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“xmas holiday in diani sea lodge 2011”
Review of Diani Sea Lodge

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Diani Sea Lodge
Ranked #8 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 7, 2012

spent a week at xmas with family including 3 teenagers.
great location, sea was great, facilities of hotel good and recommend the diving as the padi school on site led by Bahati was excellent and cost reasonable - my two teenage daughters learnt to dive. Fishing also good and use the hotel guys for booking everything - you do get good deals. hasstle on the beach was not so bad as 5 years ago and they are aware if you say no they are not allowed to pester you.we had a great holiday - not much entertainment for the older kids so keeping them busy in the day is key to that. Younger kids have minigolf, pingpong and plenty to do.

i do recommend the place as is reasonable cost but

The one big disappointment which is such a pity as all else was great was

a/ The food was awful - would be so simple to sort this out - half the hotel guests i spoke to had had a bad stomach- diani sea lodge needs to sort this out.

b/ ask for the Bahari rooms as they are up to date and much nicer than the standard rooms which are really basic

c/ the all inclusive drinks were ok but if only could have been served cold ( as its hot) and the beer was generally a bit flat.


please ask me for any more inf0 - if you go with Thompson i think they could be doing more for their customers as in the airport transfer was awful and not well managed and their information is pretty thin.

Room Tip: ask for bahari rooms
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank sibford09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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122 - 128 of 493 reviews

Reviewed January 3, 2012

the room
very spacious cleaned every day with a nice big bed pillows a bit thin just ask at reception for extra ones, no fridge but you can hire one equivalent to 10.00 a wk,
we stayed for 3wk and the electric went a few times so no air con in the middle of the night .

staff
most of the staff where wonderful from reception to gardeners,
the only problem we had was with the bar staff so much so we have complained they either didn't like the English or they need more training in customer service / serving customers
some of the waiters /waitresses needed to smile they gave us the impression they really didn't want to be there (only some)

guests

Germans and a lot of them...
along with prostitutes....a lot of the men went for a walk along the beach while there wives where taking an afternoon nap on the sun lounger,
not just Germans.. we went to the supermarket one day and coming back we saw 2 English guys hand in hand with 2 women which WEREN'T there wives

also older ladies bringing back younger men

monkeys
beware don't encourage them, some guests where feeding them even though they where told not to, don't think they relies they are doing so much harm.

out and about
get out talk to the locals we met a wonderful man on the beach called Christopher who does sand sculptures he took us to his home to meet his family 1 room with a bed,

food
we only ate in the hotel on barbecue nights as the entertainment wasn't really for us especially bingo night,
we found a lovely bar 5 minutes walk on the beach called forty thieves.

all in all this hotel could be a really good hotel it just needs a kick up the back side.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Thank YORKSHIRE460
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2011

I won't repeat everything from the other reviews but rather try and just point the things out we would have liked to know before going. We went from the 31st October till the 12th November and there were 4 adults in the group.

Journey
We booked through First Choice and as usual things went smoothly. It is definitely worth having some summer clothes or at least flip flops in your hand luggage as it is proper hot when you arrive and you might have a lengthy coach journey ahead of you which includes a ferry crossing at Mombasa. The ferry trip itself is very short; however the wait to get onto the ferry can be lengthy, especially if you arrive on a flight after 7am.

Rooms
Our rooms were nice and comfortable. The monkeys in the grounds are very funny. But we listened to the warning and didn't leave any clothing outside so it didn't go missing.

Mosquitos
We were super careful, sprayed and lotioned up every evening, wore wrist bands and sprayed our clothing plus had the rooms sprayed and plug-ins. We hardly got any bites so must have been doing something right.

Towels
The beach towels were fine. We had brought extra due to the comments on trip advisor but the hotel must have read them too as they seem to be fairly new. It was good having extra towels though anyway.

Staff
Staff were friendly and some of them stand out as they take the time to get to know you. However we found on several occasions (especially on reception) that we got a no problem or yes yes response without actually listening to our request or understanding it. This resulted into quite a bit of hassle when it came to changing money and was very frustrating.

Hotel trips and programme
To be honest we only did one trip. Which was a walk to the sister hotel. It was nice but a bit of a sales tour to the other hotel. However the evening programme was always entertaining. We thought we might have some repeats as we were there for almost two weeks but they changed it up enough to not make it feel that way.

Bar
Again bar staff were friendly and we certainly had no problems with long waiting times for food here. However of you try and get food after 3.30pm they have a very limited menu as they stop the bar food at 4pm.

Food
Was good and even if it was a little repetitive we were very happy to either have the same thing again or try something else as there were plenty of options. And we had a vegetarian and a non-fish eater in the group... The vegetarian noted that she always had lots of choices and the vegetarian curries were particularly good.

Sea
The sea urchins can be a problem so diving shoes are advised unless you bring your own snorkelling equipment and can see where you are stepping. Snorkelling was okay. We certainly saw our share of Moray eels and lion fish! And when there are waves they are fun too!

Sun
The sun is very strong. Due to being so close to the equator even people who don't normally burn should be wearing strong sun protection. Just 20 minute walk even with factor 50 lotion on got the person in our group who never sun burns badly burned on her arms. As such best to cover up with a full sleeved top and hat when walking in direct sunshine. The weather was mostly sunny and we had 32 degrees pretty much every day. The few times it rained it was very welcome and made a nice change. The sea breeze is very refreshing. On days without it, it was almost too hot...

Beach boys
The beach is lovely but better enjoyed from the hotel grounds as the beach boys can be a pain. They ask you for your name on the first day and then will be shouting your name and waving at you for the rest of your stay. Rather annoying. We booked a trip with captain Alibaba and wouldn't recommend doing this to anyone. It was the Swahili blue trip also offered by Thomson (and way overpriced). We got it for $40 each which is a good price but wished we had booked through our safari provider JT... The trip itself was okay. We got to see dolphins (but you can't swim with them even though they show you pictures of that - the pictures were taken at the snorkelling site when dolphins happened to be there) and the snorkelling was okay too. But it's a bit of a tourist attraction so there are loads of boats there all the time and loads of people in the water. The lunch offered was okay too and there was plenty of it. However Alibaba came with us on the trip and kept pestering us for pictures with him, to give him more money as his family was so poor and if we wanted to leave anything because we had too much luggage to give it to him. He was rather persistent and really made us wish we hadn't booked with him. He also asked us to bring a lunch box for him which we did. He then gave that to his friends as he was having lunch with us while the driver and crew on our minibus ransacked our lunch boxes which we had taken to eat for breakfast!

Safari
This was awesome. We didn't book it through the beach boys as they just couldn't offer what we wanted and we are so glad we stuck to our guns. There was no real price difference either. We booked with JT safaris. He has his own trip advisor site so check it out and take his details with you or arrange something beforehand. You won't regret it. We called him from the hotel and he came and picked us up. We went to his office he showed us different options and explained the different places to stay; there was no hard sell or even a sell. JT was just happy to answer our queries. We weren't ready to book then so went back to the hotel. There was no fear of if you don't book you are walking home... When we did book we went for a jeep just for the 4 of us which was fantastic. We can only recommend going for a jeep. We got to places those little Nissan vans can't get and you can walk around in the jeep when the roof is up and switch places easily which you can't in the nissan. There are three main places to stay in Tsavo – the Voi Wildlife Lodge (we had lunch there. It's nice but you aren't really close to the waterhole), Saltlick (which we didn't see. It's meant to be nice though) and the Kilaguni Lodge. All of them have a waterhole. The latter is the most luxurious out of the three and we stayed here. It was fantastic. Better than our hotel and the food was just to die for! The terrace overlooks the waterhole and we saw a leopard just strolling past! We definitely want to come back here. Some tips for safari. Bring clothes for each day as you will get very dusty and bring some towels. They will stop you from sticking to the seats when it is hot and can be used as a blanket if it rains and gets cold during the drive.
On the way home ask your driver to not go via the ferry but take the back roads. It will save the time waiting to cross the ferry and you get to see some of the country side. Proper country side! Our driver took us through is tribal lands and it was very informative and interesting. Take some sweets with you for the kids. We didn't have any and felt bad as they kept running out when they saw a car shouting sweeeeets.
We also drove past the Shimba Hills Park and saw some more elephants and a water hog.

Currency
We would recommend to take pounds or dollars with you. Anything you need you can change at the hotel. However all the trips are calculated in pounds and dollars and then converted back to shilling if you want to pay in shilling. So you will be losing out if you changed at a different rate. In our case it would have been cheaper in £.

Mombasa express
Unfortunately we all got ill on the trip at different stages. Loads of people in the hotel got ill but the hotel didn't do anything about it. Therefore the germs just spread. We can only recommend to take antibacterial hand wash and wipes with you and use them before you eat, drink, smoke etc... It's not the case of the illness going away within a couple of days. We were all ill for 10 days or longer even after we got home. It's also advisable to take Imodium with you. They at least let you get through the day without too many problems. They lasted 24 hours for us and then we had to take the next dose...

Journey home
The journey home was very laborious. We thought they picked us up rather early for our flight but we had to queue for over an hour at check in, then again at security. We got searched three times and then had to be rushed through the last security as our flight was boarding... The departure tax had been raised on the day even though our rep ensured us on the bus that we had the right amount do ended up borrowing money. Not a great last impression...

Overall we'll go back to Kenya just do more safari next time and only a little beach if any. Diana Beach Resort is good value for money and a great place to relax if that is what you are after.

Room Tip: A sea facing room is better (even though you might not see the sea) but the breeze from the sea make...
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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5  Thank 204Travellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2011

**trip booked through First Choice Holidays**

My girlfriend and I are so very glad we chose Diani Sea Lodge. Before booking, our aim was find an all-inclusive holiday that didn’t break the bank yet had excellent facilities and as close to the beach as possible. After using Trip Advisor to review half a dozen resorts, we decided to book Diani Sea Lodge.

We had a fantastic and memorable experience in Kenya and loved our stay at Diani Sea Lodge. Everyone is friendly and the service is impeccable. The location is great as it’s right on the luscious white sandy beach. The Indian Ocean is so warm and clear too. Amazing! We will go back one day!!

The Sea Lodge staff

The staff are so friendly and welcoming (from the garden boy to the hotel management). They handled all our requests with speed and efficiency (more pillows for the bed, the use of a local doctor and quotes for jet skis).
The waiters in the food hall were extremely good - we were always served immediately and never had a complaint to make! Our favourite waiter was Rama Hamisi (please say hello to him from us!!). He was brilliant and he was the most friendliest Kenyan we met in our entire holiday. I hope Rama is promoted very soon! Also, look out for Dollar (waiter), Jane (associate chef) and Martin (associate chef) - all very lovely people. It is worth noting that some of the staff are “trainees” and do not earn any money so if you’re going to tip anyone in the resort these are the best people to help.

Cab Service

There is a hotel cab service run by a chap named Bernard (nice enough man but will try to sell you trips to Wasini Island etc). They are clearly visible by their Orange shirts and are stationed right by the gates. I recommend you use this cab service for any trips in the local vicinity (shopping centre, Barclays bank, forty thieves, Ali Barbour’s etc) but expect to haggle on price. We got a trip to Barclays Bank down from 1000 Kenyan Shilling to 600 Kenyan Shilling (they will wait for you and take you back which makes it worth it).

The Accommodation

We stayed at room 13 which is right by reception. It was great in the mornings because we had the shortest walk to the pool and it's a great viewing spot for the monkeys that run around the resort. The room was very spacious and the bed was comfortable with a large mosquito net surrounding it. The shower is very basic but works and they provide (on a daily basis) a flask of water that you must use to brush your teeth - do not use the tap water. There is also a large safety deposit box but you have to pay to use this - it's not expensive and I fully recommend you pay for this. The room is cleaned on a daily basis with new towels. You can also have your laundry washed for a small cost but i recommend you take a travel wash bottle with you. There is air conditioning in the room. We were naughty and removed the room key from the wooden electric power stick (this is need to power the room) and left the air conditioning on when we left the room in the evening (so we would come back to a cool room after dinner).

The Food

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (buffet) is served in the food hall. The food is very nice and caters for all. There is a large selection to choose. Overall, the food and the service in the food hall was outstanding. There are two nights in the week where the dinners are outside (BBQ and African Theme Night). They were the best nights. As this is an all-inclusive resort, you can eat and drink as much as you want - PERFECT!!

The Safari

We booked via Natural World Mombasa Safaris (Humphrey is the owner who we met when we were there). Go to their website and book before you fly to Kenya. We chose the three day Tsavo East & Amboseli excursion – by road. We thoroughly enjoyed the safari and Natural World Mombasa Safaris offered an excellent service. They picked us up from Diani Sea Lodge and dropped us back when it was over. We stayed at Voi Safari Lodge (Tsavo East) and Ol Tukai (Amboseli). I have reviewed these lodges separately – essentially there were both very good! I also fully recommend Natural World Mombasa Safaris and wouldn’t hesitate to use Humphrey and co again.

Evening Entertainment

This would be our only real negative about Diani Sea Lodge. The entertainment starts every evening at 9:15 (right after the buffet dinner ends) and is supervised by the Animation team (we got to know these guys very well in our second week and they are lovely people!). I’m not sure who books and manages the evening entertainment (I doubt it’s the Animation team) but it’s rather boring. One night there was a “catwalk show” where they show off the clothes of a local designer and then try and sell you the clothes. Also, they have two separate evenings of Acrobat acts. Although the acts were fun to watch, surely we don’t need to see it twice in one week? There is also a Bingo night which really does not attract many holidaymakers to it. Overall, people tended to stay away from the evening entertainment and if you were still there by 10pm then you wouldn’t have seen many people around you! For an all inclusive resort with a free bar I was surprised with how little people took advantage of it in the evenings. I think it’s the fact that the Sun is shining by 8am and so people get up very early and are tired by 10pm (after eating the body weight in free food)! The great thing about this is that the resort is very peaceful late at night and there are no lager louts in football shirts starting fights with each other because they’re hammered!! It is a very safe environment at all times of the day (24/7 hotel security on the front gates and by the beach).

The Animation Team

They are made up on young Kenyans (early to late 20s) who run the daytime entertainment (bowls, garden darts, beach volleyball, crazy golf, water aerobics (so funny especially if Daniel is taking the class!!) and table tennis. They are all good people and our favourites were Irene, Daniel and Lilian. The others include Victor (“shhowwtimeee”), Sammi and Safari. As a young couple, we were often bored by the evening’s entertainment and had no idea what to do when it finished (around 10pm). The Animation team are more than happy to take you out to the local bars/clubs once they finish work (11pm). We went on a few nights and it is very safe. They look after you and take you back to the resort. Get a glimpse into the REAL Kenyan nightlife! We miss them 

Ukundu

This is the local town and where most of the Sea Lodge staff live. If you’re looking for some local culture or a visit to one of the local villages then this is the best place to go. Bring sweets with you as the kids go wild for them and three big bags of sweets went within 20 minutes of arrival. It puts a massive smile on their faces and to be honest they expect the sweets from tourists now! Please do not go alone or walk there. The Animation team will go with you! There is a nice bar called African Pot which we went to a few times (Tusker beers only 180 Kenyan Shilling)

The Beach Boys

They are harmless but very annoying. They pester you to buy from their “shop” (the items on sale in their hands or back pockets) any moment you step foot on the beach. They will sell you anything from boat trips to bracelets. If you do buy from them you can barter by more than 50%. BE CAREFUL but if you’re by the holiday resort the security guards are constantly watching and ensuring your security. The beach boys are not allowed to step foot on Diani Sea Lodge property and so wait for you to leave the resort and walk on to the beach before they hustle you!

Holidaymakers - Nationalities

There are lots of Germans!! 70% roughly are German and mostly over 60 years old (the rest our predominantly French). We only met 3 other couples that were English in our entire two week stay – this is not a problem as everyone is friendly but I think it’s worthy of note. Many of them are repeaters and go every year so the staff treat them as VIPs and the bar staff can sometimes, annoyingly, serve them first even if you’ve got there first! One lady had been going back every year since 1973. She is frazzled and pretty old! The Owner is a big fat German guy who you will pretty much only see at Breakfast time (7:30am-ish). He seems OK.

We hope you enjoy our review and find it useful. Enjoy Kenya – you won’t ever forget the experience.

Chris & Kat.

Room Tip: pay for the safety deposit box. Reception also offer a better exchange rate for your money than the...
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Chris_Sprank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2011

JAMBO!!!!
Me my husband, sister and brother in law went to the diani sea lodge for a 2 week stay and what a 2 weeks it was IT WAS THE BEST EVER,the people are lovely and the food was good,we upgraded to the bahahi rooms which was well worth it and the air con was good. The mini bar was filled free of charge and the view was lovely overlookin the indian ocean.The entertainment team- victor,dan,lillian,susan and irene were fab and made our holiday great fun.
We booked our safari with JT JULIUS NZUMBI SAFARIS for 3 days,they picked us up from our hotel entrance at 6:30am then we went on to our safari. We stayed at the voi lodge for our first night which was ok,then we went on to killiguni which was fantastic it was a 5 star.
Our driver bonnie on safari was brilliant,we got into a situalation which needed hospital medical attention,and he went the extra mile to help us out and would not leave us until he knew we were ok, he was a superstar :-) WOULD WE STAY AT DIANI SEA LODGE AGAIN???? DEFO.
WOULD I BOOK JT SAFARIS AGAIN???? WITHOUT A DOUBT.BRILLIANT :-) :-) :-)

Room Tip: upgrade its worth it
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank angie332
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2011

Having read mixed reviews on this hotel, we were a bit apprehensive but there was no need. The location is stunning. The beach is soft, white sand and the sea is warm like a bath. The hotel itself was very well laid out and our bungalow room, set in the gardens was nice. Very basic but roomy, spotlessly clean and more than adequate. The air conditioning was enough to keep the room fairly cool at night, which is always a bonus.

The food in the hotel was very good. Always a wide choice for most tastes. Very fresh and imaginative.
One negative we did have about Diani Sea Lodge is that the bar staff tended to favour the German guests. Most of the people staying there were German (approx 90%) and we found that when we were waiting to be served, the bar staff would go and serve them before us. We put this down to the fact that these were guests who return year after year to the same place, or they tip better than we do! Just a small point but one I feel worth a mention.
The beach traders can spot new arrivals from miles away! They can be very persistant but will leave you alone if you're firm but polite. We were there for one week and squeezed in a 2 day safari - booked with JT (Julius Tact) Safaris. If you are thinking of booking a safari then I would highly recommend this company. We also did a day trip to Wasini Island to spot dolphins and visit the village. While the trip was very good, in was in no part thanks to Zebra Tours, the company we booked it with. Their organisation was shambolic and we ended up changing minibuses on the journey there - after sitting around for over an hour waiting for other guests from different hotels. Maybe just a bad day for them though, and, as I say, the trip was excellent overall.
All in all, Diani Sea Lodge was an excellent choice and we would/ will go back there. Kenya is a beautiful country with a lot to offer.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank Martin E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2011

After reading some reviews on here i was a bit apprehensive about going to dsl but i am so pleased i did. The rooms are basic but cleaned daily with fresh bedding and towels.The food is good with plenty to choose from and there is also a snack bar serving pizza and burgers etc...There is always plenty to do if you want to take a break from soaking up the sun the animation team arrange day trips and there are sports at the resort like garden darts and and beach volleyball.The beach boys can get a bit annoying but just be polite and say no and they will leave you alone.If you fancy a change in the evening i recommend you book a meal at the ali babas cave the restaurant is stunning and the food is amazing and if you want a good night out go to the forty thieves bar on the weekend.
Back to the sea lodge it's the staff that really make your holiday a wonderful one they are so friendly and welcoming especially victor(animation team) and professor samuel(housekeeping). Looking forward to returning some time in the near future.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank leanne b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Diani Sea Lodge

Address: Diani Beach Road | Ukunda, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
#12 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range: $114 - $275 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Diani Sea Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 168
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated right on the white sand beach of the Indian Ocean, Diani Sea Lodge, an all-inclusive 3+ resort, is surrounded by lush tropical gardens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Diani Sea Hotel Diani

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