Kinondo Poa at Kinondo Retreat Ukunda
Diani Mombas is exactly what you need after a week long safari. All there is to
do is to relax, eat, drink, dip in the pool or sea and lie on your sunbed.
You will get oustanding service, a personal connection to the key staff, quite basic accommodation, quietness and time to relax and switch off.
Kinondo Poa is run by some of the kindest and most attentive staff I've encountered in my many travels in East Africa. It is a semi-circle of cottages arranged around a swimming pool, just a 2-minute walk from the beach.
To get there you go past all the big hotels and down an unpaved part of the road--your taxi driver may complain but urge him on, it's worth it.
The rooms are tastefully decorated, clean and comfortable. The pool is lovely.
The beach is about as close to a private beach as you can get without being fabulously wealthy. Around high tide (a couple of hours before and after) you can swim, at low tide it's bit difficult though not impossible.
The sacred forest Kaya Kindondo is a 5 min walk from the hotel and worth a visit (ksh 500).
The beach is not far and you won't see many other people down there
We heard about the Beach Boys at Diani Beach, where it is hard to find some peace. There is a little "shop-hut" by one of the local boys at Kinondo beach and some lads are hanging out there with him.
Usually George, the hotel watersports man, keeps an eye on them and they won't approach you while he's around.
But they will find an opportunity to ask you to visit "the shop".
They sell the typical woodcarvings and it's worth having a look.
Watersports: you can take cajacs and bodyboards out or take a few windsurfing lessons with George, after which you can take the equipment out free of charge
The rooms at the hotel are very large and functional. The bed is comfortable and has a mosquito net (which some higher starred hotels at Diani beach apparently didn't have). There is a dressing table, bedside tables and quite a large storage area for suitcases and clothes.
The bathroom lets the place down, being very dated with not enough space to hang towels and place shower gels etc. Towels and sheets were changed every second day and some of the older towels were simply dreadful.
Clearly a lack of investment and care by the hotel management. All the washing is done by hand and some stains just won't come out!
Security: at night there is one Security guy with 2 Masaii warriors and 2 dogs around, so no need to worry about anything. During the day we felt very safe, in fact, we did not even have a room key and left most our valuables in the room when we were out.
For a couple of days we were the only guests at
Kinondo and you really start to bond with the staff very quickly. We learned so
much about the Kenyan way of life by talking to Charles, William and Jonathan.
The service the guys provide is second to none.
The food was delicious. Joshua is such a talented chef, he makes the best salad dressings ever! (We did get the prawns after nagging Doris a little bit...)
Doris, the Reservations Manager, visited daily and was lovely to talk to.
I liked the way Kinondo handles the tip issue. You leave it in the tip box at the end of your stay and they equally divide it between all the staff.