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“On the road to Paradise?”

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Amani Tiwi Beach Resort
Ranked #11 of 32 Hotels in Ukunda
Milton Keynes
Level Contributor
43 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“On the road to Paradise?”
Reviewed March 26, 2014

Our 4th visit to Amani Tiwi since it opened in Nov 2012; in all a generally enjoyable holiday but the resort still has some way to go before it is 'Paradise Under African Skies'. We had serious reservations about returning after our experience during previous visit in Nov/Dec 2013, but having already booked this visit and faced with significant cancellation charges we decided to go ahead; glad we did.
Last year the resort had some major problems around food variety, quality and quantity. Pleased to say that these have been rectified and the food was generally of a high standard throughout this visit. The main buffet restaurant, The Palms, offers themed evening dining with a wide variety of good dishes, some of the seafood would rate as excellent. As an alternative there are three a la carte restaurants (chargeable to all-incl guests at a discount). We had dinner in the Sultan's Dhow which has an excellent extensive menu at reasonable prices and has a great ambience.
Breakfast and lunch is served in The Palms, with the alternative at lunchtime to dine in the two beach restaurants- La Bella Vita and Baharini. The La Bella Vita is popular, offering a good menu including pizzas as part of the all-incl package. The Baharini is quieter, mainly because it is not advertised as a lunch venue and also the service is slower as the food is prepared in the main kitchen.
The breakfast menu is standard and on the whole good, with egg station and a wide choice of hot dishes. The cold meat and cheese platters, although well presented are a bit mundane; after a while a change to luncheon meat and the awful Highland cheese would be most welcome. There is a plentiful supply of fruit plus cereals.
We have always chosen a standard room, principally on the basis that the additional facilities of the premium rate rooms are more than off-set by their location next to the noisy main pool and entertainment area. While the rooms are of a good size and generally comfortably furnished the bathrooms were not part of the major renovation carried out prior to opening the resort. As a consequence the bathrooms look dated and a bit shabby. Our dressing annexe, containing the wardrobe and drawers was damp and musty, with paint peeling away exposing mildew. We had it repainted twice during our stay and it required further treatment by the time we left.
After our bed lined had not been changed for several days we decided to seek clarification on the policy. Front Desk staff produced a battered 'environment' card that they said was in every room to clarify policy (never seen one before). This clearly stated that the card should be left on the bed if you DID NOT want bed linen changed. It would appear that Housekeeping have also not seen the card! In reality the best approach is to ask the room steward.
The resort has probably one of the best stretches of private beach on the coast, dotted with palm trees that provide plenty of shade. On the downside the access to the sea is restricted by the coral, but in all it is a great place to chill out. That is provided the Animation Team will let you! It took fully three weeks and a formal complaint before the Chief Animator was able to grasp the concept that the constant use of whistles and shouting was probably not the best way to engage with guests. In all their approach was totally OTT and more in keeping with a 1950's holiday camp than a 4 * resort in the 21st C.
The daily animation programme and continuous music did not change at all throughout our stay and seldom attracted more than a dozen guests to any one activity. Some form of demographic analysis of the guest list would probably highlight the need to customise the activities but the Team appear quite content to churn out the same established programme day after day. The noisy approach adopted by the Team irritated and annoyed the majority of guests to such an extent that they were put off taking part in activities. In all not the best approach to customer satisfaction.
We asked the Chief Animator why the loud pop music was played constantly at the main pool from 9am to dusk. His response was that this was the activity pool and that the top pool was designated the 'quiet' pool. A rather incongruous definition as this pool incorporates the children's pool, water slide and is adjacent to the play area. It is therefore the pool of choice for families besides being the pool bar venue of choice for the serious drinkers late afternoon to dusk. The 'quiet' definition unfortunately does not appear to apply to any part of the resort complex.
The relatively remote location of the resort is well covered in other reviews. It does mean that guests have little alternative but to stay within the resort of an evening and therefore the entertainment programme is of prime importance. Apart from performances by the Maasai and a couple of other local acts the bulk of the 'entertainment' is down to the Animation Team. To say that it is third rate would be praise indeed!
We cannot praise enough the majority of the staff who are friendly and helpful and will always greet you with a smile. We have come to know many of them over the years from various resorts and they are one of the main reasons we continue to return to Kenya, and to Amani Tiwi in particular.
Must mention the highlight of our visit; the hatching of the green turtles. In 20+ years of holidaying in Kenya this was the first time we managed to be there at the right time. Fantastic experience.
Tried not to be too negative about some aspects of the resort as it really has the potential to realise its' motto 'Paradise Under African skies'. Unfortunately while problems encountered one visit are usually addressed by the next a new set inevitably seem to turn up. Plan to return again later in the year (provided the price is right), hopefully to a less noisy complex.
Finally a couple of hopefully constructive suggestions:
To those of us less mobile and unsteady on our feet it would be useful to have a hand rail installed to support access via the steps at the shallow end of the main pool.
The main bar is a popular meeting and socialising point both before and after dinner. However as the temp and humidity builds prior to the Long rains it is extremely hot, especially the non smoking section. Installation of some ceiling fans would really help.

Room Tip: Premium rate rooms are all located near the main pool and entertainment areas and are subject to a c...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kenya359
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Paignton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 25, 2014

Our 3rd stay in Kenya, nice hotel but not Platinum Thompson. Our room was good - no problems with the hot water and always kept clean (stayed in block 7). Did however have an issue with no hairdryer in the room on arrival and after asking reception twice and Stacey (the rep) we had to request again but they didn't seem to have a spare one with the right fitting (none in the empty rooms)? and was astounded to be given a 2 pin round hairdyer that was rammed into 2 holes of the three pin socket - I am no electrician, but realised that this was not safe and refused to use it. On complaining again to reception I was advised that they did not have any adapters but I could buy one from the shop in the hotel! After seeing Sacey again we eventually got it sorted.

Found it strange that the managers cocktail party happened the evening before we left and as we were packing we couldn't go. Would have been better to have it a few days after everyone arrived so we still don't know who the manager was or got to meet him.

The food was varied and good but do not understand about the Italian and Seafood restaurant. On all inclusive you can eat in either of these for free at lunctime but in the evening the same menu is available but you have to pay, hence both restuaurants were nearly always empty. Such a shame even if different food was available at a small extra cost maybe it would be busy but each night the staff just stood around with nothing to do. I would have thought this false economy Amani Tiwi.

Friendly staff who are willing to help if they can.

The pool area was good and the sunbeds comfortable but a few more beds would be great as everyone has said they get booked up early and in the first few days we couldn't find any free.
It is great however to have a choice of sunbeds on the beach. We just missed the hatching of the turtles in the nest on the beach. Would have loved to have seen that. Great that the hotel is supporting the dive centre guys in this project and they are hoping to build a centre for sick and injured turtles in the future.

The hotel is quite a long way from Diani and the shops/supermarket and the taxi return fare was more expensive than at home - £16 per person return. Felt this was highly inflated for the tourists. What a shame.

Went on Safari to Masai Mara with JT Safaris - our third time with him and as ever an excellent 1st class service, Thanks Julius. Saw 4 lions (brothers) that had brought down a hippo the night before (quite unusual) but fascinating watching as gradually the hyenas, jackals, storks and vultures got involved.

Would go back again if standards keep improving but a few issues to sort out first.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Janet S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andover, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 24, 2014

me and my partner just returned from a 2weeks stay at this very nice place the beach is clean and private an not a lot of hassle from the beach boys which you seem to get every ware these days once you said no to them they didn't pester you . the rooms were spacious and very clean although we did keep having a lot of power cuts but didn't spoil the stay. the pools are very well maintained and cleaned everyday the pool boys are great they cant do enough for you . the food is good wasn't all to my taste but there's always something you can find as everyone's tastes are different. the staff are all fantastic an will go out there way to make you happy just ask them also Stacey the Thomson's rep is very helpful an always on hand . the trips are well worth a go as all are well organised the dow trip was very good an worth the money the snorkelling is great also the safari to tsvo east was amazing an well worth every penny so thank you tito our guide who was great an Julius of jt safaris they gave us the personal touch were definitely Cumming back next year an will book again we you guys an are planning to stay at this lovely resort again as it was total relaxation for 2weeks so thanks everyone for a wonderful time.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank thedonnyboy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed March 13, 2014

I loved the resort it was well laid out with the pools separating the accommodation from the restaurant and bar. The room was clean but not luxurious. The staff were very friendly and were always happy to help. The pools were cleaned daily and very warm. I loved the fact that the beach was easy to access from the resort and was also cleaned daily. The food was plentiful and varied. I also made use of the Diving club to learn to scuba dive.

Room Tip: You can upgrade from the basic rooms
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Christine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coventry, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 13, 2014

We've just returned from a week in Amani Tiwi, and I have to say it exceeded our expectations in every single area. It was just fantastic!

The rooms were great - all air conditioned which is a must. It's hot! The food was beyond anything we ever could have imagined. My husbands plate was piled high with a huge variety of food daily, and I am one of the fussiest eaters ever - yet even I managed to have three meals a day without complaint. I thought I'd be living on bread and fruit for the week! They work hard to keep the resort clean and neat - I have not one complaint about the cleanliness of the place.

The staff, without a doubt, were a contributing factor to making our holiday so special. When people say they cannot do enough for you - they REALLY cannot do enough for you. I wish we'd been advised about tipping before we went - so make sure you take lots of 100 shilling notes, and if you feel that someone has provided you with a good service, they'll be so grateful of this small token. We were so blown away, we ended up running out of money for tips quite fast, and had to exchange some of our larger notes! If you like to have a bit of a laugh and be well looked after, spend your days at the top pool, with the swim-up bar, where you'll find Matata. He is awesome!!

As well as money - the staff are grateful for anything that you don't need once you get home... tshirts, swimming shorts, sandals. Those things you'll never wear in the UK again! It saves you some room in your luggage for souvenirs and gifts too! Again, something I wish I'd known as there were things that I could have taken that would have been far better received there than in a charity bank here!

There is a cashier in the hotel, but bear in mind you cannot withdraw any money, and can only exchange into shillings, so take plenty of money with you to avoid having to take a trip into Diani (as we decided we didn't want to leave the complex).

You'll be approached by the spa staff for treatments, and we were reluctant at first, however after a few days of being asked, we gave in. And boy are we glad we did. The spa is absolutely lovely. Their masseuses were skilled, and I treated myself to a pedicure too - which was far superior to the one I had before I left for my holiday! (You can pay by card here)

Bear in mind that the electricity does cut out frequently - but please remember... you're in KENYA! The people who live half a mile away have never experienced life with electricity! There were people moaning about this and about the coach transfers when we were there. Totally uncalled for, in my opinion. You'll see, just driving in/out and speaking to the locals, how truly lucky you are.

If we ever have the opportunity to go back to Kenya, then there is absolutely no doubt about it - we would choose Amani Tiwi. Go for it! You won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank Amanda F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Finland
Level Contributor
21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2014

We had a two weeks holiday at Amani Tiwi Resort in February 2014. We were a group of two families with kids from 6 to 10 years.

The brief story: The public areas of this hotel might be 4 star but the rooms have seen their best days some time ago. If you are looking for a spotless place with great attention to details this may not be for you but if a “normal” holiday hotel is what you want then Amani Tiwi is an excellent choice.

The hotel has a very large pool area, which is in good condition. There is also a separate pool for small kids. Sun beds are quite well available, but as everywhere, the best places are reserved quite early in the morning.

The staff is very friendly and we found the service to be mainly very good.

We had the all-inclusive option and we were quite satisfied with that. Beer, basic wine and local drinks are included but you may find a cold beer hard to find. With some tipping the situation gets slightly better. Of course, after two weeks the same boiling hot red wine does not taste so great anymore. Additional wines and drinks are available with an extra fee but we found especially the wine prices very high compared to what you get (basic stuff 3-4x the street price).

The food at this hotel is maybe the best part - a lot of variation and options to choose from. They have varying themes so during our two weeks trip we went elsewhere only once. During the day, three restaurants provide an all-inclusive ala carte menu in addition to the buffet in the main restaurant.

There is entertainment and activities available during the day. We found the evening program quite basic and the place gets pretty quiet by 11pm (when the all-inclusive ends). Amani Tiwi is far (you’ll need a taxi) from other hotels / restaurants so take this into account if you want to party late.

As mentioned above, the public areas are in very good condition but unfortunately I cannot say the same about the rooms. We had a family room, which consisted of two normal hotel rooms with a door in between. I would not rate the rooms as 4 stars – especially the bathrooms would need a renovation. Luckily we had two rooms since the shower in one room was almost unusable due to the minimal water flow and randomly varying water temperature.

The ceiling light did not work it in the other room and I had to ask six (6) times before it got fixed. It took them 10 days and I had to listen to all kind of explanations, including that they had to send someone to Mombasa to get a light bulb (like they would not have been able to get that from some empty room if they were out of stock). The cleaning is mostly ok but don’t look under your bed…

The hotel has a well-equipped gym, which we used almost daily. Sometimes there was no air condition, but they turn that on if you just ask. Hotel offers also massage services, but we found the prices almost as high as back home so did not try these

We had booked a two nights private Safari to Tsavo East and West with JT Safaris (www.julius-safaris.com) prior to arriving to Kenya. I really recommend a private safari with them – you can choose yourself where to go and when and during the safari you can make your own choices instead of going where the tour guide takes you with the group. Be aware that there are some other companies, which have almost the same name. The real JT Safaris have their office next to Diani Sea Resort. Our safari was in the middle of our stay, which was a good choice. You could rest a bit before the safari and also after that (it is quite a lot of driving from Diani)

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mjm03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
G M, Manager at Amani Tiwi Beach Resort, responded to this review, March 15, 2014
Thank you for your comment, however we do not appreciate gross exaggerations.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tiverton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2014

Have just returned form 2 weeks at the Amani.My husband and I had a brilliant time. We were well looked after at the resort and nothing was too much trouble. The staff were all friendly from the waiters to the ground staff.Stacey ,our rep, was on hand if there was any problems. While we were there we booked a boat day trip with JT Safaris. This was excellent and we were well looked after on the trip. The staff were also very good and encouraged those who hadn't snorkelled befor to have a go. The resort is peaceful with a good atmosphere. If tere was one down side it would be that the resort is 7mins. van journey from the main road on a bumpy dirt track and taxis wre very expensive. Thank you Amani for a memorable holiday.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank karen h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amani Tiwi Beach Resort

Property: Amani Tiwi Beach Resort
Address: PO Box 1877, Ukunda 80400, Kenya (Formerly Tiwi Beach Resort)
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Ukunda
#11 Luxury Hotel in Ukunda
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Ukunda
#14 Romantic Hotel in Ukunda
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Amani Tiwi Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 209
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Recently up graded with an addition of another specialty restaurant-Sultan Dhow & Aqua wine bar overlooking the Indian Ocean with a wide choice of wine served by glass. Refurbished Floodlit Tennis Court. A dedicated 3D 84 inch screen facility, Ultra modern conferences in a separate hotel wing.New hotel boutiques, air conditioned rooms, Hi- speed WIFI Internet & 32'' LCD TV with Satellite feed in the rooms, Complimentary mini fridges, electronic safes, Tea & Coffee making facility, Hair dryers, Mosquito nets and superior guest toiletries Dedicated 24 hours in room dining menu. Upmarket Hair Salon Beauty & Wellness Center.Superior guest amenities. Weekly Complimentary traditional renewal of Wedding vows.3 Specialty restaurants and 4 bars including swim-up sunken bar in the a 167 Meter length free form swimming pool... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amani Tiwi Beach Hotel Ukunda
Tiwi Beach Hotel
Amani Tiwi Beach Resort Kenya/Ukunda

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