There are many positives to this hotel - the food was excellent, the staff are very friendly and helpful, the entertainments team make it all good fun. The setting is beautiful, the pool is lovely and the sunbeds are very comfortable. It is also very good value for money.
The negatives prevent me from giving this a top rating. Not taking into account our specific issues, it was a shame that the drinks were always luke warm (including the revolting wine!) and there were no diet options. Cold mineral water would have gone down a treat, but even when we purchased a sealed bottle, it was not cold. I appreciate it is probably difficult to keep things cold in that climate but other hotels we visited managed to provide cold drinks.
Our room wasn't as clean as it could be - particularly the flask of filtered water provided for teeth cleaning which from start to finish was ingrained in toothpaste. The bathroom looked shabby with a few broken towels. It was just a bit tired. However, the other members of our group had rooms that looked better and cleaner.
It's a shame that the beach if virtually out of bounds unless you are happy to be hassled by the beach boys. It would have been lovely to lay out there for a bit but just not possible. They are harmless and we had some fun bartering with them, but they dont really take no for an answer and seem to expect you to purchase their junk on a daily basis.
Hotel has a "dress code" and having asked in advance if it was necessary for my 13 year old son to wear long trousers and a shirt at night (and having been told yes) we were shocked to find men in shorts, collarless shirts, vest tops, t shirts, football shirts and even swimwear! during the evenings. Dress code was not adhered to in the slightest while we were there which we were very surprised about. (We were told by the rep that it's only the English that pay attention to the dress code!).
The biggest problem for us was that we had chosen this hotel on the basis that it had family rooms for 4. We were 2 x families of 4 and 1 x single person. We booked through an agent and specifically requested this combination of rooms. Our booking came back as 3 family rooms as we were told there was no single supplement due to it being low season, so it should have given us 3 nearby rooms, each able to accommodate 4 people.
We arrived after having travelled on rough, dusty roads for 9 hours, so just wanted to get in our rooms and shower asap. However on arrival we had been allocated 3 x triple rooms. Hotel claimed that our request had not been relayed, and as we were a party of 9 they had allocated rooms accordingly. This did not work out for us at all - the single traveller needed a single room and the families needed to sleep together or at least in adjoining rooms. Hotel claimed they were full and there was no other room available. After a lot of discussion, the only solution was to move the beds around and put an additional bed in 2 of the triple rooms. Not a great solution as the rooms are small (and at one point they were planning on giving beds with no mosquito nets as they claimed there was no mosquito's or maleria! - we refused this).
So 2 hours or more after arriving and we could finally check into our rooms. Without this we would probably have overlooked the minor "complaints" mentioned above and given a higher rating as overall it was a great place to stay at a reasonable cost.
Next day the rep confirmed that we had booked 3 x family rooms, and family rooms were for 4 people. However that was as far as we got with it out there and we have taken it up with the agent since returning home.
Trips were ridiculously overpriced which was a shame as we were there for a week and it would have been nice to visit the area. But the only trip of vague interest to us was the dolphin trip and was around £80 pp with no reduction for children as they were over 12 (and no guarantees that we would even see dolphin, let alone swim with them). There was not much choice of trips unless you wanted to book a safari (which we had already done in our first week).
Despite a few negatives we still feel we had good value for money, and although things like bottled water and internet access are an expensive extra, we were aware before travelling that we would have to pay for these.
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- Also Known As:
- Papillon Lagoon Reef Diani
- Papillon Lagoon Reef Hotel Diani