Fancy a luxurious, romantic weekend this Valentine’s? Or even a lone getaway to take your mind off the hustle and bustle of city life? Look no further than the Kenyan coast, yes, you heard that right. The Kenyan coast.
Many hotels at the coast are offering great deals to woo lovers to stay at their establishments, so do not miss out on this great opportunity.
The rates will range between Sh15,000 and Sh18,000 for two people sharing per night for a standard room. Sea view rooms usually cost slightly more than this but are usually well worth every penny.
The Southern Palms Beach Resort is one such hotel. It is located in Ukunda, Diani, at the south coast. You have the option of getting to Mombasa and taking the ferry and making your way to Diani (a 30 minutes drive from the dock of the ferry) or you could fly directly from Mombasa International Airport to the Ukunda airstrip which is only 10 minutes from the hotel.
Check in was fairly simple as we had made reservations a month prior. I would advise potential travellers to go for the hotel’s all-inclusive package as it caters for all your meals, snacks in between (served from their poolside snack bar), alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as non-motorised water sports.
As we were led to our rooms, we couldn’t help being impressed by their gorgeous swimming pools (I counted two in total). It took all I could to not jump in before we even got to our rooms and put our bags down!
The standard rooms are air conditioned. They come with a shower, however, if you’re as lucky as we were you’ll get one with a shower and bath tub.
The rooms and hotel grounds are very clean and generally well kept.
If you love your cocktails, you will love their selections of delicious mixes. They also have a selection of cocktails for non-alcoholics although you will have less to choose from.
They go for around Sh600 but if you’re on an all-inclusive package, this is not something you have to worry about as you can have as many as you want.
Holiday makers have the choice of a standard or sea view room. The standard rooms could either have a garden or pool view. Mine faced the pool bar and entertainment area which was great, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you turn in early.
The daily evening entertainment runs till 11 pm and could be a bother if you plan to sleep before this time.
As for the entertainment, it’s very authentic and rich in culture. On our first night, they had a Mijikenda dance troupe which was very energetic and entertaining. The following day had a Maasai dance that I thought was quite mesmerising.
The waiters, ground and hotel staff in general are very helpful and provide great service. Whether you’re in the main dining area, pool area or even at the beach, the service is consistent as they have a bar at each of the three relaxation points.
The food is also varied and themed. Being a sea food lover, I was expecting a lot more seafood varieties during dinners but they still tried to include it in almost every meal.
All meals are buffet-style and can be had at either the main dining area or by the pool. There’s also an Italian restaurant if your palate is craving something different.
If you’d like to try out the water sports, they have the options of snorkelling, deep sea diving, kayaking and glass-bottomed boat rides. If on the all-inclusive package, activities like snorkelling are free while kayaking is fairly affordable (around Sh1,000) and a lot of fun.
Beach boys and sellers aren’t allowed to cross to the area where the sunbeds lie by the shoreline so you don’t have to worry about being pestered.
However, should you decide to jog or walk along the beach past the hotel’s property, you become fair game so watch out for this.
Overall, Southern Palms lived up to everything it promises on the brochure and more. For booking, you can do so through their reservations office or online.
There are also reputable travel agents that offer attractive packages should you want to stay longer than three days.