Okay my story's sad but true. First off: Diani Reef Hotel is the place to stay if you're looking for a great place at a great value. Because of the so-called terrorism in Nairobi, I think all the High Alerts made tourism to Kenya tank and lots of people to cancel their vacations. It was really sad because the staff was so nice and working hard to make nice food and yet there were only like 20 guests in the entire resort. It did make it peaceful. They were giving ocean view standard rooms (when I booked a garden view) for no extra charge just because they were so empty.
The south coast is a safe area and people who complain that its a far drive from the Mombasa airport are just saying that because they don't really know Kenya or the area. Maybe they are a little apprehensive and when you dont know a place and the drive just keeps going and you don't know when the end point is, you might get nervous or something.
But no need to worry! First the little bit longer drive to south coast instead of up to Nyali or Mtwapa (which take about as long because of traffic) is SO worth it. Can we say STRIKINGLY BEAUTIFUL WHITE SAND Beach at Diani Reef??? Yes Weeee Can Can!
and the Mystic Spa at the hotel was wonderful. It was beautiful, clean, professional, and the people were nice and skilled and gave great massages and pedicures. Great little places to sit and lounge and relax...So calming. You can expect to spend about 5000-10000 KSH for the basic massages and facials with things like manicures and pedicures being less. My spa bill was about 1100, and my wife got a facial, and i got a back and neck massage, and we both got pedicures. (don't ask...my wife said she wanted my toes to look nice)
The back of the hotel has a nice pool with a Tiki bar. and a few more paces past the pool and you are on that White Sand!
I will make a note here about the beach. This hotel has a great beach that has good sand and clean water. Some don't. They have great sand but the water is so shallow that there is a ton of seaweed always washed up on the sand. I even saw some expensive resorts which had this problem. Voyager up in Nyali is a nice, fairly inexpensive all-inclusive (and worth going to) but its beach is like that too, as opposed to White Sands resort in Nyali which is better, but more expensive. Even more expensive than Diani Reef was with the specials it was running.
Several double beach lounges with umbrellas for couples like me and my wonderful wife.
Only get half-board (breakfast and dinner) You dont really need lunch cuz there is so much food at the other times and you should be relaxing at the beach or pool Not at a buffet. I ordered a Tuscan Pizza by the pool and it was surprisingly decent considering I usually am disappointed in Kenya if I try to order something like that.
I know some people on here complained about the linens. I think they are just snobs. Yes the first day I noted that the towels were normal mid-range hotel towels. Then the next day they were much more fluffy...obviously new. I think the hotel is trying to respond to this nitpicky snobby complaint. If you want 6-star go spend $400 a night at a bungalow or something. Geesuz - at this resort you should spend as little time in your room as possible anyway. AND THE ROOMS WERE BEAUTIFUL ANYWAY. You get rose petals on your bed and bath the first night. the furniture is nice and bright. It was great.
Believe me, I was getting concerned as the date arrived and I was reading a bad review here and there that was even given within a couple weeks of my planned sojourn. But its all good. I think some people just can't be pleased. Even someone complaining about having a ton of charges when they checked out.
Every thing extra you order, you sign a receipt for and get a copy. Keep your copies and they give you time to compare when you're checking out if you want. I think some people just dont keep track of their spending and then want someone to gripe at. And then people complain about monkeys.. YOUR IN AFRICA! REMEMBER??? I saw a lot of monkeys (they were cute), and I appreciate the complainers mentioning to close your room when you leave...but really, you thought you should leave your room open in Africa anyway???? I even had the pleasure of seeing a Komodo Dragon run across the pool area, jump in the pool, climb out, and then run across the yard, and jump in a stream. No one working at the hotel had EVER seen such a thing. I can't promise you that you'll get such a sight, but what an amazing thing to have been there fore.
The sad part for me was my wife was pregnant and got really sick after we were there (unrelated to Kenya. She's Kenyan. It was just the pregnancy) only 1 day of our 4-day trip.
But luckily, right across the streat is Diani Beach Hospital, the nicest most western hospital I have seen in Kenya. I could walk there in 10 minutes from the lobby. And I had to, because me and my wife spent the entire rest of our trip in the hospital room. I only got a massage and 1 hr by the beach and 2 hrs by the pool the first day, on our whole trip. But I'm glad my wife had good care. The hotel was great. They made me Masala Chai in a thermos to take to her and I even was able to come back and bring her back some food and fruit from the buffets.
I so would go back to Diani Reef, and probably will next time we are in Kenya.
Diani Reef Resort has some great things going for it. Its beautiful, cozy, close to the beach, the beach is gorgeous, and it's actually at the north end of the South Coast so it's one of the closest resorts from Mombasa Airport, anyway.
Also, one day I was standing in the lobby and a guy had walked over from the Leopard Resort down the road. He was complaining that it was a lot more expensive but he wished he had come back to Diani Reef Resort. He said the staff wasn't as nice at Leopard, and it cost a lot more. Next time he was coming back to Diani Reef like he had before.
And one last comment about bad reviewers...concerning the Beach Boys trying to sell rides and safaris and such. They are on ANY beach in the 3rd world. And there weren't too many anyway. And remember, they are people too. If you knew how little money they probably make you'd probably treat them nicer. Just sincerley tell them you appreciate the offer but you are here to relax and be alone with your family and wish them a nice day. Be sincere. They aren't evil. They are wonderful Kenyans! who are just trying to make a living and they dont get to stay at some amazing resort.
The resort also had some water sports avaialable. I wanted to do some of that, but wasn't able to since my wife got sick. So it leaves something for next time. I wish I could tell you a nearby safari package to buy that you'll be happy with, but didn't have a chance to try any yet. Stay tuned. Maybe next year!
So that's all. Dont hesitate. Don't worry. Just book it. June through mid November rates are lower and the weather is a bit less scorching hot and humid like December starts too get. You can always get unlucky with rain, but that can happen with any vacation.
Our four days were perfect weather and we spent three of them in a hospital room. Then after we left, there was 3-4 days of cloudier and sometimes rainy weather, surely bumming out tourist that had just arrived.
But that isnt the resorts fault or Kenya's fault. It just is.
Roll the dice on some dates and def book your vacation at this hotel. Be nice and ask for them to give you a clean nice room with good linens because you were a little afraid of a couple reviews and I am sure they will be accommodating. Tell them it was my review that won you over, and I'm sure they'll try even harder to make your stay nice.
Enjoy your trip to Kenya and stop worrying.
For Mtwapa and Nyali resorts, they always close the brideges from Mombasa and protect the tourists, and there is rarely any problems anyway, and the South Coast is fine.
Also visit (make reservations) at Ali Barbours Cave Restaurant on South Coast if you have some time. I went last year and it was wonderful and romantic and great food and atmosphere. Its literally 5 Km down the road!
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- Also Known As:
- Diani Reef Beach Hotel Ukunda
- Diani Reef Beach Resort And Spa
- Diani Reef Grand Ukunda