My partner and I spent 10 days at Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa in October. Pinewood is a small and simple hotel but the real luxury is its quiet location, peaceful atmosphere and great service.
The rooms are spotless clean and large (standard rooms 45 sq/m) with nice big balconies with table and chairs. (Suits are enormous and come with large veranda and the services of personal chef for dinner.) Decoration is simple but rooms are very pleasant in their light colour-scheme and solid-wood furniture. The bed is comfortable with firm mattress; the mosquito net is fixed on a rail on the ceiling, which is really excellent idea as it doesn't make you feel like you are drowning in the net when it's drawn.
Bathrooms are very big and functional enough, although the shower is rudimentary indeed and getting the right water temperature can take some time. However, there is plenty of hot water and the pressure is good. The hotel also provides some basic toiletries.
If you expect luxurious details and finishing the hotel will disappoint you, however the fresh flowers on your bed every day are a lovely detail. The grounds are beautifully kept and both the pool and beach areas are very nice. We hardly ever used the pool but when we did the water was warm and clean and didn't seem to have too much chemicals in it.
The beach is a strip of white sand as fine as dust and the sea is a gorgeous turquoise colour. The water is warm and transparent although there is seaweed during the rainy season and the short rains that follow. There is a riff that runs parallel with the shore protecting it from the waves making it very safe and easy enough even for poor swimmers. Bear in mind that Pinewood's private beach doesn't reach the sea so you will have to walk down the public beach area where you will inevitably be approached by the 'beach boys'. Nonetheless, they are pretty laid back and very polite and shouldn't prevent you from taking nice long walks on the beach.
Food wise, we were on half-board basis which worked out considerably cheaper than all-inclusive. I would only recommend AI if you really, really like your food and cocktails on holiday. Otherwise the quantity and prices of the food at the beach bar are more than reasonable. Do keep in mind that service can sometimes be slow, specially between 12:30-13:00h and when the hotel is full.
I would recommend that you bring everything you need with you - sunscreen (and do not skimp on the quantity nor the sun factor), conditioner, toothpaste, basic medicines, etc. The hotel shop is seriously overpriced although - I owe it - has a very stylish selection of handicraft and souvenirs. The only alternative shopping option is an escapade to the Ukunda mall and that will cost you 20€ return trip.
Finally, do take the time to check your bills on check out as we were overcharged some 10% of our final bill. The current accounting system is not very good as they present the customer with a pile of receipts and a lump sum for payment. So you either have to spend 30 min calculator in hand checking every single receipt or you have to trust them and pay the amount they are asking. However, the hotel has ensured us that they are transitioning to a fully computerised system so this problem shouldn't persist long. The hotel has also been very helpful sorting out the issue of our overcharge, although we are yet to be reimbursed.
All in all, Pinewood is just what we expected and we would be happy to return to this hotel. I would most definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet, comfortable hotel with efficient and personal service, away from the bustle of a resort area and without pretensions for luxury.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pinewood Village is a small boutique beach and water sport resort. It is situated on the stunning deserted shores of Galu Beach, one of the finest beaches in Kenya. It is relaxed and informal. Personalised and friendly service is at the forefront. The resort is set amidst heavy tropical flora and palms and attracts the endangered Colobus Monkey and over 100 bird species from the surrounding forest. Hotel newly refurbished jun 2006. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pinewood Beach Hotel Ukunda
- Pinewood Beach Resort And Spa
- Pinewood Village Beach Hotel
- Pinewood Village Beach Ukunda
- Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa Kenya/Ukunda