We were going to spend a week in South Africa at a game reserve Madikwe at Tuningi lodge an anti malarial free zone before going on to Kenyaand the evening before we were to depart we were informed by 'phone call from Thomson that the holiday had been cancelled.
Luckily we had kept in touch with the GM and he said all was normal on the Diani Coast.
I had already changed flights to go from Johannesburg to Nairobi and then Moi therefore this did not present a problem.
Obviously we did not have time to find out about flights coming home.
We arrived the day we were meant to stay and had a rapturous welcome from Niels the GM, Nellie, Ruth, Lilian and all staff and the notice board was written up Welcome back Anne and Jim to your second home - 39 repeat guests.
We were taken to our second bedroom and thank you Ruth for all requests adhered to.
It was lovely to open the balcony doors and hear the sway of the palms and the tide rushing in and out.
A beautiful basket of flowers were on the dressing table as usual and it was lovely once more to be at last here after another tiring journey.
We had our usual room steward Richard whom had put off his leave until the next month and 'thank you Richard for keeping the room spotless - fresh towels and sheets every day.
The hotel were using the main restaurant at first but due to lack of numbers the Boriti snack bar was used for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I like the new lay out of the inside.
It was good to see familiar faces - Stella, Esther, Robert, and Elias in the restaurant who looked after us well and Duke the gardener who gave me fresh flowers at my sun bed each day.
Also the girls' from the animation team and it was great to see Islam for a short while coming back from leave for a few days.
However it was a 'sad' hotel compared to when we first went out in 1995 and it was booming.
I asked Esther how many were in the hotel and was told 60 to 80 due to foreign office advice to tour operators to cancel flights.
The grill was closed, the pizzeria and also the swim up bar which made it seem like a ghost hotel.
Even the beach boys seemed dejected - some had removed all their curios from the bandas at the side.
Unlike last year the first week was quite rainy but cleared the second week and we had glorious sunshine.
It was also good to see Mohammed the Accountant, Chacka at the pool - they were still cleaning the pool every day and Nancy at the shop.
I booked a pedicure and nail polish as usual at the beauty salon and I was the only client that day.
Thanks Hassan for putting two sun loungers on top of the beds underneath our special umbrella at the beach which was deserted and still kept clean of sea weed.
We received an excellelent rate from Niels the GM and upgraded to AI.
Lilian you are doing a good job and hopefully the hotel will pick up.
It was just great to be back but nothing was going to deter us - we have been through worse in 1997 when Ukunda was burnt down and troubles had started.
There was no trouble in Diani coast at all and we went out to various restaurants, the main shopping centre etc.
I believe 5 only original staff are now left at the hotel.
We had long walks along the beach and were not hassled at all and stopped at Wonder Paradise which has lovely loungers for a refreshment.
I had my letter to go to Voi to see my orphan elephant Panda and the lodges were quite deserted.
We had also taken an extra case for the charity we support in the Shimba Hills.
The only problem was how do we get home?
Ferdinand of Beach Air was having problems with flights but I asked a friend who took us to Damma Tours and David managed to arrange flights Kenya Airways from Mombasa to Nairobi Charles De Gaulle Edinburgh which was a nightmare. We had a quick turn around at France and thought we would miss the plane with the result that our baggage missed the flight.
The flights were quite expensive as well compared to the flights from Johannesburg to Mombasa.
As usual my husband bought me some lovely jewellry from Onnali at Moiz and I could not resist a beatuful dress at Ina's boutique and necklace.
The owner came out to have a coffee with us as the restaurant was open at the main shopping centre and we had a good chat with him.
We also had friends in to the hotel for lunch and helped them set up a fruit stall as no buisness was coming in for the family.
We did our best to help as many as we could but so many were hungry due to lack of buisness etc that we could not help all.
I believe now that there are about 40 only at the hotel which is so sad as we love 'our second home' and all our friends and family there.
Gone are the days that the Kushini restaurant was full - Niels I think you will be the only person to remember that restaurant.
However we still had a great time and as usual did not wish to come home again.
We WILL return by hook or by crook - no terrorist will put us off.
Asante Sana to all staff and Niels I hope you had a good time on leave and will be in touch.
We thought we would not get on a dream liner but at Nairobi we were ushered into a room for soft drinks and bitings and found out the French Ambassador was there and Kenyan dignitaries for the launch of the first dream liner to Charles De Gaulle.
Perhaps I was so tired but the reclinig seats were a nuisance as if the person in front reclined back we could not see the screen on the back of our seats but as an evening flight I tried to sleep. Personally I did not see much of a difference compared to some planes we had been on the journey.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This dramatic hotel with its fantastic pools and beautiful beach is the perfect spot to relax after a safari… or simply visit to relax! The warm and very African feel of the hotel with comfortable rooms, well appointed bathrooms and selection of restaurants offers guests plenty of places to lounge in the sun and almost as many shady spots to enjoy a bit of a breeze and a good book. All rooms have quiet, split unit air conditioners, televisions, mini fridges and coffee and tea making facilities. There is a safe (chargeable) in each room and a business center located in the main building with internet or wifi access in public areas. The drama of the huge, traditional makuti (thatched) roof in the main restaurant offers the Chef a terrific showcase for a varied selection of local and international dishes on the buffet or you could indulge at one of the a la carte restaurants (chargeable) for a special occasion or just a quiet evening for two. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Southern Palms Beach Hotel Diani
- Southern Palms Beach Diani