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“The best family vacation ever”

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Almanara Luxury Villas
Ranked #11 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 6, 2012

During the summer of 2011 we spent 3 weeks as a family of four (two boys aged 9 and 11) at the Almanara Resort and its sister property, the Ol Seki camp. To make it short: this was the best vacation we ever had. The staff in both locations are unrivaled hosts. They make you feel at home from the minute you arrive and they will keep up this feeling for the rest of your stay. Any wish you might have will be taken care of immediately, whether it is making a trip to the next village, a one day sight seeing tour in the jungle, a tee time at the golf course or a boat trip to the cliffs, not to mention kite surfing, snorkeling and you name it. Every evening you will have a chance to talk to the owner family or Angie, the manager, and share your experiences about Kenya with them or get valuable insights and tips for your next adventure.
The restaurant is probably one of the best in Kenya and you can chill out wonderfully in the afternoons with a cocktail or two.
The beach is breathtaking: White sand and very few hotels and inns nearby. When you look at Almanara from the ocean you see a lot of trees, but very few houses. This gives the feeling of unspoiled nature. If you ever forget something at the beach the hotels security guards will almost certainly have found it before you even realize that you left it there. The locals are very friendly (occasionally overselling their goods a little bit) and our kids found plenty of opportunities and partners for a round of soccer,beach ball, or wave riding. And if they did not want to play at the beach there was always the pool secluded among the villas where they would play water ball with other guests. For the adults there is also a well attended pool bar.
The villas are very spacious and every day you will return to an artist‘s work of flowers after the staff has cleaned your vacation home. In the evenings you can enjoy spectacular sunsets from the rooftop terrace, an unforgettable experience! And of course, your personal villa staff will have prepared a sun downer for you and call you once your dinner is ready! The villa‘s staff is another highlight: the food is outrageous and you can order anything you want and you will get it. Go for the local dishes, it is really worth it!
All in all a vacation we will never forget and a location that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Once you arrive you will forget your day to day life immediately. And at the end of the stay you will wish that you would never have to leave. Fortunately, you can always return.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Marko S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leandro G, Owner at Almanara Luxury Villas, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2012

Dear Marko,

Thank you for the kind words. It was a true pleasure meeting you, Cordula and boys. I am thrilled to here you had a wonderful time. Your three weeks was long enough for us to still be missing you all, as you became part of the Almanara furniture!

We hope to welcome you back again soon.

Best,

Leo Giovando

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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128 - 134 of 165 reviews

Reviewed April 25, 2012

My girlfriend and I stayed for five days at the Almanara in mid-April. My expectations before arrival were extremely high based on prior reviews, descriptions and the professional and courteous approach Leo had with helping us book our stay. I can summarize our experience by saying every expectation was fulfilled during our stay and the trip was lovely. As a Diplomat, I have traveled extensively for work and pleasure and the Almanara is really quite incomparable.

Upon arrival we were met by Gemma who would be our hostess during our stay, as well as our chef Dorcas, Eric our butler and our housekeeper Jane. We were provided with a juice cocktail as Gemma showed us around our spacious and well-appointed villa. Left to settle in, we became quickly aware that the staff of the Almanara have considered every possible way to make the villa a beautiful environment inside and out. The furnishings are perfect - not ostentatious, not "thematic" or tacky in any way but rather, eclectic and tasteful. The interior was elegant and simple at the same time. Every villa also has a beautiful veranda with ceiling fans and soft, comfortable furniture perfect for lounging in during the early mornings and evenings when not at the beach.

The Almanara grounds are also obviously carefully attended to, with beautiful trees, flowers and plants of all variety. The birds and occasional scrambling monkey in the treetops made the setting perfect. And the pool… the pool with its slate bottom and earth tone finish was perfect. The swim-up bar at one end of the pool was a great spot to enjoy tea time in the mid-afternoon and Julius behind the bar was incredibly friendly and courteous. We enjoyed talking to him while in the pool.

All the villas are only a few steps from the beach and of course, the green and blue hues of the Indian Ocean in contrast to the sugar-white sands of the beach are breathtaking. The water was warm and clean and though this time of year brought with it a bit of wind, the whole experience was perfect. We took a chance on arriving during rainy season but got lucky with virtually no rain and beautiful skies. The Sails restaurant is quite nice and is located right on the beach. The wait staff there were friendly and attentive.

I would like to give special praise to our villa staff. Gemma, Dorcas, Eric and Jane worked very hard to make sure that Sofia and I were totally pampered.

Gemma was lovely, stopping by every evening to make sure we were in need of nothing and always so helpful. She provided us with a cell phone that we could use to reach her at any time. I appreciated her dedication and professionalism.

Dorcas, so friendly and considerate, did a wonderful job preparing our meals. She even offered to make fresh homemade ravioli for us one night but we did not want to burden her this way and instead asked for a simpler lasagna which she happily made for us. The seafood dishes she prepared were quite good as well. Each meal, from breakfast to lunch to dinner, was prepared well and with emphasis not only on quality but also presentation.

Eric was a champion as well – kind, attentive, soft-spoken, unobtrusive but always available. He did a fantastic job of serving our meals and providing drinks and snacks throughout the day. We enjoyed having him at our villa tremendously.

Jane was also very dedicated and did a wonderful job of making us happy during our stay. Clothes left for washing were returned neatly folded and perfectly pressed. Flowers placed on our pillows and in our bedroom as well as in other parts of the villa made for a tranquil atmosphere. The villa was always spotless and orderly and Jane did it always without an intrusion.

The Almanara lived up to our expectations in every way and it is a truly beautiful property that is professionally and caringly managed. Every attention is made to details no matter large or small and we hope to return again soon.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jason M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leandro G, Owner at Almanara Luxury Villas, responded to this reviewResponded May 7, 2012

Dear Martin,

Thanks so much for your comments. It's wonderful to hear that you and Sofia enjoyed your stay, and indeed the compliments of your Villa team are greatly received. I will be sure to pass them onto Dorcas, Jane and Eric.

We hope to see you again very soon as you're not that far away at all!

Best,

Leo Giovando

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2012

Had a great few days at Almanara - the place is 15 out of 10 in my opinion. Excellent furnishings, very clean , great personal attention from Staff, quiet , and a beach all to ourselves. A definite stay for small families, Private parties and Corporate mini get togethers. The Presidential Villa is top top top !
Leandro, Gemma and the team did a great job in ensuring we were happy at all times

Well done to Almanara ! We WILL BE BACK !1

Room Tip: All the rooms are ensuite and all part of their own Villas with private butlers/chefs
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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Thank MiAlpesh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leandro G, Owner at Almanara Luxury Villas, responded to this reviewResponded October 3, 2012

Dear Alpesh,

Thanks so much for your review. It was great meeting you and your family. I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your stay, and am certain that you enjoyed the party!

We hope to see you back here with some friends very soon. Thans for the 15 out of 10!

Best,

Leandro Giovando

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2012

We went to Almanara for our honeymoon and I must say it did not disappoint! Everything about our stay from start to finish was first class. All the staff, not just those in our villa, were extremely attentive and professional.

I cannot speak highly enough of our experience, it really was worth the money (you get what you pay for) and I would love to go back there. The food was a particular highlight, very varied and always delicious. We requested to try a lot of local dishes during our stay, which I highly recommend, you must also try the freshly made ice cream at the Sails restaurant on the beach front.

Nothing was too much for the staff, it really was home from home, they made sure our every need was taken care of whilst providing the privacy you would expect on your honeymoon.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Blair T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2012

My wife (CookieTin, "Pure Bliss" ,please read it) has left a long review already so I wont repeat everything she has said,just try and add my bit as they deserve every bit of praise they get. Almanara is actually on Galu Beach which is part of the stretch known as Diani Beach, the part where Almanara is extremely quiet as most adjacent properties are similar, i.e. a group of villas or just single villas. The nearest hotels are "The Dolphin", 15 mins walk south and the quite small hotel " Blue Bay " 10 mins walk north. This means that you have this massive stretch of unbelievable white beach virtually to yourself and only encounter the odd ( unaggressive ) beach boy quite rarely. When the tide is out it is about 100 yards of gently sloping sand to the water and looks fantastic. Swimming is very safe. We were looked after totally from start to finish by Rama ( our butler ) ,Dorcas ( our chef ) and Jane ( our housemaid ) plus all the other staff at the resort who were always friendly and ready to chat.
Jackie the manager stopped by once a day to check we were happy,etc and on a couple of days she had to go somewhere, Luke came by ( despite having his hands full being the ( excellent ) chef and running the restaurant ). Dorcas cooking was wonderful, Ramas waiting was faultless and Janes cleaning impeccable. The only problem was deciding what to eat and drink and when ( Lobster, oysters, steak, etc. all included in all-inclusive plus full range of Tusker beers,a pilsner and house wine ) , we were bursting everyday ! Incidentally, some people have asked me if we felt odd being waited on, ( we dont have staff at home ) but it was very relaxed, we just treated them as though we were at a friends house being entertained and we were laughing and joking with them all the time. They ( the chef and butler ) will stick to there tasks and just do there job if that is what you want ( I suppose some would ) but we like it all friendly and felt like mates when we left.
We were there for fourteen days and virtually didn`t go anywhere else as we didn`t need to, but partly because I had had pneumonia not long before we went and I didn`t want to get caught out in the middle of the bush if it came back plus I needed to recuperate a bit. We are regular visitors to Kenya anyway and have done many safaris and a lot of the local trips before so although I would have loved to safari again it was a decision made before we went. The thing was, we were completely happy here for a whole two weeks, eating ( loads ), drinking ( a bit ), swimming, lazing, sunbathing and reading, plus watching Six Nations Rugby on the 50" tv in the living room ( 40" in the master bedroom. ). We did go to the local supermarket and bank and visited one other place `Nomads` and we were taken to all of these in one of Alamanara`s pristine air conditioned vehicles with driver which we could use to go anywhere in the Diani area at anytime, free of charge. There are several restaurants and of course other resorts you can visit if you want as well, but you dont really need to go anywhere else to eat anyway. We went to `Nomads Beach Bar ` as it was somewhere we had often frequented in the past and we knew it had been altered with the new resort built next to it. The beach bar and reataurant is now a lot more modern and much larger but we really preferred the old laid back one.
The Almanara Executive villas are fantastic, large enough and fitted out enough to live in really. There are three good sized double bedrooms upstairs ( one actually a twin ) all ensuite but the master bedroom is bigger with a lounge area ( and TV ) in the hall outside is a Dell PC with free use and also free wifi. A curved staircase takes you up to the massive flat roof area with `two` double sun loungers covered with cushions, four whicker chairs and a sofa with shade over, incredible. Going back down to ground floor there is a large living room with two sofas and an indoor dining table, plus cupbourds and the big 50" tv, air con in all rooms. All this is surrounded by glass partitioning and doors looking out to the massive veranda and beautiful gardens. On the varanda are a four seater sofa, a two seater, two lovely armchairs a chaise longue and an outside dining table all gorgeously covered in white cotton and colourful cushions. Plus there was the kitchen with the big fridge full of drinks and food, again kept spotless.
As my wife has said the gardens are beautiful and overseen by the Italian sister of the owner, who has to be congratulated on their upkeep. There are lots of birds and butterflys and of course the regular visits of the Colobus Monkeys.
The swimming pool was always quiet, in lovely surroundings and very clean with a jacuzzi next to it. Julius looked after the bar there and supplied coffee,tea and cakes at 4pm, or beers and wine all day if you wanted them.
Set back from the beach, ( a short walk from the villas ) were very comfy sunbeds and sun loungers all attractively laid out and behind this the amazing looking `Sails restaurant ` run by Luke. The restaurant is very comfy and airy and used by lots of local business people and residents plus guests at other hotels although it is never overcrowded. This is also where the cocktail bar is. You do have to pay for cocktails and spirits and non house wines and if you decide to eat at the restaurant you do have to pay for your food ( not beers or house wine ). Obviously you would be taking the table of a paying customer if you had your all-inclusive meal there but it is hardly a problem eating at your villa waited on hand and foot. We did though eat at the restaurant a couple of times simply for a change and it was lovely.
We also had a tour of the presidential villa which is massive and has some fantastic rooms and of course its own infinity pool, a brilliant place to book for a large party of people, or wedding/special occassion,etc.
Well, I`ve got a bit carried away "adding a bit to what my wife said" but I loved it so much. It is a place for relaxing and I suppose not really made for very young children, more for couples,romance,honeymooners,etc. I would and hopefully will go back again, it is of course at the upper bracket end costwise but you don`t really have to spend a penny once there if you don`t want to. You will however want to make sure you take enough to tip your very personal staff and put some into the communal pot for the gardeners and other staff.
Thanks to everybody there !
I really miss it, you shouldn`t, book it now !!!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Ponytailpaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2012

Wow! I really don't know where to begin! There's certainly nothing negative to say about Almamara. From the very beginning of our two week stay to our last few hours, we knew we had found somewhere very special.

We were met at Mombasa airport and the air conditioned transfer with chilled water and a great driver full of enthusiasm for Almanara made us even more excited than we already were!
Arriving at Almanara, the team who would look after us for the next 2 wks were there to welcome us. Palm leaves and borgenvillia were built into an arch around our villa's entrance and inside more leaves spelt out 'karibu'.

I've only cried once before on arriving at a holiday destination and that was for all the wrong reasons! Almanara took my breath away and I had to fight back my emotions at the beauty and detail to all the finishing touches - it really is as good as all the photos!

We stayed in villa 6 which over looked the back of the presidential villa and was a very short stroll to the beach and Sails restaurant. The villa was immaculate. Sometimes in Africa you need to make allowances but not at Almamara. Our housekeeper Jane kept the whole villa spotlessly clean, and I mean spotless. Our butler Rama was a joy. He anticipated our every need, always had a huge smile for us and plenty of conversation when we wanted it. He very quickly knew which beers, soft drinks and wines we preferred and the fridge was constantly stocked. Our chef was Dorcus and she's responsible for us now being on a diet! Always with a smile, always ready with suggestions for the day's meals and always happily singing in the kitchen. Such a wonderful lady and her cooking is top rate too! Crab salad, prawns piri piri, beef curry, lobster, steak, chicken...there is nothing this lady can't create! And her pancakes and omelettes are fab too!
James the pastry chef made excellent croissants, cheesecakes, banoffee pie, cookies, gingerbread men...the list goes on!

Jackie and Luke were perfect hosts, checking we were happy with everything and visiting us everyday.

Now the gardens! If Kew Gardens were to design a tropical, African paradise, Almanara would be what they create! Simply stunning! The attention to detail, the work the gardeners do everyday, it really is something to behold. It seems every single corner, every walk way, every direction you look, has been designed to please the eye and you just want to soak it all up!

The swimming pool was always clean and I think we only shared it with two other guests twice in the 2 wks we were there. The sunbeds and sofas are comfortable and Julius in the swim-up bar is very welcoming and friendly. It doesn't matter what time of day you visit the pool, one side will always be in shade so if you're like me and can't do lots of sun, it's perfect.

The sunroof terrace on top of the villa was beautiful. Two king size sunbeds, chairs and a table - for us it was the perfect place for a late afternoon drink as the sun went down and the Columbus monkeys passed through for their evening meal.

I think I spent two weeks wishing I could be like a sponge and just soke up every view, every comfort, every meal, every smile, every laugh...I don't like returning to places, but Almanara and the absolutely first class team there, are making it very difficult for me to consider to anywhere else in the world!

Stayed: March 2012
2  Thank CookieTin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2012

Spent a weekend at this resort with business colleagues. We shared a 3 room villa 5 minutes walk from the beach. Had our own chef and assistant the entire time. Great experience. Wonderful food and service. Beautiful appointed rooms. Wireless internet worked very well. First class all the way. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled on business
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Thank HospitalityMaven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leandro G, Owner at Almanara Luxury Villas, responded to this reviewResponded February 23, 2012

Thank you kindly for your review. It is our pleasure to have hosted you and we do hope to see you back again soon.

Best,

Leo Giovando

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Almanara Luxury Villas

Address: Diani Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80401, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#10 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range: $833 - $853 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Almanara Luxury Villas 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on Diani Beach, Kenya, Almanara offers 6 Executive Villas and 1 spectacular Presidential Villa. Complete with personal chef and butler services, this luxury collection of private houses offer guests a bespoke luxury experience whilst maintaining the genuine cultures of Africa. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Almanara Luxury Villas Hotel Diani

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