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“Worn out” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Reef Hotel

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Reef Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Nyali beach | off Mount Kenya Road, Mombasa 82234-8010, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #17 of 53 Hotels in Mombasa
Helsinki, Finland
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Worn out”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

We stayed at the hotel for a week in March. Hotel was worn out that we did not expected because of all the good ratings that we read from here. Hotel needs quick renovation and for example air conditionin wasn't working properly and the safety box was from the seventies or sixties. Service and cleanliness were the biggest problems. Location is good though and there was lot of good restaurants nearby. We went out for dinner every night because of the horrible buffet at the hotel. Quality and price level didn't match.

Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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286 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
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English first
Mombasa, Kenya
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2012

I stayed at the Reef Hotel about 3 years ago before I moved to live in Mombasa. Then I thought it was a pretty decent place to stay, even though a bit run down. While I still had some warm and fond memories about the hotel I would describe it as being rustic. That is not the case anymore. A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I wanted to have a drink by the beach at the hotel on a Saturday afternoon. No sooner had we gotten to the hotel lobby than a guy at the reception quickly stopped us to ask after the purpose of our visit. When we told him, he proceeded to tell us that we would have to pay a cover charge of Ksh.1,000 (approx $12.5) per person and this amount would be offset from our bar tab.
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that this charge was simply because we were 4 females with no male companions. The evidence of other people walking past us into the hotel without being flagged down helped. We simply opted to go to the Mombasa Beach Hotel which is right next door to the Reef and it turned out to be a much better venue.
I simply hope the management of the Reef Hotel re-think this dark ages mentality. I for one will not darken their doorstep again and I shall tell all my friends about it.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gallinsky, Director of Sales at Reef Hotel, responded to this review, March 19, 2012
We are sorry to hear that you did not feel welcome in our hotel.

In order to prevent that our facilities will be too crowded, we have installed a cover charge system for visitors who are not staying in the hotel. A visitor's pass can be obtained at the reception and allows you to use the pool, relax by the poolside bar and to eat and drink in our hotel.
This hotel policy is being applied in most of the hotels in Mombasa.

We assure you that we did not treat you any different from other visitors.

Reef is a family friendly hotel with as many local guests as oversees guests. Most likely the people that you saw passing by at reception were staying in the hotel.

We can testify that we are not discriminating at all in any of our approaches to our customer base, on the contrary.

However, we have to work hard to protect our clients from female visitors, who definitely do not come here with the same aim as you and your friends, but to prey on our older male guests and make the atmosphere very uncomfortable for other women and families.

Please do accept our apologies for this unfortunate situation.
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Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2012

I had another 2 very enjoyable visits to Reef hotel in the past few months, once in August and once again last month. I brought 5 friends with me in August and 7 friends in January. We all had an amazing trip, for many reasons. Back in August, my friends and I ran a Maths Camp for some school kids in a near by slum area called Kongowea. I am a director of an Irish/Kenyan charity called SAAS (Sponsor An African Scholar, www.saas.ie). Over 300 kids turned up for the free Maths Camp and we taught high school maths for a whole week. It was our 4th annual Maths Camp and out most successful to date. Staying at Reef was ideal as it was only a short matatu ride away, plus a 15 min walk into Kongowea. The food is excellent in Reef, so it really kept us going for the week. When we would come back after a hard day’s teaching, we would all meet up at the bar, have a few Stoney’s (a very tasty ginger based soft drink) and prepare our material for the next day’s teaching. Then we would retire to the restaurant for a fabulous buffet dinner. Every night the restaurant would have a different cusine theme, Indian some nights, Italian, Chinese, African, etc other nights. The chefs are great, if you require specialised food, they are only too willing to help and cook special dishes for you.

After a tough week of teaching, we treated ourselves to some massages, some from Reef and some from the locals that work on the beach. The beach massages are a bit cheaper than the hotel massages. There are a few massage huts beside Reef Hotel on the beach, once you step onto the beach, you are usually greeted by Dr Coco, he is a very helpful local guy that also works in some of the massage huts. He gives a good massage, very relaxing. If you want a good deep tissue massage, then ask for Louisa, she will find all our knots and work them out for you. If you want a medium pressure massage, then ask for Rebecca, my friends were really impressed with her. If you don’t mind a guy massaging you then Dr Coco is really good. Tell him Gina sent you, he will give you a good price. One morning, one of my friends got some sea urchin spikes stuck in her foot when she was in the sea and was in some pain. I sent her down to Dr Coco on the beach and he got them out quickly and painlessly for her, he is a gentleman.

Reef hotel are constantly improving and modifying their hotel. Every time I visit, I notice something new and improved. It is a little treasure of a hotel, I am not sure why they need to keep improving it as it is perfect the way it is, I am not knocking it, it is great to see they are constantly investing in the hotel. They have been upgrading some of their rooms too, the deluxe rooms on the 3rd floor are really lovely, I try and stay there as much as I can. It all depends on what room rate you paid. I have explored all the different rate options, from going direct to the hotel, to getting a local’s rate, to going via different European Tour operators. The best rates are to be got with the European Tour operators. I don’t book my flights with them as I prefer to go on a scheduled airline as there is a lot more flexibility (14 flights a week with Kenya Airways/KLM from Amsterdam) and the scheduled airline allows me 46kg of luggage which is great for me bringing school books and clothes out to the SAAS kids. I just book my hotel through the tour operators. In January I used a German tour operator, never again as I spent 4 days trying to do a name change for one of my friends as they were sick and could not travel. FTI would not allow a name change on the hotel booking, even though it was booked and paid for in full months ago. It required lots of help from the Reef management to help me plead my case with FTI and after 4 days of hard negotiation, they finally let me do a name change for the paid for hotel room. From now on I will use the UK tour operator Monarch/Cosmos, they have the best rates available and allow you the option of a cheaper Garden View room or a more expensive Sea View room. If you don’t intend spending much time in your room, then go for the cheaper option. Their All Inclusive options are great value too. After a full day’s teaching, we would end up going to bed straight after dinner as we would be wiped out so we didn’t make that much use of the all inclusive local drinks until 11pm. If we stayed awake until 9pm we were doing well. They do a nice G&T but be careful of the doubles, if you are all inclusive, they tend to give you doubles as standard so ask them for singles if you want a single. However if you like doubles, then it is perfect!

Nyali beach is a lovely beach, gorgeous white sand and a bright blue warm Indian ocean. If you fancy some kite surfing, there is a kite surfing school 5 mins walk up the beach in the neighbouring hotel, Mombasa Beach Hotel. John runs the school, he is amazing at his job and he has the patience of a saint. I take a few lessons with him when I go to Kenya, it sure beats kite surfing in the bitter cold Irish Sea in a 5mm wetsuit. When I was starting out, he would tell me not to pull the bar in and I would keep pulling the bar in when I was loosing control of the kite. He kept telling me not to pull the bar in and I would keep pulling it in, for 2 whole days, I kept doing this. I really don’t know how he didn’t strangle me as I would have strangled me! Finally it clicked and I no longer pull the bar in, all thanks to John’s super human patience. Give kite surfing a go with John and please don’t pull the bar in and waste 2 days!

I am heading back next month to Reef again with my boyfriend Kevin, I have booked a lovely deluxe Sea View room with Monarch, got a great rate too. We are going to have our 2nd annual Touch Rugby Camp for the SAAS kids on Nyali beach. It is a great sport and the boys and girls really love it. So if you are in Reef Hotel at the end of March, beginning of April, keep an eye out for us playing Touch Rugby or kite surfing on Nyali beach and later on enjoying a couple of G&Ts in the bar before dinner.

I really hope you enjoy your stay in Reef as much as I do.

Room Tip: If you have booked a sea view room and have kids, then the 1st floor (ground floor) is perfect as yo...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Breda, The Netherlands
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2012

We reserved a garden side room. When we arrived we got a really crappy room, it was a very big room with 3 single beds placed far from each other, dirt on the walls only ugly tl lighting, the shower was dirty, there where holes in the mosquito net, and the airco was placed in the wall at 1 meter from the ground blowing right onto the beds, also very noisy. After a lot of complaining we got a better, cleaner garden side room, a small room with 2 closer single beds a decent muscito net, no balcony but a silent working airco. The second room was acceptable value for money.

The first room was on the 4th and was like 10 minutes walk from the restaurant, no elevator.

The food is acceptable but tasteless (might also be caused by the malaria tablets). The staff is for the most part friendly.

The entertainment programs seems to be the same every week.They have pingpong tables for free which is very nice (in some loges they make you pay for everything!).

We had half pension, so during lunch we could also buy some food at the restaurant on the other side of the pool, the food there tasted good but not as good as in the mall restaurant.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gallinsky, Director of Sales at Reef Hotel, responded to this review, January 31, 2012
Dear Jorn,

Thank you for taking the time to review our hotel. Please accept our sincere apologies that some aspects of your stay were below expectation.
We have clearly made a mistake by allocating you this room, which is below the standards of our hotel. The corridor you were on I believe has 3 rooms, which were meant to be closed for renovation. As the hotel was overbooked,they issued these rooms for occupancy. The right decision was to outbook any clients overbooked to a hotel of similar standing, not book you into unrenovated rooms.
95% of the hotel has undergone renovations in the last year and all these other rooms are well appreciated as you will see by the majority of reviews we have been receiving on trip advisor.
We are sorry for the inconvenience caused, its most unfortunate.
Please contact the hotel directly by email (info@reefhotelkenya.com) so we are able to offer you a compensation.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards

Ann Gallen
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2012

Am so grateful to have contacted African Safaris & Adventures for the great service and a memorable safari they offended me and my family, Thank you so much for the really excellent service you provided us with. Having never booked a holiday to Africa online previously I was worried about security issues around payment etc. however your staff, and especially Edwin, made everything extremely easy. I was impressed with the speed at which you replied to my requests for information, and the fact that what you suggested matched our needs exactly (and our price range). The Reef Hotel was indeed a well situated hotel in lovely grounds. However for us the highlight was the amazing safari to Tsavo East and especially the stay at Satao Camp. I cannot recommend this highly enough! Not only were the game drives incredible - and we saw everything we hoped to - but the actual Tsavo camp, situated as it is on a waterhole, was a truly magical experience. I shall never forget having a fantastic dinner
served in such beautiful surroundings only 100yrds away from elephants, impalas and giraffes. Then to top it off to sit by the camp fire, under African starry skies watching gazelle trot by and then spend the night under canvas - though I have to say that the 'tent' was considerably more luxurious than I was expecting. Thank you so much for suggesting this over the more usual game lodge safaris - your recommendation was spot on! I also want to commend you for the service you gave us whilst in Mombassa, from the personal collection at the Mombasa airport to the frequent (but not intrusive) calls to check that we were OK and to see if there was anything you could do for us. I just hope that more people get to hear about you and choose to use your service. I have certainly recommended you to all my friends and family. You can contact African Safaris & Adventures: info@africansafaris.co.ke www.africansafaris.co.ke
Thanks again for everything and we will definitely be using you if we are ever lucky enough to return to Kenya.

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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Helsinki, Finland
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
77 hotel reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2012

This hotel has an excellent location in many ways.
Firstly, it's located on Nyali beach which is only half an hour drive from the airport (it easily takes 90 minutes to get to the hotels on southern beaches of Mombasa). That's an advantage, especially after 10+ hours flight from Europe. Nyali is a good location for taking safari or other trips, too. It takes some two hours to get to East Tsavo National Park.
Secondly, the location within Nyali is also good. It's 15 minutes' walk to the small Nakumatt shopping center with various services. I also walked to Haller Park, which is a bit further away. There are also some other attractions nearby. If you don't like walking or find the temperature overwhelming, there are always tuktuks near the hotel entrance.

Hotel rooms are quite basic and slightly differ from each other. First I got a big room with terrace on the ground floor. It was relatively quiet, although the walls were thin. However, the air conditioning was broken, and the room never became cool enough. After a couple of days I got another room on the first floor. The second room had more modern water taps and different type of cupboard doors. The air conditioning worked but it dropped water, which was not very nice.

Anyway, I didn't spend too much time in the room, and the hotel's garden is great. It is really big, nicely green with lots of trees and flowers. There are three pools, and they are all big. There are lots of sunbeds and you can choose a place in the sun or shadow. There is a nice wind from the see, so it's not too hot. The garden is a few meters above the beach level, so the sand doesn't fly around. It's easy to go down to the beach for swim or walk. I liked to walk on the beach, but I heard the beaches in the south are better for swimming. There are some beach boys around trying to sell tours or things. They are not aggressive, so it didn't bother me.

During my week there, I hardly saw any mosquitos. In the rooms, there are some small, harmless insects.

In my package, breakfast and dinner were included in the price. The breakfast was abundant but I didn't like it so much. The fresh fruit of course was good. Dinner was better. They often have a thematic buffet, like Chinese, Indian or Italian food. A lot of choice for salads and desserts, too. I liked their Indian food best. The ingredients for the European cuisine were probably not quite the same as in Europe, so it didn't taste the normal way. I tried their a la carte grill restaurant only once: the food was good but it took quite a lot of time.

As to the services, there are all the basic ones in the hotel: exchange of money, computers with slow connection, hairdressers', gym... The hotel organises some 'sports' activities during the day, and there is always music and some kind of show in the evening.

The personnel is really great. Most of them are always smiling, nice and helpful. That creates a really good atmosphere for a holiday, and is another main factor for which I can recommend this hotel for anyone who doesn't expect rooms to be luxurious.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2012

Just back from a great family new year holiday at the Reef Mombasa.we enjoyed every minute of it and so did our teenage children..Wehad 2 rooms facing ithe sea,in the newly renovated wing..you must ask for these as they are spacious and very attractive.
the children did not miss a single water volleyball match with the Animators..we were happy sitting at the Tanga bar in the shade,watching them while sipping the delicious Dhawa cocktails.
i cannot tell you how helpul and genuine most of the staff are,Evening meals were always different and watched over by the lovely main chefBenson...although perhaps you could ask him to produce some more puddings!! you sit around the pool area after dinner and watch the amazing acrobats or masaai dancing..Having stayed at the South coast before i was really surprised that the Reef has managed to deal with the problem of too many beach boys so well.....there is no doubt that ths strip of beachfront is not only beautiful,but clean and you can walk and swim without being botheredAll our trips outside the hotel were well organised and exciting.we are alreday planning our return..see you again Reef hotel...

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Reef Hotel

Address: Nyali beach | off Mount Kenya Road, Mombasa 82234-8010, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Mombasa
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Mombasa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Reef Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 146
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Reef Hotel Mombasa is a friendly, relaxed Hotel, professionally managed since 40 years by the same family to serve a mix of international and resident guests. The hotel offers a combination of resort facilities for beach holidays, as well as business services including conference rooms and corporate business facilities. The Reef Hotel Mombasa is conveniently situated on the white sandy beaches of Nyali overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean. We are adjacent to the very best shopping areas, clubs, restaurants and golf courts and only 7 kilometres north of Mombasa city centre. The original Reef Hotel Mombasa was built in 1972. The hotel just had a significant renovation and has re-opened with new designed rooms and public areas. Reef Hotel rooms are air-conditioned, each with its own bathroom, balcony, telephone extension and TV. Buffets are the traditional way we serve meals with a international mix of cuisine. Enjoy our romantic candle-lit dinners on theme nights (African, Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, International, etc) and regular barbeques. A choice of 3 restaurants and 4 bars, and water sports directly on the beach assure you that the Reef Hotel Mombasa is ready for your holiday. With regular entertainment by our resident live band and disco, 3 fantastic swimming pools, Jacuzzi, tennis courts, relaxed sun-bathing and elegant evenings; yours will be a very special holiday in Reef Hotel Mombasa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Reef Hotel Mombasa

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