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“Still the best - However” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Turtle Bay Beach Club

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Turtle Bay Beach Club
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   PO Box 10, Watamu, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 23 Hotels in Watamu
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Still the best - However”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2010

Just retuned from our 4th vist to Turtle bay, 1st time for ten years. There have been lots of changes to the hotel in that time and all of them good, most of the staff that where there 10 years ago are still there and it was good to reminice with old photos. All in all this is still the best all inclusive hotel we have stayed at anywhere, however, it is the first time we have ever travelled with Thompson and without any question it will be the last.
Where to begin ?
Plane - to small for long haul flights, outbound 1 toilet broke after about 1hour,inbound 1 toilet never worked at all.
Onboard entertainment - A choice of 1 film,comedy channel,etc played on a loop so if you missed the begining you had to wait for it to come round again, unless of course you paid the extra.
Food - Outbound the food was border line inedible took 3 hours to serve and a further hour to clear away, this was a night flight the cabin lights where on for 4 hours.Inbound the food was reasonable..
And now the staff - I am going to keep this short and polite. Slow,scruffy,impolite They would be better served working for the tax office at least there you expect to be treated badly.

As I said this is the first time we have ever had the "pleasure" of traveleing with Thompson it will certainly be the last, Turtle bay is a fantastic hotel and we will return but even if I have to pay more I will not travel with Thompson.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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649 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 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 (165)
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English first
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2010

This is terrible that i have only just got around to doing this but here i am now better late than never. We went there feb 2010. Me, my mrs and 8 year old lad. It was a treat for my mrs 30th she has always wanted to visit kenya and go on safari. I agreed and to be honest was expecting (except the safari bit) 2 weeks of bordom i just dont sit round a pool doing nothing all day and i dont tend to mingle much on holiday with other people. But anyway like i said this wasnt meant to be my holiday so all my job was to pretend i was enjoying myself and it would soon be over i hoped. HOW WRONG I WAS!!!!!!!!!! THis hotel and staff and location are amazing!!!!!!! After a few days i couldnt help but join in the water polo, ping pong and every other activity the staff came up with. They are the nicest hotel staff i have ever come across. We dont normally send my boy to kids club but Precious and Emily the two girls who ran it where lovely and i felt completly at ease letting him go with them, leaving me and the mrs to lie back on our sun loungers reading and completly forgetting about work and other such horrible things. I could rattle on for ages about this place but ill try and rap it up quick now. The food was brilliant, the beach is paradice. the sea hot!!!! My best ever holiday bar none and like i said before this isnt my kind of holiday. Another thing to mention is the beach boys. yes they can be a pain but be firm and polite to them and they'll leave you alone. But if you want to book at boat trip or safari consider using them and especially ask after James and Jackson on the beach these two are lovely lads and i have stayed in contact with them. dont book your trips through your operater you will be ripped off and these beach boys are just trying to scrape a living. James and Jackson took us one day to their village and took us into school its truly shocking how poor these people are. We bought some biscuits and flour to giv e out but we were gutted we couldnt do more we gave loads of our clothes away so please is you go look at trying to do something for these people how much is a few t shirts from jjb these days? a few quid for beach t shirts that we wear once a year and throw them in the back of our wardrobes, why not wear them and give them away much better in my opion but its up to you! Anyway if your undecided and worried about going to Kenya and Turtle bay your the same as i was so to put it plainly GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And remeber these names Jackson and James and tell them Damian sent ya and I hope to see them again some time :)

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hastings, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2010

Everything about this hotel is excellent - the staff are so hospitable and always smiling - nothing is too much trouble - very organised - everything is thought of! Excellent value !
The highlight was a 2 night trip to Masai Mara arranged by Ray of Kingi Safari's. We had such a fabulous time at Fig Tree Camp - loads of game drives - all arranged with the personal touch and at such a good price. Recommended. Look at his website - www.kingisafris.com. Ray also arranges other trips which we loved aswell! Fell in love with Kenya !

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled solo
    • 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 4
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Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2010

This was our first visit to Kenya and Turtle Bay Beach Club and I have to say what an amazing holiday! We travelled with friends who had been there before, this was there 23rd time! All of the staff are outstanding, from the cleaners to the fun base team from the chefs to the waiters. They cannot do enough to help you, nothing is too much trouble. It only took us about 1/2 hour to fall in love with the place and the people. We stayed for 2 weeks and booked a safari locally through the licenced sellers on the beach, admittedly it is very daunting when you go on to the public beach and all the beach boys approach you trying to sell you carvings and key rings etc we had 2 weeks getting to know them and they are all fantastic especially David Bailey, Nemo and Ishmael, please try to remember at the end of the day all they are trying to do is make a living and if you are firm with them and say no thank you then they will leave you alone, take time to get to know them, it is not a dangerous area. I can't wait to go back and see all the friends we made both in the hotel and outside in the village.

  • Stayed October 2010, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2010

Our trip started out with a 16-hour delay at Gatwick (Thank you Thomson...we have heard that this is all too common!), which meant that we arrived in Mombasa after midnight. We weren't keen on transferring to Watamu in the middle of the night (as other tour companies are not willing to do night transfers to the Watamu area due to safety issues), but everything worked out OK. After a gruelling two and a half hour mini bus ride we were greeted by the truly WONDERFUL staff at Turtle Bay. We were quickly and efficiently booked into our room and were told that the chef had prepared us a fresh three-course meal. It was a lovely meal albeit a little strange eating at 3:30am. As we were still wide awake at 4:00am (and full from the meal) we decided to go for a little stroll on the beach...as soon as we set foot on the sand we saw the torch lights from two security guard approaching us. They quickly reassured us that they patrol the TBBC beach all night, every night. I mention this as a warning, as I was a little scared by them. They are very friendly and do a great job, without very much praise I would imagine.

For our two-week stay was were in room A8 which is on the top floor of the beachfront section. Bearing in mind that these are the most expensive rooms, they are quite basic but very clean with three beds (a double and two singles), a large bathoom, and a decent balcony. We always got a good nights sleep though and the sound of the waves were very relaxing. In our opinion, these rooms are definately in the best location, obviously right on the beach but closest to the main restaurant and pool. Make sure you ask the receptionist to have somebody stop by and spray your room every evening...they come by at about 8:00pm and spray the whole room and pull the nets around the bed...we didn't get bitten once).

We travelled without our kids, so for us this was a very chilled holiday. I honestly think our children would be bored if they were there for two-weeks, but for couples it is fab! I would say that the hotel was only about 1/4 full when we were there (if was their first week open following their winter break)...which meant we were VERY well looked after. We found that the stories of the waiters replenishing up your drinks every 20 minutes were totally true. Within a day, all of the bar staff had memorised our names and knew exactly what we were drinking (special thanks to Hamish 'in da house'...he is a treasure!). The main restaurant does appear quiet basic, but you soon get used to it (and you really do have to remember that you are in Africa). We always found something delicious to eat....and the fresh crepes & pancakes with chocolate sauce at 4:00pm every day should not be missed). We ate at the Blue Turtle a la carte restaurant three times...it was romantic, the wine was nice, it was reasonably priced, but the food wasn't outstanding...nice, but not the greatest. We would highly recommend the pizzeria. Usually you have to book, but it was so quiet when we were there so there was no need. There were a couple of power cuts during our stay, which you would think would be an inconvenience, but they always happened in the evening which meant that everyone was shuffling around in the dark, giggling, and having romantic candlelit meals. We thought it was fun and again you just have to remember where you are!

There is a free email service in the lobby area which we used a couple of times each day to touch base with our kids. All emails are sent to one account, so theoretically you can open other peoples emails if so inclined, although we didn't have any such problems.

The beach boys are a bit of a pain and I must admit that we usually only went on the beach with one of the fun base team on the morning walk to the wishing rock or in the evening once the beach boys had gone. I would imagine the beach is gorgeous during other times of the year, but as we were there in June it was totally covered in black seaweed. We didn't bother to wade through it to so swimming in the sea....there was no need as the gorgeous pools were enough for us.

We made sure we got involved with the fun base team...what a great team! Phillip was outstanding and made our stay so memorable. He made sure he found us on the beach at 11:00am every morning to join him for pool aerobics...I never thought I'd get my husband to participate, but he did every day and thoroughly enjoyed it. They afternoon game of darts was always a must too. If they are not too busy, you can ask one of the team to come with you into the village (or some bars in the evening). Phillip escorted us when we went out souvenier shopping one day...he made sure he got us the best deal, which was reassuring. WARNING: As the hotels in the Watamu areas are close for their winter season, the locals don't see any tourists for the couple of months leading up to June. We did have a bad experience at one road side stall where we bought a carved mask. The locals started arguing between themselves (apparently one person wanted some of the money because they carved the mask, another wanted some money because they painted the mask, etc.) It did get ugly and we were scared for our safety. Philip gave the mask back to the sellers (which we'd paid £10 for) and demanded our money back. They did eventually give it back after much shouting, but if we'd have been on our own we would have walked away and let them keep the money. I definatley wouldn't want to take my kids into that sort of environment...our 12 year old would have been terrified. Phillip went back to the village afterwards and told them that they would scare all of the tourists away if they continued to act the same. They are desperately poor people who are just looking at making a living, but it is scary when you are there. Obviously this isn't the fault of the hotel, but I think you should be aware of the potential dangers of the immediate area. We also asked him to show us some local schools which was a huge eye opener. Even though we had a bad experience, I'm sure it was isolated and I still highly recommend getting out there and trying to experience the real Africa!

- Hire a mobile phone from the hotel if needed.....very cheap! I think it was about £1.00/day
- Get involved with the fun base team and have fun! Who cares if you look stupid??
- Grab a tuk tuk and get out and about. Visit some local orphanages/schools...I guarantee you will come back a more humble person.
- Grab a bike from the front of the hotel and go explore!
- There are loads of repeat guests at the hotel...talk to them, they are very friendly and make you feel most welcome.
- Enjoy those crepes!

Would we recommend TBBC? Absolutely for couples and maybe those with young children, but not teenagers.
Would we go again? Probably not, as there are soooo many other places we want to visit.
Was it the most relaxing holiday we've ever had? Yes!

Hakuna Matata and Asante Sana to all of the exceptional staff at Turtle Bay!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2010

We are back from our 5th trip to this wonderful place and it was fantastic.The staff are in a class of their own and they treat all guests in a way that makes you feel special and welcome.Rooms are good and cleaning and laundry service superb.Food terrific and plenty of choice at mealtimes and in-between.Lots to do for those who want to be busy and no hassle for those who want to relax.Shopping on the beach is a great experience,just allow plenty of time to get some great deals and make friends.We got a beautifully hand painted plate made as a wedding gift and it was much appreciated by the recipients.This time we had our safari with Julius,JT safaris and we got a great deal and were really well looked after.He sent us some beautiful carvings after our trip which was a lovely gesture.We stayed at Kilaguni Serena Lodge and its the best we have stayed in - so far.Food was really good as was the service and we also got a view of Kilimanjaro.If anyone is paying for safari in dollars - take dollars not dollar travellers cheques as they only change into KSH at hotel.Malarone tablets were much cheaper online at one click than anywhere else I could find at the time.
There must be lots of reasons so many peole go back to Turtle Bay for us it is because from our very 1st visit (many years ago) we have been so well looked after and always treated as friends.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2010

We had 9 nights at Turtle Bay in August with our 3 kids, (9,13,15) and loved the place. Very relaxed, friendly staff, good food and plenty of activities.
The rooms were good (no TV - great idea! we had some good family time playing cards, telling stories and reading books). Food was excellent, plenty of variety and the two growing boys (13/15 years) were able to graze at leisure.
Plenty of activities during the day that you can participate in (or not), including daily walks along the beach or to the local village etc. In addition beach volleyball, water polo, water aerobics etc. The kids club was great for our younger daughter (9 years).
Kids enjoyed the Scuba diving although visibility was not that great because of the onshore winds. Also managed to get in a deep sea Game Fishing trip, and my 13 year old son caught a 85kg Black Marlin (one of the many highlights of the trip).
We did a 3 night safari in the middle of our stay there, to Tsavo East/West and although it was a long drive to Tsavo West, the safari was excellent, we saw everything except a Rhino.
The only two areas I could suggest for improvement would be to re-locate the 'disco' that is presently in the bar area by the pool, a bit further away (maybe closer to and facing the beach?) as the constant 'doof/doof' of the base every night until 12pm wore a bit thin after a long day and trying to get kids to sleep. I think most of the noise is because the bar/disco acts like a sound shell and directs all the sound directly at the resort room block opposite (maybe just have a wall at the back of the bar by the pool, and have the open part of the bar facing the sea??). However we do understand that a resort needs to cater for all ages including the 'disco' set.
Also the exchange rate that the hotel uses is very steep, at the time from memory around KS70 to the USD, when you could get KS75-78 from the bank or ATM in Watamu. So I recommend that you either pay in advance, or get cash from the ATM rather than paying with USD/EUR or your credit card.
Would not hesitate to recommend Turtle Bay, and we hope to go back sometime.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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 Turtle Bay Beach Club

Address: PO Box 10, Watamu, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Watamu
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Watamu
#4 Romantic Hotel in Watamu
#5 Family Hotel in Watamu
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Turtle Bay Beach Club 3*
Number of rooms: 145
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Also Known As:
Turtle Bay Beach Club Hotel Watamu
Turtle Bay Beach Hotel
Turtle Bay Beach Resort

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