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“Amazing,superb words cannot describe this place.”

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Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #19 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Certificate of Excellence
peakdistrict
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Amazing,superb words cannot describe this place.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2010

After spending two wonderful weeks here with superb staff who could not do enough for you,excellent food and facilities i feel it only fair to let others know how good this hotel is. The only fault we had was that we had to come home but we will be back. We also had a excellent safari with Tanke tours which we booked online.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank brucy55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Manchester UK
Level Contributor
187 reviews
165 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 385 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2010

We stayed here for a Winter break, having stayed on the same beach previously at the Baobab (see my Tripadvisor profile for report) at the other end of the strip.

Despite the tides, which push the sea out a long way, the beach is much nicer at this part of the strip, and the hotel has lounges positioned on the beach area, but far enough back to be away from the persistent nuisance of the beach vendors.

We had a full board arrangement as restaurants are rather basic in the locality (except Ali Baba’s cave). The hotel changed the restaurant location a few times during our stay, by moving tables out onto the beach and the front gardens, which was an excellent way to avoid the ground hog day monotony that always occurs if you eat in the same location too often. This is of particular importance as there is only one buffet restaurant in the hotel.

The pools are very disappointing, both filled via a fire hose laying across the ground they are a little small and ever so slightly grubby. Not somewhere you would really choose to lay out by. Additionally, a full wing of the hotel is closed off, with timber boarding to the windows, so from the ‘adults only’ pool the views are rather desperate. If you like a pool scene, don’t go, but the beach area made up for this.

The plastic coated white sun beds are engrained in dirt, not the best colour choice so the grime is very visible, so take 2 beach towels to cover it.

Wine is very expensive, as are all drinks and bills are confusing, for example despite having paid for Full Board, there were certain items (not obvious) that were excluded from the food menu, but nobody says so. You sign a bill and are advised it is credited back if you are on Full Board, however at departure all seven of the couples on our coach were victims of this over charging scam. Be wary of this, as it leaves a bad taste at departure, so check your bill as you go.

In contrast the food was excellent, despite the single restaurant. A small casino on site and lovely gardens with bridges across the water features are a nice touch, but they can attract insects.

Rooms had robes, slippers, a complimentary bottle of wine, basic TV, roomy balconies with furniture, full air-conditioning and a reasonable amount of space. Bathrooms were basic, but workable.

Avoid the flotation tank in the spa, sounds nice but it is little more than a kids paddling pool with lots of salt added, too shallow to actually float in it.

Wireless internet available at a crazy, crazy price.

In summary, apart from the poor pool areas and the manic over charging of all the guests on our coach at departure, it was a nice experience, but not a patch on the Baobab, sorry.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Nick_From_Manchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
watford
Level Contributor
55 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2010

We went to this hotel in February this year the hotel is really beautiful with a wonderful atrium and public areas, the hotel staff couldnt do more for you, especially Nellie the dessert lady (pancakes in the morning), three evenings a week dinner was served in the gardens or on the beach with all the tables done up just like for a wedding with fresh flowers etc. The beach is beautiful and because of the security guards the beach boys have to stay down by the sea which is great, as they are lovely but can be a pain after a while. A lovely country and everyone we met was helpful and you really felt that they wanted you there and to enjoy yourself would thoroughly recommend it as a great holiday destination.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank sue31r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
salisbury, uk
Level Contributor
40 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2010

Just returned from the Diani reef Hotel and Spa south of Mombasa in Kenya following a weeks safari by Vicren Tours (reviews separate). Let's get the negatives out of the way first
1. The ferry - well if you fly into Mombasa which we did as opposed to the airstrip at Ukunda, there is a ferry trip to deal with which took us a little over 2 hours each way although not far in miles. The best way to deal with this is to get the hotel to provide the transport (45 Kenyan shillings each way) and that way you get greeted with iced water and scented face cloths, newspapers e.t.c and a chauffer driven Mercedes at the airport. Not so bad after all!
2. The shop - by far the worst thing about the hotel and I was disappointed. Previous hotel shops and lodge shops that we've come across stocked a better array of goods for about a tenth the price. Stayed at the Voyager last year which has a far better and cheaper shop. Found it surprising because apart from the wines I thought prices at the Diani reef reasonable. They pay the penalty though as there was never anyone in the shop that we could see.
OK, the positives
1. What a welcome. Won't say more because don't want to spoil the surprise but whether you come as a group or just individually it's a real treat!
2.. Room presentation - we hired a junior suite (about £1000 half board for 8 nights) and it was one of the best rooms to walk into we've ever stayed at. Amazing towel art - again don't want to elaborate but it's worth seeing. I thought the Egyptians were good but............
3. The beach - well I know you shouldn't let it get to you but it does............Two things here - first because you are not so close to Mombasa there aren't the quantity of beach boys and secondly the beach has constant and vigilant guards on duty who do an excellent job of keeping the boys away from their private area fronting the hotel. We were 'pestered' just once as we went for a swim. Additionally, this is the only hotel we've stayed in Kenya where you can therefore have (very comfortable) beach beds on the beach, which by the way, is pure golden clean sand.
4. The food - the best we've had in Kenya and for that matter in any resort hotel. Yes, you do get the chaffing dish stuff which can get repetetive but also freshly cooked pasta, chicken or fish on the grill, very good salads and some of the best and nicest presented desserts ever. Not sure if the exec chef (whose presence is very much felt - think he's French) was once head of the pastry section at a previous good hotel - but he sure . knows his stuff. Breakfast again was excellent - proper croissants and pastries. We are fairly fussy (we run a restaurant) with our food but this hotel didn't disappoint on this front. We stayed for 8 nights and ate on four of those nights the whole restauarnt was moved to different locations around the hotel. We had come across this at the Voyager, but the Diani Reef does it so much better.
5. The pools - two free form pools with one being for adults only. This was was enormous and always very quiet.
6. We wanted to just relax and unwind here but the extra facilities seemed first class. A casino, a superb spa, good children's facilities, a gym and so on.
7. Decor - simply beautiful. Gorgeous fixtures and furnishings throughout. Simple but authentic and creative.
To sum up - this place won't suit everyone. It's not for those who want to cram as much liquor, food and sporty fun into their holiday as they can. The whole atmosphere is of subdued elegance. We were quoted £1600 for the two of us at the Voyager which while I know is all inclusive made the £1000 we paid for a junior suite here brilliant value for money. When we arrived I refused to unpack the bags until we had paid the bill (we had an advanced purchase rate booked through the hotel's own web site which should have been taken on booking but for some reason wasn't). I simply couldn't believe that I had been quoted the right amount. They are probably still coming to terms with the recession and the aftermath of the troubles a couple of years ago because they certainly weren't busy.
Sorry to be long winded, but if like me you spend hours on the web trying to get the right hotel for the right price, I hope that you'll give this place a try!

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Allison L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canada
Level Contributor
68 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2010

We stayed at the Diani Reef in June of 2009 and were very disappointed in this hotel. The large pool that is shown on all of the hotel sites was closed and empty and under construction. The other smaller pool was old, dirty, shady and needed a lot updating. There were many empty and abandoned buildings that the hotel appeared to not be using. Gave a bit of a creepy appearance. The bridges and many of the pool side accessories were in dis-repair. Lots of repairs were on going which was good - but of course very loud and annoying. The place was a ghost town. There were 14 of us in the whole hotel, but this is no fault of the hotel of course. Just that time of year. We had great weather. Our room was average and we asked to be moved because of the pool construction noise. Then after we complained about the pool being shut down without notifying us (even upon check in!) (the hotel never told our tour company as if so we would have stayed elsewhere) they moved us to another room which was supposed to be an upgrade, but didn't feel like one and it was back again over near the pool and so we had the noise again. As that was our 3rd room in about 1 hour - we gave up and stayed put. Our opinion is that when your hotel has only 14 guests and you cannot provide to them a pool to swim in and everything is closed and no restaurants are open - it might be professional to give them one of the very best rooms in the place - not the most average room, but that's just our opinion. Give the poor folks a great room. They don't see it that way I guess. Restaurants and things like that all closed at the hotel. No one around. We went out for food. Our favorite eating experience was Ali Barbar's (I hope I have spelled that right) cave restaurant about 10 min down the road. They come and get you and bring you back. This will be a highlight of your life, let alone your trip. Excellent food and ambiance and the beauty of the open air cave was something out of a fairy tale. We also hired a guide for the day and took a day tour of Mombasa with an evening excursion that takes you to Fort Jesus via sailboat for a lovely outside night dinner and light show which was really cool. We didn't eat on the boat like some companies do. This one took us to Fort Jesus and we ate there with a lazer light show. As the pool was closed we were at the beach 100% and this was nice. The beach guards largely kept the beach boys away, but they were a bit of a bother. No one around hardly so the beach boys hounded us a lot. All outside sports, eateries, etc were mostly closed. We sat and read and walked out to the reef at low tide (no need for a beach boy to assist) and really enjoyed the warm beautiful water. Please note that the beach boys walk out to the reef and gather sea creatures and try to sell them to you and when you give them attention or buy these - you are hurting the ecosystem beyond words. The reef and beach are picked dry and so try to avoid buying shells and sea creatures as it is terrible for the environment and encourages them to keep doing it. It brought back a lot of memories for me from when I came to Diani beach as a child - there used to be so many star fish and shells and sea creatures...not any more. So - the hotel has huge potential and some parts of it are stunning and look new and hip, but some parts are not and of course when your room is very average and a bit beat up and your view is of a dirty empty pool - that puts a different spin on it. I think in busy season and in a better room and with all pools and activities and restaurants functioning - the hotel is likely really enjoyable. Beach was clean. You do have to keep your screens shut as the monkeys will come in - no doubt. I hope this review is of assistance to people. I would not refuse to stay there again, but for us - with what happened to us - we'd probably opt for another place next time b/c their customer recovery with the pool issue was not good and they should have done more to make up for that. Our tour company out of Nairobi was furious that the pool was under repair and that other repairs were going on, but nothing could be done. We had already paid in full to our tour company months before so nothing could be done their either. I think June is not a great time to go there but that's our opinion. Ali Barbar's Cafe Restaurant is amazing and if you do anything in Diani - go here. A lot of the hotel amenities were closed so it was a turn off to us.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
4 Thank travelsoothesthesoul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mombasa
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2010

i stayed in this hotel in December with my partner.It was amazing,the welcome was good.We were welcomed with drinks and hot towels to relax,the floor at the reception is made of glass with small fishes under it.The rooms were clean,the service was very good,the swimming pool gorgeous and the meals were nothing less than perfect.Staying in Diani was a dream come true,keep it up.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank fmsupa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 February 2010

We spent 2 weeks in Diani Reef in February/March 2009 and it was the best holidays I've ever had.

Check in: The reception area is beautiful with glass floor and small fishes under it:) We had to wait about 20 minutes for our room, but we were provided with some fresh towels and welcome drink and I have to admit that even waiting for a room was pleasure, there was some quiet-relaxing music and during waiting we could admire the surroundings of reception area which were really stunning:)

Room: We booked a deluxe room with sea view and it was worth every penny, size was very good, clean, big bed, we had additional lounge area with additional TV, a little let down is a bathroom which really needs renovating - it's still ok but could be better. The real advantage of a deluxe room is a stunning ocean view, we were really amazed and it made us happy and optimistic about rest of our stay.

Surroundings: The hotel area is really big and very very green and beautiful. Main Pool has a good size and surrounds coral rock:). Of course there is a swim-up bar with very good barman. The second pool is big as well and it's in silent area behind the spa. The beach is super-wide with white sand and we never had a problem with finding sunbeds. Unfortunately ocean is a bit rocky there so water shoes are strongly recommended.

Food: We had a HB and it was really enough for us. Breakfasts are English-based so unfortunately there is no big choice of meats, cheeses etc which You can find in German, polish hotels for example, but there was a good choice of fruits, sweets .
Dinners were really tasty with very good choice and additionally during our 2weeks stay dinner was provided in 4 different locations - hotel's restaurant, main poll area, beach and garden.

Prices: Because of HB we did not spend much on food, sometimes we were to hungry to wait for a dinner so we ate something on hotel's beach bars and the prices were reasonable - e.g. beer 200Kes, pizza 800kes

Service: Service was really good and helpful and always smiling:)

Reassuming we really enjoyed these holidays, we will definitely come back some time...

Tip: Take many socks and pens, local people very often asked us about them, you can exchange them for a local-made wooden sculpture.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank wojtek123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa

Property: Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa
Address: Diani Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Diani Beach
#8 Spa Hotel in Diani Beach
#15 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 143
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Also Known As:
Diani Reef Beach Resort And Spa
Diani Reef Beach Hotel Ukunda
Diani Reef Grand Ukunda

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