year, and €55.00 pppn is extremely good value considering the location and security.
Your threat of a “terrible and damning” review on Trip Advisor if we failed to give you a significant and unwarranted discount is simply the lowest form of consumer blackmail imaginable, furthermore the nature of your ‘personal attack’ on my family when you have not met us, is unnecessary and rude.
We are proud that of the current 30 reviews of our properties on Trip Advisor yours is the only poor one. Thankfully we believe that the Trip Advisor viewer is able to distinguish fact from fiction.
Despite your generally inaccurate review, and poor behaviour, I would welcome you back to Diani now that I am also back from my maternity leave, so that we can look after you and manage your expectations and hopefully build bridges – you are our only disappointed guest, and we would like to fix that.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8 - 14 of 14 reviews

Reviewed 9 October 2012

We went to stay for a week. Grandparents, parents, two (small) kids. This holiday could not have been more perfect and soothing for the soul. Where do I begin? The setting is tranquil and perfect bounty beach. There is a constant breeze which keeps the temperature very pleasant and the constant sound of the ocean just means you arrive with all your senses present. The house is a good size and all had spacious bedrooms and there is enough space inside and out that everyone could have their privacy when needed. The chef is is the absolute icing on the cake. He is absolutely wonderful and dinner was always served on time as and when requested. The fisherman comes to the back door every day and will bring you absolutely anything the ocean may provide that your heart may desire. We cant recommend enough and will certainly be back.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Helle C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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 22 B&Bs / Inns in Diani Beach
Price Range: £85 - £165 (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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