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Papillon Lagoon Reef
Ranked #14 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Bristol, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“fully enjoyed”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2012

the staff at this hotel are wonderfull, they are a credit to melba the owner of the hotel who we also found to be very vigilante and helping guests to enjoy themselves, nothing was to much for melba and staff, i mean how many owners go out there way to fetch milk and buiscuits from local shops just to keep me happy and save me trouble of going myself. staff are wonderfull, always talking and helping in anyway, one of best 3* pluss ive stayed in africa, yes people will moan about some parts, ie possibly needs updating a little, but hey this is kenya were people are poor, we went on safari with sister hotel ngutuni lodge it was great, all arranged by melba and her staff, this was fantastic, i have already planning my next trip. a few names i can remember to thank are ally,dixon,hassan,dennis,patrick,chocky,francis + more and of course melba the owner...thanks to all...pat o brien. also victor roberts taxis is great.

Room Tip: beech front and family rooms are good if you require xtra in rooms they will supply at little cost
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank obnail333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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582 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 March 2012

The hotel provides accomodation for bounches of european tourist who wants it cheap. And this is what you get.

On top of the very unpersonal atmosphere you constantly feel the bad relation between staff and management. We got the impression that everyone is paid very bad, and the management do not seem to care much about employees.

One could questipn how much the managment care about the guests as well. We were constantly told only to use taxis from the hotel - all others would not be safe. Also, we should leave the the hotel area for security reasons. Of course we had our best, warmest and most unforgetable moments outside the resort meeting more hounest locals, and not even one time facing something that could have been developing into something dangerous.

  • Stayed February 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Lauritsjr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Crowborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
169 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2012

Just returned from 2 weeks at this hotel staying in a beachfront room worth the extra to wake up and see and hear the Indian ocean each morning. Staff always happy helpful ,bar staff fantastic. Cant wait to go again. All inclusive was good value.

Room Tip: Choose beach front worth the extra.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
4 Thank Ann F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
52 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 February 2012

We went for a family holiday and had a fabulous time. The children, aged 18, 17, 15 and 10 all loved it. We stayed at the Papillon Reef for 10 days, taking three days out in the middle of our stay to go on safari in Tsavo East and West, and also took a day long trip to go on a snorkelling safari at the nearby marine nature reserve.

Flew Kenya Airways via Nairobi to Mombassa, which was fine. Note that when you arrive in Nairobi, after passport control and clearing customs with your luggage you need to go from the international terminal to the domestic terminal over the road. It's not far but not well sign-posted. The journey from Mombassa to Diani takes a while because of the ferry crossing, but you do get to see real everyday Africa along the roadside.

We really like the Papillon Reef. It is the location and the staff that make it. The kids particularly liked the pool, and pool activities such as the water polo and water valley ball. We all liked the food, and the inclusive cocktails went down very well. The wildlife was fascinating. We went over the road to the colobus reserve and didn't find any, then came back only to see black and white Colobus monkeys leaping from the roof of our building to the nearby trees. We also saw a bush-baby by the restaurant one evening. The staff are all very friendly and very helpful.

We took a glass bottomed boat trip from the beach, organised by one of the beach boys, who calls himself Captain Amos. He was charming and helpful, and we saw coral, starfish and range of tropical fish. We liked him so much that we also booked a trip to the Marine Reserve with him - at a fraction of the price of doing it through the hotel, yet travelling there on the same sort of battered old Nissan's that all the tour operators seem to use, and travelling out to the reserve on a lovely old dhow, like everyone else did. This trip was probably the high-point of our whole holiday. Dolphins came a swam and jumped alongside the boat as we went out. Then we did a guided snorkel safari, swimming in small groups with a guide across fabulous coral, watching parrot fish and many others - which grow large here as it has been a protected reserve with no fishing for decades. We were taken to an nearby island for lunch, where we had the freshest warm crab - even our kids tried it and enjoyed it.

Our game safari was booked through Julius at JT Safaris, who we found because he is recommended by others here. He really cares that you have a good trip, so I strongly recommend him too. (jtsafaris@yahoo.com). We went to Tsavo East and West, saw lions, buffalo and more elephants than I imagined still gathered together - hundreds and hundreds! Also saw many birds, including eagles and owls, and a monitor lizard. We stayed at the Kilaguni Serena Lodge in Tsavo West which is really lovely, and well worth the extra for a night of luxury after travelling all day through the game reserves. Watching scores of elephant and buffalo come to the waterhole at night is treat.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2012

ok guys the hotel in general ain't bad for the price but dont think they should fob it off as a four star hotel. I mean which four star hotel dont have a tv a fridge in the room as standard? The thing that make this hotel is the people and they are really warm and friendly,one or two may try and sell something to you for e.g one cleaner kept asking me to take a trip to his village i really don't know why id want to go there.. one guy towards the end of my stay knocked on my door saying he was from house keeping asked me to change ten euro's to 1000 shillings to my beleif really angered me coz i thought this only happens when u get on the beach not expecting hotel staff to carry on like beach boys.. not only am i from the uk where euros are no value to me but the cheeck of him to disturb me for money while im holiday and this is a four star hmmm??? Reception didn't let my taxi driver come beyond the gates because we had arranged taxi ourselves and not through hotel because it was cheaper,one min they said it was ok next we had to walk ourselves all the way to the gates with all our bags (4 star hmmm).. You need a little fridge in the room as its so hot all night and lil drink of water would be appreciated chilled and a tv isn't essential but would be a nice touch..
Food is an all inclusive and it's ok edible but you'll probably get sick of after a while.. Breakfast day in day out the same.. Lunch changes up a bit with African,Indian,pasta's,pizza and stir frys etc.Dinner was ok always a different theme xmas,roasts and African..
The beer was a bit flat and bloating but the local spirits weren't to bad got me me rocking :J
The gardens,swimming pool over looking beach,staff and beach activties are the strong holds of this hotel.. would i ever go again to this hotel? probably not but defo gonna come bk to Diani!!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Indian78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ringwood, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2012

What has been said for the good in all previous reviews is absolutely true. Friendly and efficient staff, great food and clean rooms made this a truly unforgettable experience. Along with a three day safari with a local company called JTSafaris a decision to return has been made within two hours of landing back in London!!!! Comments below , forward staff ? monkey problems ? Ibiza is probably more suitable for you Guys.

Room Tip: They are all good , I am not sure that the sea facing rooms warrant the extra money.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank PaulRead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2012

We have just returned from an 11 night stay at Papillon Lagoon Reef booked via Virgin Holidays. We were supposed to fly on Christmas Day but a Kenya Airways aeroplane problem delayed us by 16 hours and we spent Christmas night in the Hilton at T4, Heathrow. Kenya Airways weren't brilliant at their communications at the airport but one of their female members of staff was excellent and really did do a terrific job. Our onward flight from Nairobi to Mombassa was reorganised by Kenya Airways (along with 33 other) and one of the benefits was rapid transit through immigration as the Mombassa flight was held pending our arrival from London. Not a good start but everything just got better and better and better.

Virgin found out that we had been delayed and re-organised our transfer from Mombassa to the hotel (about 90 minutes), together with armed police presence for safety and security. The police told us that there were no problems but tourism is important and they wanted to make sure that we were completely safe given the 1.30am departure from Mombassa airport. The transfer was smooth and the hotel reception is open 24 hours and they gave us a drink and a sandwich whilst we went through the booking in process. We had booked a sea facing room (an extra) and we were not disappointed. The accommodation was first class, though the bathroom was a bit dated. It was, however, spotlessly clean. Our room was air conditioned, quiet and very comfortable. There is a safe in the room (an extra cost of £1 a day) but worth it.

The food was very good and with much variety. The fresh fruit was excellent and there was always plenty of choice. Having been to Egypt on an all inclusive basis previously, I would say that the food at PLR was significantly better in comparison. The service levels were very good whether at room, at table, at bar, at pool or at sunbed. Sun beds and towels are provided free of charge. The public areas were clean and well kept. The drinks were exactly as you would expect with local spirits but the beer, G&T and brandy worked for me. The red wine was from cartons but you have the option to buy bottled wine if you felt the need. You can buy bottled water on site and it is not expensive. The evening entertainment was not great but I didn't expect it to be great having read other reviews. We were happy with a drink in hand, sitting looking out to sea and chatting the evenings away.

The staff were all incredibly friendly and welcoming. Unlike Egypt where I sensed that everything was in expectation of a tip, in Kenya, I sensed that it was because of a genuine desire for you to enjoy your holiday and to encourage your return. We did tip our room boy at the end of our holiday, he talked with us every day, he kept our room spotless and made sure that we had clean towels every day and he was always polite.

The beach was white and long. Great to walk along apart fro the beach boys trying to get you to buy/book activities. We chatted with them but they were undoubtedly a nuisance. Security was evident around the hotels but we did not see any issues whilst we were at PLR. the monkies are cheeky and adept at gaining entry to rooms and bags if you give them the slightest opening!! The sea was warm and safe.

We also booked a two night/three day safari to Tsavo East and Tsavo West with JT Safaries (Julius Nzumbi) staying at Ashnil in East and Kiliguli in West. This cost the two of us around £800 (excluding drinks) in total. We booked this all over the internet direct with Julius (jtsafaris@yahoo.com), paid a deposit in sterling and the balance in cash. You ca also book via your rep but Julius will look after you. Two very different parks and we were glad that we did both though arguably seeing animals in east is a lot easier than in West but the geography and topography in West is different and you get to see Kilimanjaro in the distance. Our driver, George, picked us up at 6.30am on the first day and returned us at about 5pm two days later and was just fantastic at giving us a first class experience. There is a lot of travelling involved, getting through Mombassa is a pain, but the safari is worth it. Ashnil is a relatively new lodge in East but very comfortable, excellent service, good food and no complaints from us. Kiliguli in West is just the best with Kilimanjaro in the distance, the water hole in front of the lodge, well appointed rooms. All of JT's safaris are tailored to your requirements, we went largely with his recommendations and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. George was a safe driver at all times but when the CB radio chatter indicated a particular animal (lion, cheetah, leopard) he didn't hang about and made sure that we had the best sighting opportunity possible. We tipped George well, he deserved it and our friends, who also booked with JT, experienced the same level of service from their driver, Sam.

This is one of the few holidays (>7 days) that I really did not want to end. It was totally relaxing and what I wanted from the holiday. Above all, the staff, without exception, were helpful and interested in our holiday experience. They wanted us to have a good time and we did.

The negatives for me were obviously the delayed start and the transfer time from Mombassa at the end of a long journey from London. Would it stop me from going back, no. Would it stop me from recommending PLR, no.

The positives are too many to list in summary, it was just an excellent holiday.

Room Tip: Pay extra and have a sea facing room. If you have children, they do have "cottage" style...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Papillon Lagoon Reef

Property: Papillon Lagoon Reef
Address: Diani Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Papillon Lagoon Reef 3*
Number of rooms: 119
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Also Known As:
Papillon Lagoon Reef Diani
Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel Diani

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