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Southern Palms Beach Resort
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Reviewed 10 June 2008

What can I say, we were so looking forward to an exotic holiday, worked & saved hard but sorry to say this is far from what we experienced

- The drive to the hotel was an certainly different, not a good impression by Thompson's as no one was there to meet us, we were just directed to this Kenyan bus/ jeep/ old white van, which we had to wait in the soaring heat for over half hr before we set off.

- First impressions of the hotel were good, reception area friendly, nice & clean. That as it turned out was the best part of the hotel.

-The BAD POINT......PLEASE WATCH OUT - Potential Black Mail Scam
We had a major problem with a company outside of the hotel - Kenya Adventures (also known as many other names so be careful) we decided, after been told by our rep, it was safe to walk to the local shopping centre. We were approached by locals trying to sell us a safari. After been more or less forced into going to their office via bus we looked at what they had to offer and agreed we would be interested. We left a deposit and signed our names.
The next day we decided to cancel, we'd had time to think about it, decided against it so I called the office from the reception phone and advised them I wished to cancel (note this was recorded by the reception). well within our 48 hr contractual grounds. We actually went on safari with one of the beach boys who we got to know really well - Ferdinand. Nice bloke.
The problems started when we came back from safari which was absolutely fantastic.
This company knew we had been with someone else on safari, when and where we went. We were visited by the tourist police that evening who told us this company were threating to lock my partner up if we did not pay the full fee of the safari we originally booked but had yet cancelled!!!!
Our Rep brought the owner into our hotel where heated discussions took place which ended with the Thompson’s rep doing nothing to help, support or resolve the problem he actually left us alone with the owner of whereby we were threatened and forced to pay 400 dollars or face been arrested at the end of the holiday - as confirmed this could actually happen by our REP frightened we paid the requested amount.
We were later told that this should not have happened with our Rep present nor in the hotel and was possibly part of a scam.
So take heed and make sure - If you are looking for a bargain Safari and venture outside (which is far cheaper then Thompson) do NOT leave your LAST NAME OR ROOM NUMBER. The hotel will only have your surname hence if you have any problems they will not know who/ where to contact. If you leave a deposit leave a small one, just in case you change your mind.

- Room was ok, the fly/ mossy screen was ripped, we had to ask for a mossy net, which they brought but had big holes in. The door to the balcony was not very secure as we encountered the local monkeys trying to enter into our room on numerous occasions.
I know there was a serious fire before we went and we were a bit weary before hand but we did read good and bad reviews. What’s worrying is to see such bad electrics even after such a bad fire. We had three connections wired into one socket - these been, telly, hair dryer and kettle. Some friends that we met woke up to a melting plug socket!!!! Surely the first fire should have giving the owners a kick up the [--] to increase safety!
Towel/ bedding were most and smelly and the bed as grand as it was had broken glass in the fore poster section. Very, very noisy, banging of doors, we were woken up around 7.00am each morning, by the cleaners.

- The pool was lovely, very big well looked after, which seemed to be the only maintained part of the complex. It was so disappointing to have such poor facilities with such an amazing pool and beach. The only reason this hotel is anyway near anything like a four star rating is purely down to the pool & grounds.
- Food, where can I begin, breakfast was ok, the staff were lovely and it was nice to sit near the birds however, minimal or no re fridgeration on both breakfast and evening meal. We went half board and I'm so glad we did. The food was very poor. It seemed the chefs were not really that bothered about what they gave you or how it was presented. My partner is a chef and after 2 - 3 nights we decided to eat out on an evening due to the lack of hygiene and lack of taste/ freshness. During the day I stuck to Pizza, not good for your waist line but the only thing we felt safe to eat after having a few days of dodgy belly.

- DO GO TO Diana Reef Spa which is only 5 mins down the road You can book into the hotel for a meal, we had Japanese meal cooked in front of us, it was soooo good. The hotel is amazing and when we originally booked Southern Problems we could have paid an extra 100.00 to go to Diana Reef Spa, if you can afford it - GO, this is where you will find 4 star plus accommodation, a world away from Southern Problems!!!!

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Dancer202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2008

The Southern Palms Beach Resort was not the hotel that we had originally booked, but as tourism in Kenya at the moment is still very slow several hotels have closed for a while (one of them being our original choice) and we were transferred to the Southern Palms.
On arrival in the hotel we were greeted in the fantastic reception area with ice cold drinks and ice cold flannels to cool down with. From that moment we were told that this would become our second home and that we were now on holiday and should do nothing for ourselves. Check-in was very quick and painless and then we were show to our rooms.
The rooms were clean and cool with very effective air conditioning and they looked out over the enormous swimming pool. All rooms have huge sliding doors at the front that can be left open as long as you remember to secure your mosquit0 screens across them (these also lock) Each room has a queen size hand carved African four poster bed and a hand carved day bed/sofa. Our bathroom had a shower and a bath. There are no mosquito nets in the rooms and when we asked for them we were told that if we keep the fly screen closed we would not need them, they were right! There is also a TV/DVD player in the room and DVD's are available free of charge from the business centre.
We hired the safe in our room which was very reasonable (about £10 for the week)

From the swimming pool you can see the deep blue Indian Ocean and the waves crashing on the coral reef. The grounds are fantastic and full of palm trees, hibiscus and frangipani, they are very well kempt. You can often see colourful butterflies, dragon flies and lizards in the grounds and we even saw a troop of Sykes monkeys in the grounds.

The restaurant is in an open sided, thatch roofed extension to the main building with a pond full of reeds with nesting weaver birds in them on one side and the swimming pool on the other. The food is good and there is a wide choice of foods available. We also ate in the roof top Italian restaurant and the Boroti snack bar, in addition to this there is also a Lebanese restaurant (that we did not try) and a Grill restaurant. There are three bars, the main one in reception, one beside the pool and one swim-up bar in the pool. You have to sign for every drink that you have, but we found that instead of making you do it every time the barman tends to bring you a handful of them to sign every now and then, which we found much better. There is a selection of cocktails available on the all-inclusive package as well as Tusker and a selection of Safari brand spirits, minerals and soda’s such as Coke, Sprite and Fanta.
There is 24hr security around the resort and the guards do a grand job going out of their way to make us welcome, even helping my son to feed the bush babies at night.

The beach is fantastic but the moment you put your foot on it your are called to and approached by the beach boys, other people in this forum say If you are firm with them and tell them No they will go away! We are obviously not firm enough as we couldn’t get rid of them even after we had bought things from them. Please beware they do try and over charge you for everything. However they are not on the beach first thing in the morning and they have gone by half five so you are able to walk along the beach them without being pestered.

THINGS TO DO
We did a two day one night safari to Tsavo East with Glorious Safaris whose service was exceptional. We also went on the Pilli Pipa Snorkelling Trip (booked with Rhino Safaris) which was awesome and the food that was provided was outstanding. In addition we booked an afternoon trip to the Colobus Monkey trust and had a guided eco-tour. And on the beach just outside the hotel we also went for a camel ride. All these things are well worth doing.

SUMMARY
All in all the service is outstanding, everybody tries hard to learn you names and say “Jambo” every time they pass you, it truly was a lovely place to stay and we will definitely be returning as soon as we can afford it.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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5  Thank nikzeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2008

We stayed here in Oct 2007 and had our wedding there also.
They made us feel extremly welcome from start to finish.
We had the best time!!!!!

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled with family
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Thank craig_rachael
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2008

The Southern Palms Beach Resort is exactly as it says on the tin! A beautiful beach resort - seriously the beach is breath takingly gorgeous - and the pool and garden surrounding the hotel are just fantastic.

The pool is fab, it was always like a bath, so warm but beware - don't go in the jacuzzi at the far end of the pool (under the orange canopy), the chlorine turned mine and my friends white bikinis a urine yellow colour! Not nice!

The staff cannot make you feel more welcome. Everywhere you go its "Jambo" this and "Jambo!" that, they are so friendly, however, if you disagree with the service somewhere (as a few did in our party), the management are less than helpful - they don't seem to like complainers! We had a run in with the manager as they tried to make us pay for breakfast on our first day of arrival - the receptionist told us we could go through and eat, not least because when we arrived NONE of our rooms were ready. Everyone that had arived on the coach (at approx 11am that morning) were unable to get into their rooms and so being hot and bothered, not to mention knackered, you just want to get to your room, strip off and get in the pool (or at least we did!). You couldn't do that, the rooms weren't ready and so everyone went to eat. They then said that despite the fact that we were leaving at 3am for the return flight home, and therefore couldn't have breakfast on leaving, we still had to pay for breakfast on arrival day. Not on. And we told them so. Then they took to trying to fire the poor guy on recetion for telling us to go through! They do not treat their staff very well, particularly as we think the poor guy was made to pay for the breakfasts out of his own pocket. They earn approx £1 a day so it'll take him a year! Really harsh. Also there were no sheets on our bed when we got to our room. We had to call down 4 times (over a 5 hour period) for them to come and make the beds! Same applied when our safety deposit box wouldn't work.

The food was not good. The meats were sometimes indistinguishable from each other and there wasn't a lot of choice. Breakfast was the best meal as being a cheese fiend myself, it was the only time they served it! No cheese after dinner! Weird.

Overall the holiday was great. We loved the pool, gardens, beach (beach boys were a little annoying though) and weather. We didn't love the food, the rooms (smelly sheets!) and having to sign for every drink you have (HIGHLY irritating, after one day, trust me, particularly when you're waiting 15 mins at the bar after receiving your drinks, just to sign the bloody thing! the staff have no urgency about them, bless them, they know one speed and thats slow!).

But they are so friendly! You kind of forgive their lethargy as they're so damn nice!

Overall - cracking holiday!

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Gracie1420
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2008

We booked through Thomas Cook, and spent alot extra on the Premium Flights, which were not worth it and we are in the middle of complaints.
Arriving at Mombassa, make sure you have filled in your visa document, the chapest way to do it was with american dollers. Everyone wants a tip, being our first time and only having 500 shilling notes we gave each person more than they earn in a week!! If you dont have any smaller than 50 shilling, give them english pounds or american dollars which they prefur because of the exchange rate.
Travelling 2.5 hours through Mombassa was an eye opener, esp as it was xmas day, a holiday, but everyone is still working. Oh and cows have the right of way!! Ferry was fine, altho, you could wait an hour to get on. We got to southern palms to coconut milk, hot towels and a garland for the gals. Room was basic, but fine, dont leave french windows open unless you dont mind the monkeys looking for food!! The hotel grounds are idilic, the first week was great, food was plentiful, grounds were clean and the staff are amazing. We went on our safari with Secrets of Africa which was great, and our driver Francis was fabulous, stayed at Galdassa (amazing) and Voyager (dump). New Years Eve back at the hotel can not be put into words how great it was and how hard everyone works to make it so special, with loads of food, tribal dancers, accrobats, camels, cows etc it was mad!!
Unfortunatley the Country is very corrupt and we were out there when it all kicked off. I felf safe enough in the hotel, but couldnt leave it. The staff were at 650 when we arrived down to 120 when we left. Some of the Indian Managment do treat them badly. We couldnt go to an orphanage so gave stuff to our friends and had to fill in an invantry of what we gave them. Go down to the beach at night to see the hundreds of crabs. Food was plentiful in the first week, but cos of supplies it went downhill unless you like indian, one night not even the salad was not spicy, my partner spoke to the head chef who organised me a huge plate of meat and fish from the grill. I would def reccomend this hotel, but probably wouldnt go back myslef cos of the Indian Influance (I went to Africa, if i wanted Indian, i would have gone there!!) Made some special friends Aly, Alex, Joseph, Stephen and Beatrice.
Oh and if you fancy fishing, and it looks expensive tell them you dont mind sharing the boat, and they will split the cost.
Please dont be put off by the trouble, it isnt against us, and without tourism the poor will get poorer. The people are great and the hotel is beautiful. And have a Tusker Lager for me!!

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank charlton_bird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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