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“Really Enjoyed our time here!” 4 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 28 hotels in Diani Beach
Belfast, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
“Really Enjoyed our time here!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

We enjoyed our time at the Swahili Beach Hotel. Rooms spacious and comfortable and the 2 guys from house keeping kept the room clean. Both were extremely pleasant and helpful. Staff were great, helpful, friendly and attentive from Mike (General Manager), Esther, Faith and Julie in the restaurants, Clifford by the pool (a real star) with Abdullah and also Rubin who sorted us out with a very early breakfast at 0530 (great chat and attitude) when going on Safari. Thanks to Rodgers for the morning walk along the beach. He was informative and friendly, always had a smile and never passed throughout our stay without stopping to say hello. The buffet breakfast and dinner offered fresh food and plenty of selection and the pizza at the beach bar was yummy! Griffen, a new member to the management team, as with the rest of the management, was friendly and attentive. One thing that stood out for us was that the management were always visible, always stopped to see how things were going and addressed any queries or questions efficiently and effectively.

Thanks to everyone, we had a great time!
Barry & Joanne

  • Stayed June 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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211 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 (59)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

The best way I can put this is a 2 star service trapped in the body of a 5 star resort.

The hotel itself is beautiful, majestic, relaxing - it has so many well thought through architectural elements, such as the cascading water pools down to the beach front, the multiple spots for relaxing on big cushions and wonderful big sofas.

Most of the staff are really friendly - the guys around the pool and in the bars really attentive, everyone seems to be really well meaning. I think it's just that the training hasn't been so great here. It feels odd to be in such fine surrounds with such bad service.

Good stuff includes - the divine building itself and the pool and pools down to the beach - they are heavenly and lots of fun!

The breakfast is pretty cool - loads of choice, a smoothie bar, a pancake bar, an eggs bar!

The massage I had was brilliant, so very very good - if not quite long enough (more on that below).

Some of the food has been great (some average) - the best of which has been the seafood platter that we had down on the beach one evening.


Here's the not so hot stuff:

- On arrival they couldn't find our booking. Despite showing them the confirmation email from Thomson's Holidays (we had paid upfront already) they made us pay for that night until they worked out what the issue was. 2 days later there is no solution still. I'm not sure they have tried very hard to sort it out, they seem to be depending on us bizarrely?

- Staff telling us what to do - we had been caught on a broken down train for 17 hours so arrived late at 10.30pm, unshowered and very hungry. We were instructed to eat before we showered, and we had to put up a fight to be shown to our room so we could wash first - I think we had to protest about 6 times. The restaurant is supposed to shut at 11pm but we were told 10pm, same for room service.

- A massage at the spa: I was told off for being late to my appointment (!) And then instead of the 45 minutes I paid for they only gave me a 30 minute session. That's service!

- At 4.30pm we went for a refreshing G&T, on asking for nuts or a bar snack we were told we should go and ask at another bar. The barman then came back to inform us the peanuts would be ready at 6.30pm (!?) No idea.

- At the gym, we went to lift some weights: The lady managing the gym kept interfering (we didn't ask for her help) with our weights and lowering the weight stack so much it was pointless us being there.

- This is a small irritation but the soap in the bathroom wasn't filled for two days, and then when it was it was mostly filled with water (you know how you do with an almost empty washing up bottle!?) And the shampoo provided smells truly terrible. I'm not sure if all the rooms have this stuff but it is bad. Really bad.

So here's the final conclusion - for all the bad stuff the price is still very good as well as the ambience of the place. And so if you can be chilled out about the management not being great and the occasional blips on the service then you really should come visit. It's an awesome place to catch your breath and to unwind in.

And you must break the no jumping rule and drop through all nine pools from hotel to beach - as this is surely what the architect had in mind.

  • Stayed June 2013, 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
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
edinburgh
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

We visited this hotel which is not far from Southern Palms where we stay as one of the receptionists had moved there to work and wished to see us.

On entering, the hotel seemed very impressive and our friend showed us around two superior suites which looked marvelous with sunken bath and candles which are lit in the evening for one to have a bath.

There was a huge flat screen TV and the usual hairdryer, special smellies in silver caskets etc for the ladies, a desk for writing and huge bed with dressing room off, the usual tea and coffee making facilities and mini bar and safe.

My only complaint that these rooms did not have a sea view.

That is what I love at my second bedroom and home.

The pool was large and nearly reached reception and my husband liked the gym.

The spa seemed ok but I prefer the beauty salon at my own hotel.

There is still a lot of work going on.

One thing I did like was that there was plenty space around to hide away in the baking sun.

We sat for a drink at the pool bar next to the pool with the waterfall which looked good.

Drink prices were reasonable for a five star hotel.

On balance and not being biased I prefer my second home Southern Palms Beach Resort which we love and will always remain there.

However it was good to compare.

I do know however that one person remains un named pulled out of the running of the hotel when it was being built as things were just not quite right and I believe that there seems to be a few teething problems going on.

Asante sana for showing us around!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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.
Nairobi, Kenya
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013

Wow am a Kenyan but this blew me OFF ma feet! natural Materials, Typical swahili hospitality, Wide Open spaces, everything soooo natural, Best If you looking for a quiet Hideout away from the hustle and Bustle... and the service is personalised

Room Tip: The pricier the Room,,,, the better it is!!!! :-D
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

Beautiful new hotel. First impression was impressive, but then things came to light.
The bath tub and shower floor were extremely slippery, to the point of dangerous! We complained about this and were advised they were re-doing all the floors. What a shame, the hotel is just over a year old. I believe this work has begun as the units beside us had workers in them during the days and we could hear "construction".
All the staff are exceptionally friendly which makes up for their lack of training or experience. We reminded ourselves we were in a third world country, being served by the poor. They give and serve with true joy even though they receive very little pay and have most of their tips taken from them by management.
This is not a place for the disabled! There are steps all over the resort. I saw a few ramps in the main building, but I wouldn't want to have to use them. All the contractors did was take the side of the stairs and cement a ramp over them (very steep!). My husband is partially disabled. He uses a cane, has difficulty walking long distances, and stairs are a challenge. As this trip was a special celebration for us, we booked a higher than standard room. Upon check-in we were told his inconvenience of accessibility would be worth it because of the room and view! We were at the far end of the resort (by the beach), and on the third floor (stair access only)! In addition to the stairs, the resort is built on a hillside, which allows for the beautiful cascading swimming pools. This means we had an uphill walk to the dining room and reception. The path was one l-o-n-g slope; difficult to walk down and up. Some steps may be more appropriate.
During our stay we had opportunity to speak with many locals as well as foreigners who reside in Kenya and Uganda. What an eye opener to the corruption, especially in management and high level positions. We experienced this first hand upon our check-out. We had purchased an all inclusive tour package (accommodations, meals, airport transfers etc.). At check-out we were charged for the airport transfer. When I indicated this was an error that it was included in our package, we were told the transfer had been "cancelled". WE MUST PAY! After arguing about it for half an hour, we paid it and said we would be back after lunch for our refund. (We had to check out by 10 am, but our airport transfer wasn't until 3 pm. We figured let them finish with the other people checking out.) I returned to the gentleman at 1:30 pm and was greeted by an attitude of "What do you want?". When I said I wanted my refund, he again said IT MUST BE PAID! During our arguments, I realized he was management. An hour and a half later, I finally got my refund, at which point we departed. Soured our trip and it was so unnecessary. He wanted to line his own pocket. He is the one who lost big time because we did not give him the tip we were prepared to give him.

Room Tip: Third floor for fabulous ocean views, as long as no mobility issues (stairs only).
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
SwahiliBeach, General Manager at Swahili Beach Resort, responded to this review, June 5, 2013
There is quite a bit here that is worrying especially the unsubstantiated claims management actually steals the tips! This is not true and certainly a possible hustle to ensure tips are paid directly rather than through the guest account and distributed on a weekly basis. Clearly this is something we have had to look into as it does present a very wrong image. The reviewer's waiters have been identified and interviewed.

Whilst there was a small saga at check out, which was resolved, I am not so sure it was as dramatic as relayed. Certainly not from the reports received. I am happy for the reviewer to e-mail me directly on gm@swahilibeach.com, so we can get to the bottom of the incident. The transfer was part of the voucher but overlooked at check in. A new system where we are learning every day.

Yes, the bathroom and bedroom floors care in the process of being recovered with a product sourced in Belgium. We are making good progress with the work and hopefully will be through all the rooms in the next couple of months.

I understand the option was given for the reviewer to be allocated a ground floor room, which was declined on account of the view's from the upper level.


The Swahili Beach Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

First the good part; the rooms were very nice (size, furnishings, views). The hotel is beautiful, their pools are very nice and the views of the ocean are great. The spa is nice for a massage with views that look over the ocean.

Unfortunately the service, experience, and management is awful. I recently stayed for 3 nights after being on safari. I was so disappointed. To start the hotel got both my transfers botched up which they were responsible for handling. The buffet is poor, plenty of the cheap stuff but very low quality meat and what is nice they were very slow to replace. I also experienced some of the same issues that other reviewers noted with the pool staff. Very tough to get any type of service....particularly a drink. I had ordered a margarita, which was the equivalent of ~$10 and got a half empty glass of warm mix with no tequila. Lastly I booked a snorkeling tour through the hotel which was a complete waste of money and time. Could not believe that a hotel of this alleged calibur would have tour operators that are that awful. The boat was a shanty, the operators were of questionable integrity, and the experience was a disaster.

Lastly, as is mentioned by many of the reviews and is also evident by the responses by them to some of the reviews, is that the management could not care less about customer satisfaction. Complaints were brushed aside, lack of service they just basically agreed with the complaint but did nothing about it. It's ashame because the physical resort is very nice.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 3
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, May 15, 2013
In reading Eric B's review our immediate concern, hence our research, apart from the reviewer's comments and accusations, is the fact that he chose to keep quiet when we have Guest Relations and duty management throughout the day. Management is visible and there to listen to comments and to take appropriate action as necessary. The reviewer says no one listened yet there is no record he actually talked to us, unless he talked directly to the service staff. To suggest management is ‘awful’ is just not true as we spend a great deal of our time on the ground with our guests. It’s there 24 hours and the front office manager goes around the breakfast tables every morning as does the evening duty manager during dinner.

Let’s deal with the issues raised.

Swimming pool drinks service at the upper pool is maintained to be non-invasive as those on the sunbeds generally do not want to be disturbed. The reviewer had four drinks during his stay with us, one on each evening from the Baraza Bar, presumably over dinner looking at the times served, and two on one day from Baobab bar, by the upper swimming pool. We will certainly look into the Margarita with the barman concerned. Legally, we must serve 30ml measures or multiplies thereof. Anyway, it will be looked into.

The transfers were not ‘botched’. The booking agent (name withheld) did not book nor did they request an airstrip transfer. We have looked at their booking voucher and the series of e-mails confirming the booking and no transfers were requested. The outgoing transfer was booked by the reviewer through the Guest Relations and he paid the taxi driver direct.

Our dinner buffet in Majlis comprises – two soups (one vegetarian) with our Italian baker’s bread selection, a salad bar with six different salads and five dressings, live cooking stations for meat, fish and pasta (occasionally we have a stir fry station too), four main dishes in the chaffing dishes plus three/four vegetables, rice and potatoes. We also offer dishes from our Indian/Swahili fusion restaurant, The Spice Route. There are seven desserts also available of which one is hot. Our meat comes from a quality butcher in Nairobi. We offer the option to have dinner in The Spice Route.

The snorkeling excursion was the reviewer's choice of operator and he asked Guest Relations to make the booking. It was not through the Watersports Centre based close to the beach bar, Baharini. We have been in touch with excursion operator (name withheld) and they tell us they used a dhow on that date. Payment was made directly to the operator and not through ourselves.

That just about covers it.

We have e-mailed Eric B. It is a shame the reviewer did not bring his views directly to us at the time.


Swahili Beach Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

Three of us shared a triple for four days at this fabulous hotel. The hotel staff was helpful, warm and friendly. We had breakfast there every morning, they served a good spread though it was the same every day. The rooms were good and clean though I would suggest they do away with the soap, shampoo dispensers in the bathrooms and instead provide individual mini bottles like other hotels do. All in all, our stay was pleasant.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 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
    • 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.

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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 Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 28 hotels in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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