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Southern Palms Beach Resort
Ranked #9 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Scotland
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Didn't want to leave - can't wait to go back!”
Reviewed 4 July 2010

Just returned from 2 weeks at Southern Palms. Whilst the bedrooms could maybe do with freshening up, they are really clean and comfortable and the room staff do a fantastic job. The restaurants and lounge areas are lovely and the swimming pool beats anywhere else we have stayed by a long way. What really makes this hotel though is the staff. They are so attentive and genuinely friendly. Nothing is too much trouble and we feel we have left behind many friends who we hope will still be there when we return next year. This was our first trip to Kenya but definitley won't be our last!
The hotel had just re-opened and the entertainment seemed to be just getting up and running when we arrived. We saw a fantastic team of acrobats who would have given some of the Britain's Got Talent contestants a run for their money. It seems to be pretty low key in the evening but that suited us fine.
We ate in all but the Lebanese restaurants and generally enjoyed the food. Buffet Breakfasts were lovely with everything you would expect and you could get tea and toast from 3.00a.m if you had an early start. We enjoyed lunch in both the buffet restaurant and the snack bar(special mention to Gideon who looked after us so well in the snack bar!) There was usually a good selection in the buffet restaurant at night although we don't eat fish or seafood and there were a couple of nights where the menu was heavily weighted to seafood. The freshly cooked pasta and the nan breads were particularly delicious.
We spent 3 days on safari and did a couple of other trips so were happy to lounge by the pool the rest of the time, watching the antics of the monkeys. The pool staff worked so hard to make sure everyone managed to find a lounger in a spot to suit and to keep the pool area spotless. Hassan in particular went out of his way and even managed to find some aloe vera for me when I got a couple of insect bites.
The beach is beautiful and there are plenty of loungers and cabanas. The animation team organise daily beach walks if you don't fancy walking on your own. There are security guards at all the main points and they do intervene if people seem to be getting hassled. I've seen a few posts about the beach boys and the sellers outside the hotel. I never found this a problem at all. I bought a small necklace for a 100Ksch from one seller and asked him to make sure I got peace on the beach. He obliged but to be honest when I chatted to him each day I gradually got to know the rest and they have some interesting stories to tell. They are actually nice lads just trying to survive. Same goes for the sellers outside the hotel. Ask for Joe Fraser, he's a great bloke - he even took me for a tour of the village and kept me right on all the places to go and how much to pay for things.
We had a fantastic safari with F King safaris (see separate review-can't recommend highly enough). Another highlight was a trip to the carving village (offered free by Farid at F king safaris). Watching the skills of the guys who make the carvings and chatting to them about their lives was really interesting. Remember to ask them for the reference number though as they are listed next to the price when you go to the shop so you can buy something and know who has actually made it.
We also visited Shikamana School which was a truly moving experience. We sponsor two boys there and were priviliged to meet their families as well and be invited into their homes.
All in all the hotel is wonderful and we highly recommend it as a base. From the airport to the hotel took us about an hour and a half. As it is South of Likoni you do have to travel on the ferry but the new ones are now operational and we never had to wait too long. You also see so much of life there and we even purchased a souvenir in the queue for the ferry one day.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Visitor53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Oakham, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 3 July 2010

Just arrived back from Southern Palms and we loved it!
Staff - all really friendly and can not do enough for you
Food - a lot of choice to cater for all tastes (main restaurant, grilled food, Italian and a Lebanese Restaurant)
Pool - Gigantic! Very clean, and was nice to be able to swim up to the pool bar and have a drink.
Rooms - Were ok/good, v. similar to others I have been to over the years. 2 bottles of water get delivered for free to your rooms every morning and your bed gets turned down every night, including sweets on your pillow.
Evening Entertainment - Did get a bit repetitive with African dancers/musicians and disco's and there was not much else to do. The World Cup was on when we were there so that kept us busy.
Safaris - we booked with JT safari's (http://www.julius-safaris.com) and have an amazing time. I definately reccommend booking with JT. You get your own private van and driver who caters the safari around your needs and is very knowledgable. In the price we had all meals paid for and the accommadation was 5* standard in the middle of the park. We also were given wood carvings by JT at the end of our trip.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank HayleyB87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheshire
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 July 2010

Southern Palms is a very good hotel with excellent staff. Rooms are generally in good condition, and hotel grounds are beautiful. We didn't mind, but service is slow, so be warned and try not to get frustrated (Kenyans are lovely people, very friendly and very polite). We found food in all restaurants / snack bar excellent. You have the Main restaurant, Manyatta and Italian (included in All Inclusive deal) and the Lebanese restaurant.
The swimming pools look impressive and are crowded - we stayed mainly on the beach. But, unfortunately, the beach is a bit of a let down - loads of sea weed is deposited on the beach and is not being picked up. Maybe it could earn them a little income to export it to China?
Sea also didn't look inviting - big waves made you feel as if trying to swim in a soup of sand and sea weed. I witnessed people dive in and appear with a headpiece made of sea weed. :-)))))
Our experience with the beach boys was that they were persistent and although we bought a couple of bits and bobs from them (please make sure you bargain hard, if they say 2000, you start with 100), they never stopped pestering us. Make sure you don't mistake the beach boys with genuine artisans, for example, there is this older Maasai guy who makes and sell sandals - they are cheap, wonderfully made from recycled tyres and encrusted with beads. I bought only 2 pairs :-((
Also, when you go to the beach, go left and walk past the sun beds and beach boys stalls and you will see a couple of massage huts. My tip is: for the best overall experience look for Medrine's Mama Africa Massage (pic attached). Near Medrine's hut lives an old fisherman, ask him if you can go with him in the morning, he will take you for as little as 600 KSh - it's a great experience. We brought lots of old clothes still in good condition and gave them to the staff, beach boys etc. We bought stationery for kids in Mombasa in privately owned bookshop rather than bringing it from the UK.
We booked our safari and day trips with the JT Safaris (Julius Safaris). You will find reviews on this Board about Julius and his company so I don't have to sing praises. My advice is ring him and arrange to meet him as soon as you arrive, make sure you have your wish list ready and you're sorted. Although he does not publish his prices on the website, you can bet it will be a good value for money. Apart from safari, you may consider a trip to the local orphanage, here’s their website: http://www.dianichildrensvillage.org/ , arranged through Julius for free, walk around the local village, snorkelling to Pili Pipa or trip to Mombasa and Haller Park. Southern Palms Hotel doesn't offer excursions, but Thomson / Thomas Cook or whoever you came with, they do, but the prices are 3 times higher. I have to say that some of the guest we met said that they haven't felt safe on the beach or going out of the hotel - our experience was nothing like that at all, we did not feel threatened at any point during our stay.
Please e-mail me if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help.

Have a great time,

Wendy

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank winners07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
uk
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2010

Where do i start for a relaxing holiday dont stay here you get bothered every day by the pool by hairdresser,scuber diving ,fishing,massuse,wind surfing staff then at the beach the beach boys are a pain as soon as you step towards the sea they make a bee line for you they are constantly walking up and down the beach, or standing in a group of twenty just staring at you all day.The staff at the beach bar will try to get you to buy them water and the pool barman tries to get you to pay him cash for the drinks which he will pocket and thats all inclusive.The most uncomftable beds i have ever slept in
Started off with a ground floor sea view went on safari an was moved to a top floor and the hotel was half empty.Italian resturant was not open and neither was the grill on the first week.Four star not on your life dont take kids as the hotel is frequented by white old people and young black kenyans male and female for there services if you know what i mean

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank joeblack666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
essex
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 June 2010

My son was married at Southern Palms. They were in contact with the hotel prior to our arrival as the wedding had to be planned in advance, and the staff were wonderful. There was over 20 in our weddingparty, and half of them lived in Africa and spoke the local language. we had a wonderful stay, and everything was lovely.I upgraded to all inclusivefor the 2nd week and found it easier to manage my cash that wya. no sudden extras! take pens and socks and leave anyting you can afford to replace with the staff. we were friends with with the girls in the beauty parlour, and left them with an assortment of clothes, shoes and cosmetics. Everyone will ask you for a pen so go to the pound shop beforeyou leave and buy what you can. the children especially will be pleased. Only problems we had was with the men on the beach who try and sell you things. You need to use the man who runs the co-op, and you will find it ok.An amazing holiday, and would go back any time even though we had torrential downpours for 5 days and couldnt leave hotel. Try to be open minded, and not judge the people for their way of life. The local Swahilli are amazing, and the men can marry lots of times so family is somewhat disjointed in some villages you may visit. \remember, tourism is the most important thing to them, and they will do anything to make sure their children go to school and learn English.Please try and take things for the children to use in school, they need them so badly. Enjoy the wonderful country and the lovely friendly people at Southern Palms. We had the holiday of a lifetime.make sure to go snorkelling on the reef, best ever!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank EssexLulu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wrexham
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2010

We were moved to the Southern Palms as their sister hotel was closed for renovation and we feel we had a really good deal. We were the first guests in after their refit and on first arriving the place looked wonderful. Checking in was easy and quick and we were shown to our room which was lovely. It had both a pool and beach view off the balcony.. The food was excellent the first week and you couldn't fault the service. Peter, Defence and Elizabeth at the snack bar were some of the nicest people I've met, always a smile and a chat. We went off on safari with JT Safaris for 2 days and by the time we came back there were about 250 guests and we feel that from then on things were not quite as good. Food seemed to run out in the main restraunt and the quality had gone down. We just put it down to teething troubles, Even so we didn't starve and always managed to find something to eat. Down side is the beach boys who even follow you into the sea trying to sell you overpriced stuff and can be very annoying. You do get hassle when you leave the hotel but we found that stopping to have a chat with some of the local traders was great. Joe Cool and Tony at the carving shack were really nice guys and we spent quite a bit of time sitting chatting with them. We gave them some football tops and baseball caps and stuff before we came home and they gave us some keyrings they carved for us which were really nice. Joe's brother owns a little pub down the road from the hotel and we went there a couple of times which was a nice change.. All in all it was a good holiday which we enjoyed.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank nelliethered
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Poole, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2010

Great hotel with lovely staff, amazing food and beautiful setting. Special thanks to Salim Esther and Judith in the restaurants, and Susan and Rispah in the salon. The Kenyan people are the friendliest, most genuine people we have ever met!
Although some would say the rooms were a little "tired", they were charming and very clean. In fact the whole hotel was immaculate. The staff all work very hard, and nothing is too much trouble.
Don't be scared to go outside the gates - and meet Joe Cool and Tony. Joe cool is the best animal carver in Mombasa, and we have a superb rosewood elephant. When we picked it out it was carved but unfinishd, and Joe had it sanded and polished by the end of the day. Friends of ours walked to the supermarket too and found everyone helpful and friendly.
If you're thinking of a safari use Julius Tact Safaris (http://www.julius-safaris.com/) He was fantastic - we had a great 2 day 1 night safari to Tsavo East. (Read our other revew for details)

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank commerland
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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