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Southern Palms Beach Resort
Ranked #8 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Reviewed 28 July 2009

I have been to Southern Palms many times, even once a year when i visit Kenya, and this decision i feel is vindicated by the never-lagging performance. Although there was a fire some time back, it has returned to its former glory, and seems to me to be the best of the hotels in South Coast, namely because of its size (not too big like leisure lodge), and its service. The moment we arrive there the hotel staff do their best to welcome us, and the views from certain rooms are fantastic. The swimming pool is great, and the animationn team are arguably the best animation team out of all the hotels in mombasa. The food is good, breakfast never gets boring, however sometimes the dinner isn't too great. In my opinion, the South coast beach is muchbetter than the north coast beach for a plethora of reasons: no seaweed on the beeach, cleaner, and if you are into it, facing the waves at high tide provides a fantastic adrenaline rush. Beach boys are a part and parcel of kenyan beaches, and a stern no will ward them off.
All in all, i will be visiting southern palms this august, and as ever, i am looking forward to it with great excitement.!

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank rickyshah1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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808 - 814 of 1,363 reviews

Reviewed 15 July 2009

We arrived at the Southern Palms on the 24th June after a 5 day safari. From the time we arrived we were amazed at how friendly and cheerful everyone was. The standard of service was excellent. The gardens and pool were well maintained, and beautiful. We felt as if we were in paradise. The treat for me was the monkey's that visited the hotel every day. I would sit on the balcony, and watch them run into the restaurant and steal the sachet's of sugar off the tables. It's the longest holiday we have had, but it went so quickly,and that is a sign for us of how much we enjoyed it. On our last evening we had another treat in store, because a bush baby came in to the dining area. He came right onto our table, and I was happy for him to share a proffiterole with me. It made my night. We left with heavy hearts as we felt we were leaving good friends behind, especially our favourite barman, Ephraim Marunda. We will definately go back. There is only one complaint, and that was the evening entertainment was poor, but it didn't spoil our time there. Beware though when you leave the hotel, as you are hounded by locals trying to sell you something. But when you see how they live, you cant really blame them, as they are trying to make a living to feed their families.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank mandy57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2009

My husband and I have just returned from an amazing trip to Kenya. This being our first visit to Kenya we were pleasantly surprised by just how friendly everyone is despite the fact that many people are very poor in the country. All of the Kenyans both in the hotel and everywhere else that we travelled greeted us with 'jambo!' and a big smile. It became quite amusing that all of the tourists ignored each other when they walked past but the Kenyans spoke to everyone and almost all of the tourists greeted them in return.

The Southern Palms in reported to be one of the best hotels in Diani Beach. The hotel has a lovely atmosphere, built in Swaheli style with a great reception / bar area which is semi-open, and lovely swimming pools winding their way through the centre of the resort. The palm fringed beach next to the hotel is ideal with white sands and lovely clear water. Yes there are lots of beach boys as other members have reported, and yes they do ask you to buy things when you leave the private part of the beach, however it was good fun to chat to and haggle with these people. There are always security guards overseeing things incase you are hassled by too many people. Many people complained about the beach boys, but I would just say, remember that you are visiting their country and they are very poor - you have probably paid more for your holiday than these people would see in a year, so give a little something back! We bought a few bits on the proviso that they didn't bother us again and they were true to their word! Just have a sense of humour about the situation and everything will be fine - Hakuna Matata!

The hotel rooms were clean and simple, not luxurious but perfectly nice for a two week stay and kept very clean with towels and bedding changed every day. My only complaint would be that the pillows and sheets could do with updating as they were a little worn. As for the construction noise mentioned by another member, I have to say that we were in a room adjacent to the 'building site' and the only time we heard anything was when we walked out of the door of our room. I'm sure that if there were future issues the hotel would move people to another room if the problem were serious.

The buffet style food at the hotel was good although after two weeks it did become a little repetative with similar dishes most nights. Having said that, there were two other restaurants which were free of charge to half-board guests. Waiter/ waitress service was excellent in the restaurant and nothing was too much trouble for the staff.

There were lots of sporty activities such as pool aerobics, beach volleyball and windsurfing although not so much for the non-sporty types. We visited the Colubus Trust Monkey Santuary which was about 2 miles away and a great morning out. The hotel had Masai Dancers on some evening which were great. We also visited Ali Baba's cave and the Forty Thieves pub in Diani for a change on a couple of evenings, both of which were great places.

The highlight of the trip however and our main reason for going to Kenya was for a safari and the experience exceeded all of our expectations! We booked with JT Safari's over the internet; Julius K.Nzumbi (julius-safaris.com), search for him on Trip Advisor and see the excellent reviews! Julius responded to my many emails and booked us the trip of our dreams to the Governor's Camp in the Masai Mara. I will post a seperate review on JT Safari's but suffice to say the service and experience were 5-star fantastic! Our Thomas Cook rep tried to sell us a similar trip for almost double the price, telling us that other tour operators did not have the same insurance, however we travelled on the same plane, stayed at the same camp, and went in the same safari vehicle as those that booked at the hotel, so I can't see his point!

JT Safari's also arranged a half-day trip to Mombasa for us, which was good to see, although a bit of a culture shock in places. Our driver and guides were excellent and made sure we had enough time and took plenty of photographs in each place.

All in all it was a great trip. The hotel was incredibly friendly with a lovely laid-back beach atmosphere and fantastic staff. I would recommend it as a great place to relax after safari!

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ManchesterMrsM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2009

From the moment you arrive at the hotel all the staff from the pool boys to the reception staff make you feel welcome.
Hotel - We had a second floor room which was clean and comfortable with a balcony overlooking the pool. Our block was on the side with the building site next to it, but as other reports suggest we did not hear loud banging noises not unless you count the monkeys throwing coconuts from the roof of our block one morning. Yes there is a buidling site next door and builders were there the 2 weeks we were but we left our rooms 9-10am in the morning and came back 5-6pm at night and hardly heard a thing from them. The hotel grounds are lovely and gardens are well maintained, the pools are also large with plenty of sunloungers and parasols. We went half board, the difference for us between HB & all inclusive was £600 with Thomson for 2 weeks, and we are both glad we did as this is not one hotel where you will get your monies worth.
We felt the food was not brilliant, it was okay but the selection was not huge and we are not curry fans so some nights the choice was limited, It was still low season when we went and the hotel was maybe only a third full so maybe this contributed to the lack of variety, The snack bar down by the beach was good and served a varieity of foods for lunch - pizza, burgers, sandwiches, toasties etc all with chips & salad costing approx. £5 per head. There is a private beach at this hotel with security guards, they are only there to stop the beach boys from hassling you and as soon as these guys see you they are onto you, They don't forget a face or a name so never promise to visit their shop another day as they will hassle you every time you go to the beach until you do.

Safaris - After reading other reviews on here we also went with JT Safaris, after attending our welcome meeting we soon found the same safari with Thomson would have cost us $500 more for this we would get up to 6 other tourists sharing our van and 3/4 star lodges, and all this straight after a 9 hour night flight. With JT Safaris you get a private safari and 5 star lodges plus you choose when you go on safari and I would recommend having some beach time to relax first and before you fly home as it is a tiring experience, but it was the trip of a lifetime. Julius is very focussed on you the customer and phones you while out on safari to make sure you have having a fantastic time, only when you return from the safari do you actually pay him. Our safari driver had the eyes of a hawk and we even got to see the big 5 amongst many other animals and birds.

We had a great trip to Kenya, the hotel is lovely the only let down for us was the food.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank swainfamilyYorkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2009

From the minute of arrival to the moment of departure this beach resort complex makes you feel at home and so very welcome. The staff are all so friendly, kind and cannot do enough for everyone. Rooms clean and comfortable, dining room spacious and food excellent with wide variety of cuisines to suit all tastes. Communal and pool areas well looked after, plenty of free sunbeds and towels. Lovely beach again with sunbeds and towels, beach boys/hawkers can be a nuisance but security guards on hand all day. An excellent choice for a relaxing, enjoyable holiday.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank jacquesjm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2009

When we arrived at around 9am everything looked great, staff were great and the hotel was lovely and then we were shown to our room, the gardens were kept nice but on our way there , there was a lot of loud banging coming from the land next door , i asked what the noise was the guy said a new hotel was being built and once we got to our floor there it was a building site, a new hotel. I went to see the rep and asked about it he said it would be ok, so we just left it, for 2 weeks the noise was loud and so loud the staff even got out the CD player to try and drown out the noise though it just made it worse. The rep was so hard to find and when we did it was just excuses. This holiday was ruined because of this. The hotel was nice, the beach was nice, everything about it was nice apart from the building site next door, all we wanted was a nice quiet holiday and after paying a lot of money thats what we expected. When we went on Safari with WT Safari's it was cheaper than the Hotel one and it was great, well worth going on, as to the beach boys they were really bad and would not take no for answer though i have a very bad ankle i tried to take part in the beach walk but it was too hard for my ankle to walk along. The beach boys really make you run the gauntlet and are not for the faint hearted, they are relentless in their desire to sell all manner of things to you. This hotel is expensive for drinks and water and food for what it is, try and shop at the local market and samll shops as you will find they charge the local prices and not the tourist prices.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank doingok37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2009

We booked this trip last minute after reading several reviews on Trip Adviser we wanted to combine a safari with a beach resort. Firstly the Safari we took other peoples advice and booked with JT Safaris and like the others would absolutely recommend this. Our advice would be to save the safari for the middle of your holiday as it is very tiring, book for 3 days (1 not quite enough and 5 probably too exhausting ! ) and lastly book to travel alone with your guide so that you can go at your own pace. We payed a total of around £720 for 2 adults and 1 x 9 year old child travelling to Tsavo West (stayed in Kilanguni Serena Lodge ) and Tsavo East(stayed in Aruba ) We werent aware this would entail a 6 hour drive to even reach Tsavo West on day 1 but frankly glad we didnt know as the safari itself was worth every effort. Transport used are like camper vans with air conditioning and roofs which elevate - all comfortable enough. The lodges were fantastic - 5 star standards. Our favourite was Kilanguni Serena overlooking a waterhole, with low lighting in the evening you can watch the herds of elephant , buffalo , zebras come to drink - while you eat your 4-5 course meal !!! Aruba is new and nice too but due to limited rain this year the dam it overlooks was dry and therefore doesnt offer the same evening appeal - but dont let this put you off. By booking with JT not only did this save us a significant amount of money by not booking through the tour operators we got 3 days exclusively, with our guide Javeth.(though all JTs guides seemed wonderful )Our guide's knowlege of the animals and area was truly amazing and we learnt so much from him.

The Hotel Southern Palms overall was nice and excellent value. The reception , lobby area is lovely , the grounds imaculate and the largest pool I have ever seen. The staff were always so friendly we felt very welcome. It would be true to say the bedrooms were just ok - a little tired but not uncomfortable. If you are happy to eat curries every day , pref vegetarian you will probably enjoy the food as we did. If not, the alternatives were probably good rather than great. The dining area particularly outside is nice and relaxed although they do prefer long trousers in the evening for gents (they dont however seem to enforce it) We were half board and personally would recommend this as oppose to all inclusive which was significantly more. The cost of drinks is reasonable at this hotel ie approx £2 for beer £1 for fantas etc £3 for wine . The lunches at the beach bar were also reasonably priced at around £5 per head and altough mostly "chips " type meals calamari , club sandwich etc it was good and again the staff made you look forward to your lunchtime visits.
The only real negative for us were the beach hawkers . Whilst we had expected this from other comments - we went in May low season, so the hotel was probably less than a quarter populated. Nearby hotels were shut. The hawkers on the beach therefore greatly outnumbered the tourists and probably for this reason, did not leave you alone. Whilst we werent unhappy to buy from a few, at times you could be surrounded by 17 of them all trying to push their goods. It was a pity as the beach was sandy and would have been lovely to have been able to walk to the water without being pestered, or to be able to play footy with our son - sadly it was impossible to have this time, they would NOT take no for an answer and we eventually gave up on the beach. There is security on the beach btw so you dont feel unsafe, and you can lie in the shade without unwanted company but if they learn your name they will shout to you ! Step towards the waters edge and they swoop !
Overall however our holiday was great - and you cant beat Southern Palms for good value.

Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
Thank JudeTam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Southern Palms Beach Resort

Address: Diani Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Phone Number:
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Diani Beach
#7 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#7 Family Hotel in Diani Beach
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
#8 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range: £78 - £212 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Southern Palms Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 298
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

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