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.
- 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