We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Was a good hotel, unfortunate about the fire.”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 10 more sites!
Southern Palms Beach Resort
Ranked #9 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Africa
Level Contributor
24 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Was a good hotel, unfortunate about the fire.”
Reviewed June 12, 2007

I heard and read about the fire that occured late last week and I feel truly awful for the hotel. The significant other and I spent four wonderful days there in the middle of May. They were in the middle of renovations at the time so most of the guests were in the sea rooms. We stayed in room 144, which was bang on the property front and was in good condition.

The food was good though breakfast was fairly standard. There are about three different restaurants around and one main dining room that served the buffet meals. The restaurants were Grill, Lebanese and Italian in themes and you had to book a table a full 24 hours before. This is for those who order items like lobster, crab etc. which unfortunately carry that exorbitant global price tag. Drink choices were good and beer was ice-cold, a pleasant surprise considering that most places in Kenya pass off cool beer as cold.

Beach front was pleasant and clean. The current tidal season means a higher sea weed content but they did their best to rake the beach infront of the hotel every morning. The beach boys however are a menace and quite annoying as they parade back and forth trying to sell you everything. They have become quite the nuisance and do pursue you while you are trying to take a walk. Solo females, beware. Some blame in the beach boys brazeness also lies with the "sex" tourists. One day, we observed a German girl sit at the edge of the property smile and flirt for about half an hour before she got up and walked away arm in arm with a one of the beach touts. He was even kind enough to carry her bag. The next morning at breakfast, we watched her come through the dining hall in tears with one of the waiters we had befriended so we asked him afterward what had happened. The story she gave was that she and her companion had been mugged at his place that afternoon and her camera and some money were stolen. Yet when they went looking for her companion to take a report, he was nowhere to be found on the beach that day.

All in all, it was a nice 3 star hotel. We're sorry for what happened, especially in light of what they did for us. My boyfriend had two heavy winter jackets and a sweater (he'd just flown in from a colder climate) and had put them in the closet on the first day we arrived. Naturally, they were forgotten as the weather was incredibly warm and perfect. It wasn't until a week after we had left Southern Palms did he realize why his bags were so light. I called them up and they had the items intact and had been waiting to hear from us because they didn't have a number. I booked directly with them instead of an agent and paid upon check out so they didn't have my number or anything. I received the items within 24 hours of the first call.

Honorable mention for staff, Beatrice the front receiption officer who took answered all our queries and welcome us with a warm smile, and to Bilha who quickly expedited the clothing return. The stall made our stay extremely pleasant.

I hope they recover soon. It's terrible what happened and I am equally sorry for the guests who were in harm's way.

  • Liked — Falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves and warm salty air brushing skin.....
  • Disliked — Breakfast....go early or suffer the bottom layer scraps.
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Kenyan_Connoisseur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,319 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    632
    458
    144
    50
    35
See reviews for
383
570
55
18
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (209)
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 12, 2007

We arrived at the hotel after our safari, and first impressions were very good, the grounds were kept immaculate. The staff from the receptionist to the guards were absolutley fantastic, nothing was a problem and were always happy to help. The only real downfall for us was the room - it was quite dusty and only one of the beds was changed - the second bed was lifting by the end of the week, especially as we were locked in it for 3 days solid due to the rain. When we did managed to go out, we returned to the room and to my horror I found yet again that my bed had not been made yet again, but to add insult to injury I didnt get a chocolate eclair left on my pillow either.

The bathroom was basic but done the job, however the towels did smell foisty somewhat, and were only changed once every three days.

There was also maintenance work going on at the time but they only decided to do any work between 8am and 12 noon for some reason which did become irritating when all I wanted to do was get some relaxation rather than tap tap tap.

I must admit the pool bar, the resteraunt, infact the whole complex (exept for the rooms) were fantastic, but for me, the staff were absolutely fantastic.

  • Liked — The Staff
  • Disliked — The Room
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank peasun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed June 12, 2007

Me and my boyfriend stayed at this hotel for 2 weeks in Feb/March this year - we were so delighted that we had chosen this hotel from the minute we arrived. We arrived midday from a very pleasant flight with First Choice and the weather was already beaming hot. The hotel is about 1.5 hours by coach from the airport. The hotel is protected by gates and guarded by security guards for 24 hours. The hotel lobby is marbled open area with waterfalls, birds and lush greenery. People at the reception were very welcoming with big smiles offering you a drink on the arrival. There is a small shop, money exchange and a bar at the lobby. We had booked a seaview facing room and I highly recommend this - we were facing directly onto the private beach and of course the vast beautiful sea (see photos). The room was very clean and spacious and the cleaners came every day to clean the room and the sheets and towels were changed on regularly basis. There is no need for mosquito nets as we never saw 1 mosquito for the whole time for our stay. The room has a safe deposit box and you can obtain a key from the reception (cost approx. £15 for 2 weeks). There is also a minibar with alcoholic and soft drinks and with some chocolates & nuts but as always quite expensive. The pool at the hotel is large and very very nice with lots of sunloungers around the pool and in the gardens. The gardens are immaculate and the gardeners are working every day to keep it that way. The pool is nice and warm and you will also find a jacuzzi and a waterfall in it. The weather was very hot throughout our stay so bring plenty of high factor sun creams as you will most certainly need them. You can buy these in the shop at the lobby as well but they are a bit pricey. There is also a beauty parlour where you can have a massage, pedicure/manicure or a haircut - I highly recommend the massage as this only cost £15 for an hour. Manicure/pedicure cost approx. £5 each. There are 3 restaurants, 1 main restaurant, 1 Italian and 1 grill. We tried them all and I must stay that the main restaurant was by far the best. The food is good and we didn't have upset stomach at all. You can also book a private table set up on the beach - it was my 40th birthday whilst out there and the staff had laid out a lovely feast for us, table decorated by flowers and candles - very nice and highly recommend!

The one very annoying bit that was constant in Kenya was tipping - it is expected everywhere whether this was at the restaurant, bar, beauty parlour or anywhere else in the premises - it gets a bit annoying after a while. There is also a gym - very old equipment but did the job, you can also play squash - you needn't book the gym - just walk in. The beach is gorgeous with plenty of sun beds, however, there are also plenty of beach boys trying their hardest to sell you this and that. There is also a camel rides on offer on the beach and those who have never been, should try it! The beach boys follow you around when you take a stroll on the beach, they are extremely friendly but of course they are trying to make their living so they are constantly talking to you with a hidden agenda. Be mindful of the sea urches in the sea - you will need to wear rubber shoes to avoid getting your feet stung. The sea was lovely and warm and swimming is safe (no sharks). The sand on the beach is soft and powdery and walking is very pleasant but be mindful that you will get followed by the beach boys - just be firm with them.

The stay at this hotel was lovely and I would highly recommend it to anyone going to Kenya. We had booked our safari here in London but I don't necessarily recommend this as there are plenty of safari companies in Ukunda that offer safaris either at the same price or cheaper. Safari in average will set you back approx. £100-150 per day per person so you can understand why it is important to do your home work before deciding which one to go for - as there are many to choose from.

You can also do diving in Kenya and I recommend going to Wasini Island trip - it's like a paradise. You can also do snorkeling if you don't want to adventure to diving.

We booked our trip with First Choice with extra leg room - I also recommend this as the flight is around 11 hours from London. You can adventure outside the hotel during the day time - this really isnt' a problem - just use common sense. The locals are friendly and always smiling at you. You will experience the real Kenya if you are willing to mix with the locals. You will see plenty of them when crossing the ferry from Mombasa to ukunda on your way to/from airport. That's an experience in itself.

The hotel is quite expensive in terms of drinks for example, a bottle of beer costs approx. £3.00 and a glass of wine approx. £3.50-£4.00. If you are on half board you will pay for the drinks at the end. You have to sign for your lunch/drinks each time you have one and at the end of the holiday they are all counted up for the final payment. In two weeks, we had everything we wanted including food and drinks and we drank every night and the final bill came to approx. £350-£400.

Any trips you wish to make i.e. Wasini Island you are looking to pay approx. £30-50 per person per day depending what your requirements are.

Be mindful that some roads in Kenya are extremely bad and the journey that would normally take you 1/2 hour can take you 3 hours.

  • Liked — The gardens, room, beach and just about everything
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
12 Thank annamariewatkins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wakefield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 11, 2007

Arrived at the hotel and yes it does look fantastic however looks are very deceptive. On our third day there a fire broke out - we exited the room on the ground floor and hit the fire call button - nothing happened. It was left to holidaymakers like ourselves to raise the alarm.

There was absolutely no fire procedure in place and the fire extinguishers were rusted up and did not work. It was a miracle that no one was seriously injured or even killed - but this was by no means down to the hotel or its staff. No first aid could be found and the fire hose was pathetic - the fire ripped through 6 blocks within minutes.

the fire brigade took hours to get there due to the location of the hotel, it burnt itself out. This hotel was supposedly checked by all the big tour operators a month before. When one books with a reputable company we trust that our lives will be safe. Yes accidents happen but there were no safety precautions or procedure whatsoever and it was purely luck and holidaymakers that ensured people were evacuated.

A fundamental thing such as a fire alarm failed to work on every one of the call buttons hit - would you be able to sleep at night?


  • Stayed June 2007
    • Value
Helpful?
3 Thank kenco05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed June 8, 2007

I have just returned to the UK after the hotel caught fire and an evacuation was started by guests shouting. I personally tried to activate the fire alarms which fell off the wall. There are serious safety issues with this hotel. The fire extinguishers were rusty and failed to operate. The current news suggests there was a safe evacuation -this is far from the case with guests running down corridors with falling burning debris. I will post again but am im contact with my tour operator at the moment. I URGE you all to think for your own safety and beware. This hotel genuinely was close to having numerous fatalaties. What price do you put on your own life?

I will add photos as soon as i can download them.

  • Stayed June 2007
    • Value
    • Check in / front desk
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
12 Thank World121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guildford
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 22, 2007

I have never expeirenced something so terrible in my life. We were checked into a room that was so old, the shower was rusting, mould every where. We requested a room move and were given a sea view room at an extra $37.00 per night. What a rip off. This time the shower and bath were rusting!!.

I cannot believe anyone would rate this hotel much more than a 1 star. Food was terrible!! We paid a lot of money tostay there but we really hated it and even booked a safari just so we could get out of the hotel for a day.

Don't think you can go to the beach in piece and quite either. As soon as you step foot ont he beach you will be attacked by at least 10 people wanting to take your money off you.!!

My advise, you are better staying home than going to this hotel.

  • Liked — Absolutly nothing
  • Disliked — The lack of maintenance and customer care
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Steven079
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South London
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed May 15, 2007

Just returned from a fabulous trip to Kenya staying at the Southern Palm beach hotel. Would recommend it. The staff from the receptionists down to the security men were pleasant and friendly and always happy for you to practice your Swahili on them. Try to pick up the basic lingo, the locals like to know that you are trying.

HOTEL
The main areas of the hotel were of a high standard however the rooms let the place down somewhat , as in need of modernisation. The shower had the potential to be scoldinly hot which could be a problem with children. We generally spent little time in our room so it wasnt really a problem. Ask for mosquitto nets , although not mant sighted at the time of year that we went.

FOOD
Disappointing, much of the food was Asian which was strange. We would have liked to have seen more traditional African dishes. The hotel is owned by Asians hence the picture of the Taj mahal in the dinning room which was slightly odd.

SOUVENIRS
We often walked down to the local shops which was quite safe. Street sellers would often try to entice you to their stalls selling wood carvings and paintings. Sometimes they were very persistent however a firm NO often sufficed.
The security staff on the beach are great and didnt allow the beach boys to pester you whilst sunbathing. To be fare they didn’t bother you unless you went down to the bottom of the beach. They will try to sell their wares for extortionate prices. You need to stick with it and BARTER. I brought two paintings for £700 shillings (just over £5 each) from one of the stalls along the road that the hotel was on. This was after one of the beach boys offered me the same paintings 8500 shillings around £65. Enjoy the banter, and decide a fair price to pay before you start. The hotel shop surprisingly was very competitive and could be used as a guide when bartering outside.We preferred to buy directly from the local people instead of the hotel shop thus supporting them.

Try to go to the "Fabric " in Mombassa where a lot of the wooden carvings are made. You can see the men making them from scratch which is quite remarkable,then you can buy them in the shop where a percentage goes to the actual maker.

BUSES
The local bus was in the form of a mini bus. This cost 20 shillings and drivers were more than happy to stop and pick you up anywhere. Not many tourists used these buses as it was predominantly locals however it is a must even if you only experience it once. It will take you from the hotel to the cashpoint in two minutes

TAXI
The hotel has its own taxi service. As a rough guide it was 300 shillings to the Barclays bank and 400 to Ukunda. This was however low season rates.

SAFARI
The safari. We booked at one of the local shops within walking distance from the hotel. Prices vary for the same safari parks so barter hard. We paid £80 each to go to Tsavo East. 2 day safari. Even though we seemed to have paid a little less than others we met ,I’m not sure we got that good a deal. We travelled late April early May which was, as we were told low season, which was a helpful reminder when bartering.

Word of warning, you do get what you pay for/ The dilapidated van that took us got a puncture in the safari park!!!. The driver got out and changed the tyre himself. Whilst most of the mini buses in the park were of the same standard, there were some newer vehicles which was probably reflected in the price. We were unfortunate also with our guide/driver who was not very informative and the extent of his knowledge stretched to “there’s a giraffe”. Other people were more fortunate with their guides equipped with a wealth of information. That aside, the safari was spectacular and an experience I will never forget. We were fortunate to see a lion bring down a buffalo. The VOI Safari lodge that we stayed at was out of this world. Whilst the rooms were basic, it just didn’t matter because so many other features that made the place unforgettable, the view from the bedrooms, the view of the watering hole from the restaurant showing elephants feeding and last but by no means least was the view from the tunnel room which allowed you to stand feet away from the animals at the water hole feeding. Some people chose to go to the masai mara on safari and we spoke to people who paid anything from £300-£500.
We met Jonathan Kalume from Damma Tours a few days before we were due to leave. He agreed to take us to Haller park which is a kind of small zoo for £3000 shillings. He had a mini bus and we were able to fill it with other guests we met from our hotel and we split the costs. (this did not include payment into the park which was minimal). Jonathans friend was the chief park keeper who fed the animals and not only was he able to point us in the best photographic position he was very informative. Jonathans mobile number is [--], his email address is [--]

CLOTHES
We went to two villages and took books and pencils and sweets for the children. We were however informed by fellow passengers on the plane going out that the travel company we flew with,First choice allowed an extra 20kg of luggage if you were taking clothes or goods to give to a charity. We regretted not doing this as the levels of poverty are very disturbing. Much of our clothes trainers and toiletries were given away and accepted appreciatingly. Make sure if you are given goods to staff members when you go that you put in writing what you are giving them in order to protect their position. This hotel is a must and i would go back.

  • Liked — The hospitability of the staff
  • Disliked — the room was basic and the bathroom was dated
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank MichelleSouthLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Diani Beach hotels
2.9 mi away
Diani Sea Resort
Diani Sea Resort
#5 of 29 in Diani Beach
976 reviews
4.4 mi away
The Sands at Nomad
The Sands at Nomad
#8 of 29 in Diani Beach
417 reviews
5.4 mi away
Afrika Pearl & Spa
Afrika Pearl & Spa
#17 of 29 in Diani Beach
149 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.5 mi away
Jacaranda Indian Ocean Beach Resort
2.9 mi away
Waterlovers Beach Resort
Waterlovers Beach Resort
#3 of 29 in Diani Beach
378 reviews
5.1 mi away
Baobab Beach Resort & Spa
Baobab Beach Resort & Spa
#4 of 29 in Diani Beach
1,481 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Southern Palms Beach Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Southern Palms Beach Resort

Property: Southern Palms Beach Resort
Address: Diani Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Diani Beach
#7 Family Hotel in Diani Beach
#7 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
#9 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Southern Palms Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 298
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Hotel.de, Expedia, Booking.com, Travelocity, HostelWorld, Hotwire, Agoda, Priceline, Cheap Tickets, HotelQuickly and HRS so you can book your Southern Palms Beach Resort 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:
Southern Palms Beach Hotel Diani
Southern Palms Beach Diani

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing