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“Good value for money” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Papillon Lagoon Reef

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Papillon Lagoon Reef
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3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Diani Beach, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #16 of 32 Hotels in Diani Beach
kent
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Good value for money”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2014

There are many positives to this hotel - the food was excellent, the staff are very friendly and helpful, the entertainments team make it all good fun. The setting is beautiful, the pool is lovely and the sunbeds are very comfortable. It is also very good value for money.

The negatives prevent me from giving this a top rating. Not taking into account our specific issues, it was a shame that the drinks were always luke warm (including the revolting wine!) and there were no diet options. Cold mineral water would have gone down a treat, but even when we purchased a sealed bottle, it was not cold. I appreciate it is probably difficult to keep things cold in that climate but other hotels we visited managed to provide cold drinks.

Our room wasn't as clean as it could be - particularly the flask of filtered water provided for teeth cleaning which from start to finish was ingrained in toothpaste. The bathroom looked shabby with a few broken towels. It was just a bit tired. However, the other members of our group had rooms that looked better and cleaner.

It's a shame that the beach if virtually out of bounds unless you are happy to be hassled by the beach boys. It would have been lovely to lay out there for a bit but just not possible. They are harmless and we had some fun bartering with them, but they dont really take no for an answer and seem to expect you to purchase their junk on a daily basis.

Hotel has a "dress code" and having asked in advance if it was necessary for my 13 year old son to wear long trousers and a shirt at night (and having been told yes) we were shocked to find men in shorts, collarless shirts, vest tops, t shirts, football shirts and even swimwear! during the evenings. Dress code was not adhered to in the slightest while we were there which we were very surprised about. (We were told by the rep that it's only the English that pay attention to the dress code!).

The biggest problem for us was that we had chosen this hotel on the basis that it had family rooms for 4. We were 2 x families of 4 and 1 x single person. We booked through an agent and specifically requested this combination of rooms. Our booking came back as 3 family rooms as we were told there was no single supplement due to it being low season, so it should have given us 3 nearby rooms, each able to accommodate 4 people.

We arrived after having travelled on rough, dusty roads for 9 hours, so just wanted to get in our rooms and shower asap. However on arrival we had been allocated 3 x triple rooms. Hotel claimed that our request had not been relayed, and as we were a party of 9 they had allocated rooms accordingly. This did not work out for us at all - the single traveller needed a single room and the families needed to sleep together or at least in adjoining rooms. Hotel claimed they were full and there was no other room available. After a lot of discussion, the only solution was to move the beds around and put an additional bed in 2 of the triple rooms. Not a great solution as the rooms are small (and at one point they were planning on giving beds with no mosquito nets as they claimed there was no mosquito's or maleria! - we refused this).

So 2 hours or more after arriving and we could finally check into our rooms. Without this we would probably have overlooked the minor "complaints" mentioned above and given a higher rating as overall it was a great place to stay at a reasonable cost.

Next day the rep confirmed that we had booked 3 x family rooms, and family rooms were for 4 people. However that was as far as we got with it out there and we have taken it up with the agent since returning home.

Trips were ridiculously overpriced which was a shame as we were there for a week and it would have been nice to visit the area. But the only trip of vague interest to us was the dolphin trip and was around £80 pp with no reduction for children as they were over 12 (and no guarantees that we would even see dolphin, let alone swim with them). There was not much choice of trips unless you wanted to book a safari (which we had already done in our first week).

Despite a few negatives we still feel we had good value for money, and although things like bottled water and internet access are an expensive extra, we were aware before travelling that we would have to pay for these.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (57)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Croydon, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2014

Just got back from my honeymoon, after staying at Papillon Lagoon Reef. We were welcomed with a complimentary bottle and fresh fruit platter which was nice. The best thing about this hotel is probably the staff. They work so hard and ensure you are looked after, they are so kind and welcoming, happy, friendly and charming. They just want to have a chat with you and it makes so much difference to them. The pool is constantly cleaned and well maintained, and the bar in the pool is a bonus. Great sunbeds for tanning and free use of towels. The food is very very good, there is so much choice for each meal and staff do their best to look after you. We were able to keep our room until we left the hotel at no extra cost- in fact they even apologised that we had checked out early! The beach is paradise. The beach boys are quite intense but again they want to chat and show you their items for sale. The garden view room was fine, I heard the sea front view had a fridge, sofa and tv so go for that if you want it. Great monkeys and baboons around the hotel grounds. The hotel puts on entertainment every night which is nice and you should try and tip the entertainment. Lastly the Animation team work every day to get you to try sports (such as volley ball, water polo, water aerobics and bocce) and make it really enjoyable (thank you King George!) You won't be disappointed but make sure you go on Safari- brilliant :) I cant wait to go back, it has been amazing!!!!!

Room Tip: Garden view room does the job but if you want luxury go for the seafront view rooms.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hertfordshire
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2014

Just got back from an 11 night stay. Had a brilliant time from being given an ice cold drink on arrival to being able to keep our room on until it was time to leave for the airport on our last day. You can't beat the staff, they all make you feel very welcome. Stayed in a garden room which is more than adequate. Variety of food great even taking into account me being a vegetarian. There was entertainment every night and pool activities every day. I even had a Swahili lesson one day. Fantastic beach, shame about the beach bums but you just have to tell them that you are not interested and then they will leave you alone. There are monkeys that roam the grounds but provided that you don't leave any food or drink around, they kind of act to the character of the hotel. Would I come back? Most definitely once I can save up.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

The location of this hotel is juste perfect!
Not so far from the Mombasa airport, and in front of probably the best beach I never seen but definitely the most beautiful!
Warm welcome at the arrival with a free frech drink and very kind Front office manager. The rooms are good, just the necessary but weel done.
Food change every day, good choice, fesh and well made.
Special congrats to the staff, all of them are very nice and polite and pofessionnal!
I recommend this place if you want to enjoy all of Knya can offer.. Outstanding beach and sea and vcltoh to th National Parks to en joy a Safari!
YOU CAN TRUST THE BEACH BOYS TO DO A SAFARI ( cheaper than in the hotel ), just speak with them, and ask them a guarantee! 100% TRUST to Francois ;)

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014 via mobile

Our welcome at this hotel was greeted with a lovely wet cloth and fresh juice. The food was faultless, great choices at every sitting. The staff were so polite and could not do enough for us. Drinks were free flowing but could do with some diet choice. Wine was ok but the red was great mixed with orange juice. The entrainment team lead by king George were fun especially at the water polo!! Africa v Europe!! Hope to go back again next year.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
somerset
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

My wife and I stayed from the 23 Jan - 12 Feb at Papillon where we had a beautiful holiday. This was our 1st time of staying here and we were very impressed with all aspects of the hotel. On the advice of other reviews we upgraded to a seafront room (156) and felt the extra cost was money well spent. The staff from room steward Ali, barmen Freddie and Geoffrey, waiters Patrick and Steven, reception team and gardeners all made sure everything ran smoothly. Another plus we found was plenty of sunbeds were available. If we could find a negative it is, PLEASE give your staff name badges. We will be returning.

Room Tip: Seafront worth the extra money.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2014

Rooms. Based on room 105 a garden room. Of adequate size with patio with 3 chairs and small table.There is a dressing table with large mirror and two lights and incorporates a storage area for cases.A small stool is provided which requires a folded towel to make it comfortable.Hanging and shelf storage is adequate and houses the safe (extra charge) you will require additional clothes hangers.There is a double and a single bed within an effective mosquito netted area with a ceiling fan.Two bedside tables each with a table lamp. We found the beds comfortable. The shower room contains the loo and basin with generous shelving for your washbag contents.The water is hot, the shower effective and the plug works. Of course the tap drips.There's a hook on the door and you get one hand and one bath towel each. The air cooling is effective and works between 5 pm & 9 am. There is no television, wi-fi,tea making facilities or comfortable chair. The room servicing is excellent.There are power points at the dressing table and water is provided in a vacumn flask for teeth cleaning
Gardens.The hotel is built on a hill with easy steps through the attractive gardens to the white sand gently shelving beach. Sea is warm. There are plenty of comfortable loungers and clean towels are issued every day. The trees give shade and the gardens and public areas are kept clean and tidy. The large pool is also warm with a big shallow area and deeper part.
Food and drink. There is plenty of choice between salads, vegetarian dishes, meat and fish, cooked vegetables and fresh fruit. Even the fussiest eater will do well here and they cater for alergies as well. Soft drinks are limited with only two differs of fruit cocktails but being inventive is fun .Alcohol is on tap from 10 am with some 'dry' periods when bar locations are changed.
One of the joys of this hotel is the staff... all courteous and friendly.The evening entertainment
starts at 9-30 for about 45 mins. and is entertaining and followed by the ubiquitous disco. The animation team are gently persuasive and should you take part new friends and much laughter await.
We had an enjoyable, relaxing and comfortable holiday here in pretty surroundings and commend it to you. By the way we are both in our early 70's

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 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.
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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:
#10 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#10 Family Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Papillon Lagoon Reef 3*
Number of rooms: 119
Also Known As:
Papillon Lagoon Reef Diani
Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel Diani

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