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“not impressive stay...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Papillon Lagoon Reef

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Papillon Lagoon Reef
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Diani Beach, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 31 Hotels in Diani Beach
Brussels, Belgium
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“not impressive stay...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2011

My husband and I have stayed in this hotel in February, 2011. We chose almost cheapest possible hotel, as we have spent most of our time on safari anyway. We have only spent 0,5 day in the hotel before the safari and 2,5 days after the safari.

Staff:
- our plane was late, so we arrived at the hotel at 13.00 (instead of 11), but staff even did not offer us to go quickly to restaurant to have a lunch. (after 12 hours in the plane and the last meal on board at 8.30 in the morning!)
- I found staff to be weird as they were laughing at my face. Once I had to ask them what is so funny, so after they started to behave kindly.
- I could complement the hotel guards who kept us in peace from the beach boys.

Hotel and service:
- hotel is very poor and used. Hotel staff told us that the hotel should be renovated in April. But I see the reviews from people who stayed there in April, so probably this was just a trick to be tipped for their future "unemployment period".
- Bathroom was huge, but water running from the tap was really weak.
- Air conditioner did not really cool the air. (it was always +29 in our room).
- the location and in particular the gardens are extremely beautiful.
- after we came back from the safari, I felt like I want to go home rather than stay in Kenya in this hotel, because I did not like it, the food was so so, wine and beer were disgusting, although fruit juices were wonderful. The other problem with drinks - when served in the beach, glasses were not something you would expect, but really dirty and used.
- I was not impressed with service in the restaurant (for drinks). We were often ignored. Once we tipped the guy, but even then he did not came back after we finished our glasses! (to compare, in Egypt, if you tip a guy he will make sure your glass is never empty. Actually we had impression that in Kenya people care about you until you tip them and as soon as you do, they forget who you are).
- Chaise-longues were almost broken and absolutely used, same for the beach towels...

Next time I would choose a hotel with private beach.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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458 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
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English first
hants
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2011

My girlfriend and I are just back from a week stay at Papillon and both desperately want to be there still. We were 'assigned' the hotel by the dive company we booked through, our accommodation being a secondary consideration to our diving at the time of booking.
However, the hotel is utterly enchanting with numerous staff who simply cannot do enough for you, excellent food and an amazing position up against the beach.
The beach boy problem that we had read about prior to our holiday is not a problem at all. Just say 'no thank you'. It really is that simple. They are not intimidating or aggressive and will not pursue you down the beach. My girlfriend attracted the attention of one of these guys as she walked back up the beach after a swim in the sea. He was very keen to get to know her and she chatted politely for a time before mentioning she had better go and find her boyfriend. He smiled broadly and waved her goodbye. As she said, no threat and all part of the experience.
The monkeys and bush babies that appear at meal times play out a hilarious double act with the staff who try to frighten them off with toy-like catapults and the birds and butterflies are beautiful. I wont dwell on the wine for long but the beer is fine and readily available all day, though happily we didn't see anybody abusing this.
We went on the 2 day safari and stayed at the lodge that is owned by the hotel. Its difficult to enunciate the moment when you walk through the unassuming front of the lodge to arrive in the main open plan dining room, complete with vast wooden verander looking directly over a watering hole, full of elephant, water buffalo, zebra etc. This is set on a back drop of African bush country as far as you can see.
Excellent.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Southampton, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2011

We have just returned from a two week holiday at the Papillon Lagoon and the main reason I am writing the review is to compliment the staff. They were all so helpful, friendly and fun. Although all 3 meals are buffet style all your drinks are served to you, as soon as you have finished your drink it is taken away with the offer of another one! We got to know the staff pretty well and so even in the evening at the bar non stop beer and red wine kept turning up at our table! The animation guys were also great, we were not really into playing many of the games but they still made a lot of effort to chat and joke with us. We did notice that not many people left tips but they really do get paid poorly so please do (at least in the evening). All the staff love English football so if you do have any football magazines or old football shirts you can spare then they would love to receive them.

The hotel itself was what it was - a 3 star hotel. Very clean but basic although it is one of the cheapest hotels in Kenya so you get exactly what you paid for. The grounds themselves were really well kept and the pool is lovely (although very cold!). I have to admit the beach boys are a nuisance and do kind of put you off going on the beach but they have an earning to make and so you really cant blame them.

They entertaninment was good (the dj francis was excellant) again these are really poorly paid (they really only get enough money to cover their travel expenses) so please do tip them (even if it is just 200 shillings).

I would defintely recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Zabrze
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2011

Pro: air conditioned and cosy rooms, good meal (excellent breakfasts - a lot of exotic fruits), a herd of hemi - domesticated monkeys, beautiful Diani beach, local tourist offices and (some) beach boys offer more and cheaper than official tourist offices, splendid lagoon reef nearby, nice swimming - pool (without jacuzzi), large jungle - composed garden
Cons: hotel staff is not friendly enough, some beach boys and shoopkeepers will attack you as soon as you go to the beach.
Generally: including Tsavo East safari, and trips to Wasumi and Funzi - I don't remember better holidays

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
grimsby
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2011

stayed here at the papillon yet again 14 th time ., so laid back ,
beautiful gardens overlooking beach, huge swimming pool,
swim up bar.beach to die for, pure white, vervet monkeys,
black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, hornbills ,bee eaters,
etc etc etc, all visit the grounds, on daily basis. staff very friendly,
can't do enough for you, nightly local shows, newly opened gym,
all in all we can't fault it. going again in november, like our second home.

Room Tip: best rooms are called garden rooms. 180-215 quiet
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  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northwich, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2011

I have mixed feelings writing this review, I can echo so much of the good things written in the previous reviews, however when reading this please bear in mind that we are two females travelling without male partners. The hotel itself is spotless, with well maintained gardens and upon arrival we knew we had made a good choice. We were given a welcome drink and shown to our room. Initially we felt the staff were friendly and although we did get a bit sick of the same questions daily which went something like this "where are you from?" Us: "England, near to Manchester". Staff: "You like Manchester United, football, (cue lots of football related questions)". We did however go along with this in good nature. On the end of day 4, we started to feel slightly uncomfotable when one particular barman came to talk to us and asked us if we wanted to go to a bar with some of the hotel staff, we declined. He then started to ask us questions about what room we were in and when we asked why he said he needed this for visa purposes. Needless to say we lied and gave him a different room number knowing there was no reason he would need this information. We then went on safari with JT safaris, which I will do a seperate review on but it was fab and you must as for George who is the most amazing guy ever. Upon our return to Papillon it had not gone unnoticed that we had been gone for 3 days and we had twice the amount of pestering we had before. Whilst the animation team were keen to get you involved, sometimes it got bl**dy annoying when you just wanted to read and although they tried to get everyone involved, we seemed to get asked more than anyone else (again, this may be due to us being two females). One particular day I'd gone to play badminton and I'd felt OK with the young man from the hotel who was part of the animation team, but the next day playing badminton he suggested 'me and you together' and wanted to come and meet me. It got to the point where we felt a little apprehensive about even sitting on our balcony and the fact there was only one female staff member seemed to make us even more uncomfortable. This aside, the food was good, although it got a bit repetitive, we always found something nice to eat and the BBQ night is very good. Entertainment is low key and again a little repetitive but this is Kenya!! Having changed our hotel from the Sea Lodge last minute due to reading some bad reviews, we were pleased with our choice and I don't want to deter anyone from what is a good hotel, just flag up our concerns.

Room Tip: All rooms seemed to have a good view.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2011

We stayed here for 10 nights in April 2011. There were four of us in total; my wife & I & two daughters of 11 & 8.
The resort is built in a Swahili Style. We had a Cottage Room at the back of the resort, close to reception. The room was small & basic but clean & tidy. The only complaint all holiday was the shower was poor & so were the lights in the room. We didn't have a TV or fridge but didn't really miss them either. We found ALL of the staff to be extremely friendly & helpful, from reception staff to the security guards. We were served during dinner most of the nights we were there by Nicholas who even came to say goodbye as we were leaving. The grounds are immaculate with plenty of Coconut Palm Trees & Baobab Trees. There are plenty of Monkeys & Baboons in the grounds which are fun to watch. My daughters spent nearly all of their time in the pool. They loved it & even joined in with the water polo, volleyball & aerobics. The evening entertainment was good also. There were plenty of sun loungers available. There was always a good selection of food & drink on offer. No it isn't 5 star but then it isn't a 5 star resort. I would much rather have some authenticity then go to a sterile marble halled hotel. I would have no hesitation in recommending this hotel.
The weather was hot all the time but it did rain one morning.
We did go into the sea on one day but had been put off going on the beach by other peoples reviews of the beach boys. They do seem to approach everyone on the beach but I never heard anyone complain about them. You will get this at all beach resorts however, as the beaches are all public in Kenya.
Whilst there we went on a 4 day, 3 night Safari which I had pre-booked with JT Safaris (Julius Tact Safaris). Having read reviews on various sites I had no problem sending a deposit ahead of arriving in Kenya. It was excellent & I will put a review on his web site www.julius-safaris.com. I understand that other companies are trying to cash in on Julius' good name. We had our own vehicle & guide (Samuel) & stayed in some fabulous locations. Julius K Nzumbi of JT Safaris does a great job in giving people a great Safari experience.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Papillon Lagoon Reef

Address: Diani Beach, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#9 Family Hotel in Diani Beach
#10 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#11 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Papillon Lagoon Reef 4*
Number of rooms: 119
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Also Known As:
Papillon Lagoon Reef Diani
Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel Diani

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