Turtle Bay Beach Club
I travelled here in October 2013 as a solo traveller, I picked up a very good deal from Thomson (in the UK) which worked out at less than £100 per day for a fully inclusive 14 night break including flights and transfers, a spur of the moment type of holiday to get away from the 4 walls of my very small office which appeared to be closing in on me on a daily basis ....:)
2 hrs from the airport at Mombasa, which makes for an early start on the return trip (3am)
Anyway, Turtle Bay Beach Club, a very pleasant hotel, this is clearly not their busiest time of year, I guestimate that they were probably a third full, mainly elderly British, a good measure of Americans most of whom appeared to be attending conferences in the hotel (families along for the ride, including very small babies, lots of breast-feeding in the restaurants at mealtimes ... :\ ) and a good smattering of Ugandans and other Africans also using the hotel for business conference purposes.
I am guessing that most of the local hotels have conference facilities at this time of year, it wasn’t a problem, but it did detract from the holiday atmosphere.
Very clean, all of the staff without exception were very polite and eager to make your stay as pleasurable as possible, I could not find fault at all with the hotel.
Three restaurants, one Main where the bulk of meals were taken around the main pool, a Pizzeria style restaurant which took bookings for the evening (apparently very popular in high season) located adjacent to reception and an a la carte restaurant close to the beach ... all very high quality, I have no complaints about the food.
Tea, coffee and snacks were available throughout the day .... ask for anything and it would appear in a short while .... faultless.
Three bars, one in reception area tended to be a quieter bar, the main bar around the pool served drinks throughout the day with a waiter service covering the pool area and the beach, very efficient and clean,, there was also a beach facing bar in the evenings which has a pool table and access to a covered terrace on the beach.
There are two pools the main pool is the focus of the complex for meals and activities it has a couple of smaller plunge type pools for small groups to chill in, one end is shallow, the other deeper with a clear dividing line which made it suitable for all ages and abilities.
The second pool is the quiet pool with no music or children allowed, the ideal place for those who want to chill-out.
Pool towels are available and thick mattresses for the sun loungers around the pools and beach area.
There is a Massage and Beauty centre onsite, quite expensive, very few people were taking it up, the Masseuse and Beauty Therapist spent a lot of time sleeping !!!!
There is also a hairdressers on site which could be booked at reception
A great bunch, would encourage you to join in everything regardless of age or ability, some of the activities included: - daily walks to local attractions (and also to get people to venture past the front gate, it is not that scary) table tennis, darts, aquarobics, beach competitions, volleyball etc etc, they have endless patience and always a cheery disposition, I am not usually one to take part in these activities (because I am a miserable sod) but I was coaxed into joining in with something every day .... no mean feat I can assure you ...
There is also a “Kids Club” for the younger holiday makers.
There is a dive centre as part of the complex (as I understand it not part of the hotel, but co-located) where you can book diving, snorkelling, glass bottom boat trips windsurfing etc at extra cost.
I did take out a catamaran and a pedello, saw lots of fish and Yes.....Turtles.... cool
Now we come to the downside of Turtle Bay ... ....
Despite the best efforts of the locals and the hotels along this stretch of coastline, I have never seen so much debris and rubbish on any beach that I have ever visited, the hotels collect tons of rubbish during the course of the year but don’t appear to be making too much of a dent in the problem, there is more plastic and nylon than I have ever seen on any beach before.
Being a nature conservation area the seaweed is not cleared either which just makes the matter worse, piles of seaweed (some as high as six feet in places) up to knee deep on the hotel beachfront did not make for good swimming, I am a keen snorkeler and found the going difficult, the visibility was poor due to the debris and weed in the water and although this is a conservation area there was little if any evidence of increased fish numbers, I would be happy to be proved wrong but I did not see great amounts of fish despite being in the water twice a day, at low tide it was possible to walk on the dead coral and see small fish in the rock pools as well as moray eels in some of the larger pools, there was little (read “No”) evidence of work being done by the conservationists, looked more like conservation by regulation and neglect to me .... very sad as it is a beautiful stretch of coast.
The Beach Boys
As with all resorts, there are beach boys, they will all try to sell you trips and safaris they don’t own or run anything themselves and are just trying to scam you as is the norm, however, to be fair the guys on this beach (and outside the Hotel) did take no for an answer, were not too pushy and would leave you alone if told to, it is still a mystery to me where they get their prices from and just how successful they are, I am sure that if they were to organise themselves and agree on a sensible pricing structure with a fair rate of commission that the operators and the boys could make a regular steady income instead of what must be a very hit and miss kind of existence, but I suppose that greed and the chance of the next sucker is just too tempting.
I did take a few walking trips with one of the beach boys, he didn’t ask for money but was given a very fair tip for his troubles, ask for Syria one of the older guys, quite chatty and cheery, I found him to be ok, he soon came to realise that I was a seasoned traveller and not for scamming, something is better than nothing, he earned well on the occasions that I walked with him.
So in conclusion ... The hotel is fine you will not be disappointed, the beachfront is slightly raised from the main beach and ok, but the main beach (in my opinion) is disappointing, the masses of seaweed (mentioned in previous reports) was a problem and detracts from the overall experience, and only for this reason I wouldn’t come back to Turtle Bay, nice hotel, nice people, disappointing beach ....
I wrote the above review quite early in my stay and stand by it, however, I am assured by the locals that during high season December to May (or thereabouts) the seaweed is not on the beach and the sea is a lot clearer and calmer, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Turtle Bay and would possibly consider a return during the high season to see if the beach is clear.
I hope that this is of use ...:)
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Booking.com, Orbitz, Jovago.com, Agoda and Expedia so you can book your Turtle Bay Beach Club reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Turtle Bay Beach Club Hotel Watamu
- Turtle Bay Beach Hotel
- Turtle Bay Beach Resort