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“Excellent value for money, great holiday”

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Southern Palms Beach Resort
Ranked #9 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Hastings, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Excellent value for money, great holiday”
Reviewed 9 August 2009

Southern Palms is one of those beach resorts that could be found anywhere in the tropics. Compared to other resorts we've been to, the grounds are quite small, however the pool is absolutely huge. The resort itself is well maintained and clean with very friendly staff. Entertainment was a bit poor, not much going on around the hotel and not many facilities around the area. So if you're looking for a quiet place to relax this is the place to be. Other than that it's a good base for exploring the area if you're looking to do trips around the coast and a safari.
The rooms are large, decor is simple but nice - especially the African four poster bed. Our balcony was huge and we experienced frequent visits from local residents - the monkeys and bush babies! Make sure to keep your balcony door locked at all times as they will try to get in! We went half board and the buffet food was to a good standard although the choice was not as wide as we've experienced before. Local area is full of similar resorts, there is a proper hospital and two supermarkets where you can buy water and snacks. Closest village is Ukunda but don't venture there by yourself - you will be surrounded by people trying to sell you stuff! You need a local guide if you want to visit.
There is a small beach that belongs to the hotel however be prepared to get seriously hassled by the beach boys. In our two week stay, we've visited it only twice for that reason. While they're friendly and just trying to make the living, they're very persistant and this can get a bit annoying. After all you go on a holiday to relax and not to be hassled 24/7. We did however book two trips with the local agency - Wasini Island boat trip and a half day tour of the local village Ukunda. We were told that it was almost 90% to see dolphins on the Wasinin trip but we've seen none even after 2.5 hour on the boat through some rough seas. Most people on the boat felf queasy for the large portion of the trip. Although the island experience was quite nice, we got to see a local village and coral forrest - dead coral reef & mangroves.
Ukunda tour was very informative as we got to see a local school, hospital and a local medicine man - this one was quite funny actually. Our tour guide Mohammed was very good but make sure to negotiate the price before booking. You can find him on the beach among the beach boys.
Mohammed also sells Mombasa city tour - we would advise you to arrange your own Mombasa trip instead with a driver who works in the hotel (at the entrance) - Timothy. He has a nice comfortable car with aircon and he himself is a lovely man, The price will work out around the same as for the trip except that you get your own "private tour" with your private driver that will take you wherever you want to go. We took this opportunity to visit a local ophanage as well as seeing the city. Timothy has been very informative in terms of local culture, traditions and the Kenyan way of life - not as a tour guide but as a local family man. We really enjoyed his stories and his company, he is a very genuine and warm person and we highly recommend his services. We enjoyed the Mombasa trip so much that we rehired Timothy for a trip to Malindi up north and it was another great day. We got a tour around Malindi, saw some local attractions like a museum, Vasco da Gama pillar, first Catholic church built in Kenya etc. On the way back we visited a snake farm (close to Watamu) and this turned out to be the highlight of our day. If you're in any way interested, ask Timothy - he knows where it is :)
The farm was built in order to aid local people who are exposed to snake bites on daily basis. This farm is producing anti-venom on large scale and they have a collection of most snake species that live in Kenya. The person who took us around was very informative and entertaining. We got to see many different kinds of snakes, learned a lot about their habitat and even got to hold one! The farm's website is www.bio-ken.com
Orphanage we visited in Mombasa (Tumaini) was another amazing place. Founded by a British lady it now helps orphaned children with HIV. They have about 27 children there, aged between 8mths - 13 yrs old. The kids are absolutely amazing, we've spent a good few hours there and didn't want to leave! It's a must on your trip! They welcome visitors anytime. It's a good idea to call them before you visit to find out what their most needed products are - that's what we did and then we went to a local supermarket Nakumatt to buy it. Orphanage website www.tumainichildrenshome.com
We went on a 3 day private safari to Tsavo West & Amboseli and it was brilliant! We used Safari HITS Kenya www.safarihitskenya.com
Their offer is a great value for money in comparison to other prices we've seen around! Email Freddie Kilonzi to see what he can offer prior to your trip. Make sure to stay in Serena lodges during your safari - they are really good. You won't be disappointed!
Overall we had a great holiday and would definitely go back to Kenya.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank lizziecobb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Notts
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2009

In Short the best Holiday we have been on.

We went Half Board -I would not go All Inclusive-There were 3 of us ( 1 child ) and we spent £400 GBP for the 14 days.It would have cost £1000 for AI.So a saving of £600 which paid for Safari.

Hotel- The Hotel is clean,looks great has massive swimming pools one saltwater and a fresh water .Both pools are spotless.

Rooms- Rooms are not plush,but they are very clean and better than i expected in Africa

Food- The main restaurant is lovelly does a good breakfast.I would say they can do better on the Lunch,and Evening meal.To me there wasnt alot of meat more bone lets say.And also wasnt cooked thoroughly at times.Although as soon as you asked for it to be cooked more ,it was no problem.
The snack bar near the beach was great and not to expensive.Around £5 a meal,£1 for a coke and £2 for a beer.

Service- This was very good-except i think the Hotel lets itself down a bit by not asking enough times around the pool area if you want a drink,the waiters also seemed slow at night ,quite a few trips to the bar myself and missed tips for waiters .There missing out on tips and the hotel are missing out on more funds.

Entertainment staff- I never did any of this ( im boring zzzzzz ) But it looked good and you didnt get pestered if you didnt want to join in.Other Hotels should come here to see how its done.
The nightime entertainment varied from very very good acts to pretty poor acts.But in the main its was good.The best act were the guys who perform if you book the meal on the beach.IM NOT KIDDING these guys ought to be seen by Mr Cowell !! im not joking.

Beach- This was stunning and although we didnt go to the beach much.The much touted beach boys or more like beach men i should say were not that troublesome ive known worse in Med.We booked a trip with Marco Polo on the beach to see his village and its a great trip.Nothing to be afraid about just dont be stupid and wear loads of gold etc etc .The school children are a delight to see and we gave a bit towards the school.Its a fab trip that takes a few hours and lets you see how life is in the village which basically exists because of the hotel being next door.

Safari-We went on a pre booked safari with hayes and Jarvis to Amboseli,Tsavo east and west for 3 nights.Its simply stunning.But very tiring from the travelling you do.But the hotel rooms and food that is served up on safari is better than in the beach hotel.I was amazed and if your going to Kenya there is no point unless you go on safari.Having just said that one minus was on last night on safari we did suffer from food poisoning and it wasnt just us most of the holiday makers did.The lodge had a resident nurse on hand who did a great job fixed us up with tablets which worked amazingly quickly so we were able to travel to our beach hotel.The locals pass it off as to much sun and drink.Thats rubbish it was 100% food poisoning but do not let this put you off !!.Just take medication just in case you need it .

tips- I would take more Kes next time than travellers cheques as the hotel rate is poor.Dont do all inclusive .And im pretty sure the maasai mara safari is easier as you fly into that reserve rather than travel there.So for older people or young toddlers i would do that safari instead of the one we went on .

We will defo be back and to do the maasai mara safari next time.

The biggest compliment i can give this hotel and country is i have never returned to a holiday destination.I can say without hestitation we will be back .

Hope this helps.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank AlanPNotts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
1 Thank rickyshah1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nr Swansea, Wales
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank mandy57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ManchesterMrsM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
yorkshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank swainfamilyYorkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
oxfordshire
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jacquesjm
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

Property: 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 Family Hotel in Diani Beach
#7 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
#9 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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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