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“Disappointing April 13th!” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Diani Sea Lodge

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Diani Sea Lodge
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3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Diani Beach Road | Ukunda, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #14 of 31 hotels in Diani Beach
Merville-Franceville-Plage, France
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Disappointing April 13th!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

On arrival at the Diani Sea Lodge we were very disappointed. First of all I had stayed at the sister hotel Diani Sea Resort previously and thought that this was the one I had booked.We have been travelling to Kenya for some years now and have never been disapointed with the hotels we have stayed in. The room that we were allocated was 94 and was a long way from the main hotel, beach and bar. It was near the road by the entrance. Straight away we said that we wanted to upgrade to a room with a sea view and the staff were more than happy for us to change. The room we had upgraded to was very tired looking, the bathroom had a badly stained toilet bowl and black mold around the shower area. There was a huge gap under the door where mosquito's could find there way in. The terrace and furniture outside was covered in monkey poo. The bonus of the room was it had a fridge, tv and kettle. The food we thought was not as good as on our previous stays at different hotels on the diani beach. We stayed for one night and during that night I had severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps. The next day was our 40th wedding Anniversary and the rep Harry kindly brought me some red roses to the room and the cleaner of our room put a heart shape on the door with flowers. I would like to say that all the saff working at the Diani Sea Lodge are wonderful and can't do enough for you and Harry the Thompson rep was superb. The Hotel is very tired looking and is in need of refurbishment. In my opinion if guests arrive for their first time in Kenya then they will think that it is the normal satndard of most hotels but this is not the case. There are plenty of 3 star hotels that are much better. We payed a total of £250 to upgrade to the Diani Sea Resort in a room with sea view fridge tv and large bed. Well worth the extra.

Room Tip: Check out several rooms for a suitable one on check in. The hotel staff are very helpfull and will c...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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 (64)
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london
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

I booked a one week all-inclusive holiday through Firstchoice to stay at Diani Sea lodge (not to be confused with Diani Sea resort). It is a cheap/basic/budget option and if your needs/standards are more than average, you'd be better off paying a few hundred pounds more to stay elsewhere. That said, in hindsight I'd personally still have gone with this option.
Upon arrival at Mombassa airport, there was a tedious wait through customs, followed by a coach transfer (including a short ferry crossing) which took about 1 hour 40minutes in total.
Diani sea lodge was perhaps the least luxurious of the hotel stops. However check in was efficient (passports were retained to be photocopied) and my party of 2 were given 1 room key.
Our room was basic but clean. I believe all rooms have the same layout - 2 twin beds next to each other which form a double bed, with a 4 poster frame which holds a fully enclosed mosquito net. A wardrobe, drawers, and bathroom with shower, toilet and bidet. There was a balcony with table and 2 chairs which looked out onto the landscaped pathways with trees, flowers, monkeys, lizards and creepy crawlies galore. 

In the room there was no fridge, no minibar, no kettle, no telephone and no source of fresh water. The tap water is absolutely undrinkable (salty sea water) though an old flask is provided which is filled daily with fresh water, and which you can refill yourself at the main hotel. Glasses of fresh water are available on request at the bar, but bottles of water must be paid for.  There are frequent powercuts and the back up generators do not power the Air Con or plugs in the room. Water pressure often goes too so there may be hours with no running water. 
Food in the hotel is fine, I'm fairly fussy and there was enough variety for me. It was nice to have fresh fruits like watermelon, mango, papaya, little bananas and passion fruits available to eat at mealtimes. There were generally meat and fish options with variations of rice and potatoes. If one stayed more than a week, options might get a bit repetitive, but I had no problems with the choice. Food portions were naturally small (you are generally served at each station rather than being able to get your own food). However you can either ask for more or go back for more later. 
Drink choices were standard all-inclusive fare -cheap tasting red or white wine (red wine often chilled unless you specify), Tusk lager, a few cocktails. Juices, cola, diet cola, fanta, etc. A snack bar is available daily between midday to 4pm with sandwiches, pizza, burgers, chips, salad, etc.
It is worth noting that all-inclusive is not 24/7 and there are many times of the day when there is no food available at all (e.g, between 4pm and 7.30pm. Also like all hot countries there are flies about when you are eating/drinking though this is not hotel specific. 
It was low season when I was there (perhaps due to the looming threat of showers/rainy season) so there were enough loungers for all. There was a small pool, massages (cheap) and pretty and scenic beach available at the hotel, though as other reviewers have said, beach sellers can be irritating (however I generally kept my headphones on and ignored them entirely). The security guards will generally tell the beach sellers to bog off but it depends how close you are to the hotel. 
All the staff are constantly angling for tips, the lengths they will go to are pretty ridiculous, including one security guard who knocked our door at 11pm to collect his tip as he wasn't going to be working the next day. They will keep tabs of when you are leaving to ensure they don't miss a Big tip at the end and they will make sure you know their day off in case you miss the chance to give them their tip. There are lots and lots of staff there and if you were to tip every single time you get a drink, or meal or have someone pull out your chair or answer a question, you'll need to budget extra for the holiday. They think everyone from abroad is rich. I personally only tip when I feel like, not through obligation so I only tipped one person the entire holiday and instead chose to make a donation to the Diani children's village up the road which is a children's home I visited (they appreciate foodstuffs such as maize, sugar, oil, as well as stationary -less so sweets!). My biggest tip to some of the male staff is DEODORANT and SOAP. I know it's hot but at least 4 staff had severe Body Odour/B.O./sweat issues which is especially off putting if you are eating and they stop at your table to offer another drink.
Everyone including hotel staff is OBSESSED with getting you to do a safari (so they can get commission). You'll get asked a hundred times if you've booked your safari yet. Every single trip through Thomsons/firstchoice is extortionately priced, I have never before seen such ridiculous pricing, particularly considering the low low costs in the country so I refused to book a single trip with them. Instead I arranged a days excursion through JT Safaris. The hotel or most people know JT (Julius) and he will send a driver to collect you from the hotel gate at an appointed time and talk over tour options with you. His tour options are good too because you are not forced to do parts of the tour you might find boring and can specify what you want to see. His prices are far fairer than Thomson ones so certainly worth getting a quote. He is online too if you wish to email before you go. 
There are 3 hotel shops, one selling clothes which I rarely saw open. Another selling just wood carvings or wifi at 5 shillings a minute, and the other selling a tiny selection of overpriced food items, souvenir bits and wifi at 5 shillings a minute. The wifi was reliable and quick when I used it but only available right near the shops (in the reception area). It would not allow me to download ebooks, epapers, etc though. 
Everything aimed at tourists is overpriced so beware. They'll charge you 6 times what they charge locals.There is a supermarket (not cheap) if you leave the hotel, turn right and walk 10 minutes straight down the road. The hotel is located in a rural area though, primed for its beach, so there is little to do. 
Entertainment is provided each evening to varying standards. 
My travel companion (and others) had a belly ache by the end of the holiday, but I was fine. Would I stay there again? Only if it was really really bargainously cheap.

Room Tip: If you're not happy with your room, ask for a different one
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

Just returned from two weeks in the diani sea lodge, South Mombassa.
Really enjoyed our stay. Staff are the best incluing bar, restaurant, animation, security, cleaners etc. They are such friendlly people and will always say hello or Jambo no matter what.

Rooms are basic but clean. We were landed with our room as when we booked it said partial sea view so i was expecting to see a tiny bit of sea in the distance. However, I wouldnt even call it partial sea view, i would say full sea view! It was amazing waking up to the Indian ocean every day. Not only this but the monkeys love this area and you get o experience them so closely in the comfort of your own room and balcony. BUT BE WARNED. DO NOT EAT ANYTHING ON THE BALCONY AS THE MONKEYS WILL STEAL IT. First day we arrived i opened my Dortitos that i was really looking foward to and i must had only one crisp before a little monkey came along, snatched the bag and sat on my balcony eating my crisps infront of me. They are amazing to watch!

The one negative i would say is that there is no free wi fi!

For the price we paid and what we had it was excellent value for money

Room Tip: c7 was the best view for sea and monkeys
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BRISTOL
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
6 helpful votes 6 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
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Nottingham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 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.
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Additional Information about Diani Sea Lodge

Address: Diani Beach Road | Ukunda, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#11 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Diani Sea Lodge 3.5*
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 
Also Known As:
Diani Sea Hotel Diani

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