Last week I had the absolute pleasure of 3 days on my own at the beach with a dear friend. It being my first solo holiday since having kids nearly 7 years ago I wanted it to be special… was it? Yes it really was.
We decided to go Diani from Nairobi as the flight, (SAX from Wilson) was super cheap and the flying time so short. I’d highly recommend Wilson over JKIA as you can literally drop in an hour before, whizz through security and spend the remaining 50 minutes reading a book.
At Diani we chose to spend our downtime Sands at Nomads. A few reasons prompted the decision, but the most important were the endless excellent reviews we read online and got in person here in Nairobi, in fact no one had a bad thing to say about Sands and once there we saw why.
Sands is one of the largest and most well-known resorts on the idyllic Diani beach. Originally a collection of Bandas that were bought up and converted to a resort it still retains that old world beach feel, with thatched huts dotted about under shady palms, most of them facing what surely is one of the worlds most beautiful beaches.
The main building at Sands is built banda style and has a bar, coffee shop and restaurant which over-look the crystalline pool. The pool itself deserves a special mention, gently sloping at first and great for kids it plunges into a vertiginous 5 metres drop, built specially for scuba diving training it’s actually quite thrilling just to swim in.
A five-minute walk from the main pool/bar complex is another collection of buildings
built on the beach. The divine Nomad restaurant is one of those high ceilinged, breezy, barefoot places that you dream of for a holiday. Shipwrecked high on the powder soft, white sand beach its vantage point overlooking the azure ocean, it was our Hotel California; once we were there we were never able to leave. Many happy hours were spent with glasses of wine or plates of fresh seafood looking at fishing boats, dhows and even camels traversing the coastline. The service at Nomads was impeccable, the food moreso, from the expansive breakfast with its huge buffet to its magnificent day menu. Heavily featuring the local caught fish, the restaurant caters for all tastes with enormous Italian pizzas, fresh salads, Japanese sushi and authentic Kenyan dishes.
If 3 restaurants and bars aren’t enough you can treat yourself to homemade ice cream from the ice cream parlour, buy gifts or the ubiquitous kikoy pants from the reasonably priced shop Or even, if you tire of lying about which we certainly didn’t, visit the fitness centre, daily yoga & Zumba classes or dive & beach sports facility. Finally finish the day and truly wind down with a trip to the onsite full service spa.
Accommodation ranges from smaller Forest View rooms which are just 100 yards or so from the beach to Banda’s that can take a family. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to a suite. The tranquil, air-conditioned and ensuite space was complete with a large sea view balcony. A Lamu day bed for lounging on, flowers in the bathroom, fully stocked bar fridge and large soft beds it was the restful space and sanctuary that you need after a day on the beach and my friend and I both slept better than we have in years.
If I’m raving about Sands it’s because it deserves it. Two tired frazzled mums walked into the resort and two serene, tanned and considerably calmer women walked out. This is a resort that would be great for a couples weekend or time with friends. Although they do cater for kids, it felt very quiet and I certainly wouldn’t want to inflict my screaming trio on the other residents, so personally I wouldn’t take my children there. In conclusion for an upper end Diani experience, a 45-minute flight from home, with fantastic food and service, on one of the best beaches in the world you couldn’t ask for more.