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Review of The Sands at Nomad

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The Sands at Nomad
Ranked #10 of 29 Hotels in Diani Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 21, 2009

We spend 7 days off our holiday here.It was our third visit to diani beach.The location is the best off all at Diani.You have a very long beach nice for walking and it is just a few steps from our beach cottage no 32.In front you have your own sunbeds and a very nice seat outside .Negative was the bed to small for European and not comfortable also the airco was noisy the cottage is too big to cool it.For that price we have paid they can do better.The spa is great and proffesional.
The restaurant is very good there are lots off choice and buffet were you can choose for.It is right on the beach.You can enjoy the stars and moon coming up while you are having dinner.
There are enough sunbeds for all guest who not booked the cottage so you don,t have to get up early.
When they place new beds we will go back with out any doubt.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank mimiton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 15, 2009

The Sands at Nomad is an excellent hotel, with great food, friendly and efficient staff and a fantastic management team. We were married at the hotel, staying 4 nights at the Sands, then away for a safari, then back to the Sands. This is a long review, so I’ve put the wedding bit at the end so you can ignore it if it isn’t relevant.

Accommodation

For the first part of the stay we were upgraded to the Mbuyu Grand Suite, which is a crazy cottage complete with waterfall and fish pond, amazing! On our return we had a beach cottage, on recommendations from other reviews. The cottages were great - fun African décor but with a luxurious twist, and with superb views. They were kept immaculately clean by efficient staff and there was a free water dispenser which is a nice touch – normally you only get a bottle per day. One of the beach cottages (no 30) has other guests sunbathing in front, so has less privacy. Possibly an improvement for the hotel would be to set up an agreement with a nearby hotel with a gym.

Food and Drink

The food was fantastic. We ate once at the Southern Palms where friends were staying, and it could not compare. There is a great variety on the a la carte; we even ate some pretty good sushi. The buffets were also excellent. I eat seafood but not meat, but there was more than enough choice to cater for even the most fussy of eaters. The imported wine list was also very good (again, compared to what was available at other hotels, it was exceptional) and reasonably priced at around £15 for a bottle of decent house wine. The food was also well priced; we chose to go B&B, and food and drink for the entire stay (and believe me, we did not limit ourselves) including the wedding night was about half what we had thought we would spend. I would not recommend going half/full board for this reason. We also ate at a couple of restaurants, Leonardo’s and the incredibly beautiful Ali Barbars, well worth a visit.

The beach

The beach was stunning–the hotel is located on one of the best bits. There is hardly anyone sunbathing on the beach as all hotels have sunbathing areas and the beach boys probably hassle you if you lay out, but going for a swim is fine. The beach boys are less evident directly in front of the hotel than they are at other hotels along the beach, this might be a management policy as there are security guards patrolling around the grounds at all times. We walked along the beach on several occasions, and although beach boys do approach you, they are nowhere near as insistent as in other parts of the world we have been to. A polite no thank you is usually enough.

Watersports

The watersports options are good, but expensive. Diving is through Diving the Crab. We had a mixed experience – on our wedding day we dived in the morning and they put on a private boat and guide for us at no extra cost, making a perfect start, which we were very grateful for. However, the price for normal dives was more expensive than the Maldives. Our friends did a 2 dive ‘passport’ and it cost more than the whole open water course elsewhere. We had our own kit, but the rental kit was limited and shabby–customers doubled up on 3 ml shorty suits, and they were complaining of the cold. There were also no booties available for the open heel fins so customers were wearing socks to avoid blisters. You go out on a small boat, do a dive, then bob around for an hour before diving again. This does mean you have the afternoons to do other stuff, but the boats are basic, there is limited sun shelter esp if they are full, and the diesel fumes can make for a less than comfortable experience, which for the cost... On the plus side, the instructors and guides are very professional, the dive briefs and conduct are all about safety, there were low customer/guide ratios and we had some enjoyable dives there – lots to see tho the vis wasn’t great.


The wedding

A perfect day, made so by the efforts of the managers, Richard and Claudia. Although we’d discussed what we wanted via email, as soon as we arrived they sat down with us and worked through the details, showing us pictures of previous weddings there (including their own!). We chose a simple ceremony on the beach. All aspects were co-ordinated brilliantly, from the flowers to the ‘aisle’, the beautifully decorated everything, and the staff serving drinks and canapés at the cottage afterwards. Claudia and Richard even took some great photos and presented us with a CD of them. They organised a sumptuous multi course meal for our guests, with mains of lobster and steak, all from the menu, working out at an incredibly reasonable cost. We had opted for the Sands because it was a small hotel and we thought we would get a more personal service, and they exceeded our expectations.

The only slight down point on the day was out of their hands – a hairdresser from another hotel that came to do my hair wasn’t good – after an hour and half I had her put it up as she felt she could do that, and then just after she left it all fell out and the groom had to hunt around for hair grips 10 mins before the ceremony! Be warned – my guests also had problems with the hairdressers who were based in their hotels – straighteners and hair products etc seem not to be available, so if you want mousse, hair spray, anything, really, bring them and do it yourself and save the hassle!

I did a lot of research to find the perfect hotel on Diani beach, and it was everything that we wanted and more. On safari we met people who had been to weddings at other hotels – and we were incredibly relieved we had chosen the Sands! At Pinewood Village they apparently will do 3-4 weddings per day in busy season. The idea of a production line wedding was anathema to us, and also to Claudia who prides herself on making your special day perfect for you. A couple that got married at the Baobob couldn’t confirm the date of their wedding until they arrived in Kenya (difficult for the guests!) then found out they had to stay 7 nights (Kenyan residency requirement) BEFORE the ceremony, and then discovered that there were already 2 other weddings on that day. Our wedding date was confirmed months in advance, we were the only ones that month, we only had 2 nights before the wedding and fulfilled the 7 night requirement either side of a safari, which is something Kuoni had told us was not possible.

We organised the whole trip on our own, without using tour operators - we saved thousands, and got a far better service. I advise getting in touch with the management of Sands, they answer every question you have promptly, and do everything in their power to ensure you are the most relaxed bride and groom ever, and have a day that is perfect for you in every way.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Lani5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2009

My wife and I stayed at the Sands at Nomad a couple of weeks ago. The great thing about this place is the feeling that you're in your own private beach. It's the best.

The ocean views are absolutely phenomenal; walking into the hotel and the architecture isn't imposing as it almost feels carved out of the natural environment.

We had booked the Sea breeze but management gave us an amazing Ocean breeze upgrade, Asante Sana... :-) The management and staff was very accommodating; from booking arrangements with Rosaria to Ken thanks for charging my cellphone :-).

The food was phenomenal, we had so many choices I didn't know where to start. PS: the bar and restaurant is open 24/7 so we ate at our leisure.

Bottom line if you're looking to relax at the coast, you'd be hard pressed to find a better place to stay. Thank you guys for making our stay feel like paradise.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Wanderlust254
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2009

My husband and 2 sons 16 and 22 have just returned from the most lovely stay at Nomads on Diani Beach. We had a beautiful beach cottage with the loveliest views over the Indian Ocean. The boys went kitesurfing and I lay under a palm tree . I especially enjoyed 4pm when a nice cup of tea and cakes was served by the pool. In the evenings we enjoyed the buffets and pizzas and delicious ice creams. It just seems to be very well managed and a genuine desire from the staff and management for guests to really relax and enjoy themselves. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting a very special and relaxing holiday.
Thank you to the staff and management.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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Thank Shireenwest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2009

I spent a few days here after working as a volunteer and was really looking forward to a bit of luxury after being in pretty basic conditions. The staff were lovely, and the atmosphere of the place is nice, but I really felt it was grossly overpriced for what it is. For the amount you pay, even when discounted, I would expect to have complimentary bottled water and personal tea and coffee making facilities at least. The lack of a bath was also a disappointment, though perhaps more understandable.
So, nice enough, but not worth the cost.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled solo
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2  Thank diverdoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2009

We stayed at the Sands at Nomad at the end of April, just before the hotel closed for the low season. Because of that, we got an excellent rate directly from the hotel so we decided to splurge and take a beach side cottage. The hotel is really beautiful with friendly staff and great service. The location is also stunning. Breakfast was an amazing spread. And the spa there is lovely, with properly trained masseurs.
The cottage itself was very spectacular from the outside. Inside, the bedroom was lovely but the bathroom was a bit dated and mouldy. Also, there were a lot of insects in the room and many of them managed to get under the mosquito netting so at times we felt like we were sharing the bed with a whole population of little creatures! Also on the negative side, we didn't like the dinner/lunch food we ordered. Nothing we had there was particularly tasty. That might be better when there are more guests and the evening buffet is on. Otherwise, I'd recommend going out for dinner each night if you can. Aside from that, loved it and would go back in a flash!
As an aside, April is an excellent time to go if you want a beach free of beach boys. We went swimming and walking every day with very little hassle.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Neeby08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2009

The bedrooms were dire - we had a "luxury two bed suite" - nothing luxury about it. So small you could barely walk around the beds. Bugs crawling about everwhere in the room. Scratched dirty glass in the windows. Insects in the bath and sink. Air conditioning either hanging off the wall or not working properly. Restaurant toilets too filthy and disgusting to use. All the decor very tatty and old. Boundary fences broken and smashed down.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with family
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6  Thank oscarandcharlie
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 Nomad

Address: Diani Beach, Diani Beach, Ukunda, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Ukunda > Diani Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Diani Beach
#5 Spa Hotel in Diani Beach
#5 Family Hotel in Diani Beach
#9 Luxury Hotel in Diani Beach
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Diani Beach
Price Range: $159 - $484 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Sands at Nomad 5*
Number of rooms: 37
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel is set amid 25 acres of indigenous forest fronted by 225 meters of Kenyas most unspoilt stretches of white sand and aquamarine sea. All rooms with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, individual air condition. Minibar, Safe, Satelite TV, Telephone and Internet access, 24 hour room service.The restaurant offers a wide selection of international cuisine, pastas, pizzas & Japanese dishes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Sands At Nomad Hotel Diani
Sands At Nomad Diani
Sands At Nomad Hotel Diani

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