More about Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort
Prior to going to the Sarova Whitesands I had read a number of the reviews on Trip advisor - needless to say I was slightly concerned and even thought of changing my hotel. However, I decided to make my mind up for myself as in my experience there is just no pleasing some people!!!
I have to say I'm glad i did. On arrival at the Whitesands we were greated by very friendly staff, handing out cold drinks and cool towels to refresh us after our journey. We had to wait a while for the rooms to be sorted out but when we were escorted to our room I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a mosquito invested hovel (going by some of the reviews) however, I found the room to be comfortable and clean - ok the decor may have been a bit out of date and it may benefit from modernisation but at the end of the day I was there to enjoy being in Kenya and didn't plan on spending much time in the room anyway. What you need to remember is that this hotel is 4 star by Kenyan standards not by Western standards. Kenya is a developing country and if you go there expecting the equivalent to the Hilton in any european city well your setting yourself up for disappointment. Our room was cleaned thoroughly everyday and we got fresh towels everyday - the cleaner on our floor was great (Daniel). We had a partial sea view room prior to Safari and on return we were allocated a Sea View Room - we were very happy.
I found the staff to be very friendly and would do anything to help you (obviously these people are motivated by tips as the average salary is 220KES per DAY!!!! Not even £2), particulary Joyce, Suleman & Patrick in the Mizami restaurant, Michael in the Mizami bar.
As for food - I find it hard to believe that anyone would go hungry at this resort!!! I am not a big fan of buffets however any night we did eat at the buffet it was very nice. We ate mostly at the Mizami restaurant which did fab burgers (freshly made) and pizzas, they also did a mean fillet steak and chips! We ate at the Lido restaurant for lunch also and this was very good too, we also paid the extra and ate there at night and it was value for money (£17 for 2, 2 course meals).
I would definately return to this hotel and would recommend it to friends and family.
If you go to Mombasa you can't miss the Safari - it was absolutely amazing. The lodges we stayed at were superb - we booked ours prior to arriving via First Choice (safari is run by Somak in Kenya) - 1st class.
I hope this review is helpful.
Poor value for money.
Stayed over Easter weekend.
Booked superior rooms but standard were allocated. After complaining, moved after 3 hours to a superior room.
Standard of room compared to other destinations/hotels is poor for a high end room and rate. Room cleaned only once a day. Compare that to Mauritius Le Meridien where room was cleaned three times a day.
Air conditioning not working. Were given a lame excuse and told a blantant lie that engineers were working on it for the whole block. No sign of engineers or fix. Provided a fan for the night but not adequate. Eventually got fed up after 3 days and complained to front desk and lo and behold, fixed in a matter of hours.
Food OK but main restaurant is open air, has lost the sea breeze due to over development and has no air conditioning. Fans are inadequate.
Childrens entertainment was ok. Kids club has nice facilities but parents PLEASE PLEASE do not leave under 5's by themselves. The staff are not trained to care for toddlers and I experienced a lot of complacency.
Beach is nice but unfortunately swamped by hawkers although nowadays they don't hassle people too much.
Pools are nice, a single waterslide and dive pool. Do not expect life guards to monitor completely.
There is a spa where my wife and I had a massage together in a beachside hut. Very pleasant set up but unfortunately, I don't think the staff are particularly well trained.
Overall, the hotel has attempted to provide each type of service and product that international travellers expect, BUT it does each of it's things mundanely. There is nothing that I could say made the stay memorable. Mediochre at best.
A wise word, insider view. Sarova group is a privately run chain owned and operated by a family network. When we were there, one of the family members was staying with some friends. While they were resident, much of the facilities, service, attitude of staff was good and despite problems with the room, etc. there was a willingness to help. As soon as that group left, a different class of hotel service emerged, unfortunately degrading the experience. Breakfast was served by what can be best described as leftovers. Staff suddenly lost their ability to serve effieciently and with a smile. Much has been made locally about the way the Sarova group has turned around its operation and product but I have to say, in a global marketplace and where a lot of negative shocks have deterred tourists to that part of the world, unfortunately this particular hotel in my opinion isn't doing much to entice people to the white sandy shores of Kenya.
All Inclusive Package well worth it!
I have to agree with the fact that the rooms are in dire need of updating, we were in as a honeymoon couple and were offered a better room than the one we had booked in but the room we had was better, no the ground floor and overlooking the sea.
We found the staff to be very pleasant and helpful and on arriving at the hotel were given iced tea and introductions and wrist band. After looking at the priced we were glad of the all inclusive features. The food was a bit repetitive but we always found something we liked, the drinks were plentiful and we really enjoyed the cocktail bar at night.
The pool we shared with three other couples every day and fresh towels were provided and if ever the hut was shut the guards would find towels for you.
The trip to the hotel was a nightmare from the airport, hot and full of potholes felt very sick after the hour or so journey!
The resteraunt and lobby area were kept clean and spotless at all times, we never really sampled the evening entertainment but the music was nice to listen too whilst eating if ever we did.
I would definately go back there but the rooms were a disappointment, the bathroom left little to be desired and I was worried about spiders coming under the door! but saying that we didnt spend much time in there so it wasnt really an issue.
Worst Hotel Ever!
This was one of the worst hotel experiences I have ever had. The room we were given was damp and mouldy, a far cry from the pictures shown on the web site. Both the telephone and the television were not working. Safe, clean drinking water is not provided on site and guests are prohibited from bringing in bottled water. When we attempted to bring in water we were treated like criminals and shouted at in the lobby. Mombasa is a beautiful place to visit - don't ruin your holiday by spending it at this hotel.
Brilliant Holiday - Excellent Place
We stayed at the Whtesands Hotel between 1st and 8th August following a 7 day safari in Tanzania. I was concerned about the hotel as I had read some of the awful reviews earlier in the year and even tried to change the hotel, however I am very glad we didnt.
On arrival we were given cold flannels and a drink and made to feel welcome. We were staying for a week, all inclusive with First Choice and were upgraded, at no expense to us, to a sea view room in the central part of the hotel (room 2053). The room was dry and clean, comfortable bed, TV worked, mosquito nets without any holes and the only fault I would give is that the bathroom and decor is a bit dated.
The hotel was terrific. The evening buffet was great, there was a good selection to a high standard but if you like plain english food, you may be put off, however every evening there was a hot BBQ selection. If you didnt like the buffet you could eat in the other restaurant which served Pizzas, Burgers and steaks all to a good standard.
We ate at the Lido restaurant at lunchtime which had a good selection and you overlook the sea, sometimes the service was a bit slow, but hey you're on holiday, relax and enjoy.
The staff throughout the hotel were very friendly, polite and helpful, nothing was too much trouble.
There are three interconnecting pools which suit families and those wanting water polo etc, or there is a silent pool at the opposite end of the complex where children are not allowed. Look after the pool man and he reserves your sunbed every day.
I was really concerned about the hotel following negative reviews, but we had a terrific time, good food, good drinks and excellent friendly staff.
If we go back to Kenya we will definately go back to the Whitesands hotel.
A wonderful hotel
Whitesands is a fantastic hotel. I like others had read some negative comments before travelling but I really am at a loss to understand them.
On arrival we were greeted with a complimentary drink and cold towels and this level of service was maintained throughout our stay.
Our room was clean and comfortable and better still no hanging around for an afternoon check-in. We arrived at 11:00am and we were unpacked and ready to enjoy our holiday by midday.
The food at Whitesands is exceptional good. All the restaurants offer a great variety and for vegetarians the choice is excellent. I normally avoid buffet style meals but here the quality is very high. We used the main restaurant on most evenings. It has just been refurbished to an impressive specification. To be honest the breakfast is one of the best I have encountered outside the USA or Caribbean. (Bacon like we have it at home)
We took the all inclusive option which meant various bottled beers, "real" coke or fanta in bottles for the children, wine, spirits and several cocktails were available all day. What a change from the dreadful “draft” versions that most all inclusives offer nowadays. Tea and coffee was available right through the day. The children loved having fresh pizza delivered to the poolside. On the all inclusive lunch menu at the Lido Cafe the selection was remarkable. (Fillet or T-bone steak through to Thai Curries and fresh fish). The service is a little slow at the Lido but as they are cooking everything to order sit back and enjoy the view and maybe a glass of wine).
The swimming pools are fresh water and of a good size. The vast expanse of the grounds meant there were plenty of quiet areas and lots of sun beds. The quiet pool and spa facilities are in a separate area for those wanting a grown-up holiday. (Children under 14 are not allowed in that area). I am surprised that other hotels haven't adopted this approached.
It is clear that this hotel is well managed and the staffs are making a real effort. I have already booked to return next year and that is the best recommendation anyone could give.
What a great experience, we have stopped in Kenya before, and so have our expectations set already, unlike some of the other reviewers who clearly are expecting European or indeed American standards.
The rooms are excellent, although bathrooms a little tired. They are regularly cleaned, and everything worked as advertised. Room service is good if you want to stay in one night and watch a film.
Lido restaurant great for an evening meal ( you do have to pay though), with a great couple of singers to seranade you.
Food good and varied, we were all inclusive with First Choice, and the range we could have was plenty for our needs. You sit in a different table each night so are not stuck with someone for two weeks if you want to be just together.
Pools are excellent, and there are plenty of loungers, if you want to sit in the same place every day, you may get in to tipping the pool boys to put out a towel for you. Main pools can get a little noisy at weekends with local families coming in, if you want to avoid go to the smaller/quieter pools.
Did not go on any trips other than a superb Safari at the Intrepid Explorer which we booked direct with Mombasa Air Safari in the UK which was capped with a balloon flight.
Next time we come back to Kenya woild definitely stop at Whitesands again.
If you come away with a positive attitude you will love the experience, if you like to complain, well there is always something to moan about.!!
I have just spent one of the most memorable 8 days of my life with the most kind lovely helpfull staff.
The rooms were spotless, again a little bit dated but when you take the drive from the airport and see the poverty on route you realise how lucky you are to be in such a beautiful place.
Everyboby in the resort is so friendly, the food is great .
There is a lot of poverty in the surrounding areas but you still feel really safe.
If you are lucky enough to be going to this amazing country and you have some space in your suitcase take with you some pens and exercise book and any kids clothes to give to the orphanages as they really need these sort of things and the kids are adorable.
An amazing eye opening experience I will remember forever.
Probs the best hotel on the coast-but a few minor problems
Firstly I would like to say I have travelled the world on varied budgets and so would like to think I am a reasonable person and well seasoned.
I left quite a long review on the forum so I won't repeat myself just highlight certain points.
I mostly agree with the 2 previous reviews for October however to put it into relaistic and crude terms....
I and probably many others work hard for months on end to pay for a expensive holiday, preparing and organsiing and dreaming of the holiday so when you get to your destination and things arnt as you were guided, promided or as advertised I would say you have an issue. Especially when you are charged very high rates for a good quality hotel with service to match and then its no where near.......
Just because we visit a poor country does that mean we shoudl pay normal international prices and not get what they say you will. Thats just a lame excuse. Especially when its a big chain and used for coporate features.
I am sure some Kenyans throught we were celebrities and rich and although we are blessed to live better quality lives I woudl say I work my bum off to get my precious 5 weeks off a year and they don't realise that we work too.
The hotel is probably the best on the coast and really good bits were the Co cos bar, the food, pools and grounds. All were of a very high standard. All flight crew stay here too.
Rooms are currently being rennovated. We stayed in one for 2 days and was more than adequate. However on my return from safari we got put into a foisty, damp and noisy room which we changed. We ended up being next to loud rennovation next door. It woke us up 2 mornings before 7am. Now surely thats not reasonable?
Warning about check in. Take your travel intinery with proof of all inclusive they want a copy on your arrival. But make sure you get it as they tried to palm us off with Half board - twice......then had the cheek when we finally checked out to challange us again about being all inclusive! Boy do they not want to give you it!
Service tends to be very slow and i didnt get the happy smiley service many people said i would (like you do in the maldives and they are very poor too). I believe in tipping well for good service, not having to waft my cash for any kind of service. Just a polite smile would do. This was by far my biggest issue.
As with most all inclusive packages you have to sign for everything and it does get irritating. Every single round. Instead of just bringing all the bills at the end? The shorts are very short and you have to use only small quantities of mixer to get a decent drink. The alcohol on offer was OK but not preamium brands as stated in preious reviews.
The poverty was very sad and I would hope to think I did a tiny bit by donating money and leaving bits behind and buying things. So do be prepared.
We never experienced any crime of any nature but I do wonder why everything is so high security? We asked our taxi driver and he said it was people overreacting (as he locked the cars doors with us inside). So who knows.
Over all happy and content but I would never ever return. If I was ever to return to kenya I try Hemmingways. I think the problem is they charge international 5 star prices with a kenyan 4 star hotel and service. So its not really value for money.
This may sound like I'm on commission from the place but i've just had ten days of unadulterated luxury in paradise! Sorry...did I say paradise? I meant Whitesands, Mombasa, Kenya.
This sprawling hotel has longest beachfront on the Kenyan coast. It is very big with little corners and suntraps where you can just escape. It's a place where you can "chill" or work out or "pig out".
4 restaurants, 4 bars, 4 shops, gym, hairdressers, marine activities, 4 pools...
It ain't cheap. The rooms vary in quality and cost. At the bottom end you'll get a double bed with mozzie net on a hook, dubious air-conditioning, a bathroom, a couple of chairs and a small table for @£40. I had a "de luxe" room with all the above plus a TV, mini bar, excellent air conditioning, 2 armchairs, a writing desk, free newspapers, bottled water and fruit daily, a safe and a mozzie net on a rail which my room attendant pulled around the bed for me whilst spraying the room against insects each night when I was at the bar. It cost £24 a day to upgrade from B&B to All Inc. A beer costs @£1.30; a big fillet steak with fries and salad (very generous servings) and some wonderful sauces cost @£7.00, a chicken burger with the above costs @£5.00; a cocktail (pina colada) @£3.00.
Spacious or what
The beach to the north. The camel is called "George".
The beach to the south.
whitesands hotel, mombasa
whitesands hotel, Mombasa
Cocos bar at whitesands hotel, Mombasa
swahili day beds at whitesands hotel, mombasa