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“Good class hotel, with terrible food!”

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Southern Palms Beach Resort
Ranked #9 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Surrey
Level 6 Contributor
62 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Good class hotel, with terrible food!”
Reviewed 3 February 2010

Hotel grounds were very well maintained. Our room was very well appointed and kept very clean. One of the light bulbs stopped working and was replaced the same day which surprised me! Plenty of chair beds, but unfortunately a number of them did have "towels" put on to reserve. We then had to play the same game, which we abhor. The only fault I have with the hotel, was the food in the main restaurant, we thought it was DIRE. There was plenty of it, but poorly cooked. I don't eat meat and was really looking forward to the fish, but after 2 meals of it, I stuck to salads and pasta and fruit,as it was disgusting. Couldn't fault the staff, thought they were all excellent. Would I recommend this hotel YES if the food was better! Entertainment was the best they could offer every evening, and all music stopped at 11.00 p.m. and it was lovely and quiet and restful and no problem sleeping.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Shassa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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colchester
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2010

My room was terrific. Clean and well air conditioned.
The beach was lovely and safe. Although some people objected to the beach venders I found them very friendly and as I wanted to know more about their way of life rather than sun bath, I had a really amazing time and learnt a lot about the lovely people of Mombasa. I was never troubled by them as a friendly smile and a firm 'no thank you' sufficed to them leaving you alone.
The resort was a comfortable size and you were not far from any facility. It catered for all on an international theme and the only thing that disappointed me was there was no traditional Kenyan food served in the main restrurant. However, this was soon solved by eating every night in the Manyetta rest. which served beautiful meat and fish dishes combined served direct to your table from the charcoal grill on swords and giant skewers. The waiters here were brilliant and very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them.
I was a lone traveler and these lovely people made my stay truely fantastic and I will be going back in 2010.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank leya12002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
1 review
Reviewed 3 January 2010

Hotel was quite good, the food from the buffets mostly not on the right temperature. Nice environment, but disturbed by the on-going techno beats starting at 10 am until 00 pm (!)

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank JamesReader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
guyrope
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 December 2009

Hotel very large, staff courteous and helpful, two very large pools attractively sculptured with plenty of space for the many sunloungers available. A good sized area of beach shelters and loungers where the local 'hawkers' are kept at bay by the hotel staff, (however you are lucky if you can enter the sea, and get back again without being 'badgered' to buy or 'promise to buy' something).

There are three bar areas including one 'swim-up bar' but the staff are always nearby to bring drinks or snacks to your lounger. The gym is adequately equipped and daily activities by the 'motivation team' allowed you to join in aerobics, volleyball (both land or aqua) dancing etc.

The bedrooms are a little tired and dated but perfectly acceptable. Because of recurring problems with the A/C we were upgraded to a sea view room for the last 4 nights, this was slightly larger, had the addition of a bath and very nice view from balcony.

The main restaurant provides two large but comfortable dining areas (either inside or out) with a wide variety of food, varied slightly from day to day. We were half board and found that the huge selection for breakfast could comfortably see you through the day without the need for lunch.

There are three other optional restaurants (suggest you book these in advance at intervals throughout your stay) all of which make the dining experience far more intimate and personal. The Grill (by the pool) where they served various nicely BBQ'd food, the Italian (on the roof above the pizzeria) or the Lebanese (which was smaller but at a £22.00/head supplement) where there was a choice of three Mezze menus and a 'local' belly dancer entertains you.

Each week they offer a 'Beach Restaurant' meal where they decorate the beach shelters nicely and serve a 5 course meal with a whole lobster as main course. This is a great experience but comes at an additional cost of £30.00/head (3500Ksh). You are however, granted a 'lunch in-lieu' if you book this or the Lebanese restaurant.

As we were HB we obviously paid extra for drinks and lunch (just twice), this can mount up considerably, especially if you like a bottle of wine with your evening meal (as we do), there is a fair Sauvignon Blanc which was 1600Ksh (£14.00). The total for ours extras mounted up to £500.00 (despite being away from the hotel on safari for three nights) but £100.00 of this was for the Lebanese restaurant and a beach meal upgrade.

We had one evening excursion after recommendation by a regular German guest, Ali Barbours is high class restaurant about a 10min taxi ride away, if you book through reception they send their car to collect you and return you later. This was a fabulous experience, you dine in an underground cave open to the sky above, the ambience is superb with live piano music, excellent service and wonderful food. Well worth the £120.00 bill (inc. 2 bottles of wine).

The earlier mentioned problem with the A/C was annoying as it took several abortive attempts by 'engineering' to fix it, one late night room swap (before early start for day trip next day) and finally having to pack and move rooms. The General Manager was away and the 'Duty Manager' seemed powerless to make decisions, so we had to wait till the GM returned to negotiate a deal. He first offered his std. 'Lobster meal' as gesture, after a bit of haggling we eventually got the Lebanese meal and a bottle of wine knocked off the bill which we felt was reasonable.

We enjoyed the holiday very much, overall we were happy with Southern Palms but would not have wanted to pay much more than the £629.00/head late deal we got. As you are discouraged from venturing out alone much, we really needed the Safari and Dowe trips to prevent us from going a bit 'stir crazy'.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank guyrope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cambridge
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2009

We visited Southern Palms half board in April/May this year and had a wonderful time. Our room faced the pool and had a very comfortable large four poster bed as well as a sofa. The room (and the whole hotel) was always kept very clean by the staff and they were very helpful in coming back later if was inconvenient.
Pools were lovely although we didn't really venture to the ones nearer reception as they tended to be full of children especially over the first May weekend when it was a Kenyan bank holiday. The beach was also nice, although the beach boys were a bit of a pain but they were happy to leave you alone if you politely asked them to. Although with Kenya being a developing country it is something you have to expect so I don't believe people should complain. If you do decide to buy some souvenirs from them though make sure to haggle and/or give them socks/pens as they are in real need of these things. Souvenirs in Mombasa are all the same anyway (wooden carving anyone?!) so it's not a bad idea.
I ran the length of the beach several times and it was very safe, there are security everywhere from the different hotels who will look out for you. We also used the hotel gym and tennis courts a several times (think we were pretty much the only ones!!) and they were fine, enough equipment to have a decent workout.
We found the food very good and varied, although there were some things that were always the same (the indian and salad buffet) there were different themed nights every night and one night the whole buffet was taken outside into the gardens beside the pool- quite romantic!
Tried all the other restaurants (BBQ, Italian and Lebanese) and all were great especially the Lebanese because we got the whole restaurant and brilliant waiter (Samuel) to ourselves.
I recommend checking out the internet shop as they have loads of DVDs you can borrow including loads we had never heard of; the internet is a good speed and ok priced also if you need to use it.
We weren't too enamoured with the entertainment but they just give you what they think tourists want to see, i.e. different types of tribal dancers who i think they have on rotation. We usually didn't stay for it but didn't find the noise a problem even though we were directly across from it. If you close your balcony doors you can't hear a thing! Also unless you want monkeys in your room it's a good idea to do this anyway.
We left the hotel at 4am for our flight back and the hotel kindly put on some breakfast for us, just toast, cereal, juice and hot drinks but at that time in the morning it was very unexpected.
We didn't have any problems whatsoever with the staff or facilities here and all in all had a brilliant trip, it's a bit further out than most hotels but totally worth it i think.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank SusyJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leicestershire
1 review
Reviewed 25 November 2009

We booked our holiday with Cosmos, staying at the Southern Palms Beach Resort. The hotel was lovely and just what you need for a nice relaxing holiday.... Lovely staff, good food and amazing beach and pools!

The hotel is fine for what you need, I would have no hesitation in staying there again. I have been lucky enough to travel a lot of the world and I would say an honest review of the rooms in this hotel at 31/2 * but the hotel itself and the facilities, food and staff are deffinately of a 4* + standard.

The staff really make this place and from everyone we met on our holiday (even people not in our hotel!) everyone said they knew of the Southern Palms and it's good reputation.

Whilst in Kenya we booked a 2 day 1 night safari with JT Safaris after reading several good reviews on here and the JT website.

My partner and I booked the safari prior to leaving the UK and met with Julius at his office (his driver picked us up). We discussed and finalised what we wanted and Julius talked us through all the details.

We threw a spanner in the works and invited another couple with us (after we had met Julius and confirmed it would just be 2 of us). He didn't have a problem with this and was more than accomodating.

We were picked up by Tito our driver at the hotel on the morning of our safari. It was a couple of hours travel to the park but was well worth it. Tito stopped whenever we asked and once in the park he had an eye for the wildlife and made sure we didn't miss anything! Tito was very informative, knowledgable and had a great sense of humour - he really put us at ease!

We stayed at Ashill Aruba Lodge and this was just perfect, the elephants came down at night, the food was lovely and with the lovely pool and friendly staff you could not ask for more...

On our way home we stopped in Mombasa for lunch and arrived back at our hotel early evening. Julius met us the next day where we paid the remainder of our balance (we had only paid a deposit) and ensured we were satisfied with the trip we had been on.
It's rare that I would make a reccomendation, but JT safari's are deffinately one I will be reccomending until I grow old. The service from start to finish, the cost - which I'm not going to disclose, but will let you in to the fact it was cheaper than the hotel one, we had an additional 1/2 a day and it was a private safari - so we didn't have to share our trip with anyone we didn't know or didn't want to and the animals we saw were just amazing!

I have no doubt that it was Julius, TIto, The Southern Palms beach resort and JT safaris that made our holiday to Kenya unforgettable and one which will stay in our memories forever.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JennieEdwards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 November 2009

we stayed at this hotel for 2 weeks from the 26th oct 09, myself, husband and 12 year old child. first impressions were fab, lovely reception area and welcome from staff, beautiful gardens and huge swimming pool. We had a corner room opposite the pool which was great for the stay, but it did smell fusty and the towels never smelt very nice either. The room had a bath and seperate shower cubicle which was great. we had a lovely large balcony which was visited by the monkeys which our son loved and waited for each evening. our maid nancy was really lovely too. we never had any problems with noise from the entertainment or pool during the evening or from any other rooms near by. We stayed half board which suited us fine as we had booked a seperate safari for 4 days and thought it wasnt worth paying all inclusive if we were going to be away for 4 days. On the 1st eve , we walked down the road to a small supermarket where we bought beer, wine, water and a small carton of milk. we took everything out of the mini bar and put our stuff in it. Nancy filled the kettle up each day in the room with water and left tea, coffee, sugar and dried sachets of milk. We never checked out of our room whilst on safari and left money etc in the safe whilst we were gone with no problems. Other people said they had to check out of their room whilst they went on safari who had paid for it as part of a package and were either allocated a new room on return or were given the same room back again. We found the food in the main buffet area to be varied and hot, our son liked the food too , especially the sweets. We ate at the BBQ once which made a nice change to be served the food and wished we had tried the Italian which everyone said was lovely. We did order pizza s for lunch which were freshley cooked and large enough to share. We also ventured out of the hotel and used the local buses to go to the Forty Thieves bar for lunch and drinks. These 'buses' are very regularly, usually packed with locals but very friendly with no problems other than very slow and dusty. You need 2 to get to forty theives, you get off at Barclays then walk a short distance up the road to get on the next bus, just tell the money collector person where you want to be and they tell you when to get off.
Entertainment at the hotel was limited to bingo, snake show and acrobatics. We thought the acrobatics team were fantastic. All the entertainment staff work so hard and try to get people involved during the day but without being too much. We joined in the water aerobics which was a great way of meeting people and fun to do. We also joined in the darts and went on a beach walk with them. There was'nt many children at the hotel and our son never met anyone to play with but he still enjoyed himself in the pool and sea etc. The beach area was beautiful and as other people have already mentioned, it is spoilt by the beach boys. Although they are really nice and friendly, they are a pain. You are fine to lay out on the loungers but if you venture to the sea they do come up to you every day, security do come over and then they do walk off and leave you. We walked one tea time to the Diani reef hotel, it would have been really romantic if we were not joined the whole distant by 2 beach boys there and back again! However, during our last days we politely told one of the beach boys we had come to know that we wanted to go for a walk along the beach with no pestering from anyone and he said he would tell the others this, we were then able to walk in peace to the leopard beach resort hotel and back again which was lovely.
Our niggles with the hotel were that it would have been nice during the evening meal to have had juices out to drink like they do at breakfast, and also we found out during our last few days that tea, hot chocolate and coffee were free for half board guests during evening meal time but this was never offered to us by the waiting staff, we were only ever offered the wine list. We had been ordering soft drinks and water which we paid for but would have ordered coffee, tea or hot chocolate for free if we had known earlier! we only found out by chance as more guests arrived they started to put the tea and coffee out. When we said we had not been told , they said it was up to our rep to tell us! We also found out that if you ordered a small beer it cost exactly the same price as a large beer! On our last day, we were not being picked up until 3.30pm and asked if we could keep our room longer than 10am, they said we could if we paid £60! We were offered a shower room for free for 30 minutes per family which we thought was not long enough . After some arguing we were given our room until 2.30pm for free. All in all a great holiday, nice hotel which could be great with some improvements to customer services.

Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank wendy s
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 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#7 Family 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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