One warm evening as we floated in the pool, pointing out the constellations to each other, I thought about how I'd review Forest Dream. I knew I wanted to do it justice and also wanted to keep it cliche free! However, cliche free isn't possible - this resort really is 'paradise', it really is 'heaven on earth' and it really is 'amazing, awesome, fantastic'!
We chose Forest Dream based on the fact that we wanted to be in Diani, we didn't want a big All Inclusive and we wanted somewhere with outside space. With two boys we were also attracted by the pool slide and free bicycles.
We stayed in Leopard Villa and had a chef. A taxi was provided to take us and the chef shopping for supplies on our first day and with what we bought he created an amazing array of different dishes, cooked breakfasts, pancakes, African doughnuts, fresh juices and smoothies, curries, delicious rice, cakes, desserts, fresh fish dishes ..... the food was superb and it was so relaxing not having to dress up and go out to eat. All we had to do was sit at the table in Leopard Villa's air conditioned living room, or at it's outside eating/seating area. We had complete privacy which was wonderful.
The villa was immaculate, with a massive bathroom, outdoor jacuzzi, mini fridges, well equipped kitchen (which we only poked our heads in, due to having a chef!). Beds had mossie nets (again immaculate) and all the windows were netted - of four of us, two weren't bitten at all and the others had only a couple of bites. There's an abundance of wildlife including baboons, Colobus monkeys, exotic birds, lizards, dragonflies, frogs and butterflies and the gardens are beautifully planted with native trees and flowers.
All the staff were friendly and helpful and obviously enjoyed working at Forest Dream. On arrival, as we sipped ice cold juices, we were told that the employees had decided all tips were to be shared, and we should tip at the end of our stay (if we wanted), and if we felt we wanted to give an individual tip too we could. I think this is a good way of doing things, especially here where there are acres of beautifully maintained grounds, so clearly lots of people are working 'behind the scenes'. Having read reviews of other places where people felt 'hassled' by people expecting a tip, it was nice not to have to worry until check out! And it was nice to know people weren't just being polite to get a tip.
We spent most of our days in and around the pool, which is lovely and deep, and very well looked after. Our boys particularly liked the swim up bar, where delicious juices and smoothies were made (and excellent Mai Tais I might add!!). The slide was great fun, fast, steep and exciting.
We were fortunate to have a tour of the cave where the water pump and filter is located - the resort has it's own water source - and where a colony of fruit bats has made its' home. There's also a nature reserve just for guest's use, where in addition to loads of monkeys you can see dik-diks.
We went to the beach a few times, getting a lift once and walking or cycling the other times. It's a very short distance, in fact embarrassingly so when we got a lift! We all felt a bit daft as we were in and out of the car in about a minute! Forest Dream isn't beach front, and after trying to escape some very persistent beach boys we were glad it wasn't!! Whilst we really loved the beach, it was a relief to escape to the tranquility of Forest Dream.
We've travelled fairly extensively, although this was the first time in Africa, and Forest Dream is the only place we've wanted to definitely return to - it just has everything we're looking for, and if you also like peace and quiet, good food, comfy beds, clean rooms, huge showers, plenty of hot water, beautiful furniture, privacy, tropical plants, being close to nature and doing right by the environment then you'll love it too.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Forest Dream, a special (family) resort of luxury villas and cottages(7) sits in 25 acres of subtropical forest,3 swimming pools, water slide, bar and restaurant, located in Diani beach on the south coast of Kenya. With the white sandy beach at only a 10 minutes walk, free beach shuttle,our guests have the unique combination of beach and forest. We offer a variety of eco-friendly accommodation like standard room, luxury rooms and suites but also complete cottages and villas with or without AC. All of our cottages and villas are set on its own 1 acre forest garden providing the most exclusive privacy. Best place on the coast to view the local wild-life. The owner of Forest Dream Resort is also the founder of the well know "Colobus trust Diani" and has designed the Colobus bridges over the Diani Road to save those endangered monkeys. We have a private nature reserve at the back of the resort. Some of the villas have their own private pools and are fully staffed. Free "tennis court in the shade of palm trees" ... more less