Tamarind Village faces across the creek to Mombasa Island.
Tamarind Village: Our full report
Facing the old city of Mombasa across Tudor Creek, Tamarind Village is a modern complex of 58 serviced apartments in the suburb of Nyali, managed by the Tamarind restaurant group. Unfortunately, as of 14 May 2014 we cannot recommend this property because the UK's foreign office has advised against travel to this area – Mombasa Island to Mtwapa Creek.
Best known for its famous Tamarind seafood restaurant, this apartment complex is very conveniently located if you want to be as close as possible to the city of Mombasa itself without staying on the island. It has a higher standard of accommodation and service than what is on offer at any of the hotels in town.
Tamarind Village is approached down a relatively quiet street near Nyali Bridge, the main artery between Kenya’s north coast and the city. The property, which faces west and perches on the cliffside, includes the Tamarind restaurant on the south side and the Tamarind Village apartments adjoining it to the north. There’s an entrance gate and car park for each, but they are linked by a footpath, so you’re never more than a couple of minutes walk from either side.
The whitewashed apartments have a small foyer and reception desk , with one or two staff always on duty. They handle queries, requests and notifications about missing or broken items with brisk efficiency.
The apartments themselves, set over five floors, are accessed by stairs or elevators. There’s an abundance of tropical vegeation all around, lending the establishement a pleasantly welcoming and restful atmosphere. Past the reception area, a steep flights of steps leads down to the larger of the Tamarind’s two free-form pools, and, just to the south, the apartments’ own Harbour Restaurant where apartment guests often eat if they’re not self-catering. The pricier Tamarind Restaurant itself, a minute’s walk through the gardens, is set higher up the cliff, with a spectacular terrace location. Below it, moored to a jetty, is the Tamarind Dhow, a traditional trading dhow, rigged out for dining and entertainment. The dhow is the venue for a popular evening dinner cruise that can also take in a visit to the historic monument of Fort Jesus for a son et lumière show.
Although all the apartments are individually owned (they’re managed rather than owned by the Tamarind) we thought the standard of furnishings and amenities in those we had a look at – and the one we stayed in – was high and well up to international standards. Excellent beds, with fresh and well looked-after bedding, floor-to-ceiling mosquito nets, plenty of chairs and tables, a large balcony with more furniture, large screen TV and entertainment system, and powerful air-conditioning made for a very comfortable stay. We thought some of electric plug and socket fittings looked a little eccentric, so if you have any doubts on the wiring in your apartment, do raise the issue with reception and either ask for fittings to be removed or disconnected, or request a different apartment.
Assuming you have transport, the well-equipped kitchens would be easy to take advantage of by self-catering, as there are several good supermarkets within a five-minute drive of Tamarind Village.
A wide range of activities is possible based at the Tamarind. Apart from the two very pleasant pools under shady palm trees, there’s a gym, a spa and a treatment centre. Although you can swim in the creek below the apartments, there’s no proper beach here and most visitors don’t. Mombasa Old Town, focusing on the Portuguese-Omani castle of Fort Jesus (now a fascinating museum) is a 10-30 minute drive away depending on traffic (rush hours are around 7:00am–10:00am and 4:00pm–6:30pm) and the rest of the teeming city, with its shopping streets, restaurants and markets, radiates out in a well-contained network of streets that are largely safe to walk around. As usual, you should beware of pickpockets.
Exploring further afield along the mainland coast through Nyali and further north to Bamburi and Shanzu, there are numerous big resort hotels, ocean-facing beaches and plenty of watersports available, including snorkelling in the lagoon and diving out on the reef. Allow anything from five minutes to half an hour to reach any of these locations by car. You can also visit the south coast (Tiwi and Diani beaches for example), but allow at least an hour to reach the south coast mainland, using the Likoni ferry on the south side of Mombasa island and another 30–90 minutes depending on your eventual destination.
Our viewIf you want to be based close to the island city of Mombasa, Tamarind Village is an ideal location. The apartments, although all individually decorated and finished, are mostly of a very high standard, with good air conditioning, plenty of light, and glorious views to the west and southwest of Mombasa Island and Nyali Bridge, especially from the upper floor apartments.
Ideal length of stay: 1 night-plus
Directions: The Tamarind is around 15 to 60 minutes from Mombasa International Airport, depending on the time of day, The complex is located on the north mainland just over Nyali Bridge from Mombasa Island.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Tamarind Group
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Room Only
Food quality: The Harbour Restaurant and bar (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but in practice usually available for orders) is exclusively for Tamarind Village residents. When we visited they were offering lunch specials of tamarind butter nut soup (U$5.00) and grilled parmesan fish with chilli garlic tagliolini (U$11.00). The pricier Tamarind Restaurant itself, which is recommended for a special treat, is open daily (noon–2:30pm & 6:00–10:00pm) and you should reserve a table well ahead. There’s a long à la carte menu of superb seafood dishes (with meat and vegetarian options) and you should budget around U$50 a head, including beer or house wine.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £30+
Drinks included: No
Further dining info: Available
Cultural experiences: Tamarind Village is a good base from which to explore the fascinating Swahili history, mosques and architecture of Mombasa. The old town, and the museum-monument of Fort Jesus are only a 15-minute drive away, and transport to these can be easily arranged.See more ideas for Cultural experiences in Kenya
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome.
Property’s age restrictions: None.
Special activities & services: None.
Generally recommended for children: While not deliberately child-friendly, the facilities and convenience of its location make the Tamarind a relatively good place to be with young children.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: Apartment phones are connected via the office switchboard. Wi-fi is also available in some areas.
TV & radio: All apartments have TVs and radios.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: A local doctor in Nyali is always on call and hospitals are available within a 15-minute drive.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Security staff make daily and nightly patrols around the premises.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers and fire assembly points.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is available for an extra charge, with clothes machine-washed and line-dried.
Money: Foreign exchange is available.
Accepted payment on location: Cash is accepted in US dollars, Euros, Pounds sterling or Kenya shillings. Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepeted with a surcharge.