More about Severin Sea Lodge
very tidy with an eco approach
pleasant hotel at Bamburi beach north of mombasa. Accomodation is in "roundalows", three rooms forming one building surrounded by bougainvilla and quite a lot of green. In the mornings you can watch the monkeys play on the lawn in front of your room! in the time I stayed there there was a buffet dinner one day, on the others there was a set menu, giving the choice between fish, chicken and beef, so not exactly a place for vegetarians though the salad bar was really nice. The only odditiy is that some staff insist on seating guests to certain tables even for breakfast, so there can be a bit of confusion at times. two pools, one near the main restaurant, another one with a slide and an artificial waterfall behind the restaurant building and reception. A rather big lawn area for lounge chairs overlooking the beach. There is a specialty restaurant serving seafood and swahili dishes, the "Imani dhow", set in a former traditional sailing boat that is now ashore in the garden. did not try it, but it looked very nice. Aside from swimming under the waterfall I liked the "swing bar" a lot - overlooking the beach, which is very nice in the evening especially. The guests sit on swings which adds to the relaxed feeling unless you had too many drinks, then I guess balance might be a problem
We returned from Severin Sea Lodge last saturday and were very sad to leave there. We had previously read the reports on this hotel and even tried to change to another but the one we wanted was not available. Very pleased we didn't.
Apparently the management has changed in the last two months and this explains why the reports were not good before this time. After speaking to a senior member of staff she said everyone was very happy now, things had changed and many new ideas were in preparation and by next year it would be even better.
The food was excellent although some of the meat was a little chewy but then the animals are lean and probably older than the ones we eat here, very good fish. We were told that everything was washed in purified water and the ice was the same. After staying there 11 nights without any stomach trouble and we tried everything with not ill effects. We had wonderful service from the smiling staff, when they knew our needs things arrived quite quickly.
We went on Safari for one night to Tsavo east and stayed in the Voi Lodge apparently this is better than the tented camps. Saw so many animals we were surprised, a lioness walked down the road to greet us then lay down at the side of our vehicle, posing.
Went on several day or half day trips all very interesting if a little expensive but chose to take a taxi to Haller Park to give us a longer time than the tour would have been. Worth doing it this way as you have your own guide and there is lots to see and easier if there are only two or a few people.
We were in one of the bungalows, the top one with a view of the garden, pool and sea, watched the sun rise over the sea and the pool boys shouted 'jambo' and waved. No trouble with the beach boys, bought a few things they really do need the money.
Think the problems with this hotel have been resolved and would use it again.
First Class, Fantastic
We have just returned from a three week stay at the Severin Sea Lodge. We had a wonderful holiday, good food, beautiful surroundings, comfortable clean room and the service was wonderful - this may be a 4 star hotel but it was 7 star service. We never heard any complaints or moans from other guests everyone appeared to really love this place. We would love to thank Peter at the Swing Bar and Justus in the dining room plus Hudson who took so much time and effort cleaning our room. It is hard to pick out individuals because all the staff were brilliant, so happy and nothing too much trouble. The whole atmosphere at Severin was relaxed 'poli poli' and 'Hakuna Matata' no problem. We did a three day Safari which was the most fantastic experience of our life - this must rate as one of the top ten things to do before you die. If you are going to Kenya you can't go wrong at the Severin we highly recommend it.
We have recently returned from Kenya, having spent 4 days on safari and the remainder of a 14 day break at the Severin Sea Lodge.
We loved this hotel, the combination of excellent service, with attentive staff, iydillic surroundings and great food made this holiday for us. Nothing was too much trouble, all the staff were great, but especially Festus, from the Japanese restaurant and Bernard in the main dining room.
Our bedroom was basic, but very clean, thanks to Davis our room boy. Mossie nets as standard and a great view over the gardens, where we watched the monkeys playing. Our air con unit broke down 3 times, but was repaired as soon as we reported it, thought it did make the room smell slightly damp, but hakuna matata, this is Africa after all!!
We walked on the beach everyday and chatted with the beach boys , they do tend to tail you, but will give you an insight into Kenya you won't get from the brochures. They are friendly and soon get to know you. Having walked down the beach, the hassle does seem to intensify further down near the Bamburi Beach Hotel and Whitesands, where there are more 'shops', but if you take your very own beach boy with you the others tend to leave you alone.
We stayed at the hotel on an all inclusive basis and have to say having been all inclusive in Europe and found it wanting, I was a little sceptical, but no need, the food was wonderful with various places to eat, our favourite being the Flame Tree Restaurant ,where they do a fab Greek salad and pizzas.
The Swing Bar was also a favourite, they serve fresh juices which they squeeze while you wait, try a dhowa cocktail if you like limes!
All this service is given with a smile, we didn't tip all the time, but quite regularly, it certainly speeds up the service, which can be a little slow, but where are you rushing off too?
We went to Kenya mainly for the safari, this hotel complimented it perfectly, so much so we're hoping to do it all again next year, but with a longer safari, which is another wonderful experience
Very Good Holiday
We have just returned from the Severin Sea Lodge after a weeks holiday at our friends wedding. You will read all sorts of conflicting information about the quality and character of this hotel (and I have to say I was also sceptical after reading some of the reviews!) but it is genuinely a nice traditional African style hotel. Sure it needs a lick of paint but it is not what I would call untidy. The rooms are spotlessly clean.
The staff are very friendly and cannot do enough for you. Make sure you keep some dollars or 100 shilling notes on you so that you can tip if you need to (like when you have your suitcases delivered to your room etc or when a gardner offers you a coconut) The wages are poor (average about one GBP per day) and this is how the workers get a bit more money. Don't feel obliged to tip all the time though - it is not required.
Sometimes the service is a bit slow, but in our experience we did not wait longer than 30 minutes for a meal in any of the restaurants (there are several options for eating as part of the all inclusive package and two options where you pay extra. The first is the Japanese restaurant and the second is the Imani Dhow boat. Both are excellent in terms of food and service and the selection of fresh seafood is good).
We were unsure what to expect for the wedding service but is was a fairly straight forward affair and very nicely done. Again, the staff did everything they could to make the day special for the bride and groom.
As for the beach boys, you have to understand that they are trying to earn a living. If you keep that in mind and talk to them, you can have some fun with them and visit their 'shops' and stalls. You don't have to buy anything and interaction with them is part of the overall holiday experience. However, if you do genuinely want something then they are the people to ask !
This is not the first time to Kenya for us, and I have to say that this experience was just as good (if not better) than the first visit.
There is a lot of poverty in the country and you can do your little bit to help buy taking pens and pencils etc that can be used in the local schools (also good for trading with the beach boys...).
The only two criticisms we had of the holiday were the beach (which we knew about, but if you want clear blue sea and pure white sands go somewhere else - the Mombasa coastline is covered by a reef and the beach is almost non existent) and secondly First Choice Holidays. We had all sorts of problems with seat bookings at both ends and generally didn't like their attitude when it came to customer relations.
Generally speaking this was a great week of relaxation and sunshine.
A trip of two halves
We went to SSL in Aug 2006 - and we got married at Severin Safari Camp.
THE FIRST HALF
The SSL was OK. I'd echo the sentiments of previous reviews that say it's in need of a bit of a revamp. It was very clean and the staff were great. However our superior bungalow was not too great (clean and ok, but not worth paying an upgrade fee for) and the food was very lacklustre (apart from the FAB food at Imani Dhow...that is not included in all inc) Maybe it's a coincidence but both of us suffered very badly with "The Mombassa Express!!"
Beach is a bit of a nightmare since there is no private area and you're at the mercy of the beach boys. This is not a place to go if you're a beach-lover. Hotel pools are good but full of children whose parents take no responsibility for. The result: boisterous volleyball games, loads of noise and not a chance of a decent swim or chill-out in the pool (and the pool bar - even when open-is not up to much)
Evening entertainment is a bit cheesy, but fine and the guys are so friendly. Children are a problem again with 8-9 year olds gathering in large groups, taking up the already limited seating space in the Safari bar until well past their bedtime (most nights I turned in before the children!!)
If you can get a good deal on a holiday here then great - but don't pay full price. Definately don't go if rowdy children with nothing to do are likely to irritate you!
THE SECOND HALF
By contrast, our wedding experience was out of this world. We chose to get married at Poachers Lookout whilst on safari in Tsavo. We booked it through First Choice and the in-resort service was fantastic. Everything I wanted (and I did have a few unusual specific requests-including Masai warriors as bridesmaids!) was accommodated. We upgraded to the air safari (well worth it). We also upgraded to the Kibo Suite which was out of this world (hairdryer-when elec was on-massive bed and mosquito net, minibar, basic toiletries, heavyduty flyspray etc.....better than the hotel room actually!!!) with a viewing terrace overlooking a watering hole that was frequented by hippos, buffalo, warthogs, zebra, giraffe and baboons to name but a few. Check the Severin website as this gives you a great (and very accurace) overview.
The staff were FANTASTIC, especially our driver Ernest who looked after us for 3 days; took us out on game drives whenever we wanted to go (even at 6am on the morning of the wedding!) and drove me to ceremony (check the vehice on our pics)
If you are going to Kenya to get married - do it on safari! It is so much better than a plain old hotel wedding. Trust me when I say it will be the most wonderful experience of your life. How many people have a herd of buffalo trot alongside them on the way back from their wedding ceremony????
WEDDING TIPS: The flowers in our pics are silk flowers that I had made in the UK (left them at the camp so maybe you'll see them in reception!), their flowers are nice enough though. Also, it's highly unlikely that they'll be able to get a hairdresser out to you-all adds to the experience!
One word of warning about the Safari Camp: Be careful. You are in the middle of nowhere. Hippos often sleep outside the tents (not known for their friendly nature) although "armed" escorts are provided. Also the elec is run from a generator that is only on a night - on our wedding night there was a power cut so the lights that keep the animals away didn't work....we had an Impala chewing decorations on our terrace (nervy), herd of buffalo charge past the tent (scary) and a Hippo snoring inches away from our tent (terrifying!) It was our own fault as we'd left the oil hurricane lamp on the upper terrace following our wedding meal!!! If we'd brought it down we would have been fine. My husband put his fingers in ears and went to sleep ha ha!
Cannot recommend the Safari Camp enough, would definately go back there (although would do a longer 2-centre safari incorporating Masai Mara to see other wildlife), sadly cannot say the same for Severin Sea Lodge.
don't waste time on a sun bed!
We (myself, husband and 3 children 15,20 & 21) have just returned from Severin. We went with an open mind as we've not travelled out of Europe before, but the experiences we had whilst staying at the Severin were amazing. The staff were incredibly friendly, particularly Festus in the Teppanyaki Restaurant. The restaurant is not included in the All-inc. price but it was good value & the food was excellent. For my son's birthday we ate at the Imani Dhow restaurant, again not all-inc. but amazing food and a special African version of 'Happy Birthday' from the waiters accompanied his complimentary cake! The staff are so pleased that you are visiting their country and proud to be able to deliver a good holiday to you. If you go on the African Heritage trip you'll see why. Our guide on the trip was a charming young man called Jonathon . Take plenty of sweets to give to the village children and soap for the mums! The school children were wonderful and so grateful for the presents we took, especially the footballs!
Safari was amazing but when we got back to the hotel our rooms had been changed, as expected, but were not as good as the previous rooms, the hotel changed them immediately without any problem. Rooms are basic but clean and if you're getting the most out of your holiday you won't be in them for long anyway.
Beach boys (and women) do pester you a bit but they have to stay in their registered area of beach so keep walking! We did talk to some of them by the steps of Severin on the right hand side and they took us on a v relaxing dhow trip out towards the reef for 600s per person and on a 'sea safari' for 200s each. Its worth going with them as they were very knowledgable about the creatures and where to tread so you were safe. Just ask for Robert (a cuddly rastafarian!) and Patrick, a great kid with a big smile - he may be wearing the Leeds t-shirt my husband gave him! Say 'Hello' from the Normingtons it was tough to leave such friendly people,(except at the airport - checks are rigorous at departure).
We had our honeymoon at Severin for the first 2 weeks of September and we felt it was absolutely brilliant. The staff made you feel at home and that anything was possible.
I would however say there were 2 downsides. First being the 'Beach Boys' as they were on you as soon as you walked onto the beach. You were unable to walk to the sea without being hounded. They were not rude, just in your face all the time. The second downside was that when it rained (and my god it did) there was nothing to do (not ideal for families).
I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone that wants to go to Kenya
We have just returned from a 2 week stay at the SSL. The negative previews of some previous people leave me astounded.
Once you have got over the shock of the poverty on the road to the hotel from the airport the hotel is a truly welcoming place. The hot towel and cool drink were most welcome after the journey and the reception that we received was extreemly welcoming. The Hotel itself was excellent in every way....food service....staff.....room. The food in the Japanese restaurent is one of the best meals we have had and Festus the waiter is absolutely fantastic. Also the Chef (Chrisplus!?!?) is very talented. The Imani Dhow restaurant is also very good but try the Japanese first. The main dining room had a good selection with both buffet and waiter service. We stayed in Room 402 (possibly the best in the hotel) with views over the Indian Ocean and gardens Watcing the monkeys steal food etc was very entertaining. We had a 3 night superior safari seeing the big 5 which was a great bonus. The beach boys are a bit of a pain... until you buy something then they leave you alone. They are not rude but very much in your face. However you must remember this is their way of making a living. If you enjoy bartering then give it a go with them. The First Choice rep.(Julious) was very good arranging all the trips and visits for us without any problems. If you intend to visit a school then take plenty of pencils crayons and paper as well as short white ankle socks for giving away as well as good bartering tools. Be prepared for the worst roads you will ever encounter when leaving Mombas for Safari. They have to be seen to be believed.
All in all a very very good holiday which I would definately recommend especially the Hotel.
We have just come back from Severin having spent Christmas there.
The hotel is set in gorgeous gardens with palm trees everywhere. It is very relaxing and sits right on the beach. Offering good views of the sea. The hotel was very peaceful and quiet during the day. In the evening they usually had a band playing which was a bit loud for me but you can always escape to the swing bar or your own balcony. As it was Christmas they had a lot of christmas music playing. Especially at the Treetops restaurant, one evening we asked them to turn it down as it was the same music over and over again!
Our room was very nice with a view of the gardens. We were visited in the morning by the monkeys and enjoyed feeding them (which I know you are not meant to do). The shower however hardly produced any hot water, which actually was not really a problem as who wants a hot shower after sitting in the sun all day. We had good and reliable aircon.
The beds had mosquito nets and were comfortable.
The swing bar did fantastic cocktails especially the pina coladas which were made with fresh pineapples.
I had a funny tummy for most of the holiday. I cannot however say whether it was the malaria tablets or the food we ate. The treetops restaurant seemed to use garlic in everything they cooked which was annoying. The food was not fantastic but more than edible.
As it was the Christmas period some of the restaurants were closed which gave a us a choice of the buffet or treetops. I am not a buffet fan but the food was fine. We ate one night at the Dhow restaurant and the food was brillant, very tasty and well cooked.
Breakfast was always very good.
Yes the beach boys do hassle you. The worse ones are the herb doctors offering you drugs and then walking down the beach with you. They can be difficult to get rid of. You can take a boat trip and go snorkelling in the sea. When we did this there was a lot of other people but you can just swim off. There are some amazing fish to see.
On the whole I enjoyed our stay at the Severin.
Thr New Big Tree
Wheelchair friendly hotels
My partner and I are hoping to go to Bamburi in Kenya for our holidays in January. My partner is a wheelchair user. He can can walk a few steps or very short distances. We would like to know which hotels in Bamburi are the flatest, least amount of steps or if they have ramped areas. We were looking at Neptune beach resort, Travellers and Severin but need more information
Re: Wheelchair friendly hotels
of those 3 hotels you mentioned I only know Severin which is nice, but has a few barriers and narrow tracks which might be difficult to handle with a wheelchair. Another hotel at Bamburi would be Whitesands, and as long as you have a ground floor room, there should be no barriers - from what I recall there are ramps all over the place, though this sometimes might require a few detours.
Re: Wheelchair friendly hotels
To be quite honest most hotels over here were not designed with people with disability in mind.. iwould suggest either Whitesands or Severin Sea lodge Good luck!