With few rooms, attentive service, and stunning beachside location, Almanara is a firm favorite. The décor could look a bit dated to those who like more contemporary luxury, but we think that its overall standards are some of the best in this area.
Almanara Boutique Hotel is privately owned and run. The property was opened in December 2007 by the Giovando family, which includes Nico, born in the Central Highlands town Nyeri in 1954, and his daughter Alexandra, who fell in love with Diani Beach during her first trip to the Kenyan Coast in 2003. The family also operates Almanara Villas. Accommodation at the hotel is booked on a full-board basis, and the property is open all year round. It’s possible to book per room, or exclusively (max. 12 travelers).
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The hotel is situated on Galu Beach, which is the central stretch of Diani Beach. This is a relatively peaceful part of Diani, with a scenic backdrop of lush forest.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT ALMANARA BOUTIQUE HOTEL:
The hotel contains three deluxe ocean view rooms and two deluxe ocean suites. Positioned on the upper floor of the two-floor building, both options are fully air-conditioned. The style element falls a little short when compared with some of the newly built or refurbished properties across Kenya, but the rooms exude quality regardless of this and are incredibly spacious and well maintained. Each deluxe ocean view room contains a super-king-size bed, bedside cabinets and lighting, a dressing table, and a seating area. Ample storage space is provided by a walk-in wardrobe, which backs onto the en-suite bathroom. The bathroom, which is also generously proportioned, features a flush toilet, bidet, twin washbasins, and corner bathtub. The design includes imported Italian marble and mosaic, lending a touch of grandeur to the washing facilities. From the bedroom, sliding doors open onto a private veranda, where guests can enjoy amazing ocean views! The deluxe ocean suite category offers extra lounge space, a large dressing table, a very spacious changing area, a Jacuzzi-style bathtub, and a private balcony.
Most of the communal facilities at Almanara Boutique Hotel occupy the lower floor of the building, which is approached via an impressive glass walkway over a koi pond! Once inside, you’ll find an airy reception hall, with access into the lounge and other shared areas. These include a peaceful library, well-stocked bar, and study with 60-inch satellite HDTV. The hotel also offers a games room and a gym, while just outside you’ll find the ocean-view Jacuzzi and infinity pool! The pool is surrounded by sunloungers under parasols, and there are even a few tables-and-chairs set up nearby, where guests can enjoy some al fresco dining. The meals included in the price of your stay are taken on the terrace of the hotel, overlooking this pool area – and two options are offered for each course. Then a short distance from the main building, there’s the very well-known Sails restaurant. Having opened a year after the boutique hotel, today Sails is one of the most popular eateries on the Kenyan Coast and specializes in fresh seafood. The restaurant is separate to the hotel and meals incur an additional cost. Please note, during high season it’s advisable to book for dinner.
ACTIVITIES AT ALMANARA BOUTIQUE HOTEL:
Due to its location, Almanara Boutique Hotel provides an exhilarating range of activities. All of these can be arranged by the hotel, and some are provided by third parties at an extra cost.
Diving- Various courses and excursions are available from local PADI-certified company Diani Marine. Diani Beach has over 25 dive sites that would keep any diver busy and entertained over the course of their stay.
Snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding- The hotel’s own surf school offers equipment for hire, and one of the best snorkeling sites is just 500 meters from the shore. Alternatively, guests can board Almanara’s sailing boat and make for the sand islands that are exposed at low tide. Stand-up paddleboarding is another excellent low-tide activity, and you can look out for dolphins and turtles during your ride!
Kite and windsurfing- The venue for these activities is the SurfLeo Water Sports Centre. Here, you can hire equipment and learn about surfing conditions before taking to the waters in style.
Deep-sea fishing- Both half- and full-day trips can be arranged through a local provider. Fishing spots around Diani include the world-renowned Pemba Channel, which contains black marlin, red snapper, yellowfin tuna, and dorado.
Dhow excursions- Why not set sail on a traditional dhow, bound for Wasini Island and the Kisite National Marine Reserve? Once at the reserve, you’ll have opportunities to do a little snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, and the experience also involves a delicious picnic!
Golf- The Leisure Lodge Country Club & Golf Resort is located just 20 minutes’ drive from Almanara. Staff at the hotel are happy to organize rounds of golf on the resort’s 18 hole par 72 championship course.
Tennis- Guests of Almanara can pop to nearby hotel Kinondo Kwetu for tennis on the property’s plexipave hard court.
Horse riding- Kinondo Kwetu offers horse riding too, both within the hotel’s paddocks or along the beautiful beach.
Visits to the Colobus Trust- The trust is home not only to the Angolan colobus, but also to baboons, vervets, and sykes. It’s well worth a visit, to find out about the latest endeavors to protect these species.
Forest tours- These take place in the Kaya forest. Having been met by the forest’s local patrons, you’ll explore the area and learn about the history of the coastal people, the Digo.