The Sands at Nomad is set on a lovely stretch of Diani Beach.
The Sands At Nomad: Our full report
A long standing popular resort, The Sands At Nomad has a lovely location set within 26 acres of coastal forest. Looking out onto Diani Beach, it has 37 rooms with lots of Swahili style in its design and a variety of areas and restaurants to occupy your time.The main areas are dotted about the property – with places to grab a bite to eat and a drink at both ends. Stone pathways lead you through the gardens, past the various rooms to connect the areas and the beach. Its not a far walk but you do get a sense that there is plenty of space here form one side of the resort to the other. It doesn’t ever feel too crammed.
The main reception is a nicely decorated room, with lots of comfortable sofas, African art and dark wood furniture. The terracotta red floor tiles enhance the authentic African feel of the property – which is maintained throughout. Its vital to note that this is not a luxury property nor is it a western resort in style, but rather a slightly more old fashioned Swahili one. To some this might feel dated, to others it will feel full of character. Have a look at the pictures we took on our last visit to decide for yourselves if you like the style of this good value mid range hotel.
The reception leads straight into the Rivas Bar, a bar that is open almost round the clock offering drinks and snacks. The interesting pool is next door - with its quirky stone built islands and a bridge over the middle. The swimming pool is a bit smaller than we would have expected for a hotel if this size and there isn’t much in the way of lounging space – but this is more than made up for by the ample space by the beach.
Nearby the Forest Breeze Spa offers a range of treatments, including massages, facials and henna tattoos. These treatments are conducted in one of the little individual rondavels, furnished with massage tables, a shower and one even has a sauna.
You will also find a comprehensive gym and dance studio both of which are open sided under a thatch roof, to allow the cool sea breeze to pass through. The gym is free, and you can pay extra to join a zumba, yoga or aerobics class.
Then through the gardens, with the endless white sandy beach on one side and a lush green lawn on the other are numerous places to lounge and sunbathe. There are plenty of loungers with shades, and hanging chairs as well - all within a short distance of the beach itself.
Past this stretch and on the other side of The Sands At Nomad is The Red Pepper Restaurant. This is a large restaurant with numerous tables set under a huge white canvas roof with open sides to enjoy the natural sea breeze. It resembles the sails of a traditional boat somehow. The individually set tables inside have lovely wicker chairs. Though there are also tables and canvas chairs outside with shades to protect you from the sun. Numerous sofas and lounge chairs are also dotted around if people would rather a less formal snack or meal. We liked the laid back vibe of this area when we visited – with gentle jazz music playing in the background and wonderful views of the sea. This is not a flashy place, but comfortable and the atmosphere suited its location very well.
Nearby is a well stocked shop called the Dhahabu Boutique selling a whole host of souvenirs and clothes. There is also a water sports centre and The Crab diving centre which is PADI certified.
There are numerous room types available here and the choice can be somewhat bamboozling. Altogether there are 30 rooms and suites, and a further seven private cottages – all with a Swahili design and feel. We didn’t get a chance to see every room type when we last visited as many of them were full. Though we do know that all share some common features, such as the inclusion of satellite TV, mini bar, safe, AC and a fan, hairdryer, telephone, WiFi and mosquito nets. But this is what we understand the differences to be:
- Eight of the rooms are the Forest View Rooms and these are the simplest, located at the back of the property with views into the forest. They are 15 square metres, ensuite and do not have a balcony.
- Then there are ten Sea Breeze Rooms which are the same as the Forest View Rooms but on the ocean side. You are not guaranteed a sea view though, and some of the rooms are interconnecting for families.
- The seven Beach Cottages are lovely, free-standing, thatched buildings near the beach front within manicured gardens. They have their own terrace, and though they are not directly on the beach they do have nice views across the lawns towards the ocean. They are also ensuite.
- There are only three Ocean View Suites, which are close to the beach front with a small terrace, sitting room, bedroom, and ensuite.
- Ocean View Family Suites are also three in number, but slightly larger with a lounge and two bedrooms.
- The Junior Suite is in located on the first floor of the building that overlooks the pool. It has views of the pool on one side and out towards the ocean on the other. It has a terrace, a sitting room, a large bedroom and an ensuite with a big bathtub.
- There are three Ocean View Superior Suites located on the first floor above other rooms, and just 20 metres from the beach. These have lots of space with a balcony, bedroom and lounge area. Plus an en suite, separate toilet, bathtub, shower and jacuzzi.
- The Master Suite is recommended as a good room for honeymooners or those looking for some privacy. This is due to its large terrace overlooking pool and sea, with a Jacuzzi to relax in. It also has a large lounge area, bedroom and bathroom.
- The Beach Cottage Superior Suite is the largest room with a huge terrace facing the sea. It also has an ensuite, Jacuzzi in the private garden at the back of the Cottage, and an additional outside toilet and shower.
There are plenty of activities on offer at The Sands At Nomad. These include scuba diving offered by The Crab dive centre, as well as sea-kayaking, kite surfing, windsurfing and sailing all offered by the adjoining water sports centre. For those keen to do a little exercise there is the gym and the dance studio offering zumba, yoga and aerobics. Whilst to relax guests can of course make use of the spa.
Our viewThis is a really pleasant, laid back and family friendly mid-range resort, of a smaller size than most and in keeping with its surroundings on the Swahili coast. Its friendly team clearly take pride in high degree of service, making it an enjoyable place to stay. To some not so accustomed to Swahili style it may feel dated so might not suit those who prefer western designs.
Ideal length of stay: 4 days or more
Directions: Most people will fly to Diani Airport which is only about a 15-minute drive away. Though some may connect through Mombasa which is potentially over two hours depending on traffic through the city.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: When we last stopped through The Sands At Nomad we didn’t have a chance to try any of the food. Though from looking around we would expect it to be quite good and certainly comparable to other mid-to-high end resorts in the area.
Breakfast is a buffet served from 7:30-10:30 – with a selection of fruit, cereals and cooked items.
Then lunch and dinner can either be a light snack at one of the bars, or a larger meal in the restaurant. Either way you will have plenty of choice, ranging from Thai to Japanese and even Italian – all on their a la carte menu.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15
Drinks included: Drinks are not included at The Sands At Nomad. A local beer costs about US$5, wine about US$3 and a soda about US$2.
Further dining info: The Sands At Nomad can offer room service and it is no extra charge.
Family holidays: The Sands at Nomad is a low key, unpretentious beach hotel where families will feel comfortable with children. There are also lots of activities to keep kids entertained during their stay.See more ideas for Family holidays in Kenya
Attitude towards children: The Sands At Nomad will gladly welcome children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions: None.
Special activities & services: The Sands At Nomad offer children’s activities – for example they sometimes do a snake and reptile show or Maasai dancing and bushcraft. They also have a variety of water sports and boat trips that are suitable for older children who can swim well.
Equipment: The Sands At Nomad has cots and children’s beds.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend The Sands At Nomad for children. It is a relaxed beach lodge with lots of space and a variety of different patrons including other families with children. Though do note that this area is malarial.
Notes: Children will need to be supervised at all times - especially around the pool and beach where there are no life guards.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: The Sands At Nomad run their power off the mains but also have a generator back-up. Power is always available.
Communications: The Sands At Nomad have in-room phones which are chargeable for external calls. There is free WiFi and an internet café with computers too. Cell phone coverage is good here.
TV & radio: TV in rooms.
Water supply: Mains
Water supply notes: The tap water is not suitable for drinking.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There are people trained in first aid at The Sands At Nomad. Whilst for more serious cases Diani hospital is a short drive away.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The Sands At Nomad has numerous security staff around the lodge and on the beach. There is also a security gate at the front of the property.
Fire safety: Extinguishers are scattered around the lodge and there is a fire assembly point.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is possible though you will be charged extra per item. It is machine washed and line dried.
Money: The Sands At Nomad can offer a currency exchange at reception.
Accepted payment on location: The Sands At Nomad accept cash in most major currencies. They will also accept Visa and MasterCard but will pass on a 5% charge for this.