Best hotels and hostels in South Coast

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Diani Beach

    Water Lovers

    Beautiful, peaceful and intimate, Water Lovers has eight rooms and one villa, all designed with aesthetics, sustainability and love in mind. The furniture is a mix of Swahili wood and Italian pottery, and the wonderful staff will cater for every need. As you might expect from Italian owners, there's a great private restaurant serving organic fare and homemade pasta. Snorkelling, kayaking and kitesurfing can be arranged, and there's a spa in the tranquil gardens. Given the personalised level of service, 'Come as a guest, leave as a friend' is a very apt motto. We love everything about this place.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Diani Beach

    The Maji

    Among the loveliest of Diani's beachfront boutique hotels, the Maji – which means 'water' in Swahili – is simply gorgeous. The water feature in the beautiful Swahili lobby is surrounded by West African carvings, with welcome touches of contemporary art throughout. Each of the 15 rooms has its own vibe, but all have enormous beds, high ceilings and lovely bathrooms. Bliss.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Diani Beach

    AfroChic Diani Beach

    With just 10 individually decorated rooms and an elegant lobby and common area filled with West African carvings, this intimate hotel is all about attention to detail. We love the hand-carved bed frames and Maasai-beading chairs. The food makes the best of seasonal produce and is served 'anywhere, anytime', be it in your room or by the pool.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Diani Beach

    Kenyaways Kite Village

    This small, stylish kitesurfing lodge is one of our favourite places to stay in Diani. The gorgeously rustic rooms are simple but lovely, with painted timber bed frames, whitewashed walls and a sea breeze. Downstairs there's a good beachside bar and restaurant that attracts surfers and a chilled-out crowd. Friendly staff and a superb stretch of beach seal the deal.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Wasini Island

    Paradise Lodge

    This friendly little dive lodge on the eastern side of Wasini has a range of simple but colourful rooms (the most expensive with en suite), plus two furnished safari tents. Diving trips can also be arranged. You can sleep here independently, or as part of a diving tour.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Diani Beach

    Diani Backpackers

    Stylish and secure, Diani Backpackers has airy dorms, our favourite being Baobab, with an actual baobab growing through its middle, and comfortable private rooms (one with own bath). Come to party at the 24-hour bar and pool, or chill out in the lush garden.

  • Lodging in South of Mombasa

    The Sands at Chale Island

    The only private island resort on the tip of a sacred sliver of land originally caused controversy for wiping out a chunk of native forest (they've since replanted and much of the island is now a nature reserve). Bright, spacious rooms with Swahili-style beds and local art, and gorgeous sea views from pretty much everywhere, plus a spa and seafood restaurant. Much of Chale Island is a kaya (sacred woodland), closed to visitors, but its sulphur springs, mangroves and therapeutic mud ponds are accessible; the resort organises ecotours, as well as diving, snorkelling and culture trips to Gazi and its mangrove boardwalks.

  • Lodging in Diani Beach

    Leopard Beach Resort & Spa

    As beach resorts go, Leopard is rated among the best in Africa. Rooms are spacious, with king-sized beds and West African art, while splurge-worthy sea-view villas come with Jacuzzis. Trees, lianas and a riot of flowers give the vast property a jungle feel, swimming pools abound and the restaurants (yes, there are four) serve excellent fusion fare. Other perks include an award-winning spa, state-of-the-art gym and adults-only pool.

  • Lodging in South of Mombasa

    Shimba Hills Lodge

    Entered by a separate park gate from the main entrance, this dark timber lodge features an attractive interior, strewn with numerous Congolese and West African carvings. The rooms are snug, bright and come with welcome splashes of colourful art. The highlight is the wildlife seen from the boardwalk, which looks out over a forest clearing with a small lake. The restaurant is open until midnight and serves simple, hearty meals.

  • Lodging in Diani Beach

    Stilts Eco-Lodge

    This rustic haven gives backpackers and eco-conscious travellers four lodging options: tents on wooden platforms amid riotous greenery, luxurious, fan-cooled safari tents with own bathrooms, thatched treehouses with terraces and somewhat dark, monkey-proof cottages. A breezy, makuti (thatched-roof) bar rises from the coastal forest, with sofas, wi-fi, food and drinks, plus visits from the resident bush babies.

  • Lodging in Wasini Island

    Blue Monkey Cottages

    Made entirely of local materials – salvaged coral, stone, shells, driftwood, palm-thatched roofs – these rustic cottages on the outskirts of Wasini village are drowning in bougainvillea. The private beach, delicious Swahili food (vegan and seafood meals KSh380 to KSh720) and a feeling of disconnectedness, helped by the relative seclusion and reliance on solar power, are the things that lure travellers here.

  • Lodging in Diani Beach

    Swahili Beach Hotel

    Just south of Palm Ave, this elegant resort is all Moorish chic, with latticed screens, soaring ceilings, Moroccan-style mihrab headboards and reflecting pools that resemble those at the Taj Mahal. Five excellent restaurants, three pools (including one for scuba diving and one infinity pool), vast rooms with sunken tubs, beach bar, and spa are among the perks.

  • Lodging in Diani Beach

    Four Twenty South

    Named after the latitude of this gorgeous, remote beach, Four Twenty South has six rustic-chic cottages. Each comes with a personal chef (who may have cordon bleu credentials), stylish beach furniture, fresh flowers and creative decor. The welcome is warm and there's attention to detail. Great for groups. Turn left after KFI supermarket and follow the signs.

  • Lodging in Diani Beach

    Kinondo Poa

    Just around the corner from the sacred Kaya Kinondo grove, at the southern end of Diani Beach, this intimate resort clusters around an attractive pool. The 10 mangrove-beamed, makuti (thatched-roof) rooms are a study in tranquillity; the on-site restaurant can serve meals on the guests' private patios if they want a little privacy.

  • Lodging in Diani Beach

    Bidi Badu

    At the southern end of Diani Beach, backpackers strike gold with the most unlikely of combinations: glorious beach access and low prices. It's essentially a hostel on the beach, with three categories of rooms, a superb beachfront restaurant (try the coconut prawns), a pool and volleyball nets. Cheapest rooms share facilities.

  • Lodging in Mombasa

    Royal Court Hotel

    The swish lobby is the highlight of this stylish business hotel. Still, service and facilities are good, disabled access is a breeze and you get great views and food at the Roof Restaurant (on the roof), which also has a pool, and Malaika Brasserie. It wins points for charging everyone the same rates and for the spa and gym.

  • Lodging in Wasini Island

    Mpunguti Lodge

    The 10 rooms here, which overlook the delicious turquoise ocean, are uncomplicated, with mosquito nets, flush toilets and small verandahs. Running water is collected in barrels. The food is excellent (ask for the seagrass starter) and it’s a common lunch stop for boat trips. It’s on the edge of Wasini village.

  • Lodging in Diani Beach

    Diani Marine Village

    The huge rooms at this dive resort are more than just a little appealing. With stone floors, a modern Swahili style and a beautiful pool and gardens, this place represents superb value for money. The complimentary breakfast is fit for a king.

  • Lodging in Mombasa

    Lotus Hotel

    One of the best-value midrange options in Mombasa, the old-world Lotus is central and has clean, compact rooms with hot water and functioning air-conditioning. Staff are especially welcoming, and there are two bars downstairs to boot.

  • Lodging in Diani Beach

    Flamboyant

    This intimate boutique hotel has breathtaking beach views, 10 rooms, each with a slightly different colour scheme, from peach to cerulean, and excellent bathrooms. The star of the show is a fantastic pool complex.