With few rooms, attentive service, and stunning beachside location, Almanara is a firm favourite. 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 Villas are privately owned and run by the Giovando family. This includes Nico, who was born in Kenya’s Central Highlands town Nyeri in 1954, and his daughter Alexandra, who fell in love with Diani Beach during her very first trip to the Kenyan Coast in 2003. The Giovandos also operate Almanara Boutique Hotel, and although this property is situated fairly close to the Villas it’s entirely separate and Villa residents do not have access to it. Accommodation at Almanara Villas is booked on a full-board basis, and they’re open throughout the year.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The villas can be accessed via 10 minutes’ road transfer from Ukunda Airstrip. They have a lovely location amidst manicured gardens, close to (but not immediately on) Lagu Beach, the central section of Diani Beach.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT ALMANARA VILLAS:
Each of the six villas offers three en-suite bedrooms, which are positioned on the upper floor and individually air conditioned. Two have a double bed and the third has twin beds. Every bedroom is thoughtfully decorated, with furnishings such as ornate bedside stands and lighting, a writing desk or dressing table and chair/stool, plenty of storage space, and some interesting artwork. The master bedroom also benefits from a lockable safe, a separate changing area, and a flatscreen television with satellite channels. The en-suite facilities of all three bedrooms comprise flush toilet, bidet, washbasin, shower, and bathtub – and there’s an additional cloakroom downstairs.
The shared spaces within the Almanara villas are just as well presented as the bedrooms. On the lower floor of each building, there are open-plan living and dining areas, featuring comfortable seating around coffee tables and a large dining table and chairs for communal meals. There’s a television and a DVD player here too. All food and drink is prepared by your private chef and served by your private butler. You can also relax and tuck into a snack on the rooftop terrace, which is a great spot for stargazing, or on the spacious veranda adjoining the living/dining spaces. Guests of the villas enjoy access to a shared swimming pool within lush gardens, as well as a Jacuzzi in the welcoming shade of trees. Finally, there’s a sunken pool bar, providing a good range of drinks and a nice venue for getting to know your neighbours in between trips to the beach and beyond.
ACTIVITIES AT ALMANARA VILLAS:
From Almanara Villas it’s possible to enjoy an impressive assortment of activities, some from the Villas themselves and some from third parties located nearby (most incur an extra cost).
Diving- Local PADI-certified company Diani Marine supplies a variety of courses and excursions. Diani Beach boasts over 25 dive sites that have a lovely array of coral reefs and sea creatures!
Snorkelling and stand-up paddleboarding- The surf school at neighbouring Almanara Boutique Hotel offers equipment for hire, and one of the finest snorkelling sites is just 500 metres from Lagu Beach’s shore. Alternatively, you could board Almanara’s own sailing boat and head out to the sand islands that are exposed at low tide. Stand-up paddle boarding is also possible when the waves recede, and you can look out for turtles and dolphins during your ride!
Kite and windsurfing- The local SurfLeo Water Sports Centre has equipment for hire, and you’ll learn about surfing conditions before taking to the waters in style.
Deep sea fishing- Both half- and full-day trips can be set up through a local provider. Diani’s fishing spots include the world-renowned Pemba Channel, where a good mix of species is in residence – black marlin, red snapper, yellow fin tuna, and dorado.
Dhow excursions- Why not make for Wasini Island and the Kisite National Marine Reserve, on a traditional dhow? Once at the reserve, you could do a little snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters, and the experience also involves a Swahili picnic featuring fresh seafood!
Golf- Golf fans can enjoy a few rounds at the Leisure Lodge Country Club & Golf Resort, just 20 minutes’ drive from Almanara. The resort has an 18 hole par 72 championship course.
Tennis- This land sport is available at nearby hotel Kinondo Kwetu, where the grounds include a plexipave hard court.
Horse riding- Kinondo Kwetu provides horse riding too, both within the hotel’s paddocks or along the scenic beach.
Visits to the Colobus Trust- Home not only to the Angolan colobus, but also to baboons, vervets, and sykes, the trust is well worth a visit. You’ll find out about the latest efforts to protect these enchanting species.
Forest tours- This activity takes place in the Kaya forest. Having been welcomed by the forest’s local patrons, you’ll explore the area and learn about the history of the coastal people, the Digo.