Ocean Sports is a relaxed beach hotel in Kenya, ideal for families and young couples.
Ocean Sports: Our full report
The long-established Ocean Sports is a small mid-range resort on Watamu Beach, a couple of hours drive north of Mombasa. It is a well-known and popular base for game-fishing, diving and beach holidays for both foreign travellers and Kenyans alike.
The hotel shares its entrance road with the larger and more expensive Hemingways. With Ocean Sports being the more affordable option – having built its reputation in the 1960s as a coastal retreat for fun-loving people down from Nairobi. As a result it has never featured much in package holiday brochures, but we think it is a good value option for people who are after a simple resort style property with a relaxed and sociable atmosphere.
The main areas of Ocean Sports start with the reception desk, always manned by friendly and helpful staff. Above it is a large cast of a marlin – a nod to the very popular sport fishing that many people come to this area and hotel to do.
It is then up a few steps to the main restaurant and bar that is a large and quite open plan area – opening onto a stone and wooden deck overlooking the sea. Red stone flooring, white washed walls and dark wood furniture are all well kept, and though arguably slightly dated the result is low key and comfortable.
The bar has the appearance of a traditional dhow, with stools dotted around it. Whilst outside is a vast stone and wooden deck, with tables and chairs dotted around and from where you can take in wonderful sea views. The long beach in front is stunning with glistening white sand that is perfect for relaxed strolls and beachcombing.
Ocean Sports also has a squash court, sand tennis court though this is sometimes used as a hockey pitch for local teams. A small massage room by the pool which also does manicures and pedicures. There is a small and sometimes lively beach bar called Ian’s Bar where it can be fun to grab a sundowner drink. Ocean Sports has an on-site dive school offering lots in the way of water sports.
Activities that can be arranged here include sea-kayaking, windsurfing, mountain biking, boat trips to the nearby Mida Creek where you can go bird watching in the mangrove forests, full and half day sport fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
All activities at Ocean Sports are an extra cost though prices here tend to be quite reasonable and certainly in keeping with the kind of costs we experienced in Kenya.
The 27 Standard Rooms at Ocean Sports, some of which we saw when we visited here in 2012, are quite smart and clean, but very simply furnished, with floor-standing fans, mosquito nets, air conditioning and room safes. The terracotta floors felt somewhat European, and the very simple furnishings quite typical of a mid-range beach lodge where it is expected that most people will spend their time at the beach.
The bathrooms are slightly gloomy but adequately equipped with hot and cold water, limited toiletries, a sink and flush toilet. Guests can use a hairdryer which needs to be requested from reception.
There is one family Standard Room with a simple adjoining bedroom that houses two additional single beds. Some of the Standard Rooms are in a small courtyard, some are free standing in the gardens and some semi-detached. Though once inside they are all largely the same. Its important to note that not all rooms have a seaview.
Then there is also one Suite which is larger and much more modern. This has two rooms – a master bedroom on ground floor and a kids room upstairs which can also be used as a lounge. The facilities are the same as a Standard room, with the addition of a fridge. But the whole room feels much more contemporary with cream marble floors and a new bathroom.
Our viewWith its simple rooms, youthful vibe and nicely laid out dining and lounge deck above the beach, Ocean Sports is a low-key and immediately likeable mid-range hotel on the coast. Sharing some of the character of the Driftwood in Malindi, this is a great spot for sociable beach lovers and ideal for families.
Ideal length of stay: 5 days-plus
Directions: Ocean Sports is 20km from Maliindi Aiport, a transfer that takes around 30 minutes. From Mombasa Airport, depending on Mombasa traffic, the transfer should take around 2.5 to 3 hours.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Ocean Sports does excellent, fresh seafood, and snacks all day from an extensive a la carte menu. On our last visit we didn’t get a chance to try the food, but we have tried it before and though not world-class gourmet, it is very tasty.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15
Drinks included: Drinks are extra, but reasonably priced.
Further dining info: Room service is available.
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Ocean Sport.
Property’s age restrictions: No age restrictions.
Special activities & services: Ocean Sport can do baby sitting – they have someone who is trained in childcare.
Equipment: Ocean Sport have cots, high chairs and children’s beds.
Generally recommended for children: This is a good value, family friendly resort and we would recommend it for children. Though it is important to note that this is a malarial area.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: The power is on all the time at Ocean Sport - and there is a generator back up for power cuts.
Communications: Wifi is available on the deck and lounge areas at Ocean Sport. They also have a laptop guests can borrow, of they do not have their own. Cell phone coverage is ok all around the hotel.
Water supply: Mains
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Ocean Sport have a doctor on call 5 minutes away and also have people in the hotel who are first aid trained for minor injuries.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Askaris (security guards) patrol the site and there is an security gate at the entrance.
Fire safety: Ocean Sport have extinguishers and staff are trained to use them. In case of need there is also have a fire hose that can draw water from the swimming pool.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry can be done at extra charge, per item. It is machine-washed and line dried, usually returned within 24 hours weather depending.
Money: Foreign exchange is available.
Accepted payment on location: Major currencies and Kenya shillings are accepted in cash. Mastercard and Visa can also be used but there is a 5% charge for this.