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“The Cove - Hakuna Matata”

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The Cove Treehouses
Ranked #21 of 80 Specialty Lodging in Ukunda
Reviewed January 2, 2008

We stayed at The Cove for a total of 11 nights. We arrived midday on the 11th December having flown overnight from Gatwick to Mombasa. We were both tired and my husband-to-be was asleep in the back of our private transport to the The Cove. He was soon woken up when we exited Diani and the road suddenly ran out and became a rugged track of pitted coral.

At one point we were wondering if the driver knew where he was going, but after about 25 minutes we pulled up outside a set of wooden doors which were opened by a smiling security guard. Our luggage was offloaded from the taxi and we were ushered into the quiet and cool of The Cove's restaurant for a welcome fruit cocktail served by Raphael.

We didn't really know what to expect, and our first impressions were that the site was a lot smaller and intimate than we thought. The website gave the impression that maybe the restaurant and swimming pool were located away from the accommodation but, in fact, everything was within a couple of minutes walk - including the beach.

The treehouse came as a bit of a shock - we weren't quite sure what an inside out bathroom was, so it was a surprise to see that you could sit on the loo whilst overlooking and being overlooked by the seating area outside on the veranda, but as we weren't overlooked by anything else it really wasn't a problem - and you soon got used to it.

Facilities in the treehouse were basic, but perfectly adequate. The fridge was well-stocked, there was a water cooler for drinking water and (just about) sufficient hangers to put your clothes onto. The four poster bed was "to die for"! Unfortunately, none of the safes were working as they had been affected by the high humidity, but as the site was so secure - this really wasn't a problem and we didn't think twice about leaving valuables out.

We were allocated Treehouse No. 1 which is probably "the" treehouse to have. Right on the beach, next to the swimming pool and in prime position.

We were due to stay for 3 nights before heading out on a 3 night safari and then returning back for a further 8 nights. As The Cove wasn't full, we were able to leave all our luggage in the treehouse for the period in which we were away which was a fantastic bonus.

We returned after our safari, and it felt like coming home! We were now in the run up to our wedding on the 19th which would take place under our treehouse where it would be cool and shady but still with a perfect view of the beach.

The wedding went perfectly, and Stephanie and Doris (The Cove management team) worked very hard to ensure that everything went smoothly. This was not a first marriage for either of us so we took no friends and family with us. Raphael acted as my husband's witness, whilst Daniele who owns one of the villas in The Cove acted as mine.

We left for Mombasa airport in the early hours of Christmas morning with our packed breakfast (thoughtfully provided for us the night before) and many happy memories.

The staff were brilliant, Raphael, Charlie, John, Philip and Patrick (the chef) just couldn't do enough for you. It's fair to say none of them were butlers in the true sense of the word - but everything they did was done with a smile and in the true spirit of Hakuna Matata "no problem". The food was good, and they were happy to prepare alternatives when requested. We were lucky enough to buy fresh sardines from the fishing community one morning - and we had these for dinner that night.

Whilst we were there fellow guests were a mixture of ages - honeymooners, returning guests and couples celebrating wedding anniversaries. Despite being very few people there, the atmosphere was friendly and cosy and you had the choice whether to mix with others or not.

The only disappointment was the beach. Swimming was prohibitive due the the shallow water which went out for what looked like quarter of a mile. You could only wade with shoes on (due to sea urchins), but this was typical of the whole Diani area and not limited to the location of The Cove.

All in all, a fantastic experience. A wonderful venue for a wedding and a truly unique venue.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank LaurelCottage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 - 48 of 58 reviews

Reviewed November 29, 2007

What an absolute joy to have experienced the Cove Retreat. This is a peaceful, high service retreat with 6 tree houses, private beach and wonderful surroundings. We had 7 nights at the end of our honeymoon. The service is great, friendly and we felt very privileged to be there. The locals on the beach were great- make sure you go sailing or fishing with them! We cannot speak highly enough of this place. Lovely tree house, attentive service (or left alone if you want), nice food and nice beach and pool. Also try 2 nights at the Sables for a similar personal service.
This is not a '5 star' hotel as some agents have advertised-( the owners have never ever claimed this) - which has left clients let down- what this place is - a wonderful retreat, where you get fed when you want it, a spa when you want, left alone with no noise or interruptions- total bliss.)

We can’t recommend enough for those wanting peace and quite in a lovely setting.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Neilcatele
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2007

My new husband and I stayed at The Cove in September. After being on safari we were looking forward to relaxing for a few days before we had to return home. I couldn't help feeling smug as we dropped off the other tourists on our bus at their large resorts knowing that where they were staying could be anywhere in the world, but where we were going was a totally different experience.
The bumpy drive from the main resort of Diani seemed to go on forever, but as soon as we arrived at The Cove, we knew it was worth it. We were welcomed in and taken straight to the bar for refreshing drinks while our bags were taken to our treehouse. We were then given a guided tour of our amazing treehouse, and a late lunch was brought up to us while we unpacked and relaxed.
Our treehouse was every bit as good as we had hoped. The fridge was always well stocked, and the staff always made sure our mosquito nets were in place and the air conditioning was on while we ate our dinner in the bar. The open bathroom was lovely. We had very few creepy crawlies, only a few enormous ants, and to shower while listening to the sea and feeling the sea breeze was wonderful. The decking area and day bed under the treehouse were also lovely places to relax when the sun got too much.
As we were only staying for a few days we spent them relaxing by the pool and in our treehouse so can't comment on any of the day trips available. The staff were fantastic though, in particular Jon and Philipe who really looked after us. The place was always very clean, and the food and drink was plentiful. As other people have mentioned if you want your food at a certain time order it for 30 minutes earlier because it was always cooked on Kenyan time. But what's the hurry anyway? You are going to The Cove to kick back and relax. Especially if you have come there from safari!
On our last night we had a candlelit jacuzzi after dinner which was a lovely way to end our stay, and I can confess I did shed a tear at the thought of having to leave such a wonderful place.
The Cove is definately a place most suited to honeymooners, or people wanting to relax and be looked after. If you want more to do then The Cove probably isn't the place for you.
For us it was the perfect place to stay on our honeymoon and we loved every minute of our time there. We can't recommend it highly enough and certainly look forward to returning at some point in the future!

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Sarah P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2007

Something a bit different from the packaged experience further up at coast at Diani/Malindi. The treehouses are fantastic with acres of space and very comfortable. The other accommodation is set back from the sea and very much second best. The food was good if not fantastic. The small number of guests and staff mean you get to know pretty much. The setting is beautiful and relaxing and being set next to the local village ,Kinonda, you can, if you choose, interact with the villagers either through just chatting on the beach or taking a tour of the village of a snorkelling trip. Because the resort is small and relatively new relations with the villagers seem to be pretty genuine rather profit based. The grounds which ajoin native woodland abound with troups of monkeys which are great fun to watch.
The main complaint would be the smallish pool and the lack of shade around it, though by the looks of recent photos, the latter apears to have been sorted. Not much happening in terms of laid on entertainment or nearby attractions/sites to visit but that's not why you'd come to a place like this.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank liedream
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2007

My wife and I stayed here both prior to and post Safari, for our Ruby Anniversary. We stayed each time in a Treehouse, No 1 first which is seafront and then No 4 a garden location, though still with a sea view. As already stated there are no distractions at this Hotel, no music, clocks, Telephones or T.Vs so you are virtually forced to relax and forget outsideworries. Meals could be requested for virtually anytime and were simple but featured fresh local fare and were always cooked to order. Service was usually pretty good and always came with a smile. The rooms feature a huge double bed and the light turning off problem was being resolved. The Jacuzzis are still only warm at best but are in a lovely setting so make the most of it. Bar service courtesy of messrs. Raphael, Charlie, Jon and Phillipe was prompt and gave rise to some interesting cocktail creations !
If pure unalloyed luxury is what you want then this is not the place for you but what this place is, is Different and unique, there are no toileteries supplied or any luxury finishing touches instead what you get is charming service, freshly prepared food and a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Also of note is that the majority of guests are honeymooners so they are generally younger.
All in all we both enjoyed the experience of a stay here and fell in love with the charm of it. We give it five stars for its unique atmosphere and location rather than for its facilities.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Gloucestercouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2007

We stayed at The Cove for two weeks in July for our honeymoon and we had a fantastic time. The service was excellent and the views are amazing. We stayed in a TreeHouse and whilst the sem-outside bathroom may get some little visitors of the bug and lizard variety, the main bedroom is fully enclosed with air conditioning - something we appreciated very much!

The resort is set next to a local fishing village and the hotel buys as many of its food supplied as it can from the village. The beach is also private in the sense that only the village locals can go on it (but only a handful - they're all busy in their day jobs of fishing). They cannot approach you in the resort grounds but once you step on the beach they are able to approach you. However they are ever so friendly because the resort is still fairly new and they haven't learned the hard-sell tricks yet.

There are no TVs/phones here but it was actually quite nice not to have those distractions. I can't rate this place highly enough.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank scribester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2007

Stayed: June 2007
6  Thank StarSparkleLeicester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Cove Treehouses

Address: Diani beach Road | Galu Kinondo, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 80 Specialty Lodging in Ukunda
Price Range: $400 - $500 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
COVE TREE HOUSES - DIANI BEACH, KENYA Our small intimate lodge is nestled in its own private cove, just 12kms from Diani Beach Town - but well away from the hustle and bustle of mass tourism. The Cove offers guests exclusivity, excellent service, and the peace and quiet of a magical retreat! Here, time doesn't matter, and our team will work around your schedule. Your long, lazy beach walks will be uninterrupted, and the only sounds you will hear are the wish-wash of the tide, the cry of distant fish eagles and the rustling of the Baobab and Coconut tree leaves. The Cove has only six ocean-facing villa treehouses, with their own private decks. Enjoy panoramic vistas of the East African coastline dotted with pretty Ngalawas (Swahili boats). The Cove is a romantic retreat and is perfect for honeymooners. If your dream is to have a Kenyan beach wedding then you have just found the perfect place for it. Diani Beach has been voted Africa's Top Beach Destination 3 years in a row (beating Mozambique, Sharm El Sheikh, Zanzibar and Cape Town!), and is everything you'd expect from a tropical beach get-away: a gentle breeze whispering across powdery white beaches fringed by coconut trees and lapped by the warm Indian Ocean. Diani is on the Kenyan South Coast, a scenic forty-five minute drive from Mombasa. Like any good beach destination - Diani Beach is not short of activities. We can organise kite surfing, diving, snorkelling, deep sea fishing and so much more while you stay with us..... Or you could choose to indulge in absolute relaxation during your stay with us. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Cove Retreat Hotel Ukunda
The Cove Treehouses Kenya/Ukunda

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