If your holiday plans include a serious amount of socialising, you prefer a bit of noise and music about the place and maybe the odd show or party night then gazi Retreat in Gazi Kenya is probably not the place for you. The emphasis here is on individualism and you need to be comfortable with yourselves and your own company
The Gazi Retreat is basically a huge, private, walled garden, informally laid out and stocked with palms, bougainvillia, hibiscus etc arranged around an immaculate, large circular pool.
The “rooms” are dotted around the grounds with varying amounts of privacy provided by the actual layout and careful planting.
The restaurant and bar areas comprise a huge, raised, stone paved and thatched building with views over the neighbouring bush, mangrove copses and glimpses of the beach and sea through the palms.
There was normally a steady cooling breeze. Tables well spaced. All areas comfortably furnished and clean. A lovely place to spend time eating and drinking, day or night.
Accommodation. These may be tents but forget camping. Large and strong, covered with thatched roofs they are well furnished, attractive and comfortable with extremely efficient A/C through most of the night and a cooling breeze through the mozzie screens once the flaps are lifted during the day.
A brick built wet room/bathroom is attached and the plumbing (in and out!) was fine. There is an outer sitting area and a raised “terrace” looking over the gardens.
Plenty of canvas chairs; a great spot for morning coffee and the sun downers. All spotlessly clean and kept that way daily. Very comfortable.Food. All important - and excellent. A simple but constantly changing menu put together with superb fresh ingredients, especially the fruit and vegetables and cooked to a really high standard.
A great variety with fresh fish, prawns, beef, pork and chicken all being offered at least two or three times during the holiday - some available every day.
The chef comes looking for you to take orders for lunch and dinner and is happy to discuss variations to the menu.
The currys, anything in a Swahili sauce and the samosas were particularly good. The local Tusker beer is as good as most European lagers and the wine was very good quality.
Fresh water is constantly on tap (and chilled) from an office type dispenser tucked in the corner of your tent awning. A great idea.
Staff. Almost all spoke good English (certainly better than our Swahili, although if you make the effort with a few words and courtesies it is much appreciated), without exception everyone was polite, friendly and helpful without being obsequious.
Nothing was too much trouble and as long as you communicated clearly what you wanted all reasonable requests were dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Entertainment. Not an Animation Team in sight, and there is no music and definitely no TV.
You need to make your own entertainment - a pile of books and a backgammon board kept us amused.
Your privacy and peace are respected by both the staff and other guests and although most people would congregate in the bar for a pre-dinner drink, often with the charming owner, there was certainly no formal arrangement and no one felt under any pressure.
Everyone tended to eat separately and some, but not all, would sometimes get together for a night cap.
We preferred the quiet of our own terrace, watching the bats and the moon rise through the palms.
If you’re looking for a change of scenery and exercise then you can walk for some miles along the beaches.
They’re not really for swimming off but are a dramatic (and clean) mixture of coral, mangroves and occasional open beach and there is no hassle whatsoever; at the most you might meet a couple of fisherman digging for worms and a wave and a “Jambo” is all they expect.
The only entertainment is provided by the elements and local wildlife and most guests, like us, seemed to be there to enjoy the relative solitude of the surroundings.
The emphasis here is on individualism and you need to be comfortable with yourselves and your own company.
We were on a budget, but looking for high quality, a certain exclusiveness, privacy and above all peace and quiet, hopefully with plenty of sunshine some personal service and good food and drink - we found it all and more at Gazi.