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“Stay here, but off the beach” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Diani Sea Lodge

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Diani Sea Lodge
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Diani Beach Road | Ukunda, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya   |  
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Ranked #16 of 31 Hotels in Diani Beach
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Stay here, but off the beach”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

We flew into Unkunda, and had a 10 minute taxi ride to the hotel. The accommodation is lovely, the staff are friendly. Food is delicious. Cost is ALL inclusive including drinks. The only drawback are the many steps. It is built on a hill, so while one can look out over scores of beautiful bougainvillea, one also has to watch for steps. One of our party was recovering from a hip replacement, so had challenges walking. However, she managed successfully, and the staff were very careful to see that she didn't have a problem. The only unpleasant experience was on the beach where we were assailed by people trying to sell us things, while wanting to appear to be friendly. When you want to just have a quiet walk on the beach, it is frustrating to be besieged by hawkers.

Room Tip: Rooms toward the beach are a bit more expensive and have a kettle in the room.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
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348 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

I was a solo traveller on this trip, a "use it or lose it holiday" on arrival was allocated a room at the top end of site (90) which was just too far from the centre of the complex, my room was changed to one close to the reception area (18), the room in itself was fine but the aircon was not in the main room and was not working particularly well, there are frequent power cuts in this area of Kenya and the site has a generator which runs whilst the mains power is off, however, this is located between rooms 17 & 18, as the power cuts can happen at anytime day or night try to avoid any room between 13 & 28, they are just too close to the generator and you will not get any sleep, another downside is that when the generator is running, it does not supply power to all aircon units, needless to say I was moved to another room (124) and was very happy with my room for the rest of my stay, my room was very clean and serviced every day.

The restaurant was very nice, open sides and ceiling fans which made for a nice airy atmosphere, the food was varied and fresh catering for all tastes, there was always a soup starter (sometimes a choice of 2) a meat dish, fish dish and a vegetarian option, the salad bar was the freshest that I have come across yet, a nice selection of sweet dishes was on offer along with fresh tropical fruits to finish the meal (keep an eye out for the Bread and Butter pudding with a Marmalade topping, it is the tops) the staff in the restaurant were very attentive and the service was second to none, my thanks to Daniel and Michael who made mealtimes that little bit special, the Chef and Sous-Chef were on hand at most main meals and appreciated the positive feedback from those of us who made the effort to give it.
Just one reservation, watch out for the chicken on BBQ night, it was being served almost raw which was a problem as you will be eating outside in poor light, it was highlighted to the staff who assured us that they would look into it.

Beach/pool beds and towels, as you would expect a scramble for prime positions, however there is plenty of room and space for all, if you slip the pool boy a drink, he will save your preferred spot for you ( same as most other beach resorts)

The Beach bar, probably the only disappointing aspect of this holiday, the staff appeared disinterested and at times just plain lazy, it was almost like the customers were an inconvenience, there was little enthusiasm and barely a smile to be seen.

The bar area was arranged in an unusual configuration with the drinks fonts being located in a room at the back of the bar, so your drinks were poured out of sight in a back room, you could see into this room which wasn't particularly clean and left a lot to be desired (where was the washing up being done, was it a clean area??)

The bar top was filthy and was only given a cursory wipe with a "spontex" type cloth when spills occured, if you look at the bar top there are 3 lines across the top, a cleaner area where the barstaff wipe the inside edge, a cleaner area where the customer leans on the bar and a filthy middle section where there is no cleaning, we saw monkeys sitting on the bar, cats sitting on the bar and Fruitbats (in the roof area above the bar) defecating onto the bar, needless to say a feast for the numerous flies mopping up the spills, at no time did I see anyone give the bartop a good clean, I would have liked to see a bottle of bleach a bucket of suds and a scrubbing brush used every morning to clean up (Basic hygiene really) there were some very savvy repeat customers who had brought their own insulated glasses/mugs which meant that they didn't have to use the bar glasses and their beer was kept cooler for longer.
The "all-inclusive" drinks consisted of Tusker draught lager (which became very boring after 2 weeks) the local spirits were OK, but were all poured with the same measure which was dunked in the same glass of water after each use and cross contamination was a real concern, particularly given that a large proportion of the staff are Muslim and the glass is retrieved with the left hand .... Optics would have been a better option.

Adjoining the bar was a bar snack area, the kitchen hygiene was questionable and the food was of poor quality, think of the worst roadside greasy spoon that you have ever been to, it will have been luxury by comparison, eat here at your peril.
Upset tummies were very common, so much so that the bar would prepare a "Medicinal Cocktail" for those afflicted.

In my opinion (for what it is worth) the bar and snack area could do with a complete makeover, bring the drinks out of the back room and into the counter area, revamp the snack bar and change the barstaff ...... if you walk 700m along the beach to the sister hotel you will find a clean airey bar area with friendly staff and drinks poured at the front of house, so it can and does happen in this hotel chain.

There were a lot of German tourists at the hotel, I estimate that they made up around 80% of the guests there, not a big issue and great if you want to brush up or practice your German.

It was quite evident that there were quite a few solo German travellers (both sexes) who were there for sex tourism, some had "hired" their partners for the duration of their holiday and some were bringing locals into the hotel on a casual basis ..... not my thing, I found it quite distasteful, the locals are very poor and this was blatant exploitation.
As a solo traveller, I was propositioned (persistently) by two of the female staff whilst staying here, I declined of course.

On the beach, your normal traders who were persistent, at times agressive and even tried resorting to emotional blackmail, everyone is your friend or your brother, they all quote outrageously inflated prices, if you want something state a price that you will be happy to pay, stick to it, don't waver and be prepared to walk away, be prepared to tell them in no uncertain terms to go away if necessary.

The sea, clean, shallow at low-tide and warm, take a snorkel and mask there are so many different types of fish, it is like swimming in a marine aquarium,try to get out to the reef or to some of the close coral outcrops, there are some deeper channels and there are plenty of fish, you will need shoes to wear in the sea as there are thousands of Sea-Urchins everywhere.
The local beach-boys will take you out to the reef in their dugout, be firm when negotiating a price they have some very strange ideas of what constitutes a fair price.

Security, 24hr security onsite, the guards were everywhere and very visible both day and night, they also managed the beach area in front of the hotel and ensured that the beach sellers didn't become a nuisance, I felt safe at all times.

Entertainment, there was a show or entertainment every evening around 9pm, during the day there is a team of activity staff who arrange local visits and trips along with competitions on the beach (Volley-ball, Boules, lob the coconut and others) great fun.

Massage, you can get a massage, pedicure, manicure onsite, I did have a massage and if ever I need a couple of doors rubbed down before painting I will give the hotel masseuse a call, you could also get a massage on the beach for 60% of the price which was far superior (nothing dodgy, just a very nice massage)

Vervet Monkeys were a pain, don't carry any food in your hand whilst walking around site (I was attacked and bitten for a few peanuts) the Security staff do chase the Monkeys and Baboons away from the customers but they cannot be everywhere, there were also squirrels which would come down for a piece of coconut (very cute) and there were Colobus Monkeys which don't come close but are great to watch feeding, the birdlife was also very good if you are a twitcher.

I could have spent more time outside of the site, I did visit the local shops and supermarket, the locals are very friendly and chatty, I have been on many Safari' and travelled to 11 countries in Africa so was happy to spend the bulk of my time onsite with the occasional walk up the beach to the sister hotel, I didn't fancy the local bars, not really my thing.

I did enjoy my time at this hotel, there are some areas which need improvement, I would return to this hotel but maybe for 10 days rather than 2 weeks, WiFi would have been nice to have without having to pay, it wasn't expensive but gratis WiFi seems to be the norm elsewhere thesedays, I would possibly upgrade to one of the superior rooms to have a little more room, access to a TV and a minibar, but if you just want somewhere nice to relax close to the Indian Ocean a standard room is more than adequate.

I hope that this helps, enjoy your stay :)

Room Tip: Try to avoid the rooms at the top of site, they are too far from the main hotel area, avoid rooms an...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 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
    • 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.
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

Arrived at the diani sea lodge for a 2 week holiday on the 9th march 2013! with my partner! 1st inpression was good! check in at the hotel was good & quick! room was very basic but also very clean. the hotel itself is a bit tired looking and can do with a good referb! the pictures on the internet are a bit flattering to be honest. the food & staff are great cant do enough for you REAL NICE PEOPLE!! also the management are great to. trish my partner was ill at one stage and they went out of there way to make sure she got better as did our first choice rep stacey! who must have been born to do that job cos was tops at it! unfortunately there was no tea or coffee facilities in our room which was a pain as due to our jobs both me & my partner are early risers and had to wait until 7.30am . the beach is very nice but the beach boys can be a serious pain! but the hotel security do a top job! i took my safari with jt safaris (jtsafaris@yahoo.com) the service we got was out of this world!! we did tsavo east & west and stayed at the ashnil aruba lodge & kilaguni serena lodge which was both amazing!! we paid 666 usd each for our own private jeep & driver! which may seem a bit pricey!! but worth every penny . the airport in leaving kenya was a complete shambles!! air con not good! & by the time we went tho all the security checks! didnt have enough time for even a coffee before the long 9 hr fleight! all in all a very good holiday!! glad we done it & would do it again 1day!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 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.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

I have just returned home yesterday and I have cried buckets, if I could have stayed forever I would have. This holiday was not just about the Hotel, although it was excellent and the staff could not do enough, despite being a poor country the people are so genuinely happy, smiling and realy friendly, they are amazing. I f you go to this hotel please say hello to Jacqueline (trainee), Jumo (trainee waiter) Jumo Mbwana (temporary fill in waiter), Ali (sun beds) for me. If you want to experience the real Kenya and embrace the fact this is a developing country with no English bars and fish and chips then you will love it!
Very hot weather, be prepared to spend the holiday sweating! so hair straightners and makeup a bit of a waste of time. The beach boys add to the atmosphere although people do find them tiresome at times, but if you respect them and are polite but firm they respect you back, eventually lol Remember this is a poor country, but the people are truly amazing. Please go and see for yourself

Room Tip: If you can upgrade to a room with sea view it is worth it for the sea breeze as well as the view fro...
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warsaw, Poland
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Our room in Diani Sea Lodge was rather basic, but we didn't plan to stay there except to sleep. Cleaning was good. Beds were fine, AC working, nice surrounding (garden is very nice). The beach was excellent, although beach boys can be tiring. Hotel animators did marvelous job! Every day they offered different attractions. Safari trip is a must so next time I would rather book shorter hotel stay and longer safari - we took 2 days at Masai Mara and some shorter trips. The food was very good and I ate tons of mango.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

Took a few days to get used to African life and people but then had an amazing time.

We couldn’t fault the hotel and staff- our room was always spotless and the staff were friendly without being pushy and couldn’t do enough for you. Food was good although the first outdoor barbeque night there weren’t enough tables for guests so a bit of confusion while more tables were set up. Also the queue for food was a bit of a pain. Quality of food was excellent and always hot and plentiful. The animation staff were brilliant – I hate joining in things but they were very respectful so I actually did join in various things and enjoyed them. I think we all fell in love with Safari – an absolute darling.

We used JT Safaris (Julius ) for our trips. The hotel reception will call him for you. He arranges for a driver to pick you up to take you to his offices to discuss everything. He was very professional and our driver Ken (John) was great. They really go out of their way to make sure everything is satisfactory . We went on our own which does make it more expensive so if you meet up with others on the way out or early in your visit it is worth trying to get a 4 or 6 some together – also good to have some more “eyes” while you are searching for animals. Do have a day in the Simba Hills if you can, we did that first and had a couple of days rest before doing a 2 day safari to Tsavo east and west. Had originally planned to do a 3 day safari but other people had returned and said how tiring it was so decided to split and have a day in Simba Hills instead. Interestingly it would have been cheaper to pay for our safari in English money rather than US $ or Kenyan Shillings!

The shops at the sister hotel Diani Sea Resort (walk along the beach, have a drink at the bar, then go to the main front gate and there are a dozen or so shops just outside) had a good selection of goods at very reasonable prices. The shop at the main gate of the Diani Sea Lodge was also good and we tried to support them rather than those inside the hotel.

The Kenyan people are beautiful, charming and full of flattery. But beware, they are still after your money. The beach boys can seem pushy but we ignored them totally (which to us seemed very rude) until we had booked our safaris, then actually had some good conversations with them about their lives.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013 via mobile

Jambo,I visited Kenya between the 18th and the 25th September 2012,it's took me a while to write a review as it was so amazing I wanted to tell my family and friends about it all before I posted it on here!!!Travelled to Kenya with my 68yr old nan for my 21st birthday and we booked with Thomson who couldn't have done more for us. On arrival at Mombasa airport it was more than what I expected,lovely airport the only thing was we had to queue up for our visa and there was no air condition,by that point I was nearly melting.All the staff at the airport could speak most languages including German,Italian and French and were very friendly,you can change your sterling at the airport to Kenyan shillings with a better rate than what Gatwick airport gave us.As soon as we got out the airport Thomson staff were there to give us a warm welcome and guide us to our bus to take us to our hotel. When we arrived at diani sea lodge the staff were very helpful and efficient and took us to our room,basic room which looked over to the beach,very clean and the air condition worked well,BONUS:-)All the staff at the hotel are very friendly especially daniel and safari the entertainers.Stacey our rep who was Kenyan was lovely,spoke very good English and was really down to earth and made us feel very welcome.THe hotel is right on the beach ,you can just walk onto it,the only thing is your harassed as soon as you step onto the beach.The food was very nice it was a buffet every night but I must say it was very clean I was impressed. We had a jam packed week,we done the 'the bush tour' which was an eye opener ,a lot of poverty in Kenya we don't realise how lucky we are,we got to see children at 'school' under mango trees,very clever children and were so happy even though they had nothing,take pens and sweets with you to give to the children as they have nothing.We also got to see how the locals lived,how they make there food from coconuts and even got to taste the coconut juice.IT is a full day tour so we even had lunch and got to know about all the different tribes.We also done the 3 day simply safari ,one word AMAZING:-)STayed at the salt lick lodges ,food was absolutely amazing and again the staff couldn't have done more for us.ON safari we went to tsavo West and east and got to see loads of animals,we didn't get to see a rhino but saw Kenyas big 4.ON the way to tsavo we went through loads of different villages and that's when you actually see the real poverty.WE also done the wasini island tour and went snorkelling ,that was really good and you also get lunch,I love my food and and that was one of the best,fresh sea food,fresh crab and it was delicious. THe locals drive mad and it was a bit crazy at times,I thought it was highly amusing but nan wasn't amused :-)I wouldn't say it was safe for 2 woman to leave the hotel by themselves as you do get harassed by the locals but we did manage to get on the local bus which is called a matatu ,there local bus is just like a van,they try and fit as many people possible and health and safety doesn't exist,but that's what made Kenya an amazing experience and I would recommend anyone to go there and would love to get the chance to go back again.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Diani Sea Lodge

Address: Diani Beach Road | Ukunda, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#12 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Diani Sea Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 168
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated right on the white sand beach of the Indian Ocean, Diani Sea Lodge, an all-inclusive 3+ resort, is surrounded by lush tropical gardens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Diani Sea Hotel Diani

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