Pinewood Beach Resort: Our full report
This modest resort style hotel is on the quiet Galu Beach – a stretch of beach south of the main Diani Beach area.It first opened in December 1991 and since then has remained a reliable, very well-managed, good-value option with a two restaurants and several room types. There is a convenient, neighbouring water sports outlet.
We most recently visited in 2023 and found Pinewood Beach Resort, looking as well-tended as ever, having recently under gone a soft refurbishment of all rooms. Previously we found the property to be quite Mediterranean in style, which perhaps felt a little out of place on the Kenyan coast, but after these renovations we thought it was looking much more in keeping with its location. It was gently buzzing with activity and a good number of guests, but still felt peaceful. With 130 staff and a max of 116 guests, the service is attentive but not over the top in any way.
The hotel got its name because when the plot of land was acquired there was an abundance of casuarinas trees, which look a little like pines. Over the years many of these trees have been lost in high tides, though a few still remain dotted throughout the property.
Pinewood‘s main areas are not spread over a vast amount of space – though it certainly seems to absorb all its guests into various corners so as not to feel congested. The whole property boasts beautifully tended lush green gardens, full of tropical plants.
The main focus of Pinewood Beach Resort is around its large curved swimming pool, complete with a swim-up pool bar, surrounded by of plenty of sun-loungers with shades.
Adjacent to the pool is Pinewood Beach Resort’s well-equipped gym, inside in an air-conditioned room with soft padded flooring and plenty of mirrors on the walls, and a good variety of weight and cardio machines.
Down a few steps from the pool is the stunning white sand beach. Here guests will find the fun and rustic Jahazi Bistro and Beach bar set beneath shady palm trees. With simple wooden tables both under a thatched roof and also outdoors, Jahazi serves food at lunch, and drinks into the evening. It is discreetly open to the public who also often stop by and add to the buzzy atmosphere. We enjoyed fried calamari with salad and chips when we were here - it was very tasty indeed. With the natural shade of the trees and the cool sea breeze this is a very pleasant place to eat.
Near to here there are also a number of sun loungers and further shade is offered by little thatch umbrellas. These look really neat and blend in with the palm trees that line the property. From the beach it all looks really nice and natural. The energetic might make use of the volleyball net just in front.
Near to the Jahazi Bistro by the beach is the well equipped water sports centre - also open to non residents. Here you can arrange snorkeling trips, scuba diving, kite-surfing, wind-surfing, deep-sea fishing and kayaking - all of which are an extra cost.
For those who prefer to pamper themselves the Amani Spa offers a variety of beauty treatments. The hair salon does wash and blow dries, you can get a manicure of pedicure. There is an extensive menu of massage treatments which take place either in the single or double massage rooms and they have a hydro bath.
Pinewood Beach Resort also has a tennis court and a squash court for people to use – rackets can be borrowed for free.
The 60 rooms at Pinewood are quite large, modern and simple with locally made furniture throughout. The bright cream tiles, coloured walls with local artwork, and painted furniture appear quite stylish in their simplicity – it’s a very clean, crisp and uncomplicated finish that we really liked. All of the rooms have WiFi, air conditioning and a ceiling fan, a mini-bar, tea and coffee making facilities, a safe and telephone. They have a balcony for some outside space and mosquito nets around the beds. However there are some differences too and so the rooms can be broken down into the following categories:
- Deluxe Garden Rooms of which there are 36, are a sizable 45 sq metres and are located on the first floor with a view of the gardens (not the sea). They have nice ensuite with toilet, single sink and a shower. Hairdryers and tea/coffee station are also provided
- There are then 15 Deluxe Garden Suites which are 90 sq metres, located on the ground floor with a large veranda and lounge – these also have a view of the garden and not the sea. The ensuite has a double shower and a hairdryer is in the room too.
- The three Luxury Garden Suites are essentially the same as the Deluxe Garden Suites, but with a little smarter furniture and they located a little closer to the pool and beach.
- Then finally there are six Ocean Front Rooms four are located on the first floor, and two slightly larger are on the ground floor. These offer sea views, but are slightly more rustic in style and furnishing. The lager ground floor suites have a bathtub .
With its pretty gardens, busy and helpful staff, water sports and a beach where you can walk relatively unhassled by beach boys, the Pinewood is a popular destination. We have visited this well-managed hotel several times over the years and rate it highly for its good value.
- Kenya Coast, Kenya
- Ideal length of stay
- 4 nights+
- Pinewood is a fifteen-minute transfer from Diani Beach (Ukunda) airport. If you're transferring to or 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. For Mombasa airport, allow two and a half hours.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Half Board
- Food quality
- There are two restaurants at Pinewood Beach Resort. The more formal Bahari Restaurant which is usually set up for breakfast and dinner. The Peponi restaurant is a more informal spot by the beach and used on barbecue nights.
We have found the food at Pinewood to be consistently good over the years - tasty and fresh. Not world class gourmet, but a varied menu with hearty and delicious options.
Pinewood Beach Resort do a have a vegetable garden that guests can visit with the chef to pick fruit and vegetables. The rest they buy locally which explains the freshness.
Breakfast is usually as a buffet with a live egg and pancake cooking station. Lunch is then a la carte and served on the beach or by the pool. Dinner is either served at the Bahari Restaurant or Peponi Restaurant. There is a nightly rotating menu and themed nights such a beach BBQs and Swahili night are usually very popular.
There is a 24 hour complimentary tea and coffee self-service station located near the restaurant. With advanced notice the hotel can cater for special dietary requirements including Kosher, where a small (otherwise unused) private kitchen can be used and ingredients purchased accordingly.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Pinewood Beach Resort can also offer b&b and full board. Ask us when you enquire about this hotel.
- Drinks included
- Drinks are not included, but prices are reasonable - well below UK pub prices.
- Beach holidays
- Pinewood Beach Resort is located at the quiet, southern end of Diani Beach, known as Galu Beach. Enjoy your beach holiday in peace and maybe take the opportunity learn to dive at the neighbouring Aqualand water sports centre.
- See ideas for Beach holidays
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are welcome at Pinewood Beach Resort.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no restrictions.
- Special activities & services
- Pinewood Beach Resort are able to arrange child-minding from house keeping whom you would pay direct. Though please note that they are not specifically trained in childcare.
- Pinewood Beach Resort has baby cots and high chairs that guests can use.
- Generally recommended for children
- Children are the responsibility of their parents at all times and must be kept under supervision.
- Power supply notes
- Pinewood Beach Resort has a generator back up, which allows for power all the time. The power points here are three UK-style square pins. Multi plug converters are available at reception.
- WiFi is available throughout. There are also two computers here if guests do not have their own devices. Cell phone coverage is good all over the hotel.
- TV & radio
- There is a TV in the lounge.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- In addition to the mains water, Pinewood Beach Resort collect rain water in a tank under ground and also have well water – this is used for watering the gardens and lawns.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- A doctor from the excellent Diani Beach Hospital is on call for more serious cases. Though there are first aid trained staff members on site for less serious issues.
Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity from Pinewood Beach Resort. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Watchmen patrol the grounds by day and night.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
- Safes are provided in the guest rooms. A small currency exchange is available at reception.
- Accepted payment on location
- All major currencies are accepted. Mastercard and Visa credit cards are accepted with a 4% surcharge.
Other lodges in Kenya Coast
Alternative places to stay in this same area.