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Reviewed 11 January 2012

I went to the Diani Sea Lodge in November 2011 for my 65th birthday, along with my wife, her brother and our two adult children. We had a great time, apart from the obligatory stomach upsets, not a mosquito in sight. The food and service in the hotel were excellent as was the beachside location, we had a really enjoyable safari, which I reviewed separately. The only problem was that it is south of Mombasa, the airport is north!, and we had to travel through Mombasa on our transfers to and from the hotel and safari. There is no road around or bridge across the river so each time we had to join a considerable queue to board the ferry. On our transfer back to the airport the coach was unable to board the first two ferries as the ramp was not positioned appropriately therefore the delay was even greater.If you have the time see the rep and arrange a visit to the Footprints Orphanage, it will only cost you a nominal amount to cover the petrol and it is a very uplifting experience. As I stated above, the holiday was Excellent but "a pity about the transfers".

Room Tip: check your money carefully when you use the currency exchange facility.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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Thank terence1946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2012

4 of us travelled to Diani sea lodge for 2 weeks - after reading some of the reviews we were pleasantly surprised - yes it is a 3 star hotel but the staff make it a 4.5 star experience. We booked with first choice and it would have helped if they had given out the visa application form on the plane as this caused a lot of confusion and unnecessary hold up at the immigration desks. We had paid for private transfer and this was well worth while as we avoided all the queuing on return to the airport. As an all inclusive it is good value although it was hit and miss on a few occasions with the beer and my husband reverted on some occasions to buying bottles of Tusker beer. We had no problems with the food - always a good selection. Our friends with us did take the 'runs' but we put this down to the malaria tablets which were different to ours.There was entertainment on every night which was enjoyable enough - we have stayed in 5 star hotels with no entertainment - the staff even the groundsmen all friendly - Edward on reception Florence duty manager Joyce Beth Dollar and samuel - waiting staff and Henry the chef to name a few. Victor Daniel etc on the animation team who worked hard to make the guests have an enjoyable stay.A visit to Kenya incorporating a safari is a must and I am glad with some pre travel research that we used Julius Nzumbi of JT Safaris - his customer service is second to none and he goes the extra mile to make sure his customer expectations are exceeded. We also booked a dolphin trip through the rep in the hotel we were picked up an hour late and the rep didn't even bother to find out how we got on nice girl but very elusive .In hindsite I wish we had used JT for all our trips as I now realise he wants to give all visitors to Kenya the ulimate experience - thanks to Julius for making our holiday

Room Tip: we stayed in rooms 200 and 202 on the higher floors - air conditioning good - rooms spacious but close to the perimeter next to the road where there was a bar/night club that had music on till 5 in the morning
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Raymcclay4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2012

spent a week at xmas with family including 3 teenagers.
great location, sea was great, facilities of hotel good and recommend the diving as the padi school on site led by Bahati was excellent and cost reasonable - my two teenage daughters learnt to dive. Fishing also good and use the hotel guys for booking everything - you do get good deals. hasstle on the beach was not so bad as 5 years ago and they are aware if you say no they are not allowed to pester you.we had a great holiday - not much entertainment for the older kids so keeping them busy in the day is key to that. Younger kids have minigolf, pingpong and plenty to do.

i do recommend the place as is reasonable cost but

The one big disappointment which is such a pity as all else was great was

a/ The food was awful - would be so simple to sort this out - half the hotel guests i spoke to had had a bad stomach- diani sea lodge needs to sort this out.

b/ ask for the Bahari rooms as they are up to date and much nicer than the standard rooms which are really basic

c/ the all inclusive drinks were ok but if only could have been served cold ( as its hot) and the beer was generally a bit flat.

please ask me for any more inf0 - if you go with Thompson i think they could be doing more for their customers as in the airport transfer was awful and not well managed and their information is pretty thin.

Room Tip: ask for bahari rooms
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank sibford09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2012

the room
very spacious cleaned every day with a nice big bed pillows a bit thin just ask at reception for extra ones, no fridge but you can hire one equivalent to 10.00 a wk,
we stayed for 3wk and the electric went a few times so no air con in the middle of the night .

staff
most of the staff where wonderful from reception to gardeners,
the only problem we had was with the bar staff so much so we have complained they either didn't like the English or they need more training in customer service / serving customers
some of the waiters /waitresses needed to smile they gave us the impression they really didn't want to be there (only some)

guests

Germans and a lot of them...
along with prostitutes....a lot of the men went for a walk along the beach while there wives where taking an afternoon nap on the sun lounger,
not just Germans.. we went to the supermarket one day and coming back we saw 2 English guys hand in hand with 2 women which WEREN'T there wives

also older ladies bringing back younger men

monkeys
beware don't encourage them, some guests where feeding them even though they where told not to, don't think they relies they are doing so much harm.

out and about
get out talk to the locals we met a wonderful man on the beach called Christopher who does sand sculptures he took us to his home to meet his family 1 room with a bed,

food
we only ate in the hotel on barbecue nights as the entertainment wasn't really for us especially bingo night,
we found a lovely bar 5 minutes walk on the beach called forty thieves.

all in all this hotel could be a really good hotel it just needs a kick up the back side.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank YORKSHIRE460
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2011

I won't repeat everything from the other reviews but rather try and just point the things out we would have liked to know before going. We went from the 31st October till the 12th November and there were 4 adults in the group.

Journey
We booked through First Choice and as usual things went smoothly. It is definitely worth having some summer clothes or at least flip flops in your hand luggage as it is proper hot when you arrive and you might have a lengthy coach journey ahead of you which includes a ferry crossing at Mombasa. The ferry trip itself is very short; however the wait to get onto the ferry can be lengthy, especially if you arrive on a flight after 7am.

Rooms
Our rooms were nice and comfortable. The monkeys in the grounds are very funny. But we listened to the warning and didn't leave any clothing outside so it didn't go missing.

Mosquitos
We were super careful, sprayed and lotioned up every evening, wore wrist bands and sprayed our clothing plus had the rooms sprayed and plug-ins. We hardly got any bites so must have been doing something right.

Towels
The beach towels were fine. We had brought extra due to the comments on trip advisor but the hotel must have read them too as they seem to be fairly new. It was good having extra towels though anyway.

Staff
Staff were friendly and some of them stand out as they take the time to get to know you. However we found on several occasions (especially on reception) that we got a no problem or yes yes response without actually listening to our request or understanding it. This resulted into quite a bit of hassle when it came to changing money and was very frustrating.

Hotel trips and programme
To be honest we only did one trip. Which was a walk to the sister hotel. It was nice but a bit of a sales tour to the other hotel. However the evening programme was always entertaining. We thought we might have some repeats as we were there for almost two weeks but they changed it up enough to not make it feel that way.

Bar
Again bar staff were friendly and we certainly had no problems with long waiting times for food here. However of you try and get food after 3.30pm they have a very limited menu as they stop the bar food at 4pm.

Food
Was good and even if it was a little repetitive we were very happy to either have the same thing again or try something else as there were plenty of options. And we had a vegetarian and a non-fish eater in the group... The vegetarian noted that she always had lots of choices and the vegetarian curries were particularly good.

Sea
The sea urchins can be a problem so diving shoes are advised unless you bring your own snorkelling equipment and can see where you are stepping. Snorkelling was okay. We certainly saw our share of Moray eels and lion fish! And when there are waves they are fun too!

Sun
The sun is very strong. Due to being so close to the equator even people who don't normally burn should be wearing strong sun protection. Just 20 minute walk even with factor 50 lotion on got the person in our group who never sun burns badly burned on her arms. As such best to cover up with a full sleeved top and hat when walking in direct sunshine. The weather was mostly sunny and we had 32 degrees pretty much every day. The few times it rained it was very welcome and made a nice change. The sea breeze is very refreshing. On days without it, it was almost too hot...

Beach boys
The beach is lovely but better enjoyed from the hotel grounds as the beach boys can be a pain. They ask you for your name on the first day and then will be shouting your name and waving at you for the rest of your stay. Rather annoying. We booked a trip with captain Alibaba and wouldn't recommend doing this to anyone. It was the Swahili blue trip also offered by Thomson (and way overpriced). We got it for $40 each which is a good price but wished we had booked through our safari provider JT... The trip itself was okay. We got to see dolphins (but you can't swim with them even though they show you pictures of that - the pictures were taken at the snorkelling site when dolphins happened to be there) and the snorkelling was okay too. But it's a bit of a tourist attraction so there are loads of boats there all the time and loads of people in the water. The lunch offered was okay too and there was plenty of it. However Alibaba came with us on the trip and kept pestering us for pictures with him, to give him more money as his family was so poor and if we wanted to leave anything because we had too much luggage to give it to him. He was rather persistent and really made us wish we hadn't booked with him. He also asked us to bring a lunch box for him which we did. He then gave that to his friends as he was having lunch with us while the driver and crew on our minibus ransacked our lunch boxes which we had taken to eat for breakfast!

Safari
This was awesome. We didn't book it through the beach boys as they just couldn't offer what we wanted and we are so glad we stuck to our guns. There was no real price difference either. We booked with JT safaris. He has his own trip advisor site so check it out and take his details with you or arrange something beforehand. You won't regret it. We called him from the hotel and he came and picked us up. We went to his office he showed us different options and explained the different places to stay; there was no hard sell or even a sell. JT was just happy to answer our queries. We weren't ready to book then so went back to the hotel. There was no fear of if you don't book you are walking home... When we did book we went for a jeep just for the 4 of us which was fantastic. We can only recommend going for a jeep. We got to places those little Nissan vans can't get and you can walk around in the jeep when the roof is up and switch places easily which you can't in the nissan. There are three main places to stay in Tsavo – the Voi Wildlife Lodge (we had lunch there. It's nice but you aren't really close to the waterhole), Saltlick (which we didn't see. It's meant to be nice though) and the Kilaguni Lodge. All of them have a waterhole. The latter is the most luxurious out of the three and we stayed here. It was fantastic. Better than our hotel and the food was just to die for! The terrace overlooks the waterhole and we saw a leopard just strolling past! We definitely want to come back here. Some tips for safari. Bring clothes for each day as you will get very dusty and bring some towels. They will stop you from sticking to the seats when it is hot and can be used as a blanket if it rains and gets cold during the drive.
On the way home ask your driver to not go via the ferry but take the back roads. It will save the time waiting to cross the ferry and you get to see some of the country side. Proper country side! Our driver took us through is tribal lands and it was very informative and interesting. Take some sweets with you for the kids. We didn't have any and felt bad as they kept running out when they saw a car shouting sweeeeets.
We also drove past the Shimba Hills Park and saw some more elephants and a water hog.

Currency
We would recommend to take pounds or dollars with you. Anything you need you can change at the hotel. However all the trips are calculated in pounds and dollars and then converted back to shilling if you want to pay in shilling. So you will be losing out if you changed at a different rate. In our case it would have been cheaper in £.

Mombasa express
Unfortunately we all got ill on the trip at different stages. Loads of people in the hotel got ill but the hotel didn't do anything about it. Therefore the germs just spread. We can only recommend to take antibacterial hand wash and wipes with you and use them before you eat, drink, smoke etc... It's not the case of the illness going away within a couple of days. We were all ill for 10 days or longer even after we got home. It's also advisable to take Imodium with you. They at least let you get through the day without too many problems. They lasted 24 hours for us and then we had to take the next dose...

Journey home
The journey home was very laborious. We thought they picked us up rather early for our flight but we had to queue for over an hour at check in, then again at security. We got searched three times and then had to be rushed through the last security as our flight was boarding... The departure tax had been raised on the day even though our rep ensured us on the bus that we had the right amount do ended up borrowing money. Not a great last impression...

Overall we'll go back to Kenya just do more safari next time and only a little beach if any. Diana Beach Resort is good value for money and a great place to relax if that is what you are after.

Room Tip: A sea facing room is better (even though you might not see the sea) but the breeze from the sea makes it not so hot on your terrace.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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5  Thank 204Travellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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