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“Relaxing and easy-going resort”

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Papillon Lagoon Reef
Ranked #14 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Relaxing and easy-going resort”
Reviewed October 15, 2011

We just returned from a 8day stay in Papillon Lagoon Reef which was, despite the rain (3out of 8days), a very relaxing stay. The hotel is located about an 1hr south of Mombasa in the very touristic area called Diani Beach. The resort itself is suprisingly quiet and spacious, nicely built facing the ocean with lush green hills and lots and lots of monkeys.
The staff all are equally kind and helpfull; all willing to do something extra for you. The rooms are spacious and well equiped altough a coffee/tea maker would be nice.
During our stay we arranged a 2 day safari with JT Safaris; all booked via the inet and not arranged via the travelagent or resort. The safari was simply AMAZING... And we really can recommend JT (www.julius-safaris.com). After discussing our wishes via mail and price agreement a 200dollar deposit was transferred whilst the balance was to be paid after return. If you want an unforgettable safari don't hesitate to contact JT.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank LodewijkeB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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586 reviews from our community

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English first
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 14, 2011

Just come back from Papillon - clean, tidy, friendly, food good - staff very helpful - couldn't fault it really.. We paid extra for beachfront room, well worth it - overlookikng the beach and Indian ocean - we are very lucky people to be able to go somewhere like this.. yes there are beach boys - but if you spare the time to talk to them (and buy something for them - it means they can survive) you'll find they have nothing.. absolutely nothing but the little money they make on the beach - and if you do say no, they do listen in our experience - we came home with nothing - gave everything we had away to them - one warning - dont take Travellers' cheques - nightmare trying to get them cashed - we eventually did at one of the Safari lodges, but even the banks didn's want to know - be warned - use visa or something else - and get out into the local community and spend money there rather than staying in the (usually all inclusiv) hotel and using their shop - it helps the local economy and this is what they need - I wouldn' t hesitate to recommend this trip - it was awesome - I can't help but read these other peoples reviews where they complain of "low quality drinks" etc - but just remember - whatever you have in that hotel is a thousand times better than what the local villagers have - Asante Sana Kenya!!

Room Tip: If you can manage it go for a beach front room...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank carolyn k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Midlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2011

Just come back after a wonderful holiday in Kenya at the Papillon Lagoon Reef. We booked a cottage room which was at the front of the hotel in a small block of 8 near the reception area and entrance. Were initially disappointed as we wanted one of the rooms looking down to the beach and pool over the gardens but our room was larger and more interesting. We also took some time off from sunbathing by the pool to go on a 2 night (3 day) safari with JT Safaris (Julius Tact). Julius Nzumbi has an excellent reputation as one of the best safari operators in the Diani Beach and Ukunda area and he didn't disappoint. See seperate review for more info on Julius and his excellent company.

The Papillon is only a 3 star but we found everything to be of an excellent standard. The hotel is of a typical Kenyan design set in very large and beautiful gardens with a pretty pool area and plenty of lawned areas overlooking the beach.

There are two restaurants, one by the pool for breakfast and lunch and one up by reception for dinner. Both restaurants have lovely outdoor seating areas amongst the trees which makes for a nice atmosphere.We thought the food was of a very good standard with lots of choice and some excellent veggie options if you are not a meat eater. They have an outdoor barbeque every week, an African night serving local cuisine (a bit bland unfortunately), stir frys cooked outside, currys, chapatis. poppadoms, beef bourgignon, roast meats, lots of veg, fish, lovely soups and some very good deserts. My favourites were the pineapple crumble and cherry trifle. At some all inclusive resorts currys and other strong flavoured foods usually taste like watered down versions but here the flavours were very authentic. Tea and coffe is served after lunch and dinner and it is the excellent quality ground Kenyan variety. Breakfast time offered an excellent choice including bacon, sausage, eggs, eggy bread, omelettes, toast, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, pancakes, chicken gizzards (not the most popular option funnily enough!) cereals, 3 types of juice, croissants and more.

There are plenty of sports activities during the day, a disco at night and different acts performing every night including some very good acrobats and tribal dancers. There are jet skis and banana boats on the beach and glass boats to take you to the reef which is 500 yards offshore. Snorkeling on the reef is quite good but if you don't want to pay to go on the boat it is a long swim to get there. Snorkeling equipment is not included in the all inclusive so take your own although i think it is included in the boat price. Also remember to take some beach shoes as there are lots of sea urchins quite close to shore.

Only negative comment i would make about the hotel is regarding the drinks selection. Wine was a bit cheap and nasty and the remainder of the drinks were on a par with a cheap all inclusive to the med but i guess if they offered a better drinks selection the price of the holiday would have to go up. There is an option to buy a decent bottle of wine, prices start at about £7.50 i think.

All in all we had a fantastic holiday and would recommend the Papillon Lagoon Reef to anyone. It really is a lovely comfortable and relaxing hotel in a wonderful setting and the staff really made it for us, they are always smiling and friendly and the service they give you is always very efficient.

.

Room Tip: If you would prefer a room which is a bit different in design to the others and larger but without...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Itsmespud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2011

We have just returned from spending our honeymoon at the Papillon Lagoon Reef and really hope that we will be able to return very soon. We paid extra for the beachfront rooms which really do have a stunning view of the beautiful beach and some other extra's such as a tv and inclusive drinks in fridge. Some reviews have said that the rooms need updating but we felt they our room everything we needed, was impeccably clean, and the decor was in keeping with the traditional style of the hotel. The grounds are pool area are lovely and well maintained. Food was varied, we particularly liked the breakfasts and the lunch options which were cooked on hotplates in front of you. The staff at the hotel really are fantastic, every member of staff was extremely friendly and helpful and really made our stay extra special, nothing was ever too much trouble for them from the reception staff to the waiters and handymen. I would recommend this hotel to anyone!

Room Tip: Beachfront rooms really are worth the extra money.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank tjhend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sweden
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2011

Ok hotel but no frills. At an extra charge we upgraded to see facing rooms which were much better and also had TVs, fridges etc. Food average. Drinks range very low quality and the draft beer always flat or too full of foam. Would have appreciated if it was possible to get better drinks even if at a cost (non inclusive).

GArden and Pool area very nice. Beach superb!

Room Tip: Upgrade to see facing rooms, makes a BIG difference. Otherwise close to pool is probably ok, but don...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank kikilost
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ire
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
1 Thank dpheal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank rookery
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

Property: Papillon Lagoon Reef
Address: Diani Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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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