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“A big let down” 2 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
Geneva
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“A big let down”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2012

Not many things are working in this new hotel. It looks great but service is as poor as it gets and the hotel really has a misleading / dishonest website which fails to mention it is still a work in progress.

We were booked for a week but left after 2 days of problems, poor service and endless delays.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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230 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
    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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Geneva2009
Top Contributor
186 reviews 186 reviews
90 hotel reviews
Reviews in 87 cities Reviews in 87 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2012

having spent a week, i think i saw all possible child illnesses of a new resort / hotel.
staff uneducated, slow even for african countries. no wi fi despite many promisses, great pool, but spa not yet operational, toilets leaking, breakfast and diner buffet always something missing.
people are smiling but inefficient as you can be. General Manager (british) does not have yet a grip on things. currently 33 % occupancy rate, yet staff is stressed and can not provide service as promissed. wait a couple of years before you go there.
don t be cheated by local reviews done by employes and friends...

Room Tip: don t expect wi fi or any service
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bruxelles
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

We just got back from a 2-weeks stay at the Swahili Beach resort…There are no words to describe this stunning new resort on Diani Beach…I've been to many 5* hotels, but this one is definitely one of the best I've been to (if not THE best) !
The gardens are marvellously arranged and flowers blossom all over. The cascading pool down to the beach is breathtaking…
Rooms are spacious and very well equipped and the on-suite bathroom is brilliant (large shower+bathtub, 2 sinks, WC+bidet).
Food is delicious, regardless which restaurant you're eating at. I usually don't go for desserts overseas as they are usually far too sweet and/or so artificial that you can taste the gelatine and food colouring in them. At the Swahili Beach, every single evening, we were looking for flaws and couldn't find any. Congrat's to the Indian dessert chef who really does a great job ! A pity that these exquisite desserts are sometines not coolled enough/chilled, though.
The cherry on the cake is for sure its friendly and service-minded staff. I cannot thank all of them here. I'll therefore limit myself in sending my warmest regards and gratefulness to the followings: Nelville from the main gate, Julius from reception, Arafa and Fridah from the pool bar, Alfredo from the beach bar, Peter from the wine bar, Katana, Tsaama, Abock, Esther from the main restaurant, Ricky, the "coffee man" and all the others. Not to mention, the big bosses, Mr Kelly and Mr Tim. You all made our holiday memorable !
The location is ideal, with a supermarket across the street and a small shopping mall close by. A matatu short drive takes you to Ukunda for a glimpse of "real Africa" !
The hotel has opened less than 6 months ago, and tiny little things can still be arranged/improved, but these will not prevent me from going back there ! For instance, a few fresh flowers in the room upon arrival would make the welcome even nicer, a full-length mirror is missing, the hairdryer should be moved to the bathroom (or put a large mirror over the dressoir where it is currently fixed !), 110/220V adaptors should be made available to be borrowed by guests, TV5 channel should be installed on the TV, a retractable slothesline should be placed in the bathroom to enable to dry things, the mini-bar fridge should be filled (nicer than an empty fridge, even though you can request it to be filled!), a small stationary could be added in the room, including a map of the hotel's premises, an ashtray in the room and/or terrace should be there (we had to ask for one, no big deal, of course, but should be in the room anyhow !), a few bins in the gardens should also be placed (can be nice jars, as the planted ones!) etc..
But as I said, the hotel has just recently opened, and it is still work in progress but, no doubt, you'll become THE place to be when holidaying in Diani Beach.
I can only say "Asante sana na tutaonana tena" ;-)

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Nairobi, Kenya
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012 via mobile

Superior rooms are excellent, have a mini fridge but not stocked. Swimming pools are excellent. Restaurant by the pool has good food but pathetically poor service-took us 45 minutes to get a drink during a time when there were not many other people. Breakfast is good,dinner mediocre. No night entertainment, no music at dinner.
If you are with a baby/ toddler - plan your meals in advance-they hotel kitchen is a constant let down in serving timely meals.
Staff require much more training to add value to such a great facility. Seen staff chatting away while guests are waiting to be served.
Since it is a new hotel, many things are not ready-drinks/cocktail menus included.
Getting ur drink/ food is a challenge, getting your bill takes close to forever.
Hope the hotel's management takes note - I would not come back until someone gives a favourable report on the service.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
staines
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2012

Myself, husband, son and three friends stayed at this hotel. It is definitely the best hotel in Diani. The rooms are beautiful and the bathrooms are the best I have seen. We ate in the Indian restaurant and the food was exceptional. There are many other restaurants to choose from. Every little detail has been thought of and the staff were really friendly and helpful. We will definitely be going again.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms as they are positioned in such a way as to all get good views.
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  • Stayed March 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Diani Beach, Kenya
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2012

This hotel is lovely and there are vast spectacular expanses of water and once it is fully developed (and it is clearly work in progress) it has the potential to be the best hotels in Diani. I would not however classify it as an Inn or B&B is it a fully fledged Hotel/Resort of considerable size. We enjoyed a snack by the pool and both the menu and service were good.

Room Tip: We did not stay overnight so cannot advise here
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Glasgow UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2012

Having visited Mombasa several times before and stayed in the well-known hotels including Southern Palms and Diani Reef, I was apprehensive to visit a brand new hotel in a country that can be so hit and miss with standards. However, Swahili Beach is a breath-taking addition to the coast, and I had a very special two weeks there, which I certainly plan to repeat.

The architecture and landscaping of the hotel are simply stunning. The pool has got to be up there with the best in the world, and the established gardens and cascading pools down to the private, raised beach area create a truly gorgeous environment. The buildings have a Morrocan/Eastern influence and are large, spacious and thoughtfully laid out. My only criticism here is that the hotel isn’t well set up for disabled or very elderly people – there are no handrails and the route down to the beach bar is steep. It’s slightly more accommodating for children, although it’s still not ideal. The lighting at night is beautiful but low key, and so again, best for people who are physically fit and on the ball.

The rooms are spacious, clean, and have an exotic layout that fits with the style of the rest of the hotel. The bathrooms in particular are very cool with an eco-wetroom vibe, solar heated water (always nice and hot), an LED-lit rainshower and unusual bath. Compared to other hotels in the area, the bathrooms at Swahili are truly up to standard and were kept immaculately clean and fresh. The rooms are turned down every night, the bedding is clean, soft, fresh and new, and the beds are comfortable. There’s a romantic feel to the room with mosquito nets and a fan above the bed, and there are double doors out to the patio or balcony. There’s a flat screen TV with some decent channels, although a BBC/Sky News type channel would be nice. The rooms still need some finishing touches, such as full length mirrors, some more towel hooks, and other minor things. Some 5 star elements that are missing include room service, slippers, a stocked minibar (although this is done on request) and perhaps an iPod dock or similar.

While we were there only the beach bar and main restaurant were open, but the Indian restaurant was set to open any day. At the beach bar the food is excellent, truly European standard, and reasonably priced. You must try a dawa cocktail, amazing, and the wood fired pizzas are delicious. The food in the main hall is also good at both breakfast and dinner with freshly cooked options at live stations – and again, it surpasses the competition in the area. There’s no evening entertainment in the way that other hotels in Diani do it, but there was some live music which provided a nice background. Once a week, a bit of local entertainment (Masai, acrobats, or similar) wouldn’t go amiss.

The spa is not open yet, but they have set up a makeshift spa in two of the rooms while the real spa is completed. The treatments are as good (and the facial was better than) treatments I have had in some of the leading spas of the world (Gleneagles, Marbella Club, Al Qasr) and once the actual spa facilities open they should really boost this hotel.
The staff on the whole were helpful and friendly (Albert at the beach bar, Fridah at the pool bar, Michael in the restaurant) and are trying their best to get to know the hotel while also providing a good service. Any requests made were attended to straight away, and there was a personal touch in that staff remembered us and did things such as pre-prepare our beds by the pool each day in our preferred spots. Reception staff were a bit slow and sometimes seemed a little overwhelmed, but we had no major problems. The clientele at Swahili is civilised and sophisticated. The hotel at the moment is quiet, but in a way that is a nice thing, and there’s a growing buzz around it with people visiting for the day or for short trips. The hotel’s owner and his family were there too and again made a point of making us feel welcome and checking that we were enjoying our stay.

Of course there are teething problems, and the hotel isn’t fully open, but I had as good a stay (and in some ways a better stay) as I’ve had in any other 5 star resort around the world.
This hotel has so much potential to be a true 5 star resort and a destination for those who want an amazing holiday that matches the leading resorts in Europe, Dubai etc. It’s early days and the hard work going into making it work is evident. It’s definitely the top choice already on the Diani strip and I hope that this might make the other hotels along there take notice and make improvements of their own. I will certainly be staying at Swahili Beach on my next trip to Kenya

Room Tip: Go for a sea view, although all rooms are nice
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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.

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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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