From start to finish, just had one of the best holidays.
Having travelled through the night, arriving mid morning, was delighted that the room was available to check straight in. The friendly and warm welcome was great, explaining everything about the hotel, restaurants, bars and when the holiday rep would be at the hotel. The Hotel is set over several blocks in beautiful gardens with it's own enormous 500 year old boabab tree. I had gone for a sea view room, which was great and the view, stunning. The room was spotlessly clean and a lovely size with 4 poster bed with mosquito net, decent bathroom with shower and bath. The fridge with drinks was a nice a touch. The room got the sun in the morning and then was shaded in the afternoon heat, so when the sun got a little too hot to sit out, the breeze was lovely on the balcony and you could still see everything going on.
In the evening, they ask you to observe the dress code which was a nice change, if a little hot, but even though it is advertised on all the websites I saw of the hotel, at the hotel and guests told on arrival, it's a shame more guests ignored it! The food is great and plenty of choice and the staff are so friendly and attentive in their service. Following dinner there is nightly entertainment which is worth a watch, ranging from a gheko and reptile display to acrobats and Maasai Dancers.
Breakfast is served the other restaurant by the pool and you can choose to sit inside or out. Again plenty of good food to choose from and attentive service.
There is a colony of Colobus monkeys living in the grounds which keep you entertained. Didn't see them pinching anything, other than your drinks when you weren't watching! You are asked not to feed them, but of course people did, which then encourages them even more, but I didn't have a problem with them at all and only had a visit from one on the balcony, but he soon left and went upstairs! There is also a daily visit from two baboons, which were a bit more scary, but staff are always on hand to shoo them away.
A "must do" is the safari excursion organised with the rep and leaves early morning from the hotel. I did the East Tsavo safari which includes an overnight stay at the Ngutuni Lodge which is as good as the Papillon. A great experience, saw plenty of wildlife and loved every minute of it. Our guide was great, very friendly and knowledgable about everything we saw and local history.
Another "must do" is the Pilli Pipa boat safari. A great day out from a village called Shimoni. We saw the dolphins swimming round the dhow before reaching the reef for some great snorkeling with the turtles. You can hire an underwater camera for 2000 shillings, which is quite expensive, but I've got some great pics to show for it! Then it was on to Wasini Island for an African lunch of fresh crab, rice, fish etc in the most beautiful surroundings.
Be prepared to drive through some deprived areas, which can be quite upsetting, but all the people I met were so happy and friendly and the children always had a beautiful smile and a wave as we passed, shouting "Jambo, give me sweets!"
The hotel is set on the gorgeous beach and a swim in the warm ocean is a must. As previously stated there are the Beach Boys hanging around, but they are not as bad as some have made out and no where near as bad as other countries like Morocco. A polite "no" suficed and they left me alone.
As others have stated in previous reviews, I left summer clothes and unused toiletries for the room attendant to make use of, they are greatly received.
As I had a late flight home, the drive back to the airport was an eye opener as we hit Mombassa at rush hour, so be prepared for a slow journey, but absolutely fascinating watching the city move "en masse".
Overall an amazing holiday in a great hotel in an amazing country and can't wait to return some day.
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- Also Known As:
- Papillon Lagoon Reef Diani
- Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel Diani