More about Southern Palms Beach Resort
During our 2-weeks holiday in Kenya, we also stayed 7 nights at the Southern Palms Beach Resort in Diani Beach!!
The hotel is right on the beautiful palm-fringed beach!! The pool lagoon looked really nice, food was excellent in the many different restaurants, staff was very helpful and nice, great souvenir shop and the staff at the dive/excursion center on the beach were really friendly and always happy to help.
The beach boys were a little TOO MUCH for us during the first days, but then they didn`t care anymore and we finally could walk on our own by the water.
We loved staying at the Southern Palms Beach Resort and we hope to return some day!!
Terrible stay at the Southern Palms
We booked our Holiday at the Southern Palms beach resort after consulting Trip advisor as we always do. When we arrived at the hotel the room that we were put in was below standard - the air con did not work, the room was very small and the bed was broken and so we asked to change. The reception staff were very helpful and did change us to a more accepable standard of room (but still not great) after trying two more rooms.The rooms are extremely basic - do not expect luxury by any stretch of the imagination. My partner and I made numerous 'fawlty towers' jokes throughout our stay. The rooms smell musty and the bedding is not changed daily- even though they will try and tell you it is. On the first night one of us got locked in the bathroon due to a faulty lock, the elecricity socket in the bedroom was hanging off the wall and the toilet seat was broken - none of which was fixed throughout the entire 2 weeks. Many reviews have noted how clean the hotel is- I must wholeheartedly disagree with this. The staff in the hotel would do what I would call 'top show' cleaning. Our rooms were cleaned on a daily basis but for instance the mirror in the batroom was never cleaned and there was 'scum' in the bath for the whole holiday. Our patio windows were filthy and no attempt was made to clean them. There was a constant ring or dirt around the pool edge - the staff would begin cleaning this and then seem to get bored half way around and give up! Even when they were cleaning it, all that happened was that the dirt would go back into the water! What is quite ironic is that rather than resolve these issues the hotel will pay several men to rake up sticks on the beach and bury them!!
The food in the hotel is okay- I guess you don't go to Kenya for the food. The pool snack bar is not of a reasonable standard however - we only ate there because we were hungry and we avoided meat at all costs. The table cloths are dirty. I had to resort to cleaning my own table on several occasions.
The Italian and the Grill provide a little variety in terms of food. They are classed as 'a la carte' - this is not the case but they do provide a welcome change to the main buffet. Breakfast is reasonable but only at 7.30am - any later than this and you have to make do with leftovers and if you are anything like me 7.30am is a little early to be getting up on holiday!
Staff are quite hit and miss - there are some that simply cannot do enough for you and others who are blatantly rude.
Drinks and snacks are not particularly cheap especially for the standard that you receive. We were half board and unless you drink lots of alcohol constantly you will not get your money's worth out of the all inclusive.
What also gets very tiring is having to constantly sign for everything you order. No cash is accepted. Every time you have a meal - whether HB or AI you have to sign separately for every round of drinks - so if you have 3 rounds of drinks you have 3 forms to fill out - very waring after 2 weeks!
Also be careful when paying your room bill. After speaking with other guests we were warned that the hotel had overcharged several guests when settling their room bill. In light of this I asked to see a copy of the bill and sat with a calculator and added it up- we had been overcharged by the eqivalent of £25 - the same thing happened to 2 other sets of guests that we knew on that same day.
The highlight of our holiday was our safari- absoluelty wonderful. We did not book through our tour operator- of course you will always pay over the odds when you book through them. We organised ours through a company called DM Tours who we found also on trip advisor. This was definately the best move. They were very professional and reasonable priced and were able to tailor make our safari to exactly what we wanted.We went to Tsavo West and East and Amboseli - all abosolutely amazing. We were in a 4 wheel drive jeep which you will be greatful of on the very long journey and the extremely bumpy roads! We saw lots of the mini buses doing the safaris- these looked very uncomfortable and very cramped with up to 7 people -this is what you get if you book through the tour operator or the beach boys. Also be careful which lodges you are put in for the safari- look them up on trip advisor before booking as they vary hugely in standard. Try Finch Hattons Lodge(Tsavo West) and Ol Tukai Lodge(Amboseli)- it really is worth the bit extra - they are both out of this world.
Back to the hotel- On the last day of our holiday our room safe was broken into whilst we were at the poolside. To cut a very long story short it transpired that one of the hotel staff in collaboration with a 'safe technition' had entered our room and stolen money from our wallet which was locked in the safe. It took us 8 hours of speaking with hotel staff and poice to get to the bottom of it and to have action taken against the culprits.
I am utterly disgusted in the way were treated by the hotel on this evening. We received no apology. It even took the Duty Manager 40 minutes to decide to let us use the phone to cancel our credit cards!
The next morning the management refused to reimburse us the money that we had paid for the use of the safe as " we had had 13 days good use out of it" !!! Unbelievable! It took around 1 hour to get them to finally refund us.
All in all Southern Palms is not a 4 star hotel - more like 3 star my advice is - stay away from the Southern Palms.
Been to southern palms twice, great hotel you will love it and its right on the beach front seconds away from the large lovely pool. Best time to go off peak if u don't like the crowd. I always go on my own and its fine, everyone remembers u. staff are friendly which is important, and don't be afraid to go out of the hotel and get to know the locals. The beach boys do approach u as soon as u walk down to the sea, there r security guards, but as a previous review said they are just making a living and they are never rude, just say no thanks and its no problem.
Some brochures do say ocean view rooms have a TV but this is not true, and they have no intentions to provide this in the near future.
Beach is lovely and warm.I will be going again in May 2006 as I love it so much on my own again. Enjoy
The best holiday ever
We stayed at the Southern Palms at the end of Jan after booking it on the spur of the moment after it being recommended by a friend.It was one of the best holidays we have had.The hotel is spotlessly clean and the staff so very friendly and nothing is too much trouble for them.The food was very good and the 2 pools must be two of the biggest in East Africa.The pools and the sea are as warm as stepping in to a bath.
We booked a 2.5 day safari to East and West Tsavo via Annie the First Choice Rep ( who was lovely) which was with Somak.Joseph was our driver and what a wonderful safari he gave us.We saw all the big 5 ( poor water buffalo) and it was a fantastic experience.The lodges we stayed in were brilliant and we will definately be going again next year to one of the other parks, and linked with a beach stay at the Southern Palms. The Kenyan people are very friendly and very easy to warm to.For anyone thinking of going I would say go as I`m sure you will love it as we did.
Worst Hotel Experience
My wife and I booked a two week holiday to Kenya. The first two nights we were stsying at the Southern Palms, we were then going on a three day safari and then returing to the Southern Palms for the remainder of our stay. Before booking the hotel I dis what I always do and checked the reviews on Tripadvisor, the reports were very good so I booked with confidence. The only thing I can say is that we must have been the most unlucky people to visit the hotel.
When we went to bed on the first night we were so tired thatI could not be bothered to complain to the reception about the smell in our room. The next morning when I mentioned to the reception staff of the smell in the bed (bedding)they appologised and said the would do something about it (which I presume they did). After we returned from safari we were given a different room but also had to suffere the smell of musty bedding fro the rest of our stay. We talked to a number of other people who said they had the same problem.
According to our tour company (First Choice) towels and bedding should be changed daily, our bed was not changed for four days and the towels from the bathroom were taken wet and used from the bathroom floor and put on the balcony to dry.
If you like gently fried eggs for breakfast you will not get them at the Southern Palms, I tried for the fisrt week and then gave up despite repeatedly explaining to the chef how I liked my eggs, same thing each morning the eggs were burnt.
The array of food on offer at the main restaraunt buffet was fine, if you want to sit and enjoy your meal go to the Italian, much better but give the Grill a wide berth.
All of the time we stayed in the hotel the pool boys worked hard to clean out the leaves that were dropping into the pool. However despite me asking them to clean the scum of suntan lotion of the side of the pool after my wife had got it all over her back there was still a scum ring around the pool when we left.
I could go on about this hotel including the safe in a freinds room being broken into by the technician from the safe company and it then taking from five in the evening to two thirty in the morning to get someting done.
My advise to anyone thinking of going to the Southern Palms is as follows. If you like a hotel that is great on the surface but filthy underneath, were the staff are brilliant and helpful but lack management, you enjoy a hotel where 70% of the guests are all inclusive and come from a super variety of countries including Germany, Sweden, Italy, France and Poland this is the one for you. Also make sure if you want to get some sleep that you get a room in the eighties or nineties, these are the quieter rooms. Rooms in the tens, twenties and thirties are the worts for noise.
My advise give it a miss standards must have dropped since others reviewd this hotel.
This is not a 4 star hotel
Where do I start? Well, when I was staying at Southern Palms it was usually between 6.30am-7am when myself and my boyfriend where awoken by the dawn chorus of chattering cleaners outside our room or their robust activity dragging heavy furniture across tiled floors in rooms above, next or below us! My boyfriend is convinced that this was a ploy to get you up and about spending our hard earned cash in the overpriced hotel bars and restaurants (approx £3.50 for cheese and ham toastie!!!)
I'll try to be constructive - if you've already booked your holiday when you arrive upgrade straight away to all inclusive - it's worth it for the cost of the water supplied by the hotel, over £1.50 per litre bottle, you'll pay around the same as English prices eg. bottle of wine £12, double vodka and mixer £3. Also it's worth checking out exchange rates you can get at home rather than the paltry 113 Kenyan Shillings the hotel was offering to £1 and then taking commission off that also. (Barclays Bank in Diani Beach was offering 120 Kenyan Shillings to £1 but as it costs 600 Kenyan Shillings in a taxi and I didn't feel very safe leaving the hotel this wasn't an option for us.)
On the money theme do check your final bill thoroughly. There is no cash payable at bars and restaurants etc you have to sign for everything and will be given a green carbon copy slip. When adding our final bill up our bill was 1220 Kenyan Shillings over, a friends bill was 2500 Kenyan shillings over and I got the distinct impression when advising the cashier of the mistake this was a regular occurence.
Also go on safari for as long as possible!!! We did a brilliant trip to the Masai Mara flying from Ukunda air strip but don't book via First Choice as their commission is astronomical - try Somak Travel.
If you're deciding about booking the Southern Palms Hotel be advised that it is not up to 4 star standard, the food is average, everybody I spoke to had suffered some kind of stomach upset during their holiday. Despite the activities of the cleaners the hotel is not clean, rooms smell musty, linen is not changed regularly and the pool had a film of scum on it each evening. If you like to go out and about (which I do - having travelled around Brazil, Australia and most of Europe) this again is not the holiday for you - on the occassions I ventured out of the hotel I was very intimidated and didn't feel safe at all. In addition to this friends of ours had money stolen out of their safe and the hotel management were unhelp, at best, in assisting them with their plight. If you do travel to Southern Palms you will meet some incredibly friendly staff who do their very best under poor management control!
Holiday of a lifetime at the Southern Palms
I have just come back from the Southern Palms with my family having spent 2 fantastic weeks there. I am so shocked at the previous posts. I cannot comment on First Choice as I booked with Escape2Kenya but from personal experience I think we must have stayed at a different hotel. The food was varied and well cooked and we managed to keep all the family happy and well fed (not always easy with different ages). Our room was lovely - very clean and comfortable. We left our PSP, DVD player and change around in the room and no-one touched them. The kids practically lived in the pool and had a great time. We went on a safari for 3 nights with Somak and it was a really special experience and the Somak reps were really helpful throughout. We had such a good time we are already planning next year and will almost certainly go back there with my brother and his family.
I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel - it is beautiful.
We as a family have stayed at the Southern Palms 3 times and came back from our last trip last Tuesday and all I can say is the hotel is clean and tidy and the food was as good as any that I have had in Kenya. I have never stayed at this hotel and had a bad holiday.
The pool is superb and is the main selling point for the hotel so don't be put off by the idea that is is full of scum this is not true.The beach boys are there but guess what the beaches are not for tourists only they are public and you are the guest so share the space people.
The beach sellers are really nice and will leave you alone if you tell them nicely but firmly.
All I will say is read the reviews about this hotel and put the bad ones in perspective. Please go and enjoy your holiday at the Southern Palms it is a great all round hotel and the golf course is very good to.I could go on but I will bore you all and I hope I have made my point.We have just re booked to go at Christmas and we got a great deal with escape2kenya and we are already counting down the weeks.
PS: Go A/I its worth the extra
well worth a visit!
a lovely hotel, friendly staff and good beach and pools. choice of restaurants as long as you book- but this was not a chore.
seaweed was a bit of a problem for some people, but nothing major. suggest taking swim shoes. the beach boys were kept at bay by the security men- unless you went for a walk. on the whole telling them you just wanted to walk and enjoy their country worked- if you were pleasant but firm.
no fridges in the rooms which was unusual as they did put a bottle of water per person per day in th eroom.
i found the lack of mosquitos a very pleasant experience. a quick squirt of deet spray and no problems at all.(unlike greece,turkey etc)
the monkey were fun to watch, but we only saw the hotel bush baby once.
if anyone does get a tummy bug find the Indian chef. he has herbs that can sort it out within a couple of hours. we didnt hear this and ended up with dr's bills. often immodium doesnt help but th e dr at the local hosptial is very quick. still would have prefered to use the herbs if i had known. he has cures for everything so is very knowledgable and helpful.
we tried to negotiate a price with the beach boys and local tour companies for a safari. the exchange rate and haggling didnt really get us anywhere so we stuck with somak. our guide Abu was excellent- it was like having David Attenborough with us, pointing out tracks and explaining the habits, sizes, lifespans etc not all guides were the same caliber.
the only negative points-
mombasa airport is the worst i have been through both arriving and departing. how many times do things have to be checked! take lots of water and face wipes with you for your long wait.
avoid ali babas bar as three couples were threatened with a gun.not helped at all by the staff who knew the person.
all in all one of the best holidays we have had.
Very Average - Definitely Not 4 star. WATCH THE SAFES!!
Southern Palms has it's plus points. The food was fine although my husband and all the other people we met had upset stomachs for several days. Vegetable curry for lunch and dinner most days seemed to mean I avoided this.
I agree with the problems of noise of cleaners chatting outside rooms in the early morning - nightmare! Issues with sunbeds unless you give Martin or one of the other pool boys a few shillings each day in which case they fix it for you - not ideal but it does become an "if you can't beat them........." situation.
Pool bar in the smaller pool great with William as the Head Bar man. (By the way - AI worth doing). Even if on AI definitely go to Ali Barbour's restaurant one evening (and yes they do spell it like that). It's a fantastic location and the food and wine are cracking.
As for the safes, at the end of our first week when a bunch of other people were leaving, it transpired that the guy that issues the PINs for the safes and one of the room boys were working together and ripping off people by stealing cash from the safes. The police were really unhelpful and there was much distress. Not exactly a "safe" safe!
Travelled with Somak for the whol ething including safari which was great and well recommended.
Overall was really just a cheap and cheerful holiday with minimum time difference, maximum heat. Nothing special but fitted the requirement for the time. The 4 star classification certainly isn't warranted though.
Cecilia the cook, etc etc etc.
Two fishermen relaxing