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“Paradise !! Overrated and overpriced”

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The Sands At Chale Island
Ranked #3 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 3, 2011

While the location is out of this world, the basics are very very poor. An all inclusive (full board) booking will give you some of the worst meals you ever experience. The waffle maker does not know how the appliance opperates, breakfast runs out of Bacon, Coffee is stale, beef scallops are so tough it is impossible to cut, the cook fries merilly on the calamari untill it is grade a rubber!! This place needs a good food and bev manager and fast, for the price of staying at Chale the food is shocking !!! The rest is surreal, the beach is perfect, the rooms are great, servcie in general is not bad, I think the manager or owner or both have become so complacent that they think the island by itself is enough of an attraction, wake up !!

Room Tip: The rooms on the water is something spectacular
  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Ipache
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 9, 2011

Chale island is a small coral island located about 12km south of Diani Beach.

Although such a small distance it is a world away from the usual mass tourism.

It has a wealth of animal and bird life,naturalsprings and salt lakes in the interior and we went there for the day for the guided tour walk etc.

Chale island is a nature reserve and one third of which is dedicated to the hotel complex.

On the bay with the beautiful white sandy beach is the open air restaurant serving a rich variety of Africanand international dishes and there is a thatched roofed bar for cool drinks.

If the tide is out you are taken by tractor to the island.

Chale island is fully furnished with antiques not only in the public areas but in the guest rooms.

When we arrived we were greeted with a welcome cocktail and then started the island guided walk which takes around one and a half hours.

You will need good walking shoes as rocky and stumps of trees coming from nowhere!!

We were then ready for an excellent lunch which is buffet and we chose seafood which was excellent and plenty of local fruits plus free drinks and tea or coffee.

After lunch we took a boat trip which leads you through the mangroove forest of Gazi Bay.

We then returned in time for afternoon tea and a laze ont he beach and then time to go back.

A lovely day out.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank malaikascotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2011

We just loved it at Chale....it was a brilliant time we had as a couple after getting married....loved the nice above the water bandas......was just an awesome experience......the lovely sunsets and the jaccuzi overlooking the ocean......loved the food, the bar and the barman....who made our evenings into relaxing and carefree world....

Room Tip: make sure the jaccuzi works....
  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank komal6nku
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2011

Chale Island is a realy special place. The only hotel on the island. rest of the island is a natural reserve. very quiet. Beach only for you. Food realy good.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank alpino_70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2010

chale is a beautiful island! but i had some mixed opinions about various aspects as per my review below...

beach - beautiful white powdery - shells and rocks are more apparent off the main beach.
(seaweed is forked away by workers daily)

gardens - stunning array of tropial plants with water lily pools, and various trees including the mangrove forest ...colobus monkeys swing around and lots of butterflies and birds...bouganvillia bushes splash alot of colour everywhere.

rooms - standard banda was large and comfortable although there was no dressing table stool/chair ?
bed - large and good mattress.
windows - tinted and do not open; sound proof so once you close them, you don't hear much of the ocean which i personally love to hear!
bathroom - remember no hot showers during the day! well you can keep the heater on all night and use sparingly
airconditioning - setting just blew warm air around; so you will need to adjust it properly although it was so windy we fortunately didn't need it.

veranda - very nice with a bed and little table and seat...view was interrupted by scanty trees but still very pretty and private

staff - all pleasant and helpful
service - very efficient

food - well prepared and a good buffet daily (sunday night was a pool dinner with a live band - v good...delicious jumbo king prawns and lobsters - divine!!!)

scenaries - all round lovely - don't miss the sunsets from the water villas or the sea water pool deck!

dining area - this was where i had major issues!
the chairs were most uncomfortable - more like out-dated lounge chairs - hard to sit on and eat ; and when you sat back you were too far from the table!
buffet area was small so you did have to wait for long intervals to serve (i ended up always going late for meals when there were no other guests)
they only give one bottle of water per meal time and prices of drinks is very high so be prepared!
music - they had piped music in dining area, tea/coffee area and the bar and it was awful - i know music is subjective but in the beauty of such ambience to play r&b pop is just so misplaced.
it spoilt the entire atmosphere and made meal times rather unpleasant....

i also could not understand why they did not serve coffee at tea time! but had a variety of over 10 types of herbal teas...

it was a treat to visit as the beauty of the island was apparent ...but with the few not so enjoyable aspects, and for the price paid...i am not sure if i would visit again...

as a delightful parting shot...
there was a sea turtle who had laid her eggs just outside the veranda under the rock and it was priceless to see her come in the dead of night to check on her nest!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sweetwaters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2010

Our five days at the Sands at Chale was a wonderful experience. The place is as beautiful as it looks on the pictures on their website and the staff was very helpful and friendly. Nothing was ever a problem. Our two children aged 6 & 8 felt very much at home here and because the place is relatively small they also quickly felt safe. We stayed in a Banda by the beach and found it spacecious,clean and comfortable. The beach is very white and soft and very well kept. The water is clear blue and refreshing. All in all the whole resort seems very well kept and clean.

Finally - twice a day we enjoyed the buffet which has a great variety of foods and always something our children could eat. If nothing else then pasta was always an option for them.

If we ever get a chance we will definately come back here.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank liseandersen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2009

I stayed for one week after having done one week safari in Kenya as the finishing experience on my honeymoon. We were so filled up with great experiences so we really needed to just unwind, relax and enjoy each other. We flew by small plane from the Masai Mara to a small airport near by and then we were driven approx. one hour because of the very poor roads in Kenya.

Island. The island is very small, you can walk round it in approx. one hour. Half the island is the hotel, the rest is a nature reservation - but you can walk there. We hoped for great swimming and snorkeling - this was the biggest con. There is a high tide meaning that most of the time, the water is very shallow and far away. The waves are quite big so it's difficult to swim. We tried snorkeling two times - both times very dissapointing. We saw brown = dead corals and only very few fish. There is supposed to be good snorkelling further up the coast but it would take us four hours to reach the feef because of the poor roads so we decided not to go. In stead we enjoyed the swimming pool which is beautiful and very good. We stayed in September which is not a crowded time so we had most of the island to ourselves - I think the hotel was half full. the beach is beautiful but covered with sea weed - they do remove much of it but it just is everywhere in Kenya. On the beach, sea turtles lay eggs. Unfortunately we did not see any, but we could have. There is an Italien guy who is a marine biologist who took us snorkeling and rowing, he is very nice and the Italien guests loved him. But he does not speak very good English, so we were quite bored and not that content. At the beach they have placed a few big sofas - really enjoyable and a nice touch.

Rooms - we stayed at a superior bandana and the last two nights at the big water hut. Both were fine - the bandana is very romantic. It is, however, decorated in an Italien style which I do not like. I would prefer Kenyan style. This means that the bathroom is crammed with shelves, and not much floor is free. The air con is situated by the roof which is open - so if you turn it on, all the cold air will go straight out. They also shut off the electricity during most of the day, so you cannot use it. Very odd, I think. But the room is very nice has a veranda overlooking the sea and the bed is just beautiful, big and perfect. At night the staff turns it down for you and each night they would write something nice to us using flowers -very very nice.
The water hut is beautiful - again the decor is very odd with not much space. The terrace with the jacuzzi almost takes all the space so that it is difficult to get to it. Especially if you have the sun beds out - then there is no more space to walk. Very odd... But it's nice to have a private spot and the sun sets are beautiful. The water is very shallow, before noon there is water enough to cover your knees. After noon, the water dissapeares - so it's really not a water hut all the time... A big con is that the tractor that transports people to and from the island leaves from the same place as the water huts - and they are very noicy. Very very noicy. So - I am hesitant to recommending the water huts because of that. We also saw the honeymoon suite - that is beautiful and really worth your while. But it was just too expensive for us.

Food - not good, not good at all. We had so good food at our safaris so we had our expectations up. the food is poorly prepared, most is Italien style, and the fruit is awful. Once a week they do Kenyan nights - that was the only night we liked the food. Very dissapointing. And they make you pay for water that you drink if not during meals- and the water is very expensive. Not nice at all.

What to do -not much to do. We enjoyed ourselves and just relaxed a lot. We swam in the pool, not so much in the sea due to the sea weed and big waves. You can walk round the island when the water is low - and you can walk in the forrest which is a good experience. You can also visit a village - we did not do that as we do not like these things. If you do so, remember to bring pensils or something to give to the kids -they expect it. The marine biologist tries to do his best, but his poor English just spoils the effort. We loved just relaxing, reading and doing nothing.

Service -while we were very impressed with the level of service in Kenya (best we have ever experienced), Chale Island is very different. The Italien owner clowds everything, and you should expect service like you get it in Italy - i.e. not very good. The employees try their best, but they are not being treated very well. We said that we had given tips to the tip jar in the reception, but the cleaners, cooks and waitors do not see any of that. So do remember to tip directly to your cleaner,waitor etc. Otherwise they will not get anything. Also remember to bring clothes, socks, T-shirts everything can be used by the staff.

We had a wonderful week and an unforgettable honeymoon - despite the service and food.

I should say that they try, which is nice. There were no people selling ittems to you as is common on other beaches in Kenya. It's a private island so they are not welcome. That is really nice. We also had some spa treatments - you are placed in a picturesque little hut in the forrest and get the greatest massages while listening to the apes. Very good.

I think it is a fine hotel, and we enjoyed it. But it is a bit expensive for what you get.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Sofie-the-Dane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Sands At Chale Island

Address: Diani Beach Road | Diani Beach, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80401, Kenya
Phone Number:
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Diani Beach
#2 Spa Hotel in Diani Beach
#3 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
#8 Family Hotel in Diani Beach
#9 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range: $166 - $566 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Sands At Chale Island 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Owned and managed by the same team of sister resort The Sands At Nomad, this small, personal "boutique" resort is the perfect island getaway for those seeking the ultimate in relaxation, tranquility and Island flair. The resort was completely renovated in 2006 and has been built with a very strong focus on the envirnmental beauty of the Island. Two swimming pools, a mystical SPA and a well equiped watersports facility fullfil every wish. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Sands At Chale Island Hotel Diani
Sands At Chale Island Ukunda

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