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“Great staff but not quite there generally”

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Serena Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Shanzu
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great staff but not quite there generally”
Reviewed October 23, 2012

I went to Serena beach for a week on our honeymoon in late september. The staff were wonderfully helpful and fantastically keen we had a good time, offering drinks without being pushy, suggesting in a hilarious way that surely our lunch could be a liquid lunch, little touches in our room when it was cleaned and bringing us a congratulations cake with the whole restaurant staff out dancing and singing. However the experience as a whole really felt set up to take money off you. We were on an all inclusive package which was pricey but paying £4 for a coke or beer, similar for an ice cream and our final lunch before our flight being charged despite arriving after dinner on our first paid day and the glass bottom boat trip was expensive even allowing for the marine park fee payable to the government. The grounds are lovely and we really enjoyed using the squash courts, table tennis etc and we were looking forward to using the free sailing on offer only to discover that all three dinghys were out of action awaiting parts from the uk. However venture off the grounds and the beach is not great. You wouldn't want to spend to long there anyway for the number of people trying to flog you stuff. This is all good humoured but a little annoying after a while. Food was good but not great; breakfast is amazing and all cooked fresh and the al a carte (paid for) menu was great but the all inclusive dinner looked rather like it had been sat on a hot plate and heated up, although tasty enough.

In general, thanks to the wonderful staff but the hotel management in general needs to have a bit of a think about how the hotel as a whole comes across.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fraser G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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570 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (145)
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Dormagen, Germany
Level Contributor
35 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2012

The Serena Beach Hotel buildings and premises are excellent: beautiful gardens, nice restaurant, comprehensive list of sport and spa opportunities and first of all very nice, friendly people. Assisted a lot while we waited for the delayed luggage. The food and wine offerings are plenty and of very good quality - try the Kenyan Leleshwa Shiraz, it's close to Italian Barbera. We plan to return to do more sailing and visit again the Butterfly Park.

Room Tip: Garden view rooms are worth the extra money
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank martinpg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bradenton, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 11, 2012

We went as a large group of white Americans and were warmly greeted and taken care of. When we got to our room (2 of us) we were greeted to a room with no air conditioning and a smell of mold. We had a great view but had to be moved to due to the A/C issue. We stayed in 4 Serena hotels throughout our trip through Kenya and this was the only one with air conditioning so it was not up for discussion. Our new room was nice, not as great of a view. The grounds are very confusing and we were constantly lost which the staff said is a common problem. The beach we were unable to go on after sunrise. The locals are waiting for you to step off the grounds and onto the beach so that they can bombard you to purchase their items. We did ride the camel which was extremely cool, but again the locals are harrassing you while you are trying to enjoy your ride. The food was ok but there is nothing more than coffee or water included as a beverage, If you would like wifi, you have to pay. On the bright side after over 2 weeks of eating local foods, this place does offer a cheeseburger and pizza which are both ok. The gift shop is also over priced and the the staff there is not very friendly. We also did the tour of Mombasa with a private lady through the hotel and that was amazing! She was great and it was much better than going through the group.

Room Tip: Get a room where you can find it easily as the grounds are very confusing.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HDgrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney Australia
Level Contributor
141 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2012

It is sad the security concerns in coastal Kenya have depressed tourist numbers, as there are some gorgeous spots and this is one of them. I recently attended a conference at this hotel, and I could not fault the service, the facilities or the general ambience. Mombassa seems chaotic on the trip from the airport but don't let that worry you. The people are gentle and welcoming however. I was constantly amazed at the efforts everyone went to to ensure that I was safe and comfortable and enjoyed my stay. If you are looking for a beach holiday in coastal Kenya then this is the place. I also recommend getting out of the hotel at times and exploring the old town of Mombassa. Be sensible and do it with a guide, and you will be amply rewarded.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a separate bedroom and lounge, as they are better value and very spacious.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank driverrolf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 28, 2012

My husband and I have been going to Serena in Mombasa for four years now, and the service has consistently declined while the rates have dramatically increased. While it is beautiful, it seems they are caught up in a colonial mentality. I am white and my husband is Kenyan, and we get completely different treatment. For example, my husband will be left to his own devices at breakfast with at best a cursory "hello" whereas I am warmly greeted and my juice or meal taken from the buffet to the table for me. This is never acceptable anywhere, especially in my husband's own country. We are sorely disappointed and this is the last time we'll be staying at Serena - White Sands was much warmer and will be our new home.

Room Tip: Make sure they are not doing construction (they had major construction ongoing but failed to tell us...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Megan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ludlow
Level Contributor
60 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2012

On booking this hotel through a travel agent, we asked for best option, and we're recommended a sea view room. The room we had (41) did have a lovely sea view but was small and in need of a little tlc. On return after safari, we asked if any rooms were better and were given room 7, a garden room which was much bigger, with excellent facilities and a much better bathroom. There was, however, some musical noise until 23.00, overall, this is a smaller but quite refined hotel. The standard of food is excellent, of restaurant quality.

Room Tip: See main review
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank VandTLudlow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2012

The staff at this hotel couldnt do enough for you, always smiling, also a warm welcome. Greated with cold flannels and refreshments.
Turn down service was great and sorted out our mozzie net.
Champagne fruit and crisps delevered everynight.
Food lovely, different every night...so much choice be preared to but weight on!
Swimming pool, overlooking the beach, amazing, totally chilled, relaxing, waiter service for drinks, food.....(boy we were lazy)
We treated ourselves to time in the spa, and was gorgeous....slippers, robes, drinks, treatment amamzing, no rush...gorgeous

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BrightonMercers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Serena Beach Resort & Spa

Property: Serena Beach Resort & Spa
Address: P.O. Box 90352, Shanzu, Mombasa 80100, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Mombasa > Shanzu
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Shanzu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Serena Beach Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 166
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With the shimmering sands and waters of the Indian Ocean stretching before it, amidst verdant, bougainvillea-filled gardens, and shaded by gently swaying palm trees,Serena Beach Resort and Spa offers the ultimate tropical paradise. Treat your palate to a superb selection of of a la carte seafood dishes at the Jahazi Grill which is set on a beach and styled to resemble an Arab dhow. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Serena Beach Hotel And Spa
Serena Beach Hotel Shanzu
Hotel Serena Beach

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