Let me start by this by saying we had an amazing experience with Almanara and we have already recommended the villas to friends, who are traveling there in the next few days.
When looking for a place in Kenya we were originally going to stay in Malindi, however on performing a Tripadvisor search I stumbled across Alamanara. After discovering they don't publish prices on their website I thought we'd never be able to afford this kind of luxury,and so emailed them for a quote just for a laugh. We were very pleasantly surprised, and after weighing up everything that's included, eg transfers from Mombasa, all meals, wine, beers etc, it actually worked out to be a very reasonable price. Especially considering you are waited on hand and foot throughout your stay!
We stayed from 25 November-2 December 2012, which is actually the lowest tourist season, however for us this was perfect. No kids, empty flights and bright blue skies with 30 degrees Celsius day and night. Perfect. In fact for the first 2 days of our stay we were the only guests in the entire complex.
From the minute we were greeted at Mombasa airport by our driver with a bottle of ice cold water, we knew we were in for a treat, and we were not disappointed. Throughout our entire stay we were made incredibly welcome, with daily visits from our hosts Luc and Jackie, just to check if we needed anything. Nothing is too much trouble and it really isn't intrusive at all. After leaving our iphone on the incoming BA flight to Nairobi, we needed to report it to the police for the insurance claim. On talking to Luc, we had our driver waiting and we were there and back within an hour. I might add that being escorted by a local is very helpful in these situations, although be prepared to sweeten the deal with the police chief with a few folding notes!
Anyway, back to the villas, you get a housekeeper, chef and butler. I imagined it would be very awkward, but it really wasn't and you get used to it very quickly, which is a bit of a shock when you get back home and have to cook your own breakfast! Each day you get asked what time and what you want for breakfast/lunch/dinner, which is perfect for people that really don't like to get up too early and conform to hotel's strict dining timings. Each meal is as many courses as you can fit in, and each chef and butler when not working in the villas works down at Sails on the beach. We were invited to a complimentary dinner here one night, with our staff serving and cooking for us (they generally follow you throughout your stay). Drinks are also included throughout your stay at Sails and the pool bar (not spirits).
I highly recommend a seafood platter, filled with lobster, king prawns, snapper and all sorts of other loveliness that would cost the Earth in England. You get all soft drinks, red and white wine included (which is South African and very good), spirits aren't included, but we bought a bottle of Tanqueray from the airport and asked for tonic and limes to be stocked in our fridge in advance, and each night before dinner Rose our waiter made us a mean G&T.
The best part about our holiday was the simplest thing. There was a washing basket outside our room and every morning our maid took our washing, by about 3pm it was washed, ironed and hung back in our wardrobe. Which of course meant we had nothing to do when we returned home except wash the clothes we travelled in. Brilliant!
What else can I say? We booked this villa independently, and so had to arrange payment on our own. After expressing concerns about transferring money to an account in Kenya, incurring charges, and let's face it, for us this was done on face value of a website. We were told we could pay when we got to the villas if it made us feel more comfortable. Therefore I can reassure everyone, this is a totally legitimate company and you can pay over the phone by credit card to their UK number, which is a company Leo owns, or when you get there.
On the whole a great place to stay with total luxury, we will certainly return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on Diani Beach, Kenya, Almanara offers 6 Executive Villas and 1 spectacular Presidential Villa. Complete with personal chef and butler services, this luxury collection of private houses offer guests a bespoke luxury experience whilst maintaining the genuine cultures of Africa. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Jovago.com so you can book your Almanara Luxury Villas 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.
- Also Known As:
- Almanara Luxury Villas Hotel Diani