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“Simple hotel with superb service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa

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Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Galu Beach | P.O.Box 90521, Ukunda, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 35 Hotels in Ukunda
Madrid - Barcelona
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Simple hotel with superb service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2011

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.

Room Tip: All rooms are quiet and pleasant enough but if you can choose a room away from the reception and mai...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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524 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2011 via mobile

Pinewood was the perfect place my dad could pick for us.
The food was balanced,
and there were also extra curricular activities to keep our energy going.
It was very private as each family or couple had their own cottage.
My family had the baobab suite provided with a t.v,sitting room,dining room,and 3 bed rooms .I would really recomend this hotel for couples and families.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barnstaple, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

My wife and I stayed at Pinewood Village for 2 weeks as part of our honeymoon in early September. We booked a suite which cost a bit more but was worth every penny. The suite was comfortable spacious and clean.

As part of the suite package we had our own private chef Mohammed who was brilliant, he was a great cook and made us feel at home, taking time to chat to us and even teach us a few words in Swahili but never intruding on our privacy, this helped make our stay that extra bit special.

The staff were all very friendly and helpful and nothing was too much trouble, had some good nights down at the beach bar and really enjoyed the beach BBQ.

The beach boys mentioned on some of the reviews here were actually fine, they spoke to us briefly on our first day then left us alone for the rest of our stay until we went back to them on the last day and bought some souveniers at a very good price!

We would certainly recommend Pinewood Village too anyone looking for a beach/safari holiday/honeymoon in Kenya.

Asante sana Pinewood!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2011

We stayed for 3 nights after a safari and were disappointed to find ourselves in very much a "tour group" hotel on a long thin site with a short beach frontage. The sunbed compound overlooking the beach is small and cramped, there is a beach bar and beach restaurant (only used twice weekly) so you really don't get the feel of the beachside location or the pleasant sea breezes from most of the the property or rooms. The main restaurant is rather large and noisy and although the gardens are pleasantly planted and the staff were friendly and helpful we really felt this hotel did not give us a memorable tropical beach holiday experience.

Room Tip: Ground floor suites are quite spacious and pleasant but only 2 of the 20 are sea facing.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Paris, France
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed at Pinewood for 3 nights after a 6 day safari.
We were lucky (or had our travelcompany Albatros arrange it?) to get one of only very few with a (real estate agent) view of the ocean. Our room was light and so was the small balcony. A fact we appreciated even more after having been to another room to store our luggage the last day which was a lot darker..
The service was very good, especially at the spa where the two ladies even offered to work overtime to give us a couples massage (it was a birthday-present).
The food was very good and plenty at both breakfast and dinner. For lunch we ordered pizzas and other snacks at the poolbar and beachbar (and had them delivered between the two). The salads were really boring, but otherwise the food there too was very good and big portions.
The beach right in front of the hotel is not so good for swimming (algae and currents), but a short 2-min walk away it was fine, but since we prefer the pool we didn't mind.
The pool had a decent size with a swim-up bar and plenty of sunbeds.
The hotel is the last one on the stretch of beach at Diani Beach, which we found quite nice. We walked along the beach one of the days and passed a lot of other hotels. The beach-boys in front of Pinewood send one person to speak with us the first time to say they leave us alone. The further we went along the beach the more we got hastled, one of the big resorts even had a security at the beach.. but we said right away that we won't talk to them and didn't have money with us, so then they let us alone.
The night we left they had a wedding-ceremony at the beach, which must have been nice. Animation is not something we are interested in so were quite happy with having only some Masai-dance in the evening and being left alone for the rest.
All in all the hotel was exactly what we were looking for: small, quiet with good service and food. Would definately recommend

Room Tip: The higher the room-number the further you are from the restaurant/reception, but the closer you are...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2011

We booked to go here after our safari and were so very very disappointed, it is tired looking, shabby, but most of all not well run in my opinion.

The staff seem disinterested and highly disorganised ( ie try ordering a lunch on the beach for 4 adults and 5 kids and the food arrives in 3 waves, over the space of 1.5 hours...seriously!),
Generally I think this reflected the whole resort....disorganised, disinterested staff, very average service, very average setting and accomodation.

Also very importantly for us there seemed no sense of security, unlike other places there was no security on the beach so taking a walk across the beach to swim in the sea meant running the Beach Boy gauntlet........we transferred out after one night to another hotel which really was like chalk and cheese.

We had read all the reports on here and honestly am amazed at the positive comments, we went as apr of package with a safari so cannot really say what the cost element is, but can only guess this a budget option, in which case fine......personally I would rather spend a little more and actually have a good time, definitely think twice before choosing this hotel!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2011 via mobile

Have just returned from a wonderful 5 night stay after a week of Safari. Having two kids under 8 and following an exciting if exhausting week of travel pinewood ticked all the relevant boxes.

Most of the comments both good and bad are accurate and are really an issue of perception.

Having stayed in grand colonial style for the safari part of our holiday a hotel was always likely to suffer in comparison.

We stayed on an AI basis in a suite as we wanted the kids in the same room as us.

Rooms were very clean , great air con but basic. They would not be up to 5* European / USA standard but you would have to be fairly naive to imagine they would be.

Food was great but could see how after a week it may become repetitive.

The staff were helpful and also very friendly in a genuine way that is often lacking in our service sector. If anyone thinks that waiting for a long period of time for food to arrive while looking out at the azure ocean and stunning beach from the beach restaurant is an irritant then I feel sorry for them.

Pool was great and well maintained as was the gym. Beach boys low in number and very friendly. No pressure to buy anything and a useful source of local knowledge.

It was quiet at night and just what we were looking for.

Overall this is Africa , relax and enjoy it, I'm back home looking at a grey sky and no free bar. Know where I would rather be.

  • Stayed October 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa

Address: Galu Beach | P.O.Box 90521, Ukunda, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Ukunda
#4 Family Hotel in Ukunda
#5 Luxury Hotel in Ukunda
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Ukunda
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 58
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

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