Let me start with the positive stuff. The pool area and beach were really nice. The italian restaurant and the grill were also good, and we did enjoy our stay in general.
However, there are some things that could be better. After staying at four lodges on a safari week we expected this to be a level up in comfort and standard. It wasn't.
For me it all starts and ends with the rooms. They don't seem like they've been renovated for at least 20 years. The tiles in the bathroom were cracked in a few placed, the color were faded and the blender for the shower should be replaced. The rooms should get better sound proofing, it was way too easy to hear what went on outside and in the neighbouring rooms.
There are also some easy fixes for the rooms. The beds and pillows were hard, and the cover was just a plain blanket, that didn't seem to fresh. The drapes were too thin, so they weren't able to darken the room. This should be easy stuff to fix, right?
We asked the staff about the pillows, but they didn't understand at all. They thought they were soft and that was it.
The main restaurant was a bit of a dissapointment. There were around 20 dishes, but always more or less the same, and none of them were cooked with any particular skill or with any love. I'd much rather have 2-3 dishes that were different every day and cooked under the supervision of a trained chef. Most of the food was quite tasteless, they almost seemed afraid of using spices. When we ordered from the menu for lunch quite often our orders came at different times, so the first person had almost finished when the second person got his/her food. Not exactly four star standard in my book.
Regarding the staff, some were very good, I'll give them that. However, I'm not sure if we were unlucky to get in contact with some very inexperienced staff or if that's simply their way. Examples:
* When we wanted to switch dinner for lunch one day, because we were going out to eat in the evening it took 30 minutes to arrange this, and we had to sit and wait the entire time. This can't be the first time they got this request?
* Sometimes at breakfast, especially when we were early, a staff member would just come to our table and stand there, looking at us eating. Creepy.
* Do we really need one person to show us a table, one to take the drink order and a third to take the food order? More than once they didn't remember the order or made a mistake. How about one server per table that takes care of everything?
On our last day we were invited to what they called a "management coctail party", which more or less was a welcoming meeting. This is symptomatic of this hotel. They have a great will to do something, but somewhere it goes a little wrong. If we had gotten this the first day we would probably used some more of their services, like wind surfing or diving.
Also remember that diani beach is far off. Anything remotely fun is around an hours drive away, and you have to take a ferry to get into mombasa.
If we return to Kenya we'll probably try another hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This dramatic hotel with its fantastic pools and beautiful beach is the perfect spot to relax after a safari… or simply visit to relax! The warm and very African feel of the hotel with comfortable rooms, well appointed bathrooms and selection of restaurants offers guests plenty of places to lounge in the sun and almost as many shady spots to enjoy a bit of a breeze and a good book. All rooms have quiet, split unit air conditioners, televisions, mini fridges and coffee and tea making facilities. There is a safe (chargeable) in each room and a business center located in the main building with internet or wifi access in public areas. The drama of the huge, traditional makuti (thatched) roof in the main restaurant offers the Chef a terrific showcase for a varied selection of local and international dishes on the buffet or you could indulge at one of the a la carte restaurants (chargeable) for a special occasion or just a quiet evening for two. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Southern Palms Beach Hotel Diani
- Southern Palms Beach Diani