I researched hard to find this hotel and was not disappointed in the least. It is a nice size not too big - in a lovely setting with superb gardens, great pool and easy access down to the beach. I wanted an African style hotel with mixed nationality clients not all British or German etc. and that was what was really nice -visitors from everywhere . The hotel is attractively built in the Swahili style -when you enter the hotel through the lovely entrance you really feel you ave arrived somewhere special. It is drops down to the beachfront rooms through lovely grounds with waterfalls and pools ( all well maintained ) -fantastic plants including the most incredible Baobab tree which is over 500 years old which has to be seen to be believed. I am not sure that the web site pictures pick up on how nice the gardens are aound the pool -with shade from coconut trees if you want it -but plenty of room to move around and keep in the sun. We had a beachfront room which we would recommend as we got a constant sea breeze - the upgrade was worth every single penny as we also had a little fridge and lovely views- we were lucky in having a ground floor room which meant we could step in and out of our room from the sunbeds set up for us every day by the efficient pool staff. There is a day time restaurant by the pool and near the beach and an evening restaurant with an out side balcony - food was really excellent for an all inclusive holiday - well managed, clean and great service - as others have said, the staff could not do enough for you without being OTT -all were very friendly and tried very hard to please. If you do eat too much there are activities in the pool such as Aqua-aerobics and water polo organised by the Animation team but the pool is massive so this does not get in the way. Thereand-is a swim up bar which is lovely. The hotel is efficient and immaculate ( given one or two African quirks !!) -this is all down to the very service-orientated owners who happened to be present when we were there and we noted how much effort they put into the place.
There is a popular beauty salon at the hotel - being too old for temporary Henna tattoos or hair brading I stuck to a pedicure.
We must mention the monkeys - all part of the fun especially with uniformed security guards chasing them with catapults!!! So along as you follow the hotel instructions not to feed them you can enjoy them and their antics - the Colbus Monkeys were a bonus, as were the Bush Babies who came out for dinner guests' enjoyment.
We also did a mini safari through the hotel associate company Rhino Safaris and stayed at the Ngutini Lodge is situated in a small private reserve next to Tsavo East . Ngutuni was absolutely stunning with fantastic rooms facing a watering hole which was continously visited by game - Elephants ,Water Buffalo etc. We had three game drives , two in Tsavo East and one in the private estate with a one night stay -excellent value and highly recommended for those who just want a taste of safari life.The driver/guide was knowledgable and alerted us to good animal sightings which we would have missed. Terrific night time atmosphere at the Lodge, eating dinner over looking the water hole -it was a really romantic 'Out of Africa' experience.
We also did some travelling round using a private taxi at reasonable rates which we found through the hotel - I used to live in Kenya as a child and wanted to do a little nostaligic visiting. Our excellent English speaking driver Yuvi knew exactly the sort of things I wanted to do.
We also had evening dinner at Ali Barbours (note spelling!!!) cave and were picked up by the complimentary bus - a wonderful place eating in a subterranean cave with a roof open to the sky - BUT do not eat too much lunch at the hotel - the portions are massive.
Another great tour we did through our Hayes & Jarvis hotel rep. was a Dhow excursion to Funzi Island which included a motorised canoe visit to the Mangrove swamps - it was, in fact, as much a canoe trip as a Dhow trip . Don't be put off -it is all salt water so not too heavy on the mozzies. We saw lots of birds and a small croc - the visit to Funzi was worth doing to understand the hardship and pressures remote communities face - there is a school and a clinic which is supported by a UK based charity - we will be supporting it. The trip then ended with a great sea food lunch on a private island - a real mixed trip -educational but fun.
On a wider front when visiting any Diani resort hotels - remember this is South Mombasa -so you do have to cross the Ferry which can sometimes have delays but you do get to see African urban life while you are waiting. Air-conditioned transport makes any wait much more comfortable.
In summary our two week visit to the Papillon Reef Lagoon Hotel was a wonderful holiday -very relaxing and just what we wanted. Thanks to all those who made our stay so enjoyable.
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- Also Known As:
- Papillon Lagoon Reef Diani
- Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel Diani