AfroChic: Our full report
A recent addition to the properties on the north side of Diani Beach, AfroChic is a modern, boutique hotel, ...... part of the Elewana Group that owns several lodges in Tanzania. Occupying a large, modern house in modest grounds, it’s billed as an exclusive hotel with a ‘unique and eclectic’ style.
AfroChic is Elewana’s first hotel in Kenya. Their Tanzanian lodges include Migration Camp, The Manor, Arusha Coffee Lodge and Kilindi. We were looking forward to more of a Tribe-style adventure in accommodation, and felt a bit underwhelmed by rooms and an atmosphere that could have been almost anywhere in the tropics.
The hotel is approached down a 200m driveway from the Diani Beach road. The main areas comprise a simple reception and indoor lounge and dining area, but the ‘heart’ of AfroChic is the terrace, looking directly over the irregularly shaped pool. Beyond it, lawns studded with recently planted coconut palms fill the space between the house and the beach. Shaded recliners, lounger-swings, chairs and tables are arranged on the grass and an askari posted at the seaward end of the property ensures that guests are left in peace by passing beach boys.
AfroChic has eight ‘deluxe’ rooms with air conditioning, fans, safes and TVs, plus a junior suite and an executive suite. Five of the deluxe rooms are sea-facing, while three face back onto the garden. Each room is decorated in a different style, some with a nod to Swahili themes. The floors are smartly tiled, and laid with small rugs. Some beds are four-posters or rustic constructions using heavy, salvaged branches, while others are straightforward bed frames. Each room has a balcony (most are private), though the three garden room balconies are small.
The bathrooms are fully tiled, with a single washbasin, toilet and bidet, designer toiletries and a simple walk-in shower with shower curtain.
We quite liked the cool, bright, cleanliness of the rooms, but on the down side, foam-filled bed pillows are nobody’s first choice, and definitely not ideal in an equatorial climate. We also found the shower set up, with small shower heads and an ordinary plastic shower curtain, well below expected standards in a luxury hotel. New bathrooms are planned.
All the usual Diani Beach activities are offered, including snorkelling, diving, over-water sports, golf (a 15-minute walk) and excursions. AfroChic uses only licensed operators, such as Diani Marine and Pilli Pipa. In-house massage and therapies are available in the massage room (massage around Ksh3,000 or USD$40 for 45 minutes).
Swimming in the sea, as in most parts of Diani Beach, isn’t possible at low tide, but you can get the tide times online in advance, so you can plan other activities around them.
We felt the name ‘AfroChic’ oversells it: this is a straight-up, European-flavoured, boutique hotel. We were expecting something more stylish and distinctive, with a real combination of African character and modern flair, but our impression was of a blandly pleasant, luxury, beachfront guesthouse. Personable, adult-oriented and quiet, AfroChic is comfortable and friendly; service is attentive without being too fussy; and the food is good. We think it might hit the spot for first-time Africa visitors – especially on honeymoon – and although it lacks the distinctiveness that a small hotel requires to make a real impression, given a few more years to settle into its grounds, that will hopefully come.
- Kenya Coast, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- 7 nights
- Mombasa International Airport is approximately 1½ to 2 hours from AfroChic by road, or there’s the closer Ukunda (Diani Beach) airport, just ten minutes (5km) from the hotel. If you're transferring to or from from Mombasa, the Likoni ferry crossing, linking Mombasa Island with the south coast mainland can sometimes add significantly to journey times, especially at rush hours.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- AfroChic offers extensive à la carte options, plus a daily chef’s special. Food preferences are happily catered for. There are no set meal times – you talk to the staff and eat when (and where) you want to.
- Beach holidays
- Afro Chic is situated at the northern end of Diani Beach, not far from several shopping areas. Staying here means you can choose to visit the nearby restaurants and bars or enjoy the privacy of Afro Chic’s pool terrace and gardens.
- See ideas for Beach holidays
- Attitude towards children
- AfroChic is not very child friendly.
- Property’s age restrictions
- No children under 13 years old.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- There are no phones in the rooms but an internal phone system is being installed. As throughout Diani Beach, cellphone reception is fine.
WiFi access is free to guests.
- TV & radio
- Yes, in-room Satellite TV
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Staff receive in-house first-aid training every three months. Diani Beach Hospital is a two-minute drive; Palm Beach Hospital is a five-minute drive.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- 24-hour security with one askari on the gate and one on the beach. The hotel has good relations with beach boys, commenting that ‘they’re great lookouts’.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers on landings and in public areas, with regular staff training
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Full Laundry Service - Included
- Small quantities of currency can be exchanged. There are safes in each room.
- Accepted payment on location
- Prices are all in Kenyan shillings, but cash payments may also be made in US dollars, euros or pounds sterling. Visa, MasterCard and Amex are accepted with a surcharge.
Other lodges in Kenya Coast
Alternative places to stay in this same area.