Take an idyllic location and add a plethora of staff whose one aim in life is to ensure that you’re enjoying yourself and you’ve got the measure of Hemingways.
From the utterly charming manager, Garry Cullen, to any of the many chambermaids and garden staff and all the under-managers, waiters and boat attendants in between, you’ll find a smiling welcome and an answer to any query or request.
My wife and I have been twice and we’ll go again as soon as we can. The food is excellent – Omar the chef is at the top of his game. If there’s something you particularly want, just ask. If it’s possible, it’ll be prepared. If you are a deep-sea fisherman (Hemingways hosts international fishing competitions), your catch can be prepared any way you like. If you want sushi, no problem – they have all the extras. Most vegetables are grown on Hemingways’ own organic fields and taste terrific. Ask the head gardener to show you round – he’s a knowledgeable man with a passion for his plants and trees.
High tea is a must. As others have noted, the pancakes are just too tempting. The bar is well stocked and the bar staff great fun. They make a mean margarita and the local beer is a sparkling thirst quencher.
If you just want a totally relaxing beach holiday, the place is brilliant. The pool is vast and well kept and there are always enough sun loungers to go around. If you snorkel or dive, you’ll find the waters clear and buoyant. All the equipment you need is available and the staff at the dive centre next door are all PADI qualified and highly safety conscious. If you’re snorkelling, expect a boat driver and probably two lookouts to check you’re ok.
If you want something a bit more adventurous, ask Garry and his team to arrange a safari. You’ll be in expert hands and they can create what you want individually. Like luxury safari? No problem, they know the owners of all the luxury camps personally. Like to be a bit closer to nature? No problem, they’ll get you a professional guide and porters for temporary camps. Want to fly to the Mara? No problem, they’ll fly you there and take you to whichever camp you like. Prefer to be driven? No problem, their specially-built 4x4s are tough. My wife and I survived The Road to Narok courtesy of one. This is quite possibly the worst road in Africa, where the difference between a pothole and a mineshaft is indistinguishable. It’s one hell of drive and one of the best times you’ll ever have. Don’t do it if you have a bad back.
A word about the rooms. This is Africa, so don’t expect European five star furnishings. You’ll find that they are big, clean and a bit tired. Don’t worry about it. You’ll only be in your room to sleep and you’ll sleep soundly.
And don’t worry about Kenya’s recent election problems. Hemingways and its environs have remained completely peaceful. That’s the way they like it. Ditto with any safari you request. You’ll be fine – Hemingways is not going to put any of its guests in any sort of danger.
Another reviewer on these pages suggested that if there was a seven star category for service, Hemingways would qualify. I concur. Hemingways people are something special, the setting is something special and if you go, you’ll find that you enjoy a special holiday.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hemingways Watamu is an iconic tropical paradise on the Kenyan coast sitting right in the middle of the pristine Watamu Marine National Park with its idyllic white sand beach and turquoise waters. The exceptional personal service and sincere charm of this established hotel has come to represent Kenyan coastal luxury to so many travellers for close to 30 years. There is so much to do here - learn to kite-surf; get your PADI certificate, take a sunset dhow cruise on Mida Creek, play a round of golf on the nearby world class golf course, Vipingo Ridge; or go on safari for a few days in Tsavo or the Maasai Mara. If that all sounds a little too energetic, relax around the pool with a good book as you work your way through our cocktail menu. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Hemingways Hotel Watamu
- Hemingways Hotel Malindi
- Hemingways Resort Malindi