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“Papillon Lagoon Reef, Diani, Kenya”

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Papillon Lagoon Reef
Ranked #12 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 19, 2011

I stayed here for 5 days in September 2011 following a safari. Grounds and reception area of the hotel are quite nice, lots of trees, monkeys, running water. The room, however, was a bit jaded looking and could have done with a revamp. i stayed in a beachfront room. Shower was very good but towels were more like ones that you would get in a student hostel rather than an aspiring 4 star beach resort.

Food is served in buffet style and breakfast and lunch were very good but dinner was a bit uninspiring and 'samey'.

I agree with all other comments on staff who were impeccable and very helpful. I had a manicure and pedicure in the small salon and which were great value.

Room Tip: My beachfront room was very near the hotel next door which had loud cheesy music but it did end at m...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank dpheal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 - 173 of 627 reviews

Reviewed September 17, 2011

We had a three day safari at Tsavo East Park and then spent 12 wonderful days at the Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel.

What made this hotel so great was definately the staff. From the cleaner, to the security guards, waiters, reception, bar staff and animation team, we have never met such friendly and helpful people. You can guaranteed to be greeted with 'Jambo' from all the hotel staff. Particularly the animation team, who thankfully kept our 17 and 13 year old entertained for the enitire time there.

The rooms were basic and the food average, but it is a 3 star hotel and you get what you pay for. It was however a fantastic environment to relax, with plenty of sunbeds and trees to chillax under. You cannot go on the beach without being hounded by the beach boys, so just buy something and make friends. They are a pain, but they are also very friendly and trying to make a living. I reccomend going to the 'Forty Theives' bar on the beach. They play great live band music on a sunday afternoon.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank rookery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2011

We found this hotel to be attractively landscaped with a very good pool area. The staff were attentive, friendly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble.
We thought our room was a bit shabby: it was well cleaned but some of the furnishings and in particular, the linen, was rather tired looking.
The food was disappointing although plentiful: we were very bored of the one-week menu by our third week. Lunch and dinner are very similar and some staple foods, particularly breakfast cereals and bread products were of low quality. Hot drinks are only available during mealtimes and between 4.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m. Mid-morning refreshments are not served and there is no facility for a hot drink later in the evening.
We had read complaints about the monkeys and beach boys: we found the monkeys amusing although it is wise to keep an keep on your cake! The beach boys are slightly more troublesome but we found that a polite but firm "No, thank you" worked well.
If you are booking a safari we can highly recommend JT Safaris. We booked our safari via e-mail before we left England and found Julius Nzumbi extremely helpful. Our queries were answered promptly and he gave us very useful advice: guests we spoke to who booked their safari with JT when they arrived in Kenya reported the same service. Our safari guide, Patrick was excellent and both he and Julius made sure we were well looked after at all times. Julius telephoned while we were away to check on our progress and we paid only a deposit until we had returned and met with Julius to ensure we were happy. The rooms at all three of our safari lodges were excellent and Patrick had a wealth of interesting information and amusing anecdotes. We spoke to guests who had received cheaper quotes but it was clear that by the time they had paid for essential extras that were included in our price, their total cost would be much higher. We would like to return for another safari and will not consider booking with anyone else.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Stephanie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2011

My family , 2 adults 4 kids (16, 14, 13 and 11) had a wunderfull holiday. The staff is very hospitible and tries to make your stay as pleasant as possible. The buffet meals are very good. The choice varies per night. Breakfast is overwhelming in quality and choice. The only thing is that the beach outside the hotel is crowded with beach-boys tryong to sell you stuff. If you want a quiet afternoon just stay at the perfect pool overlooking the the ocean.

Room Tip: All rooms are good, clean and very close to the facilities
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank Rik G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2011

We stayed here 14 nights (4 nights we were away on safari). We are a family of 5 with 3 boys aged 14, 11 and 7. The hotel is brilliant for kids there is an animation team who have regular sporting activities going on beach football, beach volleyball, water polo, water valleyball, boules,badminton, they don't pressurize you to take part. There is also a snooker table and table tennis. The pool is gorgeous with a swim up bar - the water was a little chilly for me but if you keep moving you get used to it. We stayed in 2 cottage rooms which had more than enough space. The A/C worked well as did the showers, the room could do with a bit of a make over but they were more than adequate. The food was good and they boys always found something to eat. Breakfast was particularly good lots of choice and always lots of fresh fruit with all the meals. After a week the food does become a bit repetitive but we were away from the hotel for 4days on safari, there is also a lovely beach bar restaurant called Nomad's a 10 minute walk along the beach which does lovely seafood and great pizza's. All inclusive drinks are fine the beer is ok, soft drinks include fruit juices, fanta, coke, sprite. I'm not a fussy wine drinker however the red & white wine was far from palatable in our opinion. Evening entertainment isgood great variety. When walking on the beach you will get hassled by the beach boys trying to sell you something. We were always pleasant to them and chatted with a few of them, the are harmless but if you don't want to get hassled a sharp no thank you very much will do the trip. We did our safari with JT safari's who I can't praise enough and will be doing a seperate review for them. We had the best time and saw so many animals. We had our own guide George who was brilliant and it was just th 5 of us. The hotels JT arranged for us to stay in were beautiful. Now on the subject of the monkeys and baboons in the hotel grounds. The monkeys look cute but you'll do best not to encourage them as the security guard has a tough enough job using his catapult to shoo them away, they do try to snatch food! The baboons can be quite big if ever I saw one and just turned around and walked in a different direction. The owner has the security guards looking out for them at all times. We found all the staff at the hotel to be really lovely, very polite and could'nt do enough for us. We did a one day dolphin spotting and snorkelling boat trip to Pili Pipa Island which I would recommend - we were lucky and saw lots of dolphins. All in all along with the safari we had a holiday of a lifetime.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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7  Thank Maryrs71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2011

We stayed in this fantastic hotel from 19th July 2011 – 2nd August 2011. We had a great time. We were welcomed at reception with towels and juice which were so refreshing after the long journey from England. Staff took us through details about the hotel and gave us bands to wear to show we were from their hotel and for meal purposes.

The hotel itself is well laid out beautiful gardens, clean and well kept. Every day you would see the staff cleaning and sweeping taking real pride in the hotel, as well as the staff that looked after your rooms nothing was too much trouble.

Four helpful guys took our luggage to our garden room- which was lovely. It was a good size room with a bathroom that included a shower worktop space with basin and wc. Looking out to gardens,the first thing we saw out of the window were monkeys they are amusing but beware do not leave windows or doors open as they will let themselves in, They did get into our room and ransacked our crisps . So beware when you are on the loungers, make sure everything is hidden otherwise you may see a monkey taking your items up a tree never to be seen again.

First couple of days were spent at the hotel – which was great we met some lovely people. From gardeners to waiters to security men – they all welcomed you with JAMBO..... So happy , willing and nice to see people want to give you time of day, after a few days once they got to know your face we started having conversations about the differences in our countries and life styles, it seems that most Kenyans think we all live near a major football club namely that top 5 in the premiership

Breakfast was just fantastic :- you had choice of full cooked breakfast pancakes, cereals, cold meats, fruit, made to order omelettes(which were just the best), melba toast (which became a favourite too)bacon , sausages beans etc

Lunch:- You could either have something light or have a full meal. Which changed every day. There was always salads, cold meats, either potatoes/chips,hot meals also meats,chicken etc.

Afternoon Tea:- as it says tea and cake to take you round to dinner

Dinner :- A different theme for every night. Vast range again of foods to cater for every need. And entertainment on a couple of nights different music being played while you ate.
So food wise there was never a day that there wasn’t anything to eat. There was always the several hot choices, salads and more than enough desserts across lunch & dinner. All meals are help yourself to as little or as much as you like.
Same with the drinks plentiful and the waiters made sure your glass was never empty

The swimming pool was ample as was the sunbeds and the pool guys so helpful,when giving you your towels once you had signed for them they would ask where you wanted to lay and would promptly set you up for the day with the sunbeds.

The pool bar was brilliant you could swim up or choose to sit-,soft/alcoholic drinks and cocktails available whether alcoholic or soft ones for the children again the staff there were very polite and quick to serve always with a smile.

The beach is at the bottom of the hotel complex by where the evening entertainment takes place, you must go on the beach and in the sea the waves are something else great to play wave jumping as they can be huge. Dont be put off by the beach boys after a couple of days with a firm hand up and no,they leave you alone you do get the odd one but are dispersed with the same treatment, they are only trying to earn a living.

You have an entertainment team on hand and where you go for breakfast there is a board with the days activities, these guys are so funny and not pushy they casually ask you if you want to take part and if you say no a friendly laugh and joke and their gone. Activities include,volleyball,water polo, aqua aerobics, table tennis, darts, badminton etc

On Site there is a bureau de change and a small gift shop that sell essentials should you have forgotton something.

If we had any criticism and this is constructive would be wi-fi or internet access needs to be available as we feel this is the only thing the hotel is missing.

Would we go again to this hotel.... you bet your life- so much so it could be as soon as next year, so relaxing, staff so polite,food & drink plentiful.You want a chill out and not move from the hotel this is the place to be. Shops are a taxi ride away should you want them, days out and trips can be done via your tour operator or arranged before you go.

After 4 days we went on a 4 day/3 night safari which we booked through JT safaris -there are 2 safari companies that are almost the same name :-
PLEASE NOTE CORRECT COMPANY IS JT SAFARIS(JULIUS TACT SAFARIS) AND web:(www.julius-safaris.com)

We visited Tsavo East ( Ngutuni lodge), Tsavo West ( Kilaguni serena) and amboselli (amboselli serena lodge) . We had the most fantastic time of our lives. With JT Safaris you have a van to yourself which is so much more personal. Our guide Abdul was great and we felt more comfortable as it was just us and him. It gives you a better chance to see the animals, stand and sit when you want. We saw 4 of the big 5 but so much more than we ever imagined we would see!!

If you are reading this and wondering who to book your safari with - please note you should not have any worries- this company is the best and gives you such personal service by calling you while you away on your safari. Please do not worry about sending a deposit from the uk as we did and had no problem at all - it is all safe and Julius will confirm once payment has reached him. But the balance he doesn’t ask for until day after your safari, which is so good as it gives you chance to return to you hotel and relax then be picked up and go to his office.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank taggster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2011

The hotel staff are great and very friendly. Of particular note are the "animation team" who run a huge range of activities all day long with humour and minimal pressure to join in.

Food is very good and they cater at every meal for vegetarians at a dedicated "vegetarian corner".

Rooms are very clean as is the whole hotel.

Things to bear in mind if considering this hotel;
1. I wouldn't say it was for teenagers. Ours were bored in the evenings because there is nothing lively about the evenings! most people were off to bed at 10pm every evening. Most people were there after safaris and were happy to relax and the younger children loved the pool.
2. It really isn't a beach holiday. The beach is heavily invested with beach boys who really plague tourists. There are multitudes of sea urchins on the beach and the sea is rough.

  • Stayed: August 2011
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Thank ironmummy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Papillon Lagoon Reef

Address: Diani Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80401, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range: $118 - $294 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Papillon Lagoon Reef 3*
Number of rooms: 119
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Also Known As:
Papillon Lagoon Reef Diani
Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel Diani

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