Flamingo Beach Hotel
Travel Blogs from Shanzu
It's easy to be misinformed about Sub-Saharan Africa by charity-led images of destitute natives fronting pleas for spare change. Now, financially restrained parts of the continent may be, but many places possess a wealth of qualities that money can't buy.
"Jambo, Jambo Bwana, Habari gani, Mzuri sana. Wageni mwakaribishwa, Kenya yetu Hakuna …
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... a shelf, so finding someone's file can be tricky. Sometimes we have no electricity and have to do things outside or by torchlight. The place could do with some better equipment (or just equipment in general). Still, her centre services over 6500 women!!!
Her centre runs basic prenatal care, basic infant care and family planning advice. I've been teaching family planning classes, in one day I taught 35 women! I'm becoming an expert at putting ...
Hi guys, just a quick one asking for your help.
I've entered a photo I took in a competition with other volunteer's pictures, whoever gets the most votes wins money, which Id love to give to my program if I win. It's super easy, please just follow the link and vote.
Also I'd appreciate it if you could tell others about it, this maternal and child health centre could do ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Flamingo Beach Hotel Shanzu
I have recently returned from a two week holiday at the Flamingo Hotel.
I'm sorry to say it was the worst holiday we have had for a number of reasons, let me explain and I will try to be as brief as possible!
On arrival our "Superior" room was unusable. The shower mixer tap was missing and water just shot out sideways from a hole in the wall! Upgraded (and paid) for a suite. A little better but the shower and bathroom were still not up to much! The shower still leaked from the wall, cracked tiles and all very tired. The taps had little chrome left on them as they had been polished so much and the strawberry pink bath and sink were a relic from the 70's.
Air conditioning broke down the second day and took two days to repair. Lost hot water for two days due to a burst pipe. The mini bar broke down and flooded the floor. I also had an ipod stolen from my room!
We sat around the pool for the first few days, which was fine. The usual crowd of "towels at dawn" were there so don't leave it too late to grab a bed! A lot of them were broken so anything after 1000am and you were left with the second rate cushions and beds!
My daughter (12yrs) then went down with dysentery, she was very ill and as she didn't respond to the doctor's treatment was taken into a private hospital the other side of Mombassa. I then spent the next 4 days with her at the hospital whilst she was on an IV drip. My wife travelled back and forth to the hotel in taxi through some of the most squalid parts of Mombassa. We received no help from the hotel. Dysentery is only passed on from other humans through water or food. We only drunk bottled water and we only ate at the hotel.
I would say the "local" hotel staff were all very friendly. The management, all Europeans were useless!
If I were you spend the extra money and travel with a bigger company. The hotel was rough around the edges, lacked investment, and was poorly run.
Stayed for a few nights prior to a msroyalstar cruise. Am really neutral about this hotel, its ok, nice grounds and pool area. Rooms are dated and need a good overall, bathroom a shocker, no hairdryer, shampoo, soap, hot water, etc. They had no clean pillowcases so the poor houseman said he would go to another hotel if we really required them. They ran out of teaspoons and milk jugs at breakfast so the waiter took ours (without asking) and gave them to the next table...without to have been cleaned. The food is so so. Drinks at the bar were short measured....and dont dare ask for ice from bottled water.....they will tell you they have to walk to Mombasa for it...just silly little things really that make me give this hotel a 2 rating. The day after to have left this hotel half the cruisers went down with GI, the doctor on the ship said it was due to the hotel washing food in tap water and not using bottled water for the coffee/tea. The beach is not the best, seaweed, murky water and the beachboys become a pest.
It was ok for a couple of days but much prefer lovely Malindi where a 4/5 star hotel is exactly that.
I do not see how the other posters could post such nonsense! The hotel was a NIGHTMARE! Night one: The electricity went out! All of the people were STUCK in the dining room. Older people (me and my wife are in our 40's) were told to not take the candles to their rooms! They had to HIRE flash light carrying staff to take them to their room!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The scenery is the ONLY good thing about this hotel! The buffet actually had small ROACHES walking around! The staff are trained to quickly fix this problem with a quick hand. It made me sick. The men who cleaned our rooms would look at my wife with no respect. They would clean our room and the stench of arm pit sweat stayed in our room. The manager is an East German who does not know what he is doing. Many of the people in the hotel were from England had the same bad experiences that we had! Some of the food left us with diarria, and the cooks were not very clean (most people never get a look inside the kitchen, I can assure you that it is well below any health standards that exist in the U.S). This was a nightmare that I will never go through again! PLEASE BEWARE!!!!!!!!!
Best package holiday ever
Just got back from Flamingo Beach yesterday and quite frankly this was the very best package type holiday I have ever been on during my 50 years on this planet.
I'll go through all the plusses, and I will also mention the very few small minus's to give a balanced view.
Firstly, I cannot understand those people who complain that African Safari Club charge you for everything. It is crystal clear from the brochures what you do and don't get. Those who complain about paying for Sun loungers, it isn't a hidden cost, you know about it so what is the problem? you don't want to pay don't go there, simple. Ditto with soft drinks.
Check-in. Simple and speedy, got the plane seat we requested, politely and efficiently dealt with.
Flight. In truth, in flight entertaniment was poor especially for an overnight 8.1/2 hour flight. Food was fair and drinks were available and on offer frequently. One gripe here for me is that my "entertainment consel wasn't working on the way out, and despite having been in the same seat on our return trip it still hadn't been fixed some two weeks later. In reality, I believe the plane could do with an refit, as I think it appears to be somewhat dated, in flight shopping magazines not new and grubby, and in general could do with a better level of cosmetic maintenance. THAT IS THE END OF THE BAD COMMENTS.
Arrival. We had already got our visas organised in England, which speeded up our transfer through Mombasa customs and Iwould recommend you do the same. Also one of the aspects of upgrading to the de luxe package is that your luggage goes with you to the hotel. Things were so wuick and efficient that we were actually checked in at the hotel 45 minutes after the planes wheels hit the runway (this includes a 25 minute drive from the airport). Truly excellent.
Hotel Reception. Very nice and the staff checking you in welcoming and pretty efficient. Our room wasn't quite ready so we went in for breakfast and when we came out all sorted perfectly.
Room. We had upgraded to a suite, and quite frankly it was superb. Bright, airy, spacious with excellent air con and a huge double balcony. I must mention the cleaner who had our room cleaned absolutely brilliantly by 09.30 every single morning.
Pool area. Very large, Never over crowded,never over noisy, drinks waiters always available, different speciality cocktail every day. It was truly idyllic. We situated ourself near the waterfall on most days as we could sunbathe, and also move our bed a couple of feet to be in the shade. Again, mentioning the deluxe package. If you take this option you will get your sun bed every single day without having to pay (or sign for) on a daily basis. You will also get an ASC beach towel for every person on the deluxe package.
Meals. Breakfast is pretty standard, as is lunch, both by buffet, so you eat as much or little as you like. Bread and butter pudding for lunch dessert was wonderful. Evening meals is a bit different. We opted for the gourmet package which I consider tohave been a brilliant investment. Effectively a choice of 4 restaurants one at Flamingo, two at Dolphin and one at Paradise.. I can only give you one piece of advice. DO IT. Food was superb, especially the Chateaubriand in the Watamu Grill in the Dolphin, as good as any I've had in England.
Nightly entertainment. TBH not all that, but eating in the restarants and a quiet drink is about all I can manage after a day in the sun, so this didn't bother me in the slightest.
Climate. Absolutely beautiful, and far less humid during the day than the Caribbean which made the heat completely comfortable. Hottest gtime of day 10.00-12.30. Nicest time 1530-17.30. Rain was normally early morning or late night and was totally irrelevent and non-disruptive to our holiday which is great considering October is one of the the wettest months.
Odds and ends.
Tipping. Whenever you feel it is appropriate. I promise that at the hotel you will not get inferior service if you don't tip, but you tend to be looked after by the same people in restaurant, cleaner, poolside and perhaps you feel it is appropriate to reward them. We certainly did.
You may have heard how intrusive these guys are when you walk on the beach, and to be honest it didn't bother me. If you don't want to talk, avoid eye contact, but they only become a problem if you don't relax and allowthem to become a problem, but in truth the perception is not the same as the rality, they are ok.
Shops in the village.
Don't go out expecting a 15 minute mooch around. Although there aren't loads and loads of shops it is a fun experience and is only a very short walk, consequently you will probably go on more than one occaision. As a further bit of advice. YOU MUST NEGOTIATE PRICES. It is a way of life there.
Wonderful. The best. Friendly, smiling, polite, helpful. We loved them.
The grounds of the hotel.
It is a mini eco-system, lizards, monkeys, birds and various wildlife. Don't be put off, it is fine. There are several domestic cats around the place. They are not strays, they are not ferral, they are lovely moggies and are very very well cared for by the hotel.
We went on the Red Elephant overnight safari. Incredible experience and incredibly tiring. I actually came face to face with a crocodile (literally within 1 metre) just outside Tsavo East (not at Crocodile camp) was a trluy wonderful experience, and to be honest a Safari of some sort is a MUST-DO onthis holiday.
All in all this was a pretty well faultless holiday. If you are thinking of going, I urge you to do so, but take the deluxe package, it is certanly more practical.
Please feel free to email me with any questions
I am giving this a neutral rating because the hotel is rated as the ASC's flagship hotel and with that title you expect something a little more special.
The hotel is quite old and traditionally furnished. The furniture was OK. Forget 70's avocado the bathroom in our room was definitely 60's pink (and an original). The shower head was so rusty that we didn't feel comfortable using it and that often wasn't a problem as there was no water at certain times of the day.
My well grounded husband felt very uncomfortable with the electricity outlets, the bathroom shower point was totally broken and one of the sockets in the room crackled.
There were no smoke detectors and I would suggest taking a travel one with you.
The room was clean and the staff very friendly.
The rooms had lovely balconies but you couldn't sit with the door open as the monkeys popped in and helped themselves to anything in site.
There is an antiquated accounting system so after paying our bill by 8 p.m. last night we had to queue again at 4 a.m. this morning to pay the last €8.
On a positive point I was grateful that our room was ready when we arrived around 7 a.m. last week but this week discovered that they way they achieve this is by waking up exiting guests at 3.50 a.m. for a
9 a.m. flight. After the wake up call the porters arrived within minutes for the luggage.
We then waited in reception for over 2 1/2 hours as they couldn't reconcile their accounting until they found out that they had failed to call one departing guest, he was still sound asleep.
I can't comment on the food as I spent 3 days in bed with diarrhoea. This will be covered in my review of African Safari Club's Masa Maari safari package and stay at Camp Buffalo.
At 45 we were definitely on the young end of the age scale and most of the older residents had used the Flamingo beach as a starting and ending point for a cruise.
I would return to Kenya but I wouldn't stay at any of the African Safari Club hotels.
When you travel to Kenya take plenty of very small notes (one dollar bills are great) and beware of the porters at the airport. They pushed our luggage 300 metre and we gave them five dollars and they asked for more for their friend. We gave them two more dollars and said that we had no change to which they replied that doesn't matter we will share. At one point I thought that they were going to get my husband's wallet out of his pocket and help themselves. These porters were with the ASC desk.
Good value for money
Thanks to everyone for their reviews before are trip to Kenya. very helpful.
Having just returned from the Flamingo Beach Hotel, we had a great time. Excellent value for money in a beautiful place. The staff work very hard to make your Holiday special,and after reading some of the negative reviews before we went, they made us quite concerned.However my experience was that people moan about petty things, their are a lot of 2 bob millionaires out there,they pay £1500-2000 for a holiday and expect one costing twice as much. In answer to the general complaints. "You have to pay for everything""They rip you off" well Sunbeds cost £1 a day (my Daughter payed £5 in the canaries) Bottle of Fanta/sprite 64 pence.Bottle of Kenyan Beer, which is very good £1.42.
When you consider that we payed £700 each for 14 days in what i would class as a 4star hotel with full board, in an excellent location. Which included a 2 day Safari, and stay at a beautiful lodge. With your own Bungalow,and porch overlooking the river. With crocs & hippo,s to watch,while you sit and have a beer. Plus a 4 day cruise to zanzibar on a lovely old restored cruise ship.
As regards Malaria and Injections etc, it is essential you visit your Doctor for the correct advise.Hope this is of help to anyone who is going. You will have a great time.
Fantastic Cruise and Stay
We stayed at the superb Flamingo Beach Hotel for the first two nights of our stay before cruising on the MS ROYAL STAR through ---
An amazing experience at such a low cost - many of our fellow passengers had paid much more. We had a wonderful holiday.
WE WILL RETURN!
We have just returned from a 2 week stay at the Flamingo Beach Hotel, this is visually a good hotel, every thing looks great, the room we were in had a dripping tap in the room which had been leaking for so long it had stained the sink, and the shower worked when it wanted to. All these things are really petty and did not affect the overall pleasure of our holiday, it is also worth mentioning that the staff, ie waiters, room cleaners,reception etc, were great and went out of there way to make our stay great. The Kenyan people in general must be among the most friendly people you could meet they make you feel that you have honoured them by choosing to visit there country, and if you make an effert to learn a few words of Swahili it pays dividends. We really enjoyed bartering with them for the wooden figures etc.
The only thing to spoil our holiday was the Afriacan Safari Clubs policy of fleasing there customers, Every thing you wanted was at a price. You have to pay for a sun bed, coffe etc, and they take no responcibility for any thing.
Having been to Kenya before, with a different organisation, we noticed just how much they were taking us for, and as such will not use ASC next time we return to Kenya
Liked it, but don't know if we'd return...
We've just returned from a 2 week holiday at the Flamingo Beach Hotel and we quite liked it although there are some things about it that caused us not to want to return. It is quite tired looking in places and they do try to rip you off in some regards. Basically if you stay here you should buy all your water outside the hotel as you'll pay about 20% of what they charge inside!
The hotel is clean, and the rooms whilst basic are perfectly adequate and comfortable. We stayed in one of their suites and had a fantastic view of palm trees, the Indian Ocean, and blue skies. The pool is lovely, although it can get crowded and a bit noisy on some days but the beach is generally very quiet as long as you don't want to talk to the beach boys.
The staff at the hotel are wonderful. Very friendly and generally can't do enough for you although don't expect the same level of sophistication you see in European restaurants.
Food is ok, although it gets a bit repetitive but there are some better a la carte restaurants to chose from if you don't mind paying extra. In particular, the Watamu Grill at the Dolphin Hotel just next door do the best Chareaubriand I've ever had, and a bit further down the beach the Jahazi Grill (part of the Serena Beach Hotel) is very nice indeed. We did get upset stomachs for a couple of days but nothing to write home about - we didn't even take our imodium.
All in all we had a really good time at the Flamingo. It's true that you get what you pay for and you can get some great deals with the African Safari Club which should tell you something. In fact, I don't think you could get just a flight to Kenya cheaper than you can get a 1 or 2 week break including flights with ASC! It is a great location from which to embark on safari which you must not miss out on. Also, you must remeber that this isn't New York, London, Frankfurt or Paris. This is Africa and if you're really picky, demanding and require haute cuisine then you should consider going elsewhere.
As I said we really enjoyed it but I'm not sure that we would return, but that applies to a lot of places I've been to and liked. We met a lot of people who were on their 2nd and 3rd visits to the Flamingo which should tell you something.
PS - watch out for loads of cheeky monkeys in the mornings and afternoons!
Just returned from two weeks at the Flamingo Hotel with the African Safari Club. The combination of the beach hotel and the safari made this a wonderful experience. The Flamingo is in a park-like setting with a multitude of palm trees. The large, open air lobby, lounge and dining areas overlook the lower-level pool which is the size of a small football field complete with island, bridges and waterfall. Through the palm trees is Shanzu Beach, about a mile long with white sand. The standard rooms, while not luxurious, are air-conditioned, large, clean and functional, each with a private balcony overlooking the resort. Breakfast and lunch are from a large buffet with a specialty cook and dinner is selected from a three-course menu. Pictures can't capture the beauty of this resort and the African Safari Club has their act together.