We chose Keyonna Beach for our winter holiday after reading the brilliant reviews on here, and after looking at their website. We have never stayed all inclusive before, as we normally like getting out and about and trying lots of different things, and the thought of a buffet lunch every day fills me with dread. But we were looking for a totally chilled out holiday, and the promise of chef cooked a la carte meals every day was really appealing. We were particularly excited about all the fresh fish, and tempting meals we kept reading reviews of online, and after looking at the sample menu on the resort's website.
I don't want to write a negative review of Keyonna Beach because in many ways we enjoyed the holiday. The beach is nice, the bali beds are great (as long as you can get one, which became a problem towards the end of our stay), and many of the staff try very hard to look after you. However, I want to write a review that would have helped me when choosing whether to stay here or not, so I hope this is helpful.
The rooms are adequate, clean, and despite not having a safe, wifi, or an ipod dock (all promised when we booked), were fine for our purposes. Unfortunately whilst we were there there was a lot of construction work happening (an issue we subsequently had to take up with our tour operator), and this was for the construction of additional cottages on the site, which will increase its capacity - which would worry me in terms of how the staff/bar/restaurant/bali bed situation will hold up. As I mentioned, by the end of our week there were more couples than bali beds and people were getting up in the morning and putting towels over them 'reserving' them, which was incredibly irritating - especially as the insects were SO BAD when we stayed that it wasn't even an option to lie on the sand.
Quick note re insects - they really were AWFUL during our stay (November) - mosquitoes in the restaurant were really terrible, and there are no fans trying to keep the air moving to try and help. On the beach there are sandflies which bit everyone terribly, I had 30 bites on one foot at one point - despite buying the best repellent I could find before we travelled. In the end one of the staff mentioned that they all use something called 'Be Gone', it smells like furniture polish and might be pretty toxic, but it actually works, so I bought that from a shop on the island which helped.
Food - The food we were served during our stay varied from good to poor - there were VERY limited options (I didn't think this would bother me, but by the end of the week it was quite depressing), with the same options over and over again in the seven days we were there. It felt like we were being served the cheapest fish they could buy - long gone are the crab cakes I kept reading about, instead it was conch fritters time and time again, and whilst I know it's personal taste, they are essentially sea snails, and taste like it - not quite the same as a lovely crab fishcake...
Snapper was served once, which was lovely, but most of the time it was mahi mahi for lunch and dinner and it got rather dull. One day when I decided I'd had enough of the mahi mahi I ordered the chicken instead. I kid you not it was chicken dipper type things in a cheese and tomato sauce which was one of the most unpleasant things I've ever been served -it was inedible.
We only had one 'local' dish served while we were there, and I think the loss of their first chef who obviously did a very good job, has left them struggling to keep standards up to be honest. Generally the food was just ok, but there were some dishes that I actually couldn't eat- which is a problem when there are no shops nearby or any other options to eat. As others have mentioned service is incredibly slow, again, this is something I didn't think would bother me - but I'm not talking about a relaxed pace of service, I mean one server struggling to deal with all the tables and issues at every meal time in terms of asking for bread and it turning up 30 minutes later, no sauces with your food etc etc, I know it might sound petty, but it really started to spoil things after a few days when eating became a chore rather than a pleasure.
Whilst we were there there was no music in the restaurant/bar, and no atmosphere, there was none of the live music we were told happened weekly, and mealtimes were rather silent/whispered affairs, which was a shame. I think this is something they are planning on changing - but we hadn't paid for an unfinished resort - so it was really disappointing. There were also no toilets in the restaurant/bar, so you had to go back to your room if you needed the loo or to wash your hands etc, again, another irritation.
The outdoor spa is a plastic tent at the end of the beach which the masseuese told me was too hot to go inside, so it is actually just a rickety old massage bed on the beach - not exactly a huge problem, but also not exactly an 'outdoor spa' - be warned.
On a final note - the resort has nothing nearby, taxis are expensive, and it's probably better to hire a car. We shared a taxi with two other couples up to Shirley Heights on the Sunday, and it cost us each about £60. Brilliant evening out!
I won't moan anymore - I just wanted to warn prospective guests that many of the older reviews are quite misleading now that the chef has changed, and now that they are expanding and, I think, trying to make it more profitable by cutting expenses.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.