Is Diani on your mind? I know I’m badly craving a heavy dose of Vitamin Sea! What I really need to get away to a quiet spot on the beach and enjoy complete rest for five nights. I have compiled some of my favourite, intimate places to stay in Diani, voted Africa’s Best Beach Destination for 5 consecutive years by the World Travel Awards.
Afrochic Diani Beach
Once a private home now opened to welcome guests, Afrochic is a homely retreat for those who prefer a cosy abode for their vacation. The lodge’s exterior, painted mustard yellow, presents such a cheerful facade especially against the Diani sun.
Afrochic has just ten rooms in a bi-level building – 5 deluxe ocean rooms, 3 deluxe garden rooms, 1 junior suite and 1 executive suite . Each of the garden and ocean view rooms are uniquely furnished – some in animal prints while others in tribal ones. Tribal art and Swahili furnishings play a big part of the hotel’s decor and you will notice this on the stair case, the rooms and the lounge. I love the paintings on the walls!
The lounge and dining room all face the pool and the sea beyond. The lounge feels very much like a home where you can settle on a comfortable seat with your favourite book in hand. There are plenty of sun loungers and wicker seats around the hotel where guests can while the day away.
If you are looking for a small establishment as a solo traveller, or for a couple then Afrochic is it. You will get all the beach time you want as the hotel is right on Diani Beach, and best of all, there are such few people to share it with!
Let me know of your experience when you visit!
I loved this quaint little place in Diani called The Maji, Swahili for water. It used to be a private home, now turned to a boutique hotel. I loved the door and the name on the wall and on the floor.
Upon entry you will come across the pool that actually surrounds the house. The lobby is furnished with beautiful antiques such as Lamu lounge seats, Aladdin lamps and leads out to the garden where meals can be served.
The Maji has 15 rooms in different categories. There is a room on the ground floor for the physically challenged and the rest are in the the top floor.
The restaurant has some awesome seats and is well ventilated. Just the sort of place for one to enjoy a meal.
The Maji is the perfect place to go to if you’re looking for an alternative to some of the big hotels in the coast. It is small and feels like a home away from home. And the Front of the House Manager, Zipporah is an absolute gem!
Almanara Villas & Boutique Hotel
Rustic, quiet and exclusive, Diani offers the best beach vacation spot in Kenya’s coast. Almanara Luxury Resort occupies a particularly unique location in Diani. White, clean sand with blue waters that stretch to the horizon, the resort boasts of the most fantastic beach front in the area.
Almanara provides a hosted holiday experience and Leo and Gemma are happy to accommodate guests. 11 villas each stand in a green corner of the sprawling property.
At the entrance of each villa is a spacious veranda with heavily cushioned Lamu seats and a sun lounger where clients can sit and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. The front glass door slides open to a wide sitting room and a dining area to the left. There is a kitchen where the guests’ personal chef will rustle up delicious meals which are served by a personal waiter.
Going up a level and there are three en-suite bedrooms each uniquely furnished with double or twin beds. More stairs lead to a roof top terrace where under beige parasols are a huge sunbed and a seat from where one can enjoy lovely views of the ocean at a distance.
While the villas are perfect for families or couples travelling together, the space is excessive for honeymoon couples who stayed at the resort which prompted the owners to change the exquisite five-bedroom Casa Bella into 3 ocean view rooms and 2 suites. The entry walkway of the Casa Bella is a glass fish pond that leads into an expansive lobby through to a veranda which sits in front of the swimming pool.
The suites are massive and come complete with a Jacuzzi-style bath and a separate changing. Both suites and rooms have excellent, clear unobstructed views of the ocean.
The restaurant at Almanara, aptly named Sails is an architectural masterpiece. Curved steel arches hold together beige canvases creating an illusion of sails in a ship. While guests can choose to soak up the sun on the beach all day long, there are plenty of activities offered by the resort including kite-surfing, snorkelling, dolphin spotting or a trip to the nearby Shimba Hills National Reserve for some game viewing. Some much deserved pampering at Cloud Nine spa makes Almanara the perfect slice of paradise.
Neptune Village Beach Resort & Spa
Not the most intimate, but I thought I should include it. Neptune Village Beach Resort & Spa was my residence the very last time I was in Diani in 2017. It sits right on the beach neighbouring sister properties Neptune Paradise Beach Resort & Spa and Neptune Palm Beach Resort & Spa. As long as you have a Neptune wrist band, you can utilize the facilities in the other two properties. We spent plenty of time at Neptune Paradise which had more action, from pool games, to kids activities and the evening entertainment. Catch a ride on a camel to the famous Ali Barbours underground restaurant.
Ocean Spa Lodge
Not in Diani, but I loved it so much that I had to add Ocean Spa Lodge in Msambweni on this list.
Ocean Spa Lodge, which sprawls over a vast beach front space, comprises of six spacious villas that houses fourteen suites – some are independent suites, then there are the portico and veranda suites. From the raised vantage point of the villa, you get spectacular views of the lodge’s swimming and the Indian Ocean.
Each villa is surrounded by a profusion of greenery. And just outside some villas, is a swing. What better way to enjoy a lazy afternoon than by emptying your mind and swaying away?
For me, dining at the restaurant at Ocean Spa Lodge was the best part of our stay. It is an open building that allows guests to enjoy the ocean breeze as they dine. The food was excellent and the wait staff, were exceptional. I loved the selection of piped music (some smooth selection of RnB) during dinner! And even better, the restaurant steps off to the beach, a short stroll to the ocean.
The lodge’s infinity pool is a dream and looks out to the Indian Ocean. The lodge offers a wide range of water activities and it’s spa and gym will leave your body revitalized.