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.
- 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