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“Lisa and Richard Wedding”
Review of Hemingways Watamu

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Hemingways Watamu
Ranked #20 of 26 Hotels in Watamu
Reviewed August 23, 2013

We cannot praise Hemmingways, Watamu, enough for the wonderful week we recently spent there celebrating our daughter, Lisa's, wedding to Richard. Everybody at Hemmingways went out of their way to give us a truly memorable and very happy time. The wedding was organised by Agnes at Hemmingways Fishing Centre who was fantastic. Agnes was professional, calm, un-flappable and friendly. Her help was invaluable at every stage of our stay.The wedding day itself was magical and very special, thanks to the care and attention lavished on us by the entire staff but especially by Agnes. Agnes also organised a safari for us to Satao camp in Tsavo which was great fun. We saw wonderful wildlife and the camp itself was luxurious and welcoming. Deep sea fishing arranged for us was extremely enjoyable and we would particularly like to thank Mohamed and his crew for his care with the novices and Stewart and his team for looking after the boys. Although fish were caught the day's highlight was being surrounded by breaching, hump backed whales. What a privilege to see such wildlife close to! Our accommodation was spacious, clean, airy and luxurious. The food was excellent.

Our special thanks must go to George, Mohamed in the restaurant and Vincent, who accompanied us on safari.The three were knowledgeable and helpful in their separate fields.I would thoroughly recommend Hemingways, Watamu to anyone thinking of a Kenyan holiday and especially to anyone thinking of planning a wedding! We will certainly return there for another visit! Thank you everybody there! Definitely one of the best small luxury hotels in the world.

Room Tip: Upstairs rooms have an excellent view of the sea. Downstairs possibly better for children and the le...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank AnneYnyslas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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109 - 115 of 252 reviews

Reviewed August 12, 2013

It is difficult to know how this can be included as one of the best small luxury hotels of the world. It is so far away from that description that it is ridiculous. Our room had damp on the walls and the smell that goes with it. The windows were smeared where they had not been properly cleaned, the phone was not working. The building itself was reminiscent of my inner city comprehensive during the 1970s in Lewisham, South East London. We were meant to be here to end a luxurious and very expensive Abercrombie & Kent holiday. The people at the hotel were all fine but were all on a more budget type holiday. There were a group of young American lads on our floor who were doing drugs on the stairwell. The evening meal when we arrived was a buffet and served out of huge steel kettles and on a par with a cheap Indian eat as much as you want lunch buffet with the same atmosphere. We had arrived from a wonderful and luxury safari and the thought of spending a few days here was entirely depressing. I could go on as the place was appalling. Ok for a cheap holiday but not suitable for anything really special. There is no way on earth that this hotel has any resemblance of luxury. It needs investment and updating and someone to reinvigorate some flair and care.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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4  Thank Loubreak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hemingways C, General Manager at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2013

Dear Loubreak,

We are very sorry that we did not have the chance to show you all that we are able to offer to our clients as you choose to leave the hotel within an hour of your arrival.

August on the coast is the middle of our lowest season. We set an extremely low room rate at this time because we are aware that at this time of year our beaches are not at their best due to the sea grass deposits; the strong winds, high humidity and rain showers force indoor dining rather than our normal terrace settings and we have to have wind and rain breaks set up around the public areas which closes us off a bit. We regret that this was not explained to you by your agent at the time of booking.

The salty air and strong winds also requires window cleaning three times a day at this time, quite a time consuming job for our staff and we do apologise that you found some of the windows with a salt buildup.

We did indeed have a group of 17 people staying with us which was comprised of parents and their teenage children. We have had no reports whatsoever from our security guards; nor from any other clients, that these clients have been noisy or involved in drink or drugs at any point in their stay. Our stair cases are actually open to the main public areas and are clearly visible to both managers and security at all times.

I am truly sorry that you did not like the buffet. We alternate between buffets and normal Table d Hote served menus which may have been more to your taste. We are always willing to make something different for our guests if they let us know that they are not happy with our selection as we are aware that not everything is to everyone’s individual taste. We have actually received two letters from clients staying with us on the night in question congratulating us on the standard and quality of the food served that night.

We are truly sorry that we did not meet your expectations and for this reason we agreed to waive the majority of your payment.

We hope that you will enjoy the remainder of your stay in Kenya at your alternative accommodation.

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Reviewed August 6, 2013

We stayed here after a 7 day Safari and what a visit we had. We cannot thank the staff enough for being so friendly, helpful and giving us a great time. To many to name but George(hotel), George(pool), Hudson hope you got some tuna) and the lady in charge of the fishing/travel department we really brilliant and went beyond the call of duty. We arrived late on the Monday evening, tired and grumpy(well I was) but there was a great reception for us and the restaurant was still open so a good meal and and a beer helped. Unfortunately our eldest son had been ill on safari and he kindly passed it on to his brother. No problem, doctor called and medicine given. we were even given an up grade to a suite so we could have an inter connecting door. The fishing trip we had arranged was postponed and would have been cancelled if the boys had not been fit enough. The fishing trip was something from my "bucket list" and Stewart the captain ensured that I and my two sons caught game fish. Cant say enough about the place apart from we will go back and we would recommend it.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Clive T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2013

Walking into Hemingways is like walking into the tired and uninspiring hotels in old British seaside resorts. You notice the sign on the wall saying when the hotel opened in the 80s. I suspect nothing has changed since. The rooms are functional and would be fine for a single night on a business trip, not for a supposed luxury break by the lovely Kenyan coast. Even down to the roof of the bathroom which looks like the ceiling from an extension to a school building. I would not recommend this place.

Room Tip: Don't stay here.
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Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank PJR82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hemingways C, General Manager at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this reviewResponded August 3, 2013

We are truly sorry that your intention to stay with us was cut short since we did not meet your expectation, thus you decided to check out on the same day as you arrived. We would have appreciated the chance to show you that our service and staff are of the Hemingways standard despite the less than beautiful beaches we have at this time of year.

We do always advise our guests that during the Kuzi monsoon period between April to August; Watamu experiences stronger than normal winds and receives sea weed deposits on the beach. As this area is a United nations biosphere and National Marine Park, removal of the sea weed deposits from the beach is prohibited. In July , with our temporary wind breaks up and huge seaweed deposits plus strong wind and rain it’s a tough sell to those expecting a hotel looking like it does in the high season.

It is in that spirit that we arranged for you to utilize the full monies you had paid to us, at Hemingways Nairobi our sister property. We would also look forward to hosting you again here in Watamu so you can fully indulge in the luxury of Hemingways Watamu when we are at our best.

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Reviewed July 8, 2013

This is one of the best hotels in the Kenyan coast. Having stayed in most hotels in the Mombasa North coast, none compares to Hemingways, very friendly staff, Om who is one of the managers constantly ensured our group (we were more than 10) was always comfortable. Everyone loved their rooms but i still believe mine was the best, it was on the new section side, you would want to ask for that side whenever you are checking in because i only got it after asking, otherwise i would also be in the old section. Unfortunately the front beach was dirty with seaweeds and we always had to walk quite a distant to the clean side. Food was great too.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Limmo K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hemingways C, General Manager at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this reviewResponded August 3, 2013

Dear Limmo,

We are glad you had a wonderful stay with us. We have passed your kind words to the team, and look forward to hosting you again soon.

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Reviewed June 8, 2013

What make an hotel a place of excellence, reason of its 5*, is not only the high quality of its public areas, rooms, services and products; but more important, to keep these high standards in both low and peak seasons ... And there you really figure out the level of exclusivity ... I thought slh understood it, Well not all of them.

First when i checked in i was confirmed the upgrade in deluxe That was included in my reservation ( upon availability) .. Quickly figured out that the south wing was closed and That we were in a superior north wing (checked the pic in hemingway.com) Well, no 1 i don t accept staff lying, no 2 it was Holiday, the room was comfortable with sea view so no fuz... But Still, when, for whatever reason, an upgrade is unavailable, NEVER lie to a client it is the most image destructor.

Then the wifi was not working in the room, i was sûre That the code given was wrong, I kept reapeating to Inocenta (guest relation) the issue, She was always repeating "go on the balcony" the issue was not the signal but the code. After repeating 4 Times with in 24h i decided to ask another front desk member and i was correct, one of the lettre of the code was wrong.. So when a guest is claiming somthing, challenge yourself.

The food experience (dinner menu) was great but too european for me, the F&B manager quickly proposed me to do a special kenyan menu the next day... Wow amayzing mini buffet for us with seafood, Chicken, veggies and coconut Rice... That s an slh!!! However, the dinning room is big, dark and there was spider nets in the lamps (never removed in 3 days) ... That s not an slh. In low season, for dinner, you should arrange the 1st floor in a cosy 15 tables dinning room... Desagreable to eat in a huge room with 10 tables occupied among 30 empty. Also the buffet breakfast was poor and not fresh ( pastries were getting dryer every day.. Low occupency ok, low quality no way!!!) hopefully, you have a big and tasty "a la carte" but then, you wait and wait and wait before it comes ... sherry on the cake, some of the staff was serving themselves drinks from the buffet!!! Not acceptable, without notyfying That the service level of some was really low level ... One put my plate with eggs on my plate full of bread as no place on the table ... Well reorganize the table then!!!

Also, the agency is nice and the activity desk staff is friendly and proposes you a variety of fun stuff to do (a bit overpriced but in kenya the prices are as in Europe). However we had a very bad experience with the crew.. We paid 80 eur for a 2 hours boat tour (fun) and 6 eur for the touktouk transfer to the marina (15 min) when we came Back the entier crew climbed on the touktouk without asking us, result, we were 5 in a touktouk for 2 with no day light and heavy rain on a mud road that was looking like a river and then on a hard road full of trafic... Unacceptable ... I notifies the management of the hotel ( the crew is hotel staff) and i received the 6 eur (i asked it for the principal) and the appologies from the manager on duty .... The fact That it was un appropriate is one thing (and I accepted the cash Back for that as a gesture) but the fact That the staff of the hotel put us at risk is simply unacceptable.

Over all I have been desapointed by this slh, the location is really nice and the pool area as the rooms are very agreable... However some renovations are really needed... In public zones you feel in the 90s ... Kind of ok when the rest follows but with the above i detailed, this hotel deserves 3 stars ... And i am not a client Who enjoy destroying hotels images, I just have high excpectations
Reason Why i am travelling in 4/5 stars places using a lot SLH hotels since start 2013 (was my 6th SLH in 5 months)...

Special thanks to Ken at the pool, Ronald at the bar and the F&B manager

Room Tip: Northwing rooms have a direct view on the Beach and are renovated. If you take a tour by boat in mid...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Nekeltje
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hemingways C, General Manager at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this reviewResponded June 13, 2013

Dear Nekeltje,

Thank you so much for your feedback and we have noted your every sentiment.
Confirmation of room: Thank you for your comments which are much appreciated as it is only with feedback that we are able to improve. We are truly sorry that you did not enjoy your stay with us.
We are extremely sorry if there has been any miscommunication on the issue of your room upgrade; however, 100% of the superior rooms in the hotel are in the South Wing. All 26 rooms in the North Wing are Deluxe rooms and thus an upgrade was provided to you.

Miscommunication by the guest relations officer: We can only apologise for this mistake on the part of our guest relations officer. We have spoken to all of our front office staff and asked them to please double check all the possible reasons for a lack of connection in the future rather than assuming the problem is one of connectivity. Thank you for letting us know of this issue so that we could address it for the future.

Dining experience: We are delighted that our F&B manager was able to arrange a menu that was to your liking and we do hope that you enjoyed it. We have tried to make use of the upstairs first floor in the past for dining when we are quieter. However, due to the makuti (thatched) roof, the upstairs area has no windows or view of any nature and the majority of our clients have requested to sit downstairs where they may see outside despite the larger size of this area.
We have arranged for meals to be served in the Main Bar when we have been very quiet and this has proven popular. I regret that this was not arranged for you on this visit as it may have been t your preference.
Again, we have spoken to our waiting staff about service levels and can only apologise that the standard you received was not up to our normal standard. We are also investigating the pastry issue as we bake fresh every day as a matter of policy and we need to see what has caused this problem.

We can only apologise on this matter. It is totally against the policy of the activity centre to have our crews join our clients in their vehicles and the members of staff responsible have been notified of their mistake and we can assure you that it will not happen again.

We truly regret that you did not enjoy your stay with us and we do hope that you will allow us to show you that we have listened to your comments and improved at some point in the future.
Sincerely,

Melinda Rees
Manager

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Reviewed May 28, 2013

We came to Hemingways after a busy 6 day safari. It is heavenly. Rooms are large, comfortable and come complete with fresh bouquets of roses every day! Quiet, relaxing ambience with a very attentive, accommodating staff. Meals are fine dining. The beach is so beautiful! We went snorkeling and one member of our foursome went deep sea fishing. Boat, equipment and crew were top-notch. The chef served us the raw yellow fin tuna that had been caught as our appetizer in the bar and the 28 kg Grand Trevalley for our dinner. Both were excellent. Able to explore freely around Watamu on our own. They sent us with a driver and van to shop in Malindi and that was an immense help in finding exactly what we wanted. Would go back in a heartbeat. You can fly into Malinda or arrange with hotel for transport from Mombassa

Room Tip: Ask to be in the new section or on 2nd floor of older section for best views.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Anne235
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hemingways C, General Manager at Hemingways Watamu, responded to this reviewResponded August 3, 2013

Dear Anne,

We are glad you had a great time at Hemingways Watamu.

We enjoyed having you stay with us and we look forward to hosting you again soon.

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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:
#5 Family Hotel in Watamu
#9 Luxury Hotel in Watamu
#10 Spa Hotel in Watamu
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Watamu
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Watamu
Hotel Class:5 star — Hemingways Watamu 5*
Number of rooms: 74
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hemingways is nestled on one of the world's top ten beaches and few places can compare for relaxation. Every one of our 74 rooms offers an views of the ocean and the endless white sands of of the Watamu Marine Park. Gentle sea breezes tame the hot equatorial sun keeping the tropical landscape surrounding the gardens, pools and terraces cool and comfortable. Simple yet luxurious this very personal hotel has tradtional thatched roofs, white washed walls and uses bright local materials for decor and furnishings. Friendly helpful service in a relaxed and elegant setting where mobile phones are silent and stress has no place. Our chefs make the best possible use of the abundant offerings of the Indian Ocean, the delicious organic meats and an abundance of home grown fruits and vegetables from our farms. Special diets are happily catered for; let us know what you need. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hemingways Hotel Watamu
Hemingways Hotel Malindi
Hemingways Resort Malindi

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