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“Wonderful”

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Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #19 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
hampshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful”
Reviewed 5 April 2010

Have recently returned from Diani Reef and had a wonderful, relaxing holiday. Hotel absolutely fantastic --- staff could not do enough for us. Food was very good and many choices to cater to everyone's dietary requirments. Staff were very friendly and made an great effort to remember your name which made it very personable. Although in the low season, lots to do although the night club and casino were not being used,
Our room was lovely, very clean and in a quiet garden location - great to see the monkeys making their journey over the roof tops in the morning and late afternoon. Annie our Cosmos Rep was very informative/helpful although personally would not travel by this company again as their transport to and from the airport was very poor alongside Thomas Cook - not air-conditioned so make sure you have drinks with you at all times! The Resort itself did need a little redecoration in places although it was obvious that there were plans in place. The idea of dining at night in different locations i.e. by the pool, in the garden and on the beach made a very welcome change. The Exec Catering Manager is very good and takes on board suggestions from guests.
Only complaints we had was that there was very little information of what was going on especially evening entertainment. A lot of people obviously left for an early night not knowing of this. Also think that some of the entertainment (including the Masai Warriors/Missionary School Singers etc) would benefit performing at the Fins Club on the beach which has a bigger and more open stage. Saying that, they were all very good.
We did not have much problem from the beach boys as the security guards were ever present. We only encountered them when we went into the water to swim but after telling them we were not interested - left us alone.
Drinks very expensive in the resort --- £30 for a bottle of wine! Best bet is to go outside the resort and buy drinks to take back to your room (£2.95 for a reasonable bottle of wine!) --- but don't forget to buy a corkscrew as they immediately take the one away that is in your room for your complementary bottle of wine!
If you can avoid - don't fly with Monarch --- they are a nightmare--- staff very rude and our experience was they would not let us walk around the aeroplane, even though it was a 9 hour flight. Having flown long haul many times was quite disgusted eg DVT. Also staff were sitting in the extra leg room seats! We also experienced a 13 hour delay on return - although to be fair Monarch did allow us to keep our rooms free of charge.
With regards to souveniers - beware of the local markets. We got hemmed in by 8 people who would not let us leave until we had finished negotiating. When we told them we would think about it --- they chased us down the beach --- thereby paying over the odds. Mombasa Airport has some really good shops and they are half the price you would pay anywhere --- unless your negotiating skills are good.
Tsavo East & West memorable - it does not matter where you purchase this trip the price is relatively the same. We organised this trip through our Rep and I must admit we had better rooms and accomodation than most people. Recommend you stay in a tent at Tsavo East --- at night all the animals come close to the wire which is right outside! Don't worry -- the tents are sealed and cannot let anything in. We saw a couple of scorpions but there was no way they could get in the tent!
We had a great driver could Donald who knew everything and everybody and managed to get us places on the safari -- wonderful experience of seeing young lions sitting next to our truck!

Try and go to Ali Baba's Restauarant which is built in the coral caves. Fantastic food and atmosphere. They provide a free bus to and from resorts. If you have time --- go and visit the beach bar --- one of the staff will take you and again transport is available back to your resort --- it is an eye-opener of the other aspect of Mombasa!

All in all we loved our experience in Kenya and will definitely return although probably not for 2 weeks - probably 1 week Tanzania and 1 week Kenya.

But would highly recommend this resort to anyone.

Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank pennynHampshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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peakdistrict
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
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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1 Thank brucy55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester UK
Level Contributor
192 reviews
169 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 389 helpful votes
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
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
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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
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
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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
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
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Helpful?
4 Thank travelsoothesthesoul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mombasa
1 review
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
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Helpful?
Thank fmsupa
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
Reservation Options:
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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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