We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“superb hotel but small beach” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Swahili Beach Resort

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Save
You added Swahili Beach Resort to your Saves list
Swahili Beach Resort
Ukunda, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80401, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 31 Hotels in Diani Beach
Vienna, Austria
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“superb hotel but small beach”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

We stayed there last August as family of 4 and it was one of our best hotel experiences ever; The hotel had just opened a couple of months before and praise goes to the architect; the cupolas of the reception hall and the pool bar, overlooking main pool and the Indian Ocean, offer a magnificent view (pictures on their webpage are not just well taken but give a real impression of everday sights); The way that the 140 rooms are distributed over villas of 4 to 6 units and the low main building does't actually make it feel a resort of this size. The 'Swahili style" of design is consistely applied. We fouund the spacious and very tasteful rooms just "perfect" for us. Only caveat for families is that they don't have suites with seperate bedrooms so kids will be with you in the same room on converted sofa. Our travel agency information had been misleading in that respect but when we raised this the hotel was flexible enough to compromise by offering us a second adjoining superior room (!) for 10% extra payment which we found a reasonable deal (hotel was not fully booked).

We liked the service very much because everyone was really friendy although not always 100% professional (meaning staff may not always serve from the right side at the table or have to check with "manager" for request that are little outside the routine etc.); We prefer a natural African friendlyness to a trained five star perfection so this was just right. They were particularly nice with the kids (e.g. guards helped to spot monkeys because our girls had been excided with their occasional encounters);

Food at the breakfast and dinner buffet was very good, they always had some Indian and Kenyan dishes, freshly prepared pasta, grill (fresh grilled fish was just fabulous). Fresh fruit, e.g. mango, pinapples, passion fruit for breakfast or as juice or desert was great.

The pools are immense althouh not very deep. They cascade down from an upper pool (great view) to a lower pool at beach level in various little bassins and waterfalls. For our taste, this is overdone - especially with the artifical rocks that were placed around thhe cascades. This bit of Disney-like artifical landscaping just wouldn't be neceessary in the beautiful surrounding, with lots of palm trees, flowers and also many old trees.

There is one significant downside with this hotel and that's the small beach. There is lot of empty property on the wide sandy beaches of Diani but they chose this particular spot which is limited by sharp rocks on both sides. When the tide is in, the whole beach is flooded, when it's out the sand remains covered with sea grass and you have to walk over 50 meters of rocks to swim in the sea. Locals told us the property was just a swamp before the hotel was built - impressing what they made of it, but still - it's not the wide white sandy beach for which Diani is famous and which you find just 5 minutes walk to the right or to the left of the hotel. If you can live with that downside, Swahili is a fabulous hotel.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

262 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    140
    72
    26
    14
    10
See reviews for
75
92
10
16
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 (72)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Zingem
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

We had 2 great weeks in Kenya. Nice weather. End of the season they sad but it was about 30 degrees. Some times raining, but still warm. The trip was really nice. The hotel was good. Good service. In general good food - there was always Indian food. The menu was almost the same every day. The rooms are big, clean and nice. As a disadvantage will mention that the floor of the bathroom was very slippery(so you must be careful). This hotel does not have beach almost. There are lots of alga's. In fact they were cleaning every they the sand to have some place without alga's. There are lots of swimming polls but only 1 meter deep. So if you really want to swim it is not perfect. But for kids is great. People are very friendly. Very close to the hotel there is a supermarket, some shops, bank. 5 mints with car you have big and nice beach. There is the restaurant Forty thieves. There were some games for the kids during the day, but no animation at the evening. If you want to have a trip book it with the local travel agents - you will find them nearby the hotel.

Room Tip: Superior room is very good for 4 persons.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

We have just returned after 4 nights at the Swahili. The hotel setup is outstanding, the several pools being the highlight. The room was very good and clean. The animation team try very hard to entertain you and did a very good job. The best part is the food.. We are vegetarians, and after a very long time we didn't complain over the quality of food. The indian addition to the buffet was a blessing, especially over breakfast. The only let down was the beach. The amount of sea weed was too much and a deterrent to go for a swim in the ocean. Apart from this we had a satisfying stay at this resort.

The lighting at night gives the hotel a different out look with the candles on the walk way.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

We visited Swahili Beach several months ago and had a great time. The property is absolutely beautiful, the staff was friendly, and the food was good. The beach was definitely nothing to write home about.

Our only concern was that the floors in the room, bathroom, veranda, the edges of the various pools are very slippery for everyone, particularly for kids and seniors. Please be very careful in the bathrooms, especially, as the bath and shower surfaces slope a bit. By the way, the hot water can get very hot very quickly that you'll jump out. Not good a good thing to do on a slippery floor. Otherwise, have fun.

Room Tip: Choose a room close to the reception hall and the top level pool. When the wind blows on the beach...
See more room tips
Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SwahiliBeach, General Manager at Swahili Beach Resort, responded to this review, April 13, 2013
We have spent a great deal of time looking at and researching flooring finishes. In addition to looking at products that have a number of properties, one, of course, being non -slip we were always conscience of retaining the 'Swahili' architecture and feel.

A product from Belgium has been under trial for a few weeks now and a few areas, including bathrooms and bedroom floors have been worked on as various trials have been carried out to establish the 'right' mix, pigment and application. We believe we have the final product and application will start in the next week or so, certainly by 22 April. Hopefully, within the next three months all bedroom and bathroom floors will have had a makeover.

We appreciate your comments and look forward, later in the year, to welcoming you back to experience our new flooring finish.


The Swahili Beach Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kisumu, Kenya
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

This was a real treat after nerve wrecking times during and after the elections. The pool was amazing, you could swim for ever and if tired settle on the pool bar. Expensive drinks, but it is a place to treat yourself once in a while. Not a place to stay too long, you would be overwhelmed with all the buffets and so on. The spa was another fantastic experience, the location perfect with view on the ocean which already has a calming effect. Well designed room with lots of space and lots of food. The location is ideal, opposite the Nakumatt and close to Leonardos for some pizza's, icecream and good coffee. The beach in front of the hotel is not the best, it is with lots of coral and dried sea weed and had to be swept every morning. But enjoyed every minute of my stay.

  • Stayed April 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bruxelles
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Just recently returned from a 2-weeks stay at this great hotel (room #17 – 11.03.2013-25.03.2012). This was our second time at the Swahili Beach resort (last time, March 2012), and once again, we had an excellent time.
The feeling of coming home hit us already at the entrance, upon arrival. Neville, one of the "askaris" (security guards) and Hussein, one of the luggage porters, recognised us and welcomed us with a large smile and hugs. Waouw !
Check-in, as per last time was swift and effective, and we were taken to our room. While we had had room #10 last year, I had requested a room on the upper floor with sea view, which was kindly allocated to us by Michael, the reservation manager. This room, as all others was very nice, huge, stylishly furnished and arranged. Last year, I missed flowers upon check-in, this year; these were kindly put into the room, which made it even more welcoming! However, even though mentioned in last year's review ,a few tiny things were still missing (for details, cf http://www.tripadvisor.fr/ShowUserReviews-g775870-d2452982-r127252159-Swahili_Beach_Resort-Diani_Beach_Coast_Province.html), …
The gardens, and the infinity pools, that seduced me on the brochures already last year, were still as beautiful as we remembered. Food, as last year, was delicious, wherever you were eating at. Last year, I had mentioned that it was a pity that the delicious desserts were not chilled enough. It took me a single discussion with Niwas, the restaurant manager, to improve the situation. From one day to the other, he took on board one of my ideas (put big ice blocks beneath the dessert platters and put down the "roof" of the dessert station) and desserts were better chilled the following days. Highly appreciated!
The spa wasn't open last year but was fully operational this year. The setting is stunning and so relaxing. We had a massage and it felt so good that you could actually fall asleep while professional and trained hands run over your body. The money you pay for is largely worth it.
Again, staff, its kindness, its commitment to help, serve and please you is making a big difference compared to other hotels. I can't share other reviewers' comments about the staff being "awful, untrained, inefficient "etc… Maybe it's also a matter of addressing them…As far as we were concerned, we had had no problems whatsoever, and all our requests were dealt with swiftly and with a smile (even personal requests, such as arranging a specify Kenyan plant for my mother was kindly dealt with by one of the main gate askaris!). As a repeat guest, and staying for 2-weeks again, restaurant staff knew our preferences, and our table was reserved for us every morning and evening; at the pool bar, Arafa and Hasanil, knowing how much I loved mangoes, made sure that the 10 AM fruit spikes had mango pieces for me etc…
We will certainly be back next year, and I do hope that Mr Kelly and his crew will ensure that the current standards will be kept up with. In the meantime, I would like to thank Michael, Amani, Julius, Abubakar, Hussein (reception/guest relations/porters), Arafa, Hasanil, Tsama, Fridah (pool&beach bar), Niwas, Moses, Esther, Anisa, Khader, Stephen, Faith (restaurant), not to forget the askaris, Dominic, Peter, Pilatis, John, Neville, Jonathon, Musa, and with a special tribute to Ricky, the kahawa man, who sadly passed away a week before we arrived (R.I.P my friend).
Asante sana na tutaonana mwaka ujao :-)

  • Stayed March 2013, 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 1
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 April 5, 2013

Just returned from a week long stay at Swahili Beach at the end of March. This is the second time our family has stayed here (the last time being March 2012). The fabric of this hotel simply can't be faulted - the setting is perfect, the buildings are beautiful, the food is fabulous, the spa is sensational, and the rooms are spotlessly clean and the most upmarket and comfortable I've seen in the Diani area (having stayed at two other Diaini hotels previously). This is as close as you will get to a genuine 5 star hotel in Mombasa. I have stayed in many 5 star hotels around the world so I know what to expect, and as I said the fabric and styling of this hotel does not disappoint. The swimming pools are world class, the established gardens are beautiful, and the general vibe is classy, civilised and stylish. However, there is still room for improvement and if this improvment can be made then Swahili Beach can certainly compete with the world's best resort hotels.

The spa is in the perfect setting, perched on the edge of the Indian Ocean with large, open windows and white curtains moving gently in the breeze. They use Anne Semonin products which are brilliant, and the therapists are well trained and thorough. I had two massages and a facial, and all three treatments are of the high standard I have experienced at other top spas, including Gleneagles and Marbella Club. What is lacking here is promotion of the fact that there is a spa and that treatments are available.

The food is the best I have had in Diani, and the restaurant team are hard working and knowledgeable. The lunchtime pizzas, grilled lobster, salads, burgers and calamari are of a high standard and very tasty, but service here could be much swifter and there needs to be more attention to detail such as supplying cutlery and condiments every time to every table. At night the food is faultless and a healthy, tasty mix of European, African and Indian cuisine. It's just a shame there is such focus on the main restaurant - again what is lacking is promotion and initiative around getting people into the other two restaurants which are beautifully set out and deserve to be shouted about. The same applies to the beach bar which is a lovely place to have a drink at the end of the night, but there's not enough promotion for it so people don't use it which is such a shame. Breakfast is delicious every day without fail, and the service is good at this time too.

In terms of entertainment, a lot of reviews complain about the lack of it at Swahili Beach, although nightly entertainment such as karaoke or whatever is something I would expect at a lower star establishment, and few other 5 star hotels would put this on. There is live music though which is enough for during a meal. Perhaps once or twice a week there could be some more organised entertainment in the bar areas or more music. During the day there is more effort to have activities than there was last year with an 'animations team' who try hard but realistically with few children staying at Swahili Beach this isn't something that has a high uptake. It's nice to have the effort there but perhaps it could be more focused on adult activities such as a beach walk or aqua aerobics or yoga, and you would need good, qualified people to run these.

The rooms are comfortable, clean, and well appointed. The showers were fine for me although some mention the varying temperature I didn't really mind this. We were shown round one of the suites which was very nice and definitely of a high standard. The TV has improved on last year with more English speaking channels. The rooms are turned down beautifully every night.

The beach area has had a lot of work done to it to make it more accessible, and it is kept pristine and cleared of seaweed and raked every morning which is a lovely touch as getting to swim in the warm Indian Ocean is a must.

There is good security and the porters and doormen are very good, always available and helpful.

Overall I like this hotel. I would not stay anywhere else in Diani now, and it really feels like such a special place when you are there. I know the 5 star standard well from my other stays in hotels around the world, and while this hotel isn't quite there (4.5 stars) you have to remember this is Africa, and what they are doing is not for the lack of will or effort - it's a learning curve to meet the high standards travellers demand.

There needs to be some additional attention to areas such as service which is hit and miss, and there needs to be more attention to detail (ipod docks in the room for instance) and more initiative around promoting the amenities and what the hotel has to offer. But if you are planning a holiday in Mombasa this hotel is head and shoulders above the other offerings and it's the only place to stay if you are looking for European standards in rooms, setting, food and safety.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SwahiliBeach, General Manager at Swahili Beach Resort, responded to this review, April 7, 2013
What a detailed and positive review with some excellent observations. Thank you.

Our concentration has been on the service aspect and whilst good progress has been made we still have lots to do. Nevertheless, we have completed the content for a new Guest Services Directory and will soon (I hope) find the right folder for it. The Indian/Swahili fusion restaurant - The Spice Route - will be promoted as will the new Anne Semonin treatments at the spa.

We are keen to earn the missing half star which we hope will be awarded following your visit next year! We look forward to seeing you then.


The Swahili Beach Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Swahili Beach Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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): $$$
Number of rooms: 140
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Jovago.com and Agoda so you can book your Swahili Beach Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Swahili Beach Resort, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.