Are you sitting in your office daydreaming about the perfect vacation? Imagining yourself sitting on a chair by the beach as you sip your cold drink, inhaling the salty ocean fragrance as you listen to the sounds of the crashing waves. You are reading that book you have been trying to read for ages. Or maybe you are getting ready to take a swim in the cool clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean. You are enjoying the freedom of doing absolutely nothing during your holidays. But you snap out of it when you realize that you have kids, so it is not going to be that relaxing vacation you had been dreaming about.
But what if you could go on holiday and have the best of both worlds, hang out with your kids, but still get that quality time alone. Where you ask? At the award-winning Diani Reef Beach Resort. a place so calm and beautiful, with excellent facilities where your children can be kept entertained for a couple of hours as you relax by the beach or get a well-deserved massage.
Last year I went to Diani Reef Beach Resort with my pals and we had such an awesome time. I thought it would be the perfect place to take my nephew because it’s really a kid friendly place. I noticed when I went there that Diani Reef has an SGR package and I wondered how it would be to come down by train. Since we had never used the SGR before I thought it would be the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. I decided to book the train tickets myself. You can book your train tickets by going to the Madaraka Express portal. Tickets for adults are Ksh. 1000 for economy and Ksh. 3000 for First Class. Kids below 12 pay Ksh. 500. It is important to note that though they ask for your email they will not send the ticket numbers to your email. They send you an SMS which you use at the train station to print out your ticket. Or if you don’t want the hustle you can contact Diani Reef Beach Resort and they will sort out your accommodation, train tickets and transfers.
We had opted to take the intercounty train (the morning train) that leaves at 8.20 am. We had been told that we needed to get there at least an hour before because of the security checks. We were there between 615- 630 which by the way was a good thing. You can get held up if you are late because it takes quite some time to do the security checks for the bags and for the personal check as well.
The terminal is beautiful. I love it. But they really need to take care of their toilets because it seems they had run out of water. We had to wait a while for the train to arrive but you would rather be there early and relax then come late and get stressed about missing the train which comes on time. If you have kids you should carry for them some books, toys or put for them movies on your tablet to watch. I was a bit disappointed by the train ride because I thought we would see wild animals on the route. Nothing. But the train ride wasn’t too bad. We had been told you can’t carry food so we had eaten a good breakfast but it seems now you can carry your own food.
Although we had booked our own tickets, we had opted for hotel transfers so we had somebody from Diani Reef meet us at the terminal. The driver rang me when had about an hour to reach our destination to tell us he was already there. The Diani Reef hospitality started at the airport. When the driver heard that we wanted to get something to bite, he took us to a place where we could buy cassava crisps (kachri). If you are going by train I would suggest not stopping to eat in town, because it might take you a long time to get across the ferry because of jam and all that. It took around 3 hours to get to the hotel because of the jam. Luckily when we got to the hotel, we got a nice welcome cold drink before being directed to our room.
We had a sea facing room with triple beds. Which was awesome as we could see out into the ocean and also look at the tempting pool below. We had a welcome surprise, a basket of fruits and some yummy desserts.
Diani Reef is in a prime location. You can do everything inside the resort but if you want to go out you can walk on the long beach, go on a glass boat and snorkel and swim which we did. You can also go kite surfing, whale and dolphin watching.
Want some time off to have a romantic dinner with your partner or just get some quality time off to rest or catch up with some work? Diani Reef has a nanny on call that you can call.
I will tell you some of the highlights of our trip
This is the go to restaurant at the hotel and serves delicious food and cocktails. If you have kids they will love the pizzas and burgers. For us, it would be hard to choose a favourite from all the meals that we had, from the delicious Chicken and mushroom pizza to the fabulous chicken wrap to the succulent burgers to the fantastic tuna steaks. Their mushroom soup is amazing and their honey King Prawns are so tasty it brings tears to your eyes. Paired up with fresh cold juice, cocktails or madafu it was an awesome experience, both for the taste buds and the eyes. I did a review which you can check out here Restaurant Reviews: The Fabulous Food At The Fins Seafood Grill Restaurant, Diani Reef Beach Resort &; Spa
At night it also turns into an entertainment spot where you can watch dancers entertain you and you can also dance as the DJ keeps you entertained. Btw there is also a kids disco on some nights (according to what I saw on a poster – but I guess the kids have to be many). The great thing is that you can’t hear the music from the rooms which is a big plus so if you wanted the kids to sleep you don’t have to listen to loud disco music as you try to get them to sleep.
Go snorkelling and feeding the fish
On our second day we had planned to hang out by the pool. But plans changed when we got a chance to join a trip of people who were going out snorkelling. It is something we had planned to do on the third day but it is cheaper when you join a boat that’s already going out. So we went out and weren’t we glad we did. Costs vary depending on how many people you are but on average it is around 1000 per person for the glass boat ride, swimming and snorkelling.
This is a fun family thing to do. Even if you have small kids who can’t swim really well you can still go out and watch the fish being fed. One of the things about such trips is that you make friends with other people on the boat and you also get to see the sea creatures.
Diani Reef Resort has one of the best spas in Kenya and that is why it has won awards. That is why you must make it part of your Diani Reef Experience. My sister and I got to get relaxing massages. It’s a great way to make sure you are relaxed and then you can go for a cool dip in the pool. The spa is beautiful, and you feel relaxed from the time you get in, with an ambience that just encourages you to let go of your worries and relax as the tensions in your muscles are washed away. There is also a jacuzzi and Sauna if you feel like heating things up. Spa Review: The Diani Reef Beach Resort And Spa
If you and your kids love swimming then you will love the swimming pools. There is not one, but four swimming pools. There are two pools for small children with one with an umbrella fountain which was a favourite for the kids. There is also a round pool with steps where you can sit, and your small children can play as you watch over them. There is also a pool connected to a pool bar where adults and older children can swim. It is not really deep so any children over the age of around 8 who can swim can get into that pool. If your kids are occupied and you want some peace and quiet there is also another adult pool for those who do not like children or want to be disturbed.
One of the things that took me back to Diani with my nephew was the kids club. They have various activities for children and facilities as well. There are pool tables, foosball, a table tennis table, a movie theatre, and children’s facilities for little kids including beds where the children can sleep.
While we were there my nephew got to watch a movie for a few hours and also play some games with some of the kids. This is a great time for the kids to bond and this also presents an opportunity for you to have some time to relax.
The facilities are great, there are lots of places to sit and relax, on the beach, near the pool, and also very many spaces inside the resort where you can sit and read a book or hold a meeting.
Take a walk
Take a walk on the beach or around the property. There are plenty of things to see around the property. There are fish in ponds around the property and you can take time to appreciate the natural way the resort has blended nature, wood and stone around the property. You are also likely to see monkeys around on the rooftops, don’t worry they won’t hurt you but don’t feed them. Or you can just chill on the beach chairs and read or sleep or people watch.
Watch live cooking
If you love to watch the chef cooking then you must try the Japanese Tepanyaki cooking. The chef prepares some seafood dishes, meat and rice in front of you which is something your kids will never forget. We had a great time trying to eat with the chopsticks and also trying new things. The various dishes are cooked one by one on the grill and it is a fascinating process to watch. You can choose what you want, so you can have beef, chicken or seafood. If you want you can also have sushi as well. There is a 3-course option and a 5-course option. We had the chicken and mushroom, beef, soup and Japanese Rice and some chocolate fudge for dessert. I did a review from our trip last year which you can find here. Where Cooking Meets Performance; Japanese Teppanyaki at Sake Restaurant, Diani Reef Beach Resort
Breakfasts and tea
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and let me tell you Diani Reef knows it. There is a huge continental spread in the morning and you can have what your heart desires. There were numerous options for both vegetarians and people who love meat. There was even an Indian type pancake. One of the things I liked is that the continental breakfast had both local and international dishes, so if you like to eat healthy you will get something.
Take a brief look at the setup in this Instagram video
If you are a tea person then you are in luck because they have a 4 O’clock tea which is free for all guests with some yummy bittings.
The staff and chefs were friendly, efficient and helpful. They are very attentive. Also, the chefs can be very accommodative, like how we got some great meals for my nephew, done just right for a child. If there is something that makes a hotel stand out apart from the food, and facilities, it is the staff. The staff at Diani Reef Beach Resort were fantastic, looking after us very well and answering any questions we had.
They have Wi-Fi all over the property and it is free all day. The internet is pretty fast which is awesome especially when you have kids who want to watch their favourite shows on Showmax or Netflix. It is also great because if you need to get some work done while you are there, you will be sorted out. But of course, if you are on the beach and you want to use the internet you have to sort yourself out.
We had a great time and I would recommend Diani Reef to families wanting to have a quality holiday at the Kenyan coast. It is also a great spot for a romantic getaway, for friends or if you just want to get away from all the noise in the city. They also have packages for couples getting married on the property and honeymooners.
After taking the train both ways I would recommend that you would be better off flying to Diani because of the ferry situation. A trip to or from Diani Reef might take you 3-4 hours depending on the time you leave the train or the resort. But if you want to try taking the train, it is a good experience. Just note that there is bound to be delays when waiting to cross the ferry and that is the reason I wouldn’t recommend it. I would definitely recommend it in December when the airfares are really crazy, it makes perfect economic sense. Hopefully, in the near future, the Miritini interchange will be done and it will be easier to get from Mombasa to Diani.
Diani Reef also has a flying package which you can check out below.
***For those from outside the country, please note that Kenyan school holidays are in April, August, end of November to December. So you are likely to find more families with kids at that time. So if you are looking for a quiet vacation that might not be the time to go. Although the property is so vast you cannot miss a place that’s quiet if you want to relax and meditate.
If you would like to get in touch with Diani Reef Beach Resort you can contact them here. You can also find them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.