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“The Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa is still the best resort in Diani”

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Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa
Ranked #18 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Reviewed February 18, 2013

My wife and I stayed for the second year running at the Diani Reef and Beach Resort between 4th and 16th February, 2013. The hotel facilities, with its extensive and beautifully designed grounds walk ways, pools and canals combined with the fantastic architecture of the building complex, housing well appointed bedrooms, most of which have a reasonable view over the grounds and to the Indian Ocean beyond are heaven to stay and relax in, particularly on the balconies with a drink at the end of each day, enjoying the beautiful view. The service is second to none, with very attentive, efficient and polite staff meeting your every whim. Service is always delivered with a smile and you are greeted by the staff where ever you go in the hotel and its grounds. The cuisine is a delight, with a superb main restaurant with views over the grounds enabling you to eat breakfast and evening meals inside or Al Fresco. In addition the hotel provide a number of evenings a week with Al Fresco dining at various locations in the facility, such as under the palm trees, on the sea sand in front of the beach and also around the swimming pool and in the Palm Park. Meals are buffet style, save the specialist Indian and Japanese oriental restaurants. The evening buffets have a comprehensive and wide variety of exciting selection of fresh food from fish, beef, salads, pasta, curry and excellent desserts. Breakfast is a joy, enabling you to eat healthy with an abundance of tropical fresh fruit, as well as cereals, a variety of egg dishes cooked to your specification. There is enjoyable entertainment provided every night and by day you can lounge on beach beds under thatched parasols with wonderful views of the best ocean in the world. The wide and very long, pure white sandy beach provides wonderful views and the chance to enjoy an amble or healthy walk. The new highly internationally experienced GM, Darrell Cartwright, whilst running an excellent facility with a brilliant team has a number of well thought out good ideas to provide more for guests in the facility. We have looked at other options down the Diani Beach and conclude the Diani Reef offers the best option in our opinion and we know many returning guests feel the same. Now for the “acid test” - Will we go again???? You can count on us doing so.

Room Tip: Chose a sea view or limited sea view room both have good views, but avoid looking over other buildin...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank 3jem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DRBRS, General Manager at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

On behave of the whole Diani Team we would like to thank you for your review. It was a pleasure to meet and serve you.

I sincerely hope to see you again. You have my contact details please do let me know when your returning.

Many thanks,
The General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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209 - 215 of 728 reviews

Reviewed February 13, 2013

This hotel has good potential, but it is in desperate need of upgrading and an improvement in the quality of service.

Service: While some of the staff was friendly and attentive, the general quality of service was poor. The hotel was not fully occupied, yet several requests were not tended to in a timely/ friendly manner and the staff generally seemed unmotivated.

Food: The breakfast was excellent and the dinner at the main restaurant was very good for the most part. The food at the beach restaurant was a large disappointment. The quality of the food here was sub standard and the portions were small considering the prices charged for the dishes. There are no other options for places to eat for lunch unless you visit some of the other hotels/ restaurants in the area.

Rooms: The rooms don’t seem to have been upgraded in a long time. The linen is old and the pillows/ mattress are flat. Our ‘king bed’ was two single beds joined together with just a sheet (no mattress padding) to cover the gap. The air conditioning was barely functioning – it was more like a fan.

Common areas: The common areas are very nice and pleasant. They have a nice lounge area overlooking the pool and ocean. The main pool was refreshing, but was not being cleaned on a regular basis as evidenced by the oil and dirt gathering at the shallow end.

I would say that one thing the hotel has going for it is the beachfront – it is absolutely stunning and while there are a few people harassing tourists to buy things, the beach is relatively quiet and nice and clean.

While we made the most of the experience, we were disappointed with the hotel as we had been led to expect it was a lot better than it was. The 4 star rating / review is very misleading.

P.S I just read another guest's comment where he referred to people providing constructive criticism as "ridiculous, just rich snobs being rude". I am not rich and I am not a snob. I don't think it’s too much to ask to get good service and well-maintained rooms for the price you pay. The hotel is not cheap, and supposedly 4 star, so you should get what you expect. I don’t plan to return to this hotel, but I think it’s important to provide feedback so that other travelers to this beautiful country can know what to expect. Hopefully some action will be taken to improve the hotel.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank LilyB123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DRBRS, General Manager at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 16, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to review our hotel and our services. We take pride in offering only the best to our valued customers.

I read your review and have noted down the points that you mentioned in your review. I will be looking into these points that you have commented on.

I hope to welcome you again very soon to the resort.

Regards,
The General Manager

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Reviewed February 11, 2013

We stayed at Diani in January 2012 and returned this year.Last year we were delighted with the hotel.We can say the same again this year.The hotel is roomy the rooms were very good,we had a sea view one this year and it had a lovely view. If any person can complain about the quality of the food I am amazed how you could improve on it,in fact I dont think you can .The variety and freshness was excellent. I see people have mentioned staff by name as being helpful,we found everyone more than helpful always accompanied by a cheery smile.The beach furniture and towels were perhaps getting tired but in comparison with the rest of the hotel amenities it was not important and did nothing to spoil an excellent holiday.The general manager was always accessible and pleasant.We hope to return next year.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Dave W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DRBRS, General Manager at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 16, 2013

Dear Guest,

I and the management team would like to thank you for your positive review of the resort. We are extremely pleased that you enjoyed your stay with us.

Once again many thanks and I hope to welcome you again to our resort in the near future.

Regards,
The General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

As returning guests to this hotel it was so disappointing to see how the place had declined in the past 12 months. I am not going to list all the things that make this hotel look so shabby as most of the points have already been mentioned in previous reviews. My wife and I have been coming to this hotel since 2004 when it first opened and i must say it was then probably one of the best hotels that we have ever stayed in. To see the way the place has deteriorated over that time and especially over the last year was unbelievable. Putting aside the sorry state of the hotel one thing that is still 5 star at this property are the staff who always greet you with politeness and a big smile, something that has never changed. I must mention a few names who looked after us during our stay. Margaret in charge of house-keeping,Julius on the beach, Rama who looked after our room, Mary who was in charge of the Bars, Celestine, Cecelia, Dorcas,Victoria, Doreen and chefs Stephen and Susan,Thank you.

Room Tip: Room 2007 excellent views.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank roger5101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DRBRS, General Manager at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 11, 2013

Dear Rodger B.,

I want to thank you for your review. I do remember you while you where at the resort. It was unfortunate that you felt that your trip was disappointing. While others from the UK whom you interacted with daily felt differently and in fact have sent emails saying what a wonderful time they have had.

It would be my pleasure to receive an email from you directly at GM@dianireef.com. Whereby you can send me your feedback so I can address your concerns and give you my feedback.

But, once again thank you for your review and I hope you take the time to write me so we can take into account all of the concerns that you have raised be they SUBJECTIVE or objective.

Regards,
The GM

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Reviewed February 2, 2013

We arrived at this hotel after having stayed in 3 other accomodations during our holiday. This was supposed to be the final and the best of our stays. The entrance was very impressive but it went down hill from there. Basically it is very old and tired and what we were not aware of was that half the hotel was shut. The closed section was in a state of disrepair with the water that surrounded the hotel green with stagnation and debris (even a dead bird, which was the view from the sunbeds in the spa area). The bedrooms were old and basic and although we were moved to a 'suite' when we complained, we were just moved to a larger room of exactly the same poor quality but had to forego the ea view hich we paid for. All the bedlinen smelt of damp. None of the entertainment and 'special' nights that were advertised happened (apparently it was out of season but no-one told this when we booked it). Generally very disappointing and NOT to be recommended. Our hotels on safari were far better and this was a higher star rating. And I am not 'a rich snob', just expect to get what I pay for.

Room Tip: Choose a room in another newer hotel
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank 1951jmwyatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DRBRS, General Manager at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

I want to thank you for your review of the property and the comments you have made when you stayed with us July of last year.

The management team take all comments seriously and will take the needed steps to correct all the concerns that you have raised. I am also happy to inform you that a lot of the issues that you have raised have been addressed.

We hope to have the pleasure to serve you again soon.

Regards,
The General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

We are returning guests to this hotel and what a change. First impressions it looks the same, but when you have been here before you can see all the changes and not all are for the best. The management control the air con whereas it use to be the guest that controlled. The rooms are damp and the air con not cold enough, when we have stayed previously there was never a problem with the rooms smelling or the damp, however, the management are aware of these problems but I could see no evidence to rectify this problem. The pools were only half full and both salt water the quiet pool was cleaner than the main pool. The food has changed also not as good as was before but I must admit the last 5 days were a slight improvement especially the breakfast there was bacon and sausage every morning, the meat at evening dinner was just to chewy to eat the vegetables were lovely just not enough to go round if you came for dinner at 8 there was not much left at all. Sun beds are very dirty and old mostly broken and not enough to go round, the staff are to be commended they work so hard to make the guest feel happy, just a few names to mention Mary and David on the bar,Cecilia always had a big smile and warm greeting and always on hand to help if needed,Walter, Julius,Pearl and Kaunda did there jobs to the best of their ability , Muriuki and Ronald always welcomed you with a smile and gave a good service.I must admit I did feel cheated for the money we paid it is no longer a 4 and a half star hotel at most a 3. The location is just lovely one of the best on Diani such a shame about the falling standards.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank maciemay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

Wy wife and I have just returned from our 16th visit to Kenya. We booked with Hayes and Jarvis
As we usually get the full treatment, however the transfer from the airport to the hotel was dire,
In what is known as a matatu( a local bus) filthy and hot, which after a very long trip via Amsterdam and Nairobi should have been a lot better. It only had 2gears but the driver was nice.
We are returning guest at the Diani Reef hotel and have always given good reviews because the Hotel has deserved it ,however, not this time. We are both disappointed with the overall standard, it is shoddy and tired.
We had had enough after 2 weeks and asked the rep to move us.
His response was yes we can but it will cost you £640.00 For the remaining 6 days of a 3 week holiday. we said no way! They then offered us a room with a sea view but we know the rooms are the same just that the view is different. So declined this offer.
The food generally was poor for the money we had paid, it did get slightly better for last 5days of our holiday and I passed my comments to the new head chef who had just taken up his post. We are thankful that the staff are still warm and friendly especially Walter , Pearl, Julius on the beach towels, Cecilia always with the biggest smile on hand Mary and David on the bar waiters Peter Muriuki and Ronald and the rest of the staff who do there jobs to best of their ability. Night time brings out the best in the hotel it still looks stunning when all lite up. In fairness they all work terribly hard to make your stay as pleasant as possible. There is a new manager who is polite but we have learned not to complain in Kenya as they take it out on the staff and its not their fault. It needs an injection of investment by the Indian owners as it is rapidly deteriorating. Sun beds falling to bits, soiled napkins, very bad air con and damp rooms which this hotel is well aware of yet does not seem to do anything about, there has never been a problem with the air con on previous visits but then it was controlled by the guests in their room and not the hotel management. No more white fluffy towels instead they are old thin grey ones.
Expensive lunches And no snack bar , double standards I feel, if you want people to pay high prices then let's have the rooms and equipment to match.
This hotel was one of the best on Diani unfortunately it has deteriorated so much so fast could not believe it.
If you are expecting the old standards of this hotel then forget it because it has gone, At the moment this hotel is no more than a 3 star at best, we know what this hotel used to be like that is why it got raving revues all the time. If anyone asked me where to stay on Diani i would not have hesitated to say The great Diani Reef, What on earth has gone wrong here!

Room Tip: Garden rooms are very damp and dark gets no sun at all.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank maciemae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DRBRS, General Manager at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2013

Dear Mr. & Ms. Valued Guest,

I have decided to write one response to address your concerns that both of you had while on your stay with us. This response will also address the issues in the review entitled," What has happened to this Hotel in such..." As both of these reviews came from the same couple.

First I would like to set the record straight regarding the transfers that you have pointed out in your review.

As to not confuse the readers of this review. I want to make it clear that in this case your transfers where NOT provided by the HOTEL and where in fact provided by your tour operator," Hayes and Jarvis". So including this in the review of the hotel is misleading.

Secondly, for the first 14 days of your stay there was no complaints from either of you as confirmed in a written statement from the tour operator which I have a copy off.

Based on these facts the tour operator indicated to you in the meeting that you had with them that you had no grounds to ask to be relocated and also no grounds to be given upgrades or compensation of any kind.

The tour operator stated that if you had real concerns these concerns should of been raised within 48 hours of your arrival not 14 days later of a 20 day stay.

Your comments for both reviews have been noted and we do appreciate these comments and your review of the hotel some six years ago when you stayed with us last.

I do hope in the future when you review other hotels that your reviews reflect the facts and do not attempt to confuse and miss lead the readers as you have done in these two reviews.

It is our sincere hope that we will have chance to meet so I can hear why you chose to write a review of this nature.

Regards,
The General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa

Address: Diani Beach Road, Diani Beach, Ukunda 80400, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Diani Beach
#9 Spa Hotel in Diani Beach
#14 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range: $123 - $424 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 143
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Also Known As:
Diani Reef Beach Hotel Ukunda
Diani Reef Beach Resort And Spa
Diani Reef Grand Ukunda

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