We booked a two-week late availability through First Choice for our first ever trip to Kenya largely on the recommendations of this website and would like to endorse all the positive comments in previous reviews, Voyager certainly delivered a 5* cruise.
Everything was great, great hotel, terrific staff who couldn’t do enough for you so we’d just like to add the following few comments and tips and hope these are a help to anyone else visiting:
We paid for upgrades to both the room and the flight and can recommend both
A previous reviewer complained it felt like Butlins, well the cruise theme sounds cheesy but actually works quite well, though don’t quite expect QE2 standards and as mentioned the food and entertainment tends to be repeated during a fortnight ‘cruise’. The hotel makes the KUONI top 20 list of beach resort hotels wordwide which is praise enough.
Not very organised, even off-season so be warned at peak season. Being first off the plane helps in the rush to get the visa if you’ve not got them already but the procedure was painless and quick. Bear in mind the visa cost seems to fluctuate with the weather and is paid in $US and not local Kenyan shillings.
Excellent and comfortable though the bathroom is dark and no place to be if the lights go out. The power for the air-conditioning works on a large plastic key, not pocket friendly and as you only get one this means the air-conditioning is off when the room is vacant and the power is off – eco-friendly but this means cooling the room down for sleep can be a problem when you come back from the evening out. Also if the power trips at night the air con needs to be manually switched on again as it doesn’t come back on automatically. Upgraded rooms have a fridge, hair-dryer and television but don’t expect too much choice in channels.
The food is fine for the country and rating, don’t forget Kenya really hasn’t got any national cuisine of its own and as mentioned the ‘ports-of-call’ do repeat themselves over 2 weeks. We found the Italian ‘Minestrone Restaurant’ great and liked the Seafood Restaurant as you get a 50% discount if A/I – though anyone used to posh restaurants might disagree. The Three Amigos musical accompaniment has now got a 4th member and we dare you to keep a straight face
Lots for children of you have them, and lots of watersports [non-motorised] included in the normal A/I packages too. A show every night alternating between the in-house animation teams [110% for effort and enthusiasm even if when we watched one show the CD kept jumping which made miming to it even harder!] and brought in shows such as excellent local dancers. There’s a band [Pink Coconut band] providing what is the nearest thing it has to a disco and there was a large craft fair though the sellers brought a new meaning to the phrase ‘hard-sell’. Not much else to do though if the rain descends for days though this is unlikely most of the year.
This is a resort not really suited to the less mobile who find steps difficult, lots of steps and around certain parts some bad lighting at night could make it a nightmare for those not good on their feet. A mini torch is useful as we had a couple of short power cut glitches.
NOISE ON CERTAIN ‘DECKS’
Some of the decks of cabins [1/2] are very ‘handy’ for the main restaurant area – great for a short walk for food, not so good when the entertainment is on [till 10.30-11.30] if you want an early night or have an early departure as this is the main area used. The quiet pool works well and overlooks the beach and has a waiter service, the one by the Kaskazi Bar was quiet when we were there not least because it lacks the relax pools sea breezes to keep it cool – think 10 minutes per side before turning over. The noisy pool is for activities and just that – it can be noisy. The Lookout Bar is really for adults too and has excellent views down the beach though there are some sunloungers there too if the pool areas get crowded.
Please note the spirit measure is generous to say the least, so with the heat etc bear this in mind before complaining about the ‘food’ as noted by another reviewer. However, as another culprint you may be recommended by your doctor as we were to get the stronger [and dearer] anti-malaria drugs such as Malarone. Be aware one side-effect of this is what might be politely described as an ‘upset stomach’ – not much fun when you daren’t not take them in-resort, worse alternating with Imodium’s and even worse if you were out in the bush on safari. Next time we’ll try something different to Malarone.
The hotel runs a policy of staff not accepting tips, instead there is a central tip box by the Cashiers office in reception so remember to tip before you leave. Everything is normally billed to your room though you can pay by cash or credit card at the shop so remember to allow for this before leaving and it might be worth checking the bill a day early to avoid any last minute surprises. You can tip favourite staff discreetly if you are persistent, if you leave them a gift then remember to leave them a note saying what you’ve done – remember items we take for granted can be luxury items to the staff. If you have an old English football team shirt to leave you will make friends for life!
Please note that April/May are the so-called ‘long-rains’ months. We had only 2 half-days of rain but gather we were lucky so if you book for that time of year make sure you haggle a great deal in case you get loads of rain which is a distinct possibility – a folding umbrella is useful this time of year too! Despite being the rainy season it was 30+ most days and 90%+ humidity so bring high-factor cream, the shop only stocks up to factor 30 and is expensive.
It’s a public beach so expect to be hassled to death if you’re not after their wares, yes they have a job to do and they might not forget a face but they seemed to forget who had said a polite ‘no’ so if you want a quiet romantic stroll on the beach best set your alarm clocks for crack-of-dawn. Often there were more beach boys than potential punters down on the beach.
TRIPS – INSURANCE
We didn’t book any safari trips as we’ll come back again but as a lawyer a word of warning regarding insurance. Whether you book with a tour company rep. or a beach-boy check whether your current travel insurance covers a safari and consider carefully whether you need to upgrade as a lot of standard policies [especially booked on the phone or internet] are limited in terms of what they cover, and be aware some tour companies such as First Choice emphasise if you book with a beach boy company and anything goes wrong their reps would not help. It’s the last thing everyone will think about when booking a safari but if the unthinkable happens and the jeep overturns in the middle of the Masai Mara the last thing on your mind should be the small-print about being safely air-ambulanced all the way back to the UK.
The hotel and the Adventure Club can arrange trips to a disabled craft centre or wood-carving collective in Mombassa. If you try the beach boys haggle hard and hope you can pack it ok for the journey home. The hotel shop has a good range of clothes, wood, jewellery and soapstone at reasonableish prices and will wrap delicate items securely for transit. If the larger items tempt you remember that larger wooden carvings and especially soapstone seriously weigh so check your baggage allowance and whether they’ll survive the journey home. The airport has a range of shops covering most things from junk to quality items [including Kenyan tea and coffee] though for some reason all their prices are in $US.
Telephone calls from Kenya back home are apparently expensive, the rep quoted £12 approx for 3 minutes but bring your mobile and check if it works first – our Orange PAYG worked fine and texting is a lot cheaper, there’s also an internet café if you really need to stay in touch with work!!
Hope the above helps any future visitors, we will definitely return in the future sometime. Recommended unreservedly.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Moored seven kilometres north of Mombasa city centre, Voyager Beach Resort's convenient 'berth' gives guests easy access to a huge variety of historical, sporting and cultural attractions. The vibrant themed resort is famous for hosting some of Africa's finest family entertainments and animation programs, including unique themed journeys across the seven seas, culinary extravaganzas, with very supervised kids' activities and days out with Africa's best-known and most experienced childrens' safari club. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Voyager Beach Hotel Mombasa
- Voyager Hotel Kenya
- Voyager Beach Resort Mombasa
- Voyager Beach Resort Kenya
- Voyager Beach Mombasa
- Voyager Hotel Mombasa