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“Brilliant staff, brilliant location, brilliant holidays”
Review of Hemingways Watamu

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Hemingways Watamu
Ranked #19 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Reviewed April 9, 2008

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.

Stayed: September 2007
3  Thank KennyKoala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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232 - 238 of 268 reviews

Reviewed April 1, 2008

One of the best places I have ever stayed, the food, the service, the beach, the pool ... brilliant! Definately the best staff I have ever been served by. Only downside being probably the rooms, they are nothing special although more than adequate with aircon and all the noraml things. Aparently the new block come next year will be better.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled with friends
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1  Thank normalBrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2008

Beautiful setting on the beach at Watamu, with a marine park in front of the hotel, crystal blue sea and white sand. Food at the hotel really was excellent. Staff were great. Used Acquaventures dive school at the hotel next door which was very professional. Saw lots, even sea turtles, particularly the second week when the visibility was better than the red sea. The whale sharks were visiting but sadly we did not see them. Went on safari with Gamewatchers to Porini Lion Camp in the Masai Mara, recommended for an authentic safari experience.

We travelled at the time of the political unrest and did not experience any problems, we were made to feel safe and welcome throughout the two weeks. The hotel and game parks were quiet, good for us but not good for the kenyan people. Kenya needs and deserves tourists.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Mongoose22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2007

Was at Hemingways on a conference organised by my employer. It was amazing, the service was top notch, the food delicious. You HAVE to try the famous Kenyan cocktail, the dawa. I was hooked on the dawas, and so were most of my fellow delegates! I'd definitely go back with my husband, it's a perfect romantic get away

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled on business
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Thank TheTravellerMe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2007

"Relaxed Sophistication" - how true...
Service unparallelled - friendly, efficient, eager to please (but not pestering) staff.
Rooms beautifully presented, fresh flowers every day, all rooms with sea views.
Superb food - huge choice and all freshly caught fish.
Grounds and whole building very impressive, especially the restaurant (get one of the staff to take you around the grounds - fascinating plants and trees!).
Pool area clean, plenty of room for all, and relaxing - no music, just sea lapping 3 or 4 meters away.
Seaweed still covering 50% of the beach but took none of the beauty away, stunning part of coast line.
Fishing INCREDIBLE - recommend a whole day (& not sharing!).
Would highly recommend for English couples.
Take a guided trip into Malindi to see the "real life" - extraordinary culture and very friendly people (trips don't get too busy).

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Sonning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2007

Great rooms, friendly but efficient service, great food and not too in your face.

  • Stayed: July 2006
    • Value
Thank Tsekham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2007

Stayed at Hemingways over the weekend of 20 July 2007 with office staff of 14. It was a departmental "away day" and we decided to do it in luxury. We were not dissappointed!!!!

Hemingways is lovely! Great location, great weather, great service and great food! Having been to the coast every year, this was a big change from the usual Mombasa hotels and their drab buffets and overpriced drinks!

The rooms were lovely ( I was in a deluxe), great bathrooms (first thing I check), a slightly old safe, but functional nonetheless.

Took the complimentary boat to the Marine Park ( you need to pay the park fees though), and that was awesome. So professionally done, careful crew ( one of our team panicked in the water, they jumped in a had him out in a minute!).

Decided to spend Saturday night in Malindi and they promptly arrange transportation ( relaible!!).

Great poolside service, nice clean pools.

Make sure you don't miss their "tight" high tea at 4pm!

Were also kind enough to give us a late checkout as part of the team had a late flight.

Overall 5 star experience and service!

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled on business
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1  Thank KulaRaha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hemingways Watamu

Address: P.O. Box 267, Watamu 80202, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Watamu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Watamu
#9 Luxury Hotel in Watamu
#10 Spa Hotel in Watamu
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Watamu
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
Price Range: $283 - $290 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Hemingways Watamu 5*
Number of rooms: 60
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

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