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Water Lovers Beach Resort
Water Lovers Beach Resort
Water Lovers Beach Resort

Water Lovers Beach Resort


4°18’28.8"S 39°34’50.8"E

Water Lovers Beach Resort: Our full report

Water Lovers is a small, mid-range boutique hotel close to the heart of Diani Beach.

Built and opened in 2008, it is set on a lovely, beachfront site shaded by coconut palms, flamboyant and neem trees and a venerable old baobab.

Set behind imposing wooden gates, WaterLovers is accessed along a short unmade-up track off the main Diani Beach road. From the reception area, home to an intricate antique swing seat, equally imposing yet free-standing wooden doors open to reveal beautiful grounds where tropical succulents flourish beneath the trees. Wooden walkways wind through the small grounds, just proud of the soft-white sand that makes the property feel like an extension of the beach beyond.

WaterLovers' accommodation is made up of eight suites, a villa that sleeps up to eight guests and a penthouse that also sleeps eight.

The suites are set in pairs around the grounds, one on the ground floor, the second above (accessed by an outdoor steps), all with white-painted walls and a thatched roof. Each has sea views from the balcony, where comfy chairs invite relaxation, though the open design means that the balconies are not entirely private.

Inside, the suites are relatively modest in size and – with traditional wooden doors and shutters and dark ochre walls – almost womb-like in feel, despite big plate-glass windows. Central to each is a large four-poster double bed draped with mosquito nets beneath an overhead fan; there’s air conditioning too. As some of the suites have an additional single bed in front of the large glass window, single, double, twin or triple occupancy is possible – though note that the “twin” option has one person in the big double bed, the second in the single.

Locally sourced organic toiletries are provided in the bathroom, which is equipped with a hot shower, toilet and twin terracotta basins, along with colourful bathrobes, matching beach towels and a roomy beach bag. In the cupboard, there's an umbrella, a hairdryer and a very small digital safe. Each room has an adaptor plug for charging batteries, and a mobile/cellphone, fitted with a Kenyan SIM card, allowing you to make local calls for reservations, taxis or excursions. You’ll also find a speaker system to enable music to be played from your own phone.

For families, or groups of friends, it’s worth considering the thatched Birds Villa, set peacefully at the back of the property. Sleeping up to eight guests on two floors, it has a traditional feel with plenty of dark wood, its own dining table, a proper open-plan kitchen and a tree-shaded private terrace.

Rather lighter and more contemporary in style, the two-storey Penthouse above the restaurant sleeps up to eight in three double bedrooms, with a larger fourth room (with a true “wow” factor!) that leads out to a superb balcony, and can take two beds. A dining table, decent kitchen area, TV and speaker system and even gym equipment complete the package.

Aside from a small but very well-stocked shop, and an equally small but personal spa, where a single massage bed lies beneath a cooling fan, most of the communal areas at WaterLovers are in the open air. Dining tables on an open-sided terrace form a simple restaurant, with roll-down blinds in case of a tropical storm. Breakfast and lunch are usually taken here, away from the monkeys, but dinner tables are often set out on the sand, facing the beach. Tucked away to the side, a bar serves soft and alcoholic drinks throughout the day. Enjoy them on one of the carved bar stools, or find yourself a sunlounger, day bed, or hammock by the beach, and dip into a book from the hanging shelves.

With bronze-coloured tiles, the fresh-water free-form swimming pool blends into the setting rather than dominating it. On the practical front, suncream and aftersun are provided, alongside a poolside shower for washing off salty water.

For guests who’d like to explore beyond a quick dip in the ocean, the hotel has masks and snorkels that can be borrowed free of charge, as well as kayaks, which are ideal to paddle along the shoreline or out to the offshore sandbank at low tide. Alternatively, when the tide is high enough, you can go out to the reef on a glass-bottomed boat, or rent the services of a local boatman with an ngalawa outrigger canoe; tide times are posted every morning.

Just a short walk from the hotel you’ll find the odd small local restaurant, either on the beach or just behind, some specialising in calamaris. For curios, check out the small Baharini and Diani Beach plazas, or the stalls that line the main Diani Beach road. Banks and supermarkets are also on hand, while tuk-tuks can be hailed to go further afield, perhaps to the Colobus Conservation charity.


Our view

WaterLovers has a loyal fanbase, with an international clientele that has supported it since it opened, and through the changing fortunes of the Diani Beach scene. It remains a much-loved and well-managed beach property with a casual ambience and attentive yet friendly service, well-located for shopping, eating out or excursions further afield.

Jessica Plumb

Jessica Plumb

Kenya expert

Geographics

Location
Kenya Coast, Kenya
Ideal length of stay
4 nights-plus
Directions
WaterLovers is barely ten minutes’ drive from Ukunda Airstrip, passing small village shops and houses before turning on to the hotel’s narrow access road.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
Meals at WaterLovers are something of a highlight, with the emphasis on fresh, local produce, and a strongly Italian slant. Much of the produce – from jams to biscuits – is home made, and the hotel caters particularly well for vegetarians, vegans and some other dietary requirements. There’s also a children’s menu. The restaurant is exclusive to guests, who – if they are staying on a half-board basis, may opt to have lunch instead of dinner if they would like to dine out one evening.

Breakfast, served 7.30–9.30am, is in part a buffet set up in a cool, monkey-protected area. From delicious fresh fruit to home-made muesli and granola, as well as cheese and cold meats, the options are many, accompanied by fresh fruit juice, coffee and a range of Kenyan teas. Hot breakfast options include eggs cooked to order.

The lunch menu, available 12.30–4.30pm, varies daily, with the additional option of pizza or Kenyan wraps on certain days. Lighter snacks, from samosas and salads to fruit and ice cream, are an alternative to the two-course menu, which features two mains (perhaps chicken skewers or homemade pasta with a fish sauce) and a dessert such as cinnamon pancakes with cream.

At dinner, served 7.30–9.00pm, the menu also changes daily, typically with the option of two starters, two mains – plus the catch of the day – and a dessert or fruit. We were seduced almost entirely by the fish (typically red or white snapper), served with rice pilaf and a ginger sauce, and a superb fruit platter to finish, but on barbecue night, a combo of lobster, snapper, calamari and prawns proved irresistible. A full vegetarian/vegan menu is also available each evening.

To ensure that hunger pangs are kept at bay, tea/coffee and home-made biscuits are served from 4.00pm, with “bitings” (savoury snacks) at around 6.00pm.
Dining style
Mixture of group dining and individual tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Room service is available at extra cost.
Drinks included
Drinks are not included, but are reasonably priced. Tap water is considered safe for brushing teeth but not for drinking. A 75cl glass bottle of drinking water is provided in your room each day, but after that you will need to buy your own.

Special interests

Honeymoons
With soft sand underfoot, the sparkling Indian Ocean in front and good food, WaterLovers is an intimate yet casual spot for a beachfront honeymoon in Kenya. As an extra treat, couples may be served dinner à deux on the beach.
See ideas for Honeymoons in Kenya
Beach holidays
The extensive white sands of Diani Beach are the perfect lure for a beach break in Kenya, where WaterLovers has plenty of personal spaces to relax in the shade, along with a freshwater pool and kayaks for the more active.
See ideas for Beach holidays in Kenya

Children

Attitude towards children
Children of all ages are welcome.
Property’s age restrictions
None.
Special activities & services
There's a children's menu, and babysitting can be done by ladies from housekeeping.
Equipment
Baby cots, mosquito nets and high chairs are available, with a special package for infants that includes a potty, baby bath, and signature poncho-style towel.
Generally recommended for children
The low-key style of WaterLovers, and easy access to the beach, makes it a good option for children. The secluded villa at the back of the property is particularly suited to young families, whereas the Penthouse – with open staircase – is better for those with older children.
Notes
The pool is unfenced, with no lifeguard, and there is open access to the beach beyond, so children who are not competent swimmers will need careful supervision.

Communications

Power supply notes
There is a generator for the occasional power cut and the hot water in the rooms is solar-heated. Every room has a power-saving switch (ie one switch to turn on/off everything).
Communications
There is free WiFi throughout the property and good cellphone coverage.
TV & radio
Only the Penthouse has a TV.
Water supply
Mains
Water supply notes
All bathrooms are fully plumbed with hot and cold water to both basins and shower.

Sustainability

A community approach

WaterLovers works behind the scenes to support the local community in many guises, from sports to crafts to the environment to helping families in real need. Taekwondo and football clubs for both boys and girls help to motivate older children, while various craft products, such as simple wooden turtles and innovative wine glasses made from old bottles, are commissioned for use around the hotel. The hotel’s own small shop features a range of local crafts as well as environmentally friendly products, while in the narrow alleyway alongside the hotel, a couple of stallholders are permitted to sell their own fabrics and curios. At weekends, fruit brought in from the countryside by older children is bought for the kitchen, and the fish and seafood is naturally all local. Support for Colobus Conservation goes hand in hand with beach cleaning. Theirs is a genuinely community-wide approach that benefits on many different levels.

See more great sustainability projects in Kenya

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
Diani Beach Hospital is a five-minute drive away. In an emergency, the hospital at Mombasa can be reached in about an hour.
Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Security measures
There is no serious problem here with beach boys, but the hotel does have security round the clock.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers throughout the property. In addition they have a fire hose and conduct fire training.

Activities

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Scuba-diving

    Scuba-diving

  • Snorkelling

    Snorkelling

  • Watersports

    Watersports

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
A laundry service is available, at a cost equivalent to roughly US$1.50 per small item and US$2.50 per large item of clothing.
Money
There are safes in each room.
Accepted payment on location
MasterCard and Visa are both accepted, with a 2.5% surcharge.

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