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“Utter relaxation in completely remote and stunning surroundings”

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Sand Island Beach Cottages
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Tiwi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 7, 2011

Beautiful cottages, very remote, ideal for a relaxing beach break! Cottage was very clean and the view from the veranda was incredible (see pics below). Self catering was helped by the option to hire a local to cook, the food was amazing, all locally caught, sold on the beach, and incredibly fresh!

The coral is great for snorkelling, but I'd recommend taking lots of suncream (ours ran out!) as it's so easy to spend hours relaxing in the warm sea and looking for starfish. Thankfully Sheila (the manager) found us some fresh aloe vera for our sunburn!

The beach is blissfully quiet, very few people around, and the locals simply carry on fishing, and there is no touristy hassle. There is also a fruit shop, where fruit and juices from the sand island orchard are sold, and the frozen passion fruit juice is a godsend for the midday heat! We spent 3 nights here and could easily have stayed for another 10, definitely recommended for a break away from it all.

Room Tip: Hire a local cook! They know their fish!
  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank NatW21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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162 - 168 of 192 reviews

Reviewed April 5, 2011

After being on a safari for 6 days, it was nice to relax by the ocean for a few days before the end of our trip. If you're looking for a place that is more or less isolated with not much customer service then Sand Island Cottages is the place for you.

The beach was clean and not very crowded. I spent the first morning on the beach and met several of the local people. They were very nice and happy to tell me what the area has to offer. It's a fun experience to order fish from the fishermen on the beach. Then in the evening Ali and his assistant prepared a wonderful meal. It was the best food of the whole trip. Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of everything you'll need because it's a long taxi ride to the store. The workers in the store were very helpful in assisting us with our 3 carts of groceries!

It would have been a more pleasant stay if a few things could have been done. In the evening, there is a nice breeze close to the ocean. However, there was no breeze in the cottages or when sitting on the porch. Sleeping would have been much more comfortable if they would have ceiling fans in the cottages. I found out later you could have requested a fan from the office. This would have been nice if they could have informed us of that at the beginning of our stay. They really need to buy new sheets and towels! They may have been clean but they looked worn out and had a few spots. Not sure how clean the sheets were since I never needed to get under them because it was so hot in the room. The bathrooms need to be remodeled. There wasn't much room to put anything down and I really didn't want any of my things to touch the floor. There was a trail of ants on the wall in the kitchen. And if you do stay there, I would make sure all your food is put away. The first night there we saw a rat on a bag of bread we left on the counter. I realize for the cost of the cottages I wasn't expecting 5-star treatment, but I think more effort in explaining their services and new towels and sheets wouldn't be too much to ask for and because of this I don't think I would return to Sand Island Cottages.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank italiadonna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SandIsland, Owner at Sand Island Beach Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2013

It is really unfortunate that reviews like this were written and for those of you who know Sand Island Beach Cottages, it is scandalous that this wonderful place was ever allowed to get into such a poor state. A new management team took over in 2012 and initiated the upgrade of all aspects of the cottages without changing or losing the ethos of this little bit of paradise on the Kenya coast and Sand Island Beach Cottages is now reaping the benefit of this and getting the respect it deserves. In all the cottages the mattresses, linen, towels, cushions and cushion covers and mosquito nets have been replaced, as has all the kitchen utensils, crockery, cutlery and glassware. There is now a policy of constant upkeep and improvement and although this is all funded through cash flow, the management team is determined to ensure that Sand Island Beach Cottages remain the cottages of choice on the South Coast of Kenya.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2011

This was our 4th visit in 13 months! Sand Island Beach Cottages are a charming example of how Kenya used to be, unspoilt, serene, safe, private and no one bothering you on the beautiful beach! One of the best thing about our stay, was the attention of the lovely friendly staff and our fabulous cook. The manager, Sheila, leads by example, nothing is too much trouble for her. She is a true human dynamo, who is loved and respected by her 'boys', 'Mama Sheila', as they call her is a treasure to be sure. Don't expect gold taps, marble floors, aircon or power showers, just honest, comfy cottages with lots of character. We were excited to catch a glimpse of a Bush Baby in the cottage one night, stealing a banana that we had left out.
We dined on crab, fresh fish, lobster, calamari, all fresh from the sea and bought from the fisherman at their stall on the beach, they like to haggle, but it is great to know that the money is going straight to the comunity, and not into a hoteliers pocket! Our cook, Juma this time, bar b q'd red snapper to perfection, made delicious coastal curries, dressed crab, made fresh bread every day (we brought the yeast with us), fresh fruit salad with coconut cream, you name it, he could cook it! Better than any food we had at any hotel, or lodge we stayed in.
We do really love this place. It is tropical, so the snorkeling and swimming are great. The views constantly changing at the different states of the tide come and go are atreat to the eyes. We have come home to the UK refreshed by the beauty of the location, and graciousness of the staff. Thank you Mama sheila, and your faithful staff.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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Thank RMholiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2011

I spent 4 days at the cottages with 10 students studying the biodiversity of the beach. It was an ausome experience for me and my students. The staff are pleasant and welcomming , the beach ecosystem is unspoilt and the place is wonderful for anyone looking for a place to rest in, sorrounded by real nature and great staff. The place is homely, restfull and different from the crowded hotels with no space for true rest.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled on business
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Thank matthews59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2011

Sand island beach cottages are THE most amazing, secluded and spectacular place to stay in all of Tiwi! I've had the most amazing time.. and now I'm having my wedding there! The cottages are lovely, make you feel like your melding into the heat.. loving every minute of it! The accommodation is clean, neat and rather unusual! the bush babies invade your kitchen at night, (if your so daft as to leave the window open like we did!) the view on the front porch takes your breath away.. and the staff... bless them, they have a hard job! Yet, the manager makes it look easy. She is so amazing, can tell you anything you need to know.. and those dogs are so sweet! The ambiance, the heat, the ocean breeze.. absolutly exquisite! THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE SHOULD YOU WANT TO RUN AWAY FROM THE WORLD AND RELAX!!! I do!! I send all my guests in nairobio there, and will continue to do so.. anything hateful said about this place was written by ignorant people! Try it! You won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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Thank cloudjmc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2011

We are frequent visitors to Sand Island over many years and to us it feels like a home from home. If you need air-conditioned, anodyne luxury with satellite TV go elsewhere. But if you want simple comfort, with a glorious near deserted beach 15 metres stroll from your own verandah, and all the fresh fish you can eat straight from the ocean, this is the place! The shallow lagoon is perfect for kids to learn to swim, and the sand island at low tide is perfect for walking, kite flying or sunbathing. Don't miss the fresh coconuts cut to order from the palms outside your window. The manager is charming, with an impish sense of humour, and manages the varying demands of her residents with calm efficiency.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Safariste
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2011

Just arrived home from the Sand Island cottages. I was not thrilled with what I encountered. The overall appearance of the inside of the cottages is just dirty. I would have felt cleaner if I had gone camping. The manager of the properties spends more energy on snide remarks about your requests than actually just following through with them, such as replenishing the toilet paper in the cottage. Be warned there are rats in the cottages, either that or really large mice and you will see them crawling among your kitchen utensils at night. We think there were bed bugs in one of our cottages. I can deal with the millions of ants all over everything but not the rats and bedbugs. The towels and sheets appear to be from the 70's, stains and all. Yikes. If you can deal with filth, it is otherwise an amazing experience purchasing your seafood directly from the local fishermen. The view is also amazing. Too bad the manager was so rude, perhaps we could have found some sort of equilibrium. There is also no breeze at night and the rooms are hotter than hell with no fans.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank seascape100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SandIsland, General Manager at Sand Island Beach Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2013

It is really unfortunate that reviews like this were written and for those of you who know Sand Island Beach Cottages, it is scandalous that this wonderful place was ever allowed to get into such a poor state. A new management team took over in 2012 and initiated the upgrade of all aspects of the cottages without changing or losing the ethos of this little bit of paradise on the Kenya coast and Sand Island Beach Cottages is now reaping the benefit of this and getting the respect it deserves. In all the cottages the mattresses, linen, towels, cushions and cushion covers and mosquito nets have been replaced, as has all the kitchen utensils, crockery, cutlery and glassware. There is now a policy of constant upkeep and improvement and although this is all funded through cash flow, the management team is determined to ensure that Sand Island Beach Cottages remain the cottages of choice on the South Coast of Kenya.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sand Island Beach Cottages

Address: Tiwi Beach, Tiwi, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Tiwi
Amenities:
Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Tiwi
Price Range: $24 - $33 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sand Island Beach is comprised of ten fully self contained cottages - which sleep between 2 and eight depending on which one you take - on a pristine piece of Kenya's south coast. It's geography offers guests something unique: a private beach within easy proximity of shops and restaurants. Set in acres of orchard and indigenous coastal forest and just meters from the beach, there is a real sense of space and peace. We will arrange airport transfers, assist with shopping and offer advice on local attractions and adventures. We pride ourselves on our hosting and our extraordinary location. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sand Island Beach Cottages Hotel Mombasa

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