Went as a family - with my parents, siblings, spouses and kids (9 adults, an 9-yr old, 12-yr old and two toddlers 22 months) Whenever we travel together, we prefer all inclusive place so that the kids can eat whenever they feel like it. The place is huge, three hotels (Baobab, Kole Kole and Maridadi) run under the same company. When we booked, we wanted to stay at Kole Kole but we found out that it was closed for refurbishment and due to low season. In general, this is a nice place to vacation, has a nice beach and friendly staff. The good and bad points of this hotel are subjective to whether you have kids or not. I don't have kids but my siblings who do, said they would not stay here again. They don't cater for kids in neither activities or pool choices. The activity team came to get my 9-yr old nephew for the kids disco and he was back in five minutes. Uhm, "disco" for kids? At that age they want to play video games or ball games/competitive sports. He ended up finding a table tennis set up in the closed Kole Kole section,which he enjoyed. Ditto for the 12-yr old girl. No free wifi in the lobby as most resorts now have. You can pay for it, but the charge is ridiculously high per hour.
Sure, monkeys are cute...but not always. Something needs to be done about the monkeys and the no feed policy really needs to be observed, especially by the foreigners. As Kenyans, we typically adhere to the no feed rule because we understand it is there for a reason. Time and time again, we saw monkeys being offered food even though the hotel strictly forbids it. There was one guy who would always get two mandazi/donut so that the monkeys would come close to him! What has now happened is that there are probably hundreds of monkeys (that come from a nearby monkey sanctuary) who are always on the grounds looking for food, even when it is in your hand or inside a your bag! At 4pm tea, the monkeys actually grab the snacks off your plate/hand! Twice, during breakfast, the really big monkeys dashed in and stole loaves of bread. The chefs said that the monkeys have learned how to open the locked windows. My sister was attacked by a big one as she was walking to her room holding her 22-month toddler, all because she had a bag of potato chips inside a black plastic bag! They have a guy there, Omari, whose job it is to scare the monkeys away and although he carries a slingshot, he cannot use it because he will be reported to the animal rights agency. So all he does, is pretend to shoot at the monkeys and they scoot away. If you want to sit and enjoy your balcony and have the doors open, you cannot because they will enter your room looking for food, sweets, whatever.
We were in Baobab, very standard rooms. Bathroom is on the smaller side but the shower stall was a good size, both hot and cold water work well. The AC in the room worked with no problem. The TV is the old tube type, very unclear and only a handful of channels. We did see some flat screens in some of the rooms, as we walked by so I don't know if these were upgraded rooms. No coffee maker/tea kettles in the rooms. There's a balcony that overlooks the sea, but we didn't enjoy it because of the monkeys. As soon as you crack the door open, they appear. If I stayed here again, I would stay in Kole Kole. We asked to see a room in that area and they are much better. We didn't see the Maridadi rooms but heard they were better than Baobab. The mattresses were very hard and I had a hard(haha!)time sleeping.The rooms are clean but it could take all day for your room to be cleaned. We've stayed at many other resorts and the rooms are clean upon return from breakfast, not so for Baobab.
There is quite a variety to choose from as well as vegetarian options. Some dishes that my family enjoyed were the fish, cooked on a hot top, the crab and shrimp that was done on one day, the rosemary chicken and garlic naan. The salad bar was repeated each day so this is something that needs to be improved. Also, they have a lot of desserts but its just a bunch of cakes with different creams or toppings. Breakfast is my favorite meal and they have the usual fare so no complaints there! At the crepe and waffle counter, they make eggless versions as well!
There are three pools but after one day of swimming at the gorgeous infinity pool at Kole Kole, they shut the area down. So, we were left with two choices the "loud" activity pool (obnoxiously loud music all day with activities like water polo, water volley, etc) or the "quiet zone" pool that is split on three levels (really nice). Because we had toddlers, the flurry of activity in the loud pool was dangerous & scared them so we went to the quiet zone pool...and ended up probably pissing a lot of people off. Sorry! They market this place as a kid-friendly but there's not an exclusive kid pool and the quiet one was perfect for the kiddies! There's a swim-up pool bar, which we loved. The other two levels are infinity pools and you could easily while away the hours as you look out to sea. We are used to poolside service for drinks and snacks but they don't have that here and I suspect it is due to the monkeys stealing food. What a pity.
Personally I don't care whether a resort has entertainment or not (my books are enough entertainment) but I'm doing this review from a family perspective. I sat through one show: the MTV/Michael Jackson thing and that was enough for me. My mom went to the Mama Mia one. Both shows, lip synching. There is no doubt that the entertainment team is talented, their bodies are toned, tons of energy, seem to enjoy dancing and are awesome at it. I feel that they are not being used to their potential. In my opinion, we are in Africa, so lets do what we do best...original African productions that could be intertwined with a little western influence. Foreigners are coming to our country, not to see Mama Mia, but for our Kenyan essence.
In summary, if you are single or a couple with no kids, you will probably love this place. Oh, and get a massage! My boyfriend an I got 75-minute massages that were awesome! For couples, with kids, not the place for you unless you are only here for a weekend!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.