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.
- 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