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“Beautiful new hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Swahili Beach Resort

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Swahili Beach Resort
Ukunda, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80401, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 31 hotels in Diani Beach
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Beautiful new hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

I went to Swahili Beach Resort with my boyfriend and another couple. We do not usually go to 'resort' type hotels but this was perfect for what we wanted to do... totally relax in gorgeous surroundings ... with a spot of kite surfing thrown in!

The North Africa / Indian influences in the architecture and design are gorgeous and really lend themselves to a feeling of space with open views from the lobby to the incedible swimming pool and beyond to the private, glistening beach. The rooms are large, with their own private terraces (try to get one with a sea view!) and beautifully decorated, luxurious without being over the top. The real highlight is the pool which forms the centerpiece for the hotel ... I think i counted about 10 different little pools, all joined together by waterfalls and little bridges.

Feeling brave, I had a thai massage at the hotel which was one of the best I've ever had.

I would most definately reccommend the Swahili Beach to friends and family and anyone who wants a sea side relax in very comfortable surroundings but somewhere you feel able to wear flip flops and not feel too scruffy!

Room Tip: Try to get one with a sea view!
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 3 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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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
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Nairobi
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

Swahili Beach offers a new kind of hotel along Diani - with great decor and style, and plenty to do within the resort, we had a great stay whilst there. The rooms are spacious and airy, and have big bathrooms with shower and bath, double sink and bidet. The air conditioning in the rooms is excellent though the bathrooms can get a little bit warm because the aircon doesn't extend to the bathrooms. The views of the beach and sea from our rooms were excellent, but mostly we enjoyed lounging around the enormous pool with amazing views of the sea. The pool also has a bar that you can swim up to and order a drink which is very cool. Breakfasts are good - tasty food from a buffet and eggs made to order. We had a couple of meals at Baharini, the beach bar restaurant, and the food there was good. Service was a little slow but they are trying hard to iron this out I think because it's a relatively new hotel. All in all a very nice coastal experience highly recommended.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 3 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.
Doha, Qatar
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2012

My husband and I have returned from a six night stay at swahili Beach hotel in February and considering we are frequent travellers, I think it is a statement to say we have never been so frustrated by a hotel stay, at this price level, ever. From arrival to departure, we were met with one annoyance after another, not what you want when paying top of the line five star prirces and looking forward to a luxurious, relaxing break. Aesthetically, I agree, Swahili has set a new standard along the Diani beach strip, where many of the hotels are dated and just not that pleasent. The building and landscaping at Swahili are certainly very nice and create a good impression throughout, our room was large and pleasing, however, the view was non-descript, the wifi did not work, there was no drinking water, no slippers, no minibar and no personal touches that would give this hotel a real edge. Also, the lighting along the passage from the rooms to the lobby left a lot to be desired. Of the four advertised restaurants, only two were operational during our stay and please be aware that if you book the full board package you will be expected to have all your meals in the buffet hall, which is right near the lobby area. The food hall is less than inspiring, unless you find the humm of the aircon an agreeable companion and unless you are satisfied with the largely mediocre food that is served. The second restaurant, Bahirini, is much more pleasing, located on the beach and serving good, reasonable fare such as seafood and pizzas. The staff are friendly and very pleasent, however, inefficient and largely untrained, so much so that you will wait thirty minutes to get your cheque at the end of your evening consistently. The spa was not operational either during our stay and is operating out of hotel rooms but full prices were being charged for treatments and if you are trying to keep in touch with the outside world during your stay, good luck, as the wifi not only did not work in our room but was largely tempermetal throughout the resort, working sporadically in some areas and not at all in others. On check in we were iformed that we were payed half board and despite having our confirmed itenary, the staff took a full day to believe otherwise, and trust me there was no attempt to cover their scepticism. Having voiced our dissatisafction at eating every night in the dining hall, we were granted permission to also eat in Bahirini, however, not to our surprise, all of the food we ate appeared on our bill at checkout, despite the reassurances we have received from our rep and hotel management. On check out our cheque was not prepared, despite having asked both our rep and the manager/proprietor the day before and of course, it was wrong when it arrived over half and hour later. Having called the GM, he did rectify the bill, however, no apology was even so much as muttered and we were rather late leaving for the airport. Indeed, any encounters we had with the GM had left us in no doubt beforehand that the incompetencies we experienced throughout our stay would be repeated on checkout, a point on which we were proven correct. Swahili has potential, however, service needs to be improved dramatically in order to reach any sort of justification for the prices being charged to stay here. The GM blamed the lack of service on the local staff and a lack of skills mix, a conversation which considering we work in developing countries, was not really what we wanted to be faced with on our holiday and a point which I think is unfair to the local staff, who are working at this hotel for a monthly wage which is no dout far less than the nightly rate to stay here and simply put is just an excuse for lack of organisation. Now, I know this hotel is newly opened, but there was nothing introductory about the price we paid. It has potential to be a much better, but we were so sadly disappointed by our experience that we will not be recommedning to our friends and family and are very unlikely to be repeat visitors, a real shame considering the wonderful experience we had whilst on safari in the Masai Mara, where, just to note, we stayed at Governer's main camp, a place, that Swahili could learn a lot from, if it is to achieve five star service.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mombasa
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2012

We stayed at Swahili Beach Resort for the weekend, and i must say that finally a five star hotel really exists in Diani. There are a couple of hotels in Diani with Five Star status but many do not match upto the five star standards, and are more likely a 3 or a 4 star.
The location is brilliant i must say, in terms of distance to the Likoni Ferry which connects the main land to diani, and also the existence of a plaza consisting of a supermarket and other facilities right opposite the hotel.

The service was excellent, and the rooms are breathtaking. The architecture of the hotel itself and the rooms is simply outstanding.

The swimming pool of the hotel is amazing i must say! The lights in the evening at the resort make the property even more beautiful.

Internet facilities are well provided and with no extra charge.

Now we discuss the downsides!! It is an obvious fact that the main reason of visiting a resort in Diani is to enjoy the Diani beach itself, however the beach of the hotel is disappoining, the water at the shallow end of the beach is rocky and very uncomfortable to swim. Tourists usually walk quite a distance to a nearby beach where they can swim.

Formal wear is required for dinner wear which i personally find it unreasonable!

There is lack of entertainment during night or after dinner. Many other hotels nearby have some entertainment in terms of music or live performances every night. Guests usually at this hotel just go back to the room after dinner!..Bar area was empty after dinner.

We had a full course package, lunch was surprisingly not a buffet but on the basis of A La Carte menu at the beach bar, and we were informed we can choose anything from the menu apart from Sea Food!...

Dinner buffet was good, but could have been better with more variety.

I personally enjoyed the breakfast compared to the lunch and dinner.

To conclude the above review, despite some of the setbacks, i rate this hotel 4 stars as it truly deserves mainly because of its architecture, beautiful rooms, swimming pool and outstanding service. Most importantly, better than most of the resorts in Diani, as it is a modern hotel which opened just recently in December 2011.

I would highly recommend it!!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 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.
dongen
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2012

We've stayed one week in this beautiful resort. The architecture is stunning. The rooms are spacious and tasteful designed. Good bed and bath! Unfortunately the pressure in the shower was to little. The swimmingpool is great. Laying down under the palmtrees on the beach feels like heaven. The food in the beachbar (lunch) is very good. The dinerbuffet is rather moderate. The wifi connection needs improvement, and their music choice too! I would suggest some Ibiza lounge music for creating a good mood.
Hopefuly the hotel is finished in april 2012. Some minor improvements, and then they will be the best in Diani Beach.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi
2 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2012

As a business traveller, I've stayed in many (7) resorts in Diani. Let me tell you that Swahili Beach is the best resort on the South Coast, hands down. I've stayed for 2 weeks and I will stay for many more months. This resort is superior to any competing resorts in the area in categories of food, decor, value for money and overall quality of the experience. Swahili has simply reset the standard in Diani Beach, which frankly, needed updating. In a field of tired, old mediocre "5-star" resorts (reality: 3 star anywhere else), Swahili is an absolute breath of fresh air.

I have absolutely no complaints on rooms and facilities - which is the most common issue I have with resorts in Kenya; all of which have issues in this department. I believe that if you are going to charge developed-world prices for a resort in an extremely poor country, it better be spectacular. And most are not (brown, smelly water from the tap is not "safe" nor acceptable). Swahili is brand new and everything just simply works. This is not by accident; it's by design, the product of an owner who made a decision to build a resort with only quality materials and good workmanship.

Some minor issues to look out for are that the staff - while extremely friendly and pleasant - can be unusually slow in bringing the bill following meals, and are not particularly attentive.

There are other very minor issues not worth writing about, but the resort is brand new and is still working out the kinks, which I think is entirely reasonable and expected. And at the end of the day, the 'kinks' don't really matter that much - because you will be blown away by how wonderful the resort is, and those issues quickly become so unimportant. That, in my opinion, is the best compliment anyone could make about a resort.

Bottom line, I would recommend this resort over all others in Diani; if, however, it's out of your budget, a close second is Leopard Beach Resort.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled on business
    • 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
    • 3 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.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
123 helpful votes 123 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2012

I would love to give this hotel a higher rating. I loved the spacious rooms (the slightly cheaper upstairs rooms have a sea view, the more expensive ground floor ones have an additional sunken sitting area), the pools and the lovely design of the place. The bathrooms are lovely and the rooms well appointed. It is also in a good location. However there were a number of things that were less impressive. When I arrived it became clear after a while that they had lost my booking. After some 30 minutes, following me showing them the email chain, I was shown to a room. Unfortunately there was someone else in it and they were none too pleased. After a while an additional room was found. The website claims 4 restaurants and a cafe. In fact only 2 were open during my stay. While I was there the gym and the spa did open, although I only found out by overhearing someone say say. The food at the beach was much better than the very ordinary buffet in the other open place. Some good freshly cooked meat and fish but everything else was very ordinary, including a number of very bland anglo-Indian dishes. Three days I mentioned the horrible stale biscuits to the staff but they came back the following day. However, my biggest complaint is that the hotel did not have operating what it claimed to have and at no point was I told about this. Service is patchy and quite slow despite the hotel being far from full. A lovely place urgently in need of some management and honest information sharing.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Swahili Beach Resort

Address: Ukunda, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80401, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 31 hotels in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$

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