Africa has long been one of my most favourite continents to travel through and for good reason. Between the amazing options of countries to visit, the food, coastline, activities and people, it makes for one truly amazing experience all around. Kenya is, in particular, one of my most favourite countries and I’ve always held fond memories of my time there, filled with unique and mesmerising experiences such as going on safari, swimming in the Indian Ocean or just chilling at the Diani Reef Beach Resort, sipping on cocktails in one of their restaurants or lounges.
I initially chose to stay at Diani Reef Beach Resort because of its prime location right on the Kenyan coastline, just south of Mombasa. I figured it’d be a great place to base myself, and with its own airstrip nearby, the region is easily accessed from other parts of Kenya by plane, saving hours (or days!) long bus journeys that eat up your time in the country so you have more time to experience all that Kenya has on offer.
One thing I have to say about Diani Reef Beach Resort is that they have spared no expense to create the most mesmerising and immersive resort experience I’ve ever had the pleasure of having. From the different restaurants, the coral cave designed lounge to the themed nights on the beach, there’s something for everyone at Diani Reef Beach Resort and it’s one of the reasons I’ll tell everyone I know to check out this unique and amazing place to stay. It’s actually not just a place to stay, but more like a small village with so many amazing things to do and activities to take part in.
The resort is home to its own movie theatre, swimming pool, fitness centre, and spa along with being based on 34 acres of luscious green land, edged right on the shores of the Indian Ocean making for the most idyllic of spots to spend your time in Kenya. Stroll through the grounds or while away the day on the white sand beach watching azure waters lap at the shoreline from your beach lounger, cocktail in hand. By night, you can dine in one of the restaurants or tear up the dance floor in the lounge. For those who want something a bit different, you can catch one of the many themed nights the resort hosts, whether it’s an African, Mediterranean or barbecue theme evening on the lawn or on the beach.
The Hotel and Room
When I stayed at Diani Reef, I was immediately put at ease by the professionalism and the friendliness of all the staff I encountered from the moment I arrived. It seemed like they couldn’t do enough for you at any point in your stay. I chose to stay in a deluxe room and the check in process was quick, efficient and helpful with the staff offering to help carry my luggage up to the room. The room was pristine – immaculately clean with colourful artwork, a balcony that was overlooking part of the resort grounds as well as the ocean and came with its own separate lounge area, perfect for quiet evening drinks with a friend or two.
One thing I was absolutely thrilled to see was my very own private jacuzzi in the bathroom, something I learned is standard for all rooms in the resort that are deluxe or higher in status. I made sure to make very good use of this special addition to my room and I think I might have used it every single night of my stay. You just can’t say no to a good soak in a jacuzzi, whatever the weather.
My room didn’t just have a jacuzzi though, but also a mini bar, complimentary wifi access and English language newspapers delivered daily. It really provided a serious feeling of being at home with a touch of class and luxury that home doesn’t necessarily have. There was also TV with satellite hookup, meaning I could access international English language channels during my stay, which allowed me to keep on top of things like news and sports from back home.
Diani Reef Beach Resort has five different restaurants on site that serve a variety of different cuisines. I found it absolutely fantastic that I could have almost any type of food at one hotel due to their different types of restaurant including Fins Seafood Grill, a seaside fish restaurant specialising in European and African cuisines. They have truly the freshest fish available here and you can try just about any kind of exotic seafood in their casual dining atmosphere. It does get a bit dressier as the night goes on, so it’s the perfect place to come if you want to treat yourself or have a classy meal under the stars with the sound of the Indian Ocean crashing against the shoreline in the background.
My favourite restaurant during my time there had to be the Coral Rock Cafe, which is the resort’s main restaurant that serves every meal from sunup to sundown. Eating at the Coral Rock Cafe isn’t just a dining experience – it’s an entertainment one too! They have live cooking counters where you can watch your meal be prepared by highly skilled, highly trained chefs, allowing you the opportunity to ask them questions and learn about the cooking technique. It’s definitely an experience I urge anyone to take. I really enjoyed chatting to them as they put together my dinner the nights I ate here and I learned a lot about just what it takes to become a top, skilled chef.
Much to my surprise I found a full Japanese restaurant at Diani as well, with teppanyaki tables and everything! Sake Japanese Restaurant really prides itself on providing the full Japanese experience, a novelty in Kenya, through its menu, low seated tables and more! I really enjoyed the ability to get sake while on my vacation – it was truly a surprise and a delight. For the lovers of Japanese cuisine, you won’t go awry trying their various dishes. They really go out of their way to keep true to Japanese traditions and flavours.
The restaurant was open until ten in the evening, which was fantastic on those days I found I was a bit later for dinner.
Diani Reef Beach Resort has a handful of different bars on site, including a fantastic shisha bar called ‘360 degrees’ where you can try a variety of different flavours of great tobacco while sipping a glass of your favourite liqueur, trying house wines or local and regional beers. There are four bars on site in total, with one being a pool bar servicing the pool area with colourful cocktails made with premium spirits. Dunes night spot is a great place near Fins Seafood Grill where you can listen to some trendy music, drink almost anything and watch the waves crash on the shoreline. It’s got a real beach vibe and is laid back and chilled out, so it’s the perfect place to stop for a beer after a day of swimming, skydiving or doing other activities in and around the resort.
The other bar, Zebra Square Piano Bar, is more like a classy lounge decked out in Zebra print decor which really adds a flair of African mystique to the area. I really enjoyed coming to this particular bar as it was elegant and made for an excellent evening out if you wanted something a bit more upscale and special. It’s a great place to celebrate a birthday or special occasion, or just to kick back with a glass of your favourite whisky or cognac just because.
Events And Activities
One of my most favourite things about Diani Reef Beach Resort was the themed nights they host. The African themed night was probably my favourite and featured traditional African food and music with decor to match. I also attended the Maharaja theme night which was truly like something out of deepest, darkest India with the music, food and the ambience of low seating, plush cushions around tables and dimmed, golden lighting.
Every Sunday between about noon and three in the afternoon there’s a barbecue as well which is a great, easy and relaxed way to spend an hour or two sampling some of the tastiest barbecue ever. I definitely love a good barbecue, and if you’re vegetarian they do give you good veggie options as well. Everyone loves an easy Sunday and Diani Reef really go out of their way to make sure your Sundays are some of the easiest you’ll ever experience.
If you fancy yourself a bit of an adventurer you can book a skydiving trip through the resort, a once in a lifetime opportunity to jump out of a plane over the bright blue waters below. If that’s a bit too extreme for you, why not consider something a bit less intense and enjoy a variety of watersports and activities such as jet skiing or going on various boating trips.
I wandered down at one point to check out their entertainment area and I have to say that it was like walking into a cinema or entertainment complex you’d find in Europe, just on a slightly smaller scale. Their on site mini-cinema was equipped to show some of the latest films with popcorn and snacks on the go. They have other games available for those who want to enjoy a couple of rounds of Snooker or even play on some video consoles. While I didn’t take the time out to enjoy any of this, I thought it was a fantastic touch and something that would really add that little extra something to a vacation, especially with kids.
Fitness and Spa
One of the things I made sure to take advantage of during my stay was the rassoul treatment at Diani. This treatment is done with a steam bath to open your pores and then a special mud is put on your skin to help lift away toxins, forcing perspiration and making your skin smooth as silk. The whole ritual of this treatment left me at ease and relaxed, as did the massage I also had while there. They have a steam room too so you can have a good steam anytime you like, something I really took advantage of to help relax after a long day of excitement.
Being a fitness buff, I really liked the fact that they had a fully equipped on site gym. While I didn’t take part in any classes, it was great to know I didn’t have to stop my workout routine and I could keep up my fitness level, even while on holiday. They have a whole host of modern machines and equipment that are user friendly, so I was happy to spend an hour or two a day in their gym working on myself.
In all, I have to say that picking Diani Reef Beach Resort for my trip to Kenya was the best decision I ever made. From the moment I arrived I was made to feel like a valued guest and the staff from the front desk reception to all the bars, restaurants and more couldn’t do enough to ensure I was enjoying my stay and really got the most out of the trip. When I’m back in Kenya in the future, I won’t hesitate to spend another week or two at Diani Reef Beach Resort as I know I’ll be assured the best possible time and treated like a member of the family.