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Sand Island Beach Cottages
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Reviews (198)
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Reviewed February 8, 2013

In a word, Sand Island is paradise. My husband and I spent a week there in December 2012 and we never wanted to leave. Our cottage was about 50 yards from the Indian Ocean, along one of the most beautiful stretches of beach I’ve ever seen. The place is called Sand Island Beach because when the tide goes out, it exposes an island of sand around the size of a soccer field, about 100 yards out from the beach. At low tide, you can wade all the way out to it through crystal clear turquoise water, and at high tide you can swim out there and stand on the island in water up to your waist. Surrounding the beach in a giant crescent a few hundred yards out is a coral reef, where the waves break, leaving the water between there and the beach calm. Every day was sunny and hot!

In contrast to the more tourist-y Diani Beach hotels, Sand Island had a much more local, private feel. Every morning the local fishermen walked out to the reef and brought back catch of the day, which we purchased from them and cooked up for dinner (Our cottage had its own little kitchen, fully stocked with cooking utensils). A local lady called Mama Samosa usually swung by mid-morning to sell us homemade samosas, chapati, mandazi, coconut rice, and pilau for next to nothing. Other than Mama Samosa and the fishermen, there was no one walking the beach hawking tourist trinkets or trying to sell us a tour. We did go on trips to the nearby starfish garden and natural Africa-shaped pool, guided by the local fisherman who were absolutely wonderful.

The surroundings are breathtaking, but Sand Island’s managers are what really make the place special. Artie and Cheryl stopped by our cottage every day to make sure we were happy and had everything we needed. They run a little grocery in the main office selling fresh veggies, drinks, and snacks at cost (they’re not looking to make a profit, just trying to help out the guests since town is a 20-minute taxi ride away). They really went above and beyond – for example, right after we arrived we realized we had forgotten our computer charger back where we had been staying in Tanzania, leaving us unable to keep up our blog and get in touch with family. They called around to several stores in Mombasa until we found exactly what we needed, and he had their driver pick it up and bring it to Sand Island for us since he was already in town. They even had us over to the main house for fresh lobster, drinks, and great conversation on their patio!

Don’t miss Sand Island for anything. My husband and I will never come back to Kenya without staying here!!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Emily S
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 February 19, 2013

We feel we still have so much to do here at Sand Island so it is lovely to get your review and know we are going in the right direction. It really encourages us and the staff to keep getting better. Whilst so many people enjoy being guests here, we too enjoy having such super guests who enjoy and experience all that Sand Island has to offer, so please come back soon and hopefully next time with the rest of the family. However you must not spoil the dogs so much next time! You were so busted when you posted a picture of your husband and Bella lying together on the verandah furniture. I hope you have settled back home now and that we will meet again soon.

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Reviewed January 28, 2013

After a hard hike up Mt Kenya, and a long drive on the dreaded Mombassa Rd, Sand Island Beach needed to be a fabulous reward, and it certainly was. Beautiful cottages, Cheryl and Arty with a warm welcome and local knowledge, fabulous fresh seafood daily, and absolutely no touts or harassment of any sort. Cant recommend this highly enough. We will be back!

Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
Thank Sandy J
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 February 7, 2013

It was wonderful to have you and your friends, all from different corners of the globe, visiting us after your successful climb up the mountain - well done! Sand Island certainly worked its magic as even on the second day most of the aching muscles had relaxed, the big smiles were back and the next adventure was being planned. Snorkeling, diving, crab lunches, more snorkeling, relaxation and wonderful food prepared by the cook - all that Sand Island has to offer and more. We look forward to your next visit and thank you for taking the time to review us - always very much appreciated by Management and staff alike.

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Reviewed January 27, 2013

I have been visiting Sand island since I was small child so when returning with my own 2 year old son, after a few years away, I was anxious about whether it would have retained it's charm. We couldn't have been more pleased. The cottages are in great condition and the beach as beautiful as ever. The new managers were always available and always helpful. A great cot had been provided and the rooms were all supplied with fans and good nets. The small shop in the office is a great addition making our stay more convenient as we didn't have to go out for shopping again. We would reccommend this happily as a great place to stay for all folks. Great work.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Tommy B
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 February 2, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write this review. In many ways this is one of the most pleasing reviews for us as it shows that we are doing things right. Sand Island is such a magical place and the ethos and charm must remain intact, but we also want to make your stay as comfortable and as easy as possible and that is why you see we are always tweaking the cottages and doing small upgrades to bathrooms, verandahs and furnishings. Small, but hopefully meaningful changes that will make your stay even better next time. Hopefully one day your son will also visit with his family and take the same photo as your father did of you! Until then keep practicing your snooker, the table awaits.

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Reviewed January 27, 2013

Stayed here for two nights over Christmas 2012, in one word: awesome! The proprietors Arty & Cheryl couldn't be any nicer, always in for a chat and arranging a great cook for us. We really felt valued and at home at Sand Island Beach. Actually when we arrived (we were on a roadtrip from Kampala to Mombasa), Ali our cook was already in the kitchen preparing some excellent lobster, crab and fish curry for us, we kicked off our shoes, dumped our bags and settled on the veranda with some cold drinks and amazing view on the sea. Basically all we did during our stay was eat, sleep, relax, every so often walk down 50 metres to jump into the sea and back to the cottage again. Only shame was that there were only 2 nights available because of the festive season, otherwise we definitely would have stayed a lot longer!

You couldn't fault this place, besides the very nice cottages and relaxed atmosphere, they also are in good standing with the local community, for one thing helping them for example by donating the proceeds from the small library at Sand Island Beach' main office. Also, even though when it was fully booked when we were there, it didn't feel full at all, the sound of the wind & the sea drowns out most other sounds, and most visitors are there for relaxing anyway.

This place is nothing at all like Diani, which is more like a seaside resort town with its big hotels and annoying beach boys. So if you are looking for a secluded beach experience, this is were you should go! We definitely try to come back for longer!

Room Tip: We stayed in cottage Futa, which had decent WiFi reception from the veranda if you want to stay in touch with the rest of the world (which shouldn't be necessary). For us it meant we could make the family jealous by sending some photos of the breathtaking surroundings while they were shivvering at home!
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank VincentUG
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 February 2, 2013

Great review. It is always humbling when people take time to write a review for us, thank you so much. We are sorry we could not have you to stay for longer in December but hopefully the few days were enough to tempt your tastebuds to come back and really experience the calm magic of Sand Island. Recently we had a guest comment after four nights that “we will be sorry to go, it feels like home already” and this is exactly what Sand Island is all about - Old Kenya hospitality where everyone feels comfortable and at peace with the surroundings and the people here, fisherman and staff alike. So when you do come back - Welcome home!

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Reviewed January 23, 2013

My husband and I had an AMAZING time at Sand Island. Having first been recommended to stay there by good friends, once we arrived we realised just how special a place it really is. We stayed in one of the self-catering cottages for 2. Highlights of the cottage included a well-furnished kitchen, very comfortable sleeping arrangements, and a front porch to die for with a wonderful view of the ocean. We enjoyed the fresh seafood caught by local fishermen on a daily basis, along with local fruit and veg, coconuts, fresh juice and friendly and very helpful management. The beach is quiet and private and the locals are wonderfully respectful of your privacy (ie, no beach boys). And of course, the ocean... swimming, snorkling, gathering starfish and wandering out to the sand island at low tides. We would also recommend a romantic dinner out at Ali Barbour's Cave Restaurant, just south of Diani. It was a truly wonderful experience and we would recommend it to young, old and families alike!!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rachel W
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 February 4, 2013

Thank you so much for your review. It means a lot to us and the team to get feedback from our guests as it helps us to keep getting better. We are so glad you had such a good time staying with us at Sand Island and it certainly is a special and perfect place to celebrate your first anniversary. We have had a number of birthday celebrations recently and sometimes planning a birthday can be stressful, but not here - wake, swim, breakfast, open presents, snorkel, the cook makes an amazing lobster lunch, read, snooze, swim, sundowners, coconut fish curry by candle light for dinner. Boring? No, simply blissfully relaxing.

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