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“Exploited underpaid staff, bad food, lousy yoga instruction” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Shaanti Holistic Health Retreat

Shaanti Holistic Health Retreat
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Shaanti Holistic Health Retreat
P.O Box 80, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #25 of 31 Hotels in Diani Beach
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Exploited underpaid staff, bad food, lousy yoga instruction”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2011

We were very sad to find out that a resort that claims to represent holistic health, and charges its guests an arm and a leg, pays its staff the minimum wage (which is impossible to live on in Kenya), and doesn't even cover their transport or meals. Perhaps that explains why the food is just plain bad, and the yoga instructor reels off the same formulaic, one-size-fits-all class every morning and evening, in a singsong voice, without eye-contact, adjustments, or inquiry about injuries or special needs.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
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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24 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    1
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    3
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Nairobi
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2010

This is now called Galu Beach Resort and is part of the Destination Adventures' offering of exclusive resorts along the Kenyan coast.

The stay was a gift from my husband, and is ideal for an individual, a couple or a small group of friends. I would love to go again next year. Stephanie - the owner - is absolutely fabulous. Her team were helpful, friendly and extremely good at ensuring that I had a relaxing, enjoyable time: there was also an excellent personal butler service.

The yoga teacher was unfortunately unwell, but I was able to do my own yoga practice in the designated yoga space. The beach is spectacular and extremely quiet: no one bothered me.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
ind
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2010

Looking forward to re-visiting as soon as the opportunity arises. our stay was over 7 days. The place is small in capacity hence great if you looking for peace and quiet, engaging enough to enjoy, reflect and re-energise to be ready for the world again. attention to service and detail managed perfectly by owner/ manager (Tas) . Its the people that make wonderful memories possible. Committed staff and a can do approach all add to the wonderful experience. Daily yoga tops it all up.

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Vancouver
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2010

I stayed at Shaanti for a few nights and it was incredible! The relaxing quiet environment was peaceful and the beach was divine. The majestic breath of the beautiful bright white sand beach and sparkling blue clear water simply took my breath away. It was clean and untouched land.

The staff at Shaanti were friendly and knowledgeable. They always appeared smiling and willing to assist the guests. I had experienced a few occassions when they went beyond their duties to ensure that I was well taken care of. Wow!

Overall it was time and money wel spent! Loved it and would go back anytime!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Mombasa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2010

Dear Salim, Doris and all,

Thank you for making our stay in Shaanti memorable.
The hospitality was really special and unique. We felt at peace and relaxed just what we needed.
Thank you all and God Bless SHAANTI.
You will definitely see us more often and would not hesitate to recommend the place to our friends and collegues.

Regards
Suhaila

  • Stayed March 2010, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2010

This place is really to be avoided: it's old, dire and doesn't deliver anything of what it promises except for the location.

I've just returned from a week's holiday at the Shaanti Holistic Health Resort. I cannot express enough the utter disappointment and somewhat betrayal I feel towards Wellbeing Escapes for selling me (read: ripping me off)the holiday at Shaanti...

Unfortunately I suffer from gluten intolerance, which I had made very clear to Wellbeing Escapes who booked this for me. Truth be told, at £194 per night, you kind of expect the hotel to accommodate those needs. Upon arrival, I was served a lasagna! When I repeated to them that i was gluten intolerant and could thus not have any wheat etc, I got a strange look and a replacement fish dish that came straight out of the freezer; they wouldn't even serve that to the cat.
And this continued for my entire stay.
Breakfast: I could only have the same thing every day: eggs with tomatoes and potatoes. Every morning! No effort was made to vary this or offer me something different. At dinner times, it was rare that I could have the dessert so I was given the same fruit salad every evening. If the starter had gluten in it (which I had to point out to them), I just didn't get a starter. No alternative was offered.
On Monday (7 days into my stay), I had the choice for a main course between Zucchini Fritters (gluten!) and Chinese noodles with crab (gluten). This is after 7 days of me telling them that I can't have any gluten!

On top of that, the standard of the of food was really below average. Really below average. You receive a salad and you could see the grit still on the lettuce leaves.
A typical starter would be 3 stems of burnt cauliflower with some garlic sprinkled on top. The food was just ridiculous! And this at a cost of £194 per night! What a joke!

The resort itself has one good thing: the location. The view from the resort is fantastic. But that's where the good news ends. They advertise a steam room: it hasn't worked in the past year.

I was shown to my room and it looked great. There were flowers on my bed and it looked spacious. I spent little time there on the first day so when I returned to the room to go to sleep, I picked up the fowers off the sheets, to see the fleas run into the sheets. There were hundreds of them! You could literally see the fleas on the sheets... that must tell you how many there were. Then next to my pillow, there were two droppings of an unidentified animal. They were quite large and absolutely disgusting. I couldn't believe it when I saw it so I went to the reception but they had left for the evening. I had no choice then than to sleep in those soiled sheets.

I understand the climate in this region and that it is impossible to keep all ants, musquitoes etc out of the rooms. However, on the first night, I killed two fairly large ants next to the bed. But I didn't pick them up, I just left them there. Guess how long it took for the cleaning staff to clean this up? FOUR DAYS! Those dead ants stayed next to my bed for four days - although someone came into the room on a daily basis to make the bed, they obviously didn't clean. It also took them FOUR DAYS to clean outt the hair in the shower - which couldn't have been mine as it was there before I even took my first shower there. So I have to conclude that although someone makes the bed on a daily basis, the rooms only get cleaned once every four days...

You would expect the staff at such a resort to be attentive and helpful. A few day after my first night in the soiled sheets, this happened again. This time, I saw it and called John at the reception for help. He confirmed that these were probably droppings from a gecko (or a rat!) that hides in the airconditioning. He couldn't understand though why I wanted the sheets changed. There was nobody there to do this except for him and that was just one step too far for him. He suggested to just take the droppings of the sheets and they would be replaced tomorrow. Droppings always carry bacteria, why would I want to sleep in that? I pushed this hard and in the end, he agreed to change the sheets (he still asked me three times if I really needed the sheets changed). What an impeccable service! (not)

John made quite a few mistakes... another one was that he sold me a wild bird watching tour. Only when I arrived, it turned out to be a small walk in a sacred forest where ancestors used to offer up animals to the gods. I had no interest in this and didn't see one bird. When I spoke to John about this, he said that the guide was just probably not there. So why wasn't I told this? Why did I still have to pay for this when it wasn't at all what I wanted? When mentioned to John, he just laughed.

The treatments were average as well and not very good at all... It was clear that therapists are very demotivated, don't really want to give you the treatments and that they don't get a lot of money for it: they walk around with huge wholes in their t-shirts. I paid £30 per treatment (which is expensive for this area) and really wasn't satisfied.

The resort markets itself to be holistic. Where? How?
They also market their yoga and their yoga therapist. The yoga therapist was not there and nowhere to be found. The instructor that we had for the yoga sessons, was Samy. In all the years that I have practised yoga (approx 20 years now), I've never come across such a bad instructor. I came here to meditate and to practise yoga. Samy very clearly said that she didn't know much about meditation and usually started her class by saying that she wasn't supposed to teach this class but that her friend was ill. What a positive start to a class! I've had spinal surgery and suffer from chronic back issues. This means that there are a number of exercises that I just can't do in yoga and most instructors understand this and offer either an alternative or a pause for me in their class. Not Samy, she had the audacity to tell me to at least try!
Let me tell you: yoga should be about knowing your body and working within the abilities of your body. I really don't need someone to tell me that I should at least try something when I know it will only aggravate my problems! Who is she to tell me this in such a derogative tone?
That happened on the 3rd day of my stay and I never went back to the classes.

I have no problems in paying high rates if I get a satisfactory experience. Shaanti is definitely not worth any of this money!

It's an absolute disgrace and major disappointment. As a result, I will never book anything with Wellbeing Escapes again and will definitely not visit this resort again. It's an absolute rip off.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2010

They charged $200 for a cottage with no hot water. Then moved us to another room for $250 USD, and after they had told us we could use the Jacuzzi (in their advert), then told us we could not, after an argument they relented but it did not work! The dinner was nice, as were the local staff. But the management- note not Kenyans- were not good. Worst hotel I have ever stayed in for the price- avoid it.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shaanti Holistic Health Retreat

Address: P.O Box 80, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#10 Spa Hotel in Diani Beach
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on stunningly white beaches, a boutique hotel with only 8 rooms, designed to provide guests with a choice of treatments and activities so they can find their own personal peace. Whether it's watching the sun set at the oyster bar with a chilled glass of white wine, a sunrise yoga session, an Ayurvedic massage, a walk on the beach or lying on a deck chair and reading, this is the place for you. Discount for NGO, humanitarian aid workers or UN staff. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shaanti Holistic Health Retreat Hotel Diani
Shaanti Holistic Health Retreat Diani

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