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“Perfect holiday, perfect wedding, perfect location” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Diani Sea Resort

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Diani Sea Resort
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 31 Hotels in Diani Beach
york
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Perfect holiday, perfect wedding, perfect location”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2009

We stayed at Diani Sea Resort xmas & new year 08/09. The hotel is more like a 4* than a 3*. Staff are helpful, food is good & varied, animation team brilliant, location isjust perfect. We were married at the hotel everything was just fantastic. We would return tommorrow. Booked through thomson their rep was great, safari outstanding.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 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
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Dorset
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2009

Will be as honest as possible and hope that those who read this find it useful.
Package holiday with Thomson ( first time with Thomson)Very positive experience- arrive in Mombasa,WOW the heat really hits you- on boarding the coach handed a chilled bottle of water( very welcome)- Travelled approx one hour to Hotel.
Welcomed with cold flannels and refreshing juice and very very cheerful staff was made to feel very welcome - check in was speedy and we were quickly escorted to our rooms,rooms were fine (please remember in a third world country).
We felt compelled to do a safari ( while in rome an all that) was rather shocked at Thomson prices- outside the resort and turn left ask for Joseph- KT Safaris you will get the same safari much cheaper £130 pp as opposed £280 Thomson- but remember haggle and haggle - wanted £180.A word of warning DO NOT USE YOUR CREDIT CARD TO PAY-THEY WILL CHARGE YOU 5%- also met a couple who booked a safari paid by card - and KT had to change the days - the couple wanted to cancel but KT used a thousand excuses not to refund- (takes days to clear- funds go to Nairobi first then to so an so s account- RUBBISH- i work with these machines and that is not the case - and then they wanted to charge another 5% for the refund- result cancelled the transaction on the credit card but he wasted a lot of time arguing and getting no where- once they had made the transaction they were not going to refund it- so use cash.
Supermarket just left of resort also a bank with a much much better rate of exchange than the resort - remember to take your passport though - also if you intend to use your credit card in the Supermarket they require ID.Supermarket prices much on a par with asda for basics- but toiletries such as shampoo deodrant very expensive- so dont be tempted to leave to buy when you get there.
Plenty of little gift shops but i thought very expensive - so be prepared to barter- bear in mind these people lovely as they are tend to think all tourists are loaded- one shop wanted six pounds for a key ring- crazy.Moses shop directly left to the hotel the fairest of them all- will do a deal-also sell safari com sim cards- will top up for you etc etc- good bloke.
All the staff at the resort are fantastic- really look after your every need - we enquired whether it was possible to hire a fridge- within the hour one in the room (approx £2.20 per day)- Phoned down for extra pillows and hangers were there by the time we hung up the phone.If you require early Breakfast never a problem- had one at 4am,6am- no problem staff there smiling.Security guards really look after you- when going on Safari- took reg of the van names of driver and guide and checked all their documents before they allowed us to go.
The Safari itself was great Tsavo East two days one night- saw the big 5- lot of travelling but well worth it- our driver and guide were great.
The food was fine - no complaints - air conditioning only works with key in the slot- but trust me there are ways round this.!! Room attendants cleaned rooms and replaced towels twice a day.
Massage is a MUST £7.50 for an hour full body massage fantastic- best time the 6pm slot- after a hard day on the beach- seriously blissful.
Pool attendants- i must say this was my only bone of contention the whole stay- the management state quite clearly that NOTHING without exception is reserved, restaurant tables, or sun loungers.Read On!!Up early one morning 5.30 am went to the loungers near the beach, no towels on them we were told we couldn t go there because so and so had been there all week, moved along were told the same, we were told this approx 4 times - so we threatened to see the manager- seems the way is pay the pool attendant and you can pick your bed - only when the pool attendant pointed out he would be sacked if we reported it-so we didnt we pointed out to him that we had saved and worked b...... hard for the holiday and our money was as good as anyone elses- also explained that being in the same business its our tradition to tip at the end of a stay for good service- anyway refused to PAY for a sunlounger- but not too much of an issue.
Went to Wasini Island on a boat trip which was a fun day,saw the dolphins and snorkeling for an hour- be prepared to be mobbed by children asking for money or sweets- your call but it was rather off putting especially as the parents were pushing them to ask.
Went to an orphanage- Diani Childrens Village- not sponsered by the Hotel ( we were pointed in this direction by Ian and Liz (Hi if your reading!)They loaned us their guide driver John - fab guy if you need a taxi/guide while here ask recption to get hold of him- mindful of info.The orphanage was a really humbling experience- totally self sufficient and trying to help themselves , chickens and workshop- this place is really worth a visit only children we met that didn t ask for anything- if you do visit get John to take you and maybe a couple of cheap toys (took bats and balls and yo yos - cost approx £5 the pleasure these kids had was immense- also any clothes or toiletries you cant or wont take home - take them here they will be appreciated.)They expect nothing just for you to sign their guest book.
Another pointer that we were told- all the schools locally the children are primed to jump up and sing to any visitors- any donations dont always end up with the children- but ultimately you will make your own mind up.
The beach boys didn t find too much of a pain but a firm NO and carry on walking they will leave you alone - but do not engage with them - if you say no and they persist threaten to tell security!!
If you fancy a boat trip on the glass bottom boat - ask for Michael beach boy - straight up guy will not try to rip you off!
The "shopping centre" had a bar that shows football and also internet cafe approx 2p per hour!
The weather was fantastic- probaly too hot, my opinion is that this holiday had everything- from relaxing to snorkeling,safari and just lazy days by the pool.
The staff are very badly paid (by our standards)but don t feel obliged to tip- as we chose to go to Kenya so therefore you are keeping them in a job just by being there!yes kenya is desperate for tourists and i think with the reviews it gets it wil only be a matter of time before it gets busier!!
The trainees dont get paid just rely on tips (so we are told!) i can honestly say i was made to feel very very welcome all the staff FANTASTIC (and put me to shame they all speak english german and french)- Really was a great holiday and hotel.
The journey home was fine- yes you get searched at the airport a few times but thats what they do.
Remember your dollars for entry and exit 50 in and 20 out.
All in all a fantastic holiday and experience - it certainly leaves you with an impression- will definately return one day.
Met some great people out there- Hi to Kim and Adi if youre reading and Lee and Wayne (lost your email!!)

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Midlands
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2009

From the moment we arrived (tired, hot, dehydrated, exhausted from our hectic jobs as well as the overnight journey), we felt looked after, cared for, and indeed pampered by ALL the staff. The food was superb, varied & tasty, the restaurant service excellent, and everyone was so friendly and concerned for the guests. Isaiah the gardener educated me during an interesting wander around the grounds, and all the bar staff and room cleaners, gardeners & painters were so approachable & smiling, that we felt at home with you all.We enjoyed watching the "coconut professor" at work in the trees as we lay on our sunbeds, willingly cushioned by the pool staff, and were able to unwind and relax to the sound of the ocean coming & going with the rhythm of the tides. We wondered at the starry skies at night, the like of which we never see in the UK.
A great place to relax, ready for the return to our crazy lives in the UK.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2009

We stayed here in January 2009, and found the hotel just about exactly what we expected, although some of the facilites were more run down than their photos (tennis courts and squash courts) these seem rarley used in any case.

the rooms were basic standard but spacious and well maintained, cleaned every day with fresh linen and towels. Room boys were excellent.

Staff in the hotel were all extremly friendly and polite, and the food although slightly repetative was always to a high standard. However watch out for the dress rules for eating in the restraunt - long trousers and no sleeveless shirts.

The beach to the front of the hotel is great, but crossing to the sea across the sand you run the gauntlet of local sellers, however although they were perssitant they were were always polite and a firm "NO THANKYOU" was all that was required.

Outside of the hotel The forty theives beach restraunt is excellent and for a special meal Ali babours cave is must. There are not a lot of local bars close but Ushagos is good and walkable even at night any further and a Taxi is a must - these are not cheap but are on par with UK prices. A beer is about £1.40 a pint.

On the whole we enjoyed and would travel there again.

Final warning at the airport they will now only accept dollers for visa payments - sterling and Kenyan Shillings are not accepted - this caused major problems on entry and even people who purchased visas in the UK prior to travel were made to pay extra due to the value of the pound changing against the doller.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
midlands
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2009

From the moment we arrived they looked after us so well. The staff were excellent and made us feel right at home. We got married at the beginning of December and they couldn't have done more for us, the manager organised everything, we didn't have to worry about a thing! A dream wedding in a perfect setting.
We will definately be going back. Just watch out for the monkeys!!!

  • Liked — The friendly staff and beautiful area
  • Disliked — The hawkers on the beach
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2009

We travelled to Kenya and stayed at Diani Sea Resort for two weeks from 10th January. From booking in for our connecting flight from Aberdeen to arriving at the resort the journey was completely trouble free (with the small exception of Kenyan immigration which I'll explain later) - a rare experience indeed! Everything was on time and as described in the various literature we read.

On arrival at the resort our positive experience continued. The rooms, although maybe a little dated and in need of minor refurbishment, were perfectly adequate. Our room had plenty of cupboard space, comfortable - if firm- beds with mosquito net and decent air con and a well equipped bathroom with double sink. The facilities at the hotel were very good. Towards the front of the property there are tennis and squash courts - for the brave or foolhardy who don't mind extreme physical activity in 30c temperatures - along with mini-golf. The reception area and lobby are clean and cool and there is plenty of seating both in the main bar and throughout the other public areas. The restaurant is situated overlooking the terraced tropical gardens which are absolutely stunning - think a commercial for your dream tropical paradise! The food is absolutely fine and as good or better than three star holiday fare. My only complaints would be that they did quite often run out of certain things which is a niggle not a disaster and there seemed to be a lot of trainees which could lead to some slow service, but you're on holiday for goodness sake. Does having to sit an extra couple of minutes really matter?

I also learnt after becoming friendly with some of the locals that these 'trainees' often work for no money during a pre-determined 'trial period' (usually three months) which could explain the eagerness of the hotels to take on so many untrained staff! Past the terraced gardens is the pool, which has a wonderful temperature and plenty of sunbeds and the pool cafe and bar.

We ate our lunch in the poolside cafe a couple of times and it was fine. The menu consisted of things like pasta, pizza and burgers. The pool bar was our favourite evening spot to while away a few hours playing cards or chatting to other guests and the staff. After the pool bar there is a grassed area with palm trees overlooking the Indian Ocean. This is a perfect place to lounge around if you want to tan without sweating as a constant breeze comes from the ocean to keep you cool.

Finally, regarding the hotel, the staff. Of all the places I've stayed and at all level of price and star ratings the staff at Diani Sea Resort are among the best I have experienced. There are plenty of them for a start so you don't have to go searching for someone. The receptionists were always polite, happy and willing to help with any requests that they could and any that they couldn't help with they found someone else who could. The waiters both experienced and less so and all the kitchen staff, chefs and servers were always happy and helpful. The animators were always around to organise games and events or just to chat and the bar staff were never short of a smile or a joke to keep you happy. My favourite staff though, if I had to choose would be the security team. They were always fun, chatty and full of humour and in addition did their job so well that while always feeling safe you never felt like you were in a 'guarded camp'.

Outside the hotel we did most of the things we were warned not to do by our holiday company, Thomson. We talked to beach sellers, booked our trips independently with local guys, walked outside the resort complex both before and after dark and even rode in a Matatu (local bus). Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend this for everyone, as reasonably seasoned travellers you do tend to learn how to and when to take sensible precautions. As a result we had a great holiday, met loads of people and made genuine friends, ate real local food and became very humbled by the Kenyan attitude to life. The people have so little and yet live life to the full. I for one feel we could learn a fantastic lesson from this.

Most of the safari/excursion sellers outside the resort seem to be similar. I have read several reviews that recommend this or that company. I reckon all the companies work the same way and help each other out and it seems to work perfectly well. We used KT Safaris through Joseph and Joe. Joseph and Joe's 'Bush Office' is under a tree just to the left of the shops fronting Diani Sea Resort. They will take you to KT Safaris office which is located at the shopping centre 100 metres away behind the sports bar which, by the way, is a good place to watch football. If you go to this bar ask for Hildah who will look after you and tell her Colin & Danny say hi. We negotiated hard with them - a must in Kenya. Never accept the original price as it will be between 50% and 100% higher than what you should pay. We bought a two day safari with an overnight at Voi Gate Spa & Lodge for £120 each. A massive saving on the price quoted by Thomson. Incidentally, in my experience Thomson always discourage customers to book excursions locally in every destination and yet they are almost always more expensive for what seems to be an identical product! Over the two days we saw Zebra, Ostrich, Dik Dik, Hippo, Giraffe, Elephants (by the dozen), Lions, Cheetahs, Dingo and Buffalo, as well as a host of Antelope and Deer and various brightly coloured birds and raptors. In addition we watched the elephants around the waterhole at our overnight lodge while we ate dinner. It took about three hours for dinner because we couldn't concentrate on the food! This trip was the best value for money I've ever had.
As well as the regular excursions I would highly recommend a visit to a local school who need all the support they can get. It is at the same time both rewarding and moving. If you can manage to take some pencils, paper, crayons or pens with you then all the better as these are desperately needed. In addition the Kenyans are crazy about t-shirts and footwear (especially football tops) so if you have clothes at the end of the holiday which will hibernate until your next break you could do worse than to gather them together and barter them against some last minute presents or for the hell of it, give them away to some of the people you've met - honest, it'll make you feel great!

As so far this review looks like an advert for this holiday - I assure you I am usually more Victor Meldrew than Mother Theresa- I should mention a couple of negatives. Firstly, when you go outside the complex you will get pestered whether it's on the beach or the road - someone even swam out to my friend while he was snorkelling to try to sell him something! - I found the way to deal with it was to be polite and chatty but firm. Say no thanks a couple of times and they will get the message. After a couple of days they get to know you and will still say hi but won't be as pushy. We picked one person for our trips and then when approached told them 'Joseph got to us first'. As they all know one another this will work but only if it's true! Don't tell them you will speak to them later/look at their stall later because they will remember - even ten days on! Also it's a good idea when they ask you if it's your first time to Kenya to say no, it's my third or fourth. This way they will believe you know the routine.

All that said the sellers are not ogres. They are all trying to make a living but are extremely friendly - unlike some countries - and the experience of talking to them is a part of the holiday. They don't bite - honest. The second negative point was the fact that we were delayed by 24 hours for our return to the UK. Now that in itself isn't a problem - another day in a tropical paradise - but we learnt about the delay from the reception staff and various rumours not from the Thomson rep. We were lucky because some people didn’t learn about it until 8pm or afterwards which meant with a 4.45am start most had packed their cases and, worse, given away holiday clothes, soaps, deodorants and sun creams. In our case we had booked a hotel in London for an overnight stay prior to getting a flight back to Aberdeen on the Sunday morning. The delay meant having to cancel the hotel ASAP to avoid having to pay for it and rebooking our flights for later on the Sunday if possible. As you can imagine communication is quite difficult or extremely expensive from a mobile phone so this wasn't ideal. Thomson's answer was to provide us with a free 2 minute phone call, woefully inadequate in the circumstances. As one fellow holidaymaker pointed out to the rep, if you get ARRESTED in the UK you're at least entitled to a three minute call! The rep was unwilling
or unable to help any further simply telling us that our insurance would take care of it. That's always assuming we could afford to pay for the flight changes and wait for our claim to be processed. The only other negative is arrival and departure from the airport. Welcome to bureaucracy - a world-wide phenomenon. On arrival you will have to pay $50 in cash to the passport control officers for your entry visa. Note, that is fifty US dollars. Not pounds, credit or debit cards, travellers cheques (in fact don't take Travellers cheques as almost no one accepts them and when you find a bank that does you have to haggle for a good exchange rate - honest! I should know, not that I'm bitter or anything) or even Kenyan Shillings, but US DOLLARS. My travelling companion had a $50 note but as it was printed before 1999 they wouldn't accept it - I've no idea, don't ask. Anyway, they allowed him to pass through customs and into Kenya (technically therefore an illegal immigrant) in order to cash in some Kenyan Shillings into US dollars at a very favourable (for them) rate so that he could return to passport control and hand the dollars over to allow him into the country. I'm sure it mkakes perfect sense to someone.

On the way out of the country you will have to pay $20 for your exit visa but this time you can pay in Kenyan Shillings if you like. You will also be stopped at least 5 times and searched at least 4 times and asked unusual and sometimes puzzling questions. One travelling companion was asked if he was carrying any sand. Thank goodness his portable egg timer was digital. Who knows what the consequences might have been. Being searched so often is a pain but I suppose it's par for the course nowadays. Final words of warning regarding departure. They are very strict about luggage allowance so don't go over. At £10 extra per kilo it could be costly. There is no ATM once through to departures so if you need, make sure you have beforehand. There is a cafe in departures but it ain't cheap so after two weeks of 'all inclusive' be prepared for a couple of hours of 'nothing included'.

In summary then and for the brave souls who made it this far through my review:

Do go on safari - you can't go to Kenya and not do it.

Do leave the hotel - the locals don't bite and your holiday will be so much more enhanced by the experience.

Do learn some Swahili - it's not difficult and you will be amazed at how people will react when you make the effort.

Do take and use high factor sun lotions- it is hot and you will burn if you don't take proper care

Do follow medical advice - Get the injections and use Malaria tablets and don't drink or brush your teeth with anything other than bottled water. Inside the resort the water in the restaurant and bars is fine although some did say they had had dicky stomachs. Malaria tablets are not cheap (about £55 for Malarone) but this is Malaria not a flu bug. I was ill with a high temp while there. I went to the local Docs and got tested - it was negative - but he warned me that he had lost two patients because they didn't take the right precautions. You will hear all sorts of rumours like you only need to take them in the rainy season or only on safari. This is utter nonsense. Take the tablets, use the nets at night, keep the air con on - the mosquito's don't like the cold - and use sprays and you will be fine.


Don't be afraid to explore your options when booking trips. The hotels will tell you otherwise but local excursion operators are just as good as the hotels and holiday companies.

Don't miss Fourty Thieves Bar (a ten minute stroll along the beach turning right from the hotel) which is like drinking in paradise or Ali Barbour's restaurant which is built into a cave complex and very impressive with great food and service at a decent price by UK standards (three courses for two people all silver served, a bottle of wine and 4 alcoholic drinks all for about £60)

Don't forget that Kenya is a poor country. Some reviewers seem to judge everything by what they are used to at home. You're in a different country where things often work in a different way. Immerse yourself in the local culture and attitude and you'll have a great time. If your idea of a perfect holiday is finding the nearest British Pub so you can get a pint of Best and the Full English then stick to Benidorm - this ain't for you.

Otherwise go to Kenya, go to Diani Sea Resort and enjoy a fabulous holiday.

  • Liked — The location
  • Disliked — lack of variety with food and entertainment
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chigwell
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2009

i stayed here in jan as my b day gift to my self and had such a lovely time the food was ok but i think they try and do the food for every one each night so that no 2 nights are the same but the brekfast and luch at the pool bar are good i loved the pizza humm lol the beach is a nice way to spend a day just walking to the 40 thifes bar and at night ail brabar caves is a really romaict night for 2 as for the rooms ok my room was a bit run down and could do with my be a bit of plaster in and the shower head replaced but other than that its clean and comtable and tidy all rooms are cleaned every day for a 3 * hotel this as to be one of the best some say that the watiers where a bit slow but i dont think so so me of them can be a bit moody but i guess thats just thier way all round good hotel and the monkeys are all ways good for a lugh lol we all so done a 3 day Safaris with kenpal who is really good we pay £260 for a jeep i can say this is a good company to go with if you want to do a Safaris.

  • Liked — the luch box they can do for you if on a day trip
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Diani Sea Resort

Address: Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Diani Beach
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
#9 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Diani Sea Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 170
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on the most beautiful unspoiled crystal white sandy beaches on the south coast of Kenya. The expansive compound is shaded by coconut palm and a myriad of exotic tropical trees & flowers; the resort offers the ultimate tropical paradise. Animal life abounds in the compound and various varieties of monkeys can be seen jumping around in the vicinity. Bright white against the blue sky, the hotel has 170 rooms. The rooms are of 3 main categories: Standard rooms with garden view, Family rooms & Bahari rooms with sea/pool view. All rooms have TVs, coffee/tea making facilities, mini bars are in the Bahari rooms ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Diani Sea Hotel Ukunda

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