Hemingways is a 74 room resort Hotel overlooking the stunning beach of Watamu Marine Park, 20 miles south of Malindi and 60 miles north of Mombasa.
The hotel has a distinctive exclusive, and sophisticated feel about it and is definitely for the more discerning traveler seeking quality, and peace and quiet. You won’t find much entertainment in the evenings apart from live lounge music in the restaurant twice a week and a snake charmer on one occasion in the bar.
This is a privately owned hotel, and given the chance to stay, I would take it with both hands. Privately owned hotels are by and large friendlier, and Hemingways has all the facilities and standards of an international five-star resort.
When you add to that absolutely brilliant cuisine, the old-fashioned courtesy of the staff, with attentive service, and the backdrop of one of the top ten beaches of the world, you have the right mix for a top vacation.
I think there are just four hotels on as many miles of coast, and all of this is protected and guarded by the finest of tropical barrier reefs.
Hemingways is undoubtedly a delightful five-star deluxe hotel, with some very old-fashioned unique touches that contain echoes of what this part of the world must have been like before the arrival of the modern package holiday hotel.
Hemingways has character in abundance, and I liked it before I ever got there when I read about having to buy drinks for the bar if you weren’t dressed properly, and the traditional curry style lunch on a Sunday, all resplendent of Empire, and all that sort of thing!!
We don’t do deep-sea fishing, but if you do, then Hemingways will do it better than anywhere else, so I was told by a guest. You can however go dolphin watching, snorkeling, or diving, and a short distance away is a tidal lagoon teeming with bird-life, and the hotel has an Arabic Dhow for sunset cruises at this very interesting spot.
One worthwhile selection is to go on a two-day personal safari, with Hemingways own experienced guides, which we chose because we wanted a family “taster” to see if we liked it prior to doing the whole thing next year, and we did!!
Hemingways really is a bit of paradise in the most beautiful setting imaginable.
There is a range of accommodation, from the cheaper standard rooms which are so close to the sea at high tide, you can almost touch it, and views are out of this world!! They are a little on the small side and need some modernizing, or you can stay in the newly extended rooms over the pool, and they are very spacious and modern. You might just want to push the boat out and book one of the two-bedroom suites, which are of the highest quality.
You cannot fail to be impressed by the service, from well-trained, very friendly, and extremely attentive staff. Nothing was too much trouble, they just wanted to please, and the guests in the main responded by saying please and thank you a courtesy not always observed nowadays in hotels!
As much as anything we went for the food, being a very important part of our family vacation. The menus on Hemingways website didn’t lie!! The food was a total highlight, the food being quite delicious, and most importantly varied, when you stay for two weeks.
There were occasional extensive sumptuous buffets, but mostly there was a menu and waiter service in the evenings. You could choose from a set menu of five courses, with at least three choices for each course, which enabled our “picky” son to eat without a murmur!! There was an à la carte menu, but the standard of the set menu was so high we only used it once, and it was superb. My wife just loved the afternoon tea which is part of staying at Hemingways, and not an extra, with pancakes made to order as well as delicious sandwiches and cakes.
Getting to Hemingways might be your only problem, if you fly to Mombasa then you will be shaken to bits over the two hours plus it takes to cover sixty-odd miles. If you can, then fly to Malindi.