We stayed at the Papillion Lagoon Reef in August 2010 for 7 nights. The holiday was booked with Hayes and Jarvis. If you’re travelling form the UK the flight can be long and tedious with no direct flights to Mombasa. You fly into Nairobi and then a short hop (about 45 minutes) to Mombasa.
The transfers to the Papillion is about an hour, including a ferry trip. The ferry is an experience on its own with no real health and safety considerations, it’s a general free for all with coaches, lorries, cars and people on bikes and foot fighting to get on and off. The actual ferry’s are new. But don’t be put off by having to use the ferry.
The Papillion is fantastic, after 10 hours of travelling we were met by smiling faces and cold drinks. With little effort on our part, the staff booked us in and arranged for our baggage to be sent to our room.
We upgraded to a beach front view, I would advise to do this as its spectacular waking every morning to a view of white sands and blue sea on Dinai Beach. The rooms are simple and clean, the bathrooms are excellent with bath and shower. Upgrading including a fridge and air-conditioning. The air con in fairness was hit and miss and really didn’t cope with cooling the room so it could get a little warm at night.
All Inclusive – As usual, not exactly all-inclusive – Bottled water is extra, if you want bottled beer you have to pay for it. The other niggle was the safe, again the room safe had to be paid for as an extra. That said, it didn’t really matter.
Food – is excellent, the choice is a little limited with meat and 2 veg the staple menu along with soup/salad starter. Most nights they provided a pasta course or vegetarian option. The food relates well to a Toby Carvery type meal, all well cooked and fresh.
Breakfast was past excellent with pork sausage, bacon and eggs available. Cereal, eggs as you like them and continental breakfast option was also available.
The draft beer is good, akin to a light beer. The spirits are local and fire water would best describe them. Most of the wine comes out of a carton and is certainly an acquired taste. If you like a drink on holiday I might suggest you will might end using the local bars.
Papillion does provide a selection of cocktails too. Again an acquired taste.
All the staff are very helpful and friendly, the hotel is great and we didn’t have any need to complain about anything, we never heard and grumbles form anyone else. The hotel is made up of manly French and German holiday makers.
The pool is great, plenty of sunbeds. Again the pool guys are very helpful. We made a big thing about tipping about 100 shilings (about 80p) to everyone. This does have the desired affect with a little extra care taken over you.
Flights – We found Kenya Airways ok. They served great food, even breakfast on the short 45 minute hop from Mombasa to Nirobia on the flight back. The in flight entertainment was bad, not even working on the flight out. So the 8 hour flight is tedious. We also got badly bitten on the plane by insects.
We did the 1 night safari which is must if you go, fabulous experience. Mombasa is poor and is surrounded by slums. Walking outside the hotel presents little issue. If you turn left and walk about a mile down the road you will pass the monkey bridges and reach a local supermarket. No safety issues and you’re ok to walk around. All the locals are friendly, again we ended up giving our chocolate to the local kids along with a few shillings.
Beach Boys – A pain, just be nice with a firm ‘NO’ and they will leave you alone. They are nice guys just trying to earn a living.
Trips Out – I would advise booking any trips through the hotel reps, the roads are terrible with no road safety. Even our drivers booked by Hays and Jarvis were ‘crazy’. Over taking cars, buses and lorries with little thought to the passengers comfort.
Again, this went for out great guide on the one night safari too. Back breaking stuff.
You can get ripped off too. Our visit to the Masai Villiage (another must do) cost about £8.00 each. We did hear from a couple who paid $120 for four people.
Overall, great hotel – I would just book it.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Odigeo, Booking.com, Jovago.com and Priceline so you can book your Papillon Lagoon Reef reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Papillon Lagoon Reef Diani
- Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel Diani