Papillon Lagoon Reef

Mombasa, Kenya

The hotel

This popular hotel is fantastic value, and it's a very relaxing place to spend a week after the thrills of a safari. The centrepiece of the resort is the lovely freeform swimming pool, complete with the all-essential swim-up bar. Surrounding it are colourful tropical gardens that lead to the famous Diani Beach, considered to be one of the best along the Mombasa coast. Why not watch the sun go down with a drink from the beach bar which is open until late.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Swimming Pool
  • Babysitting service
  • Evening Entertainment
  • Internet Access
  • Beachfront location
  • Tennis
  • Restaurant
  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkelling

Where is it

On Diani Beach, south Mombasa. Transfer time from Mombasa Airport: 1 hour 30 minutes.

Hotel information

110 garden, 16 family and 24 beachfront rooms. All with balcony/patio, air-conditioning, ceiling fan, telephone, safe*, hairdryer and mosquito nets. Family Rooms with garden views, sleep maximum 4 adults or 2 adults and 2 children.

All Inclusive of: buffet breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Local alcoholic drinks including beer, spirits and house wine, soft drinks and selected cocktails served by the glass (there is a charge for premium wines, spirits and à la carte meals). Tennis, plus a free pool scuba demonstration and regular evening entertainment.

Garden Rooms are en-suite with shower only, 1 double bed or twin beds, sleeping maximum 3 adults or 2 adults and 1 child.

Beachfront Rooms are closer to the sea with lovely views, 4-poster bed, TV, stocked mini-fridge, kettle, shower and bath, sleeping maximum 2 adults.

  • Early booking offer: book by 31 Mar '20 for stays between 1 Jul-31 Oct '20 and save 20% off of accommodation costs.

  • Honeymooners: couples receive a bottle of sparkling wine and a fruit platter in their room on arrival. 

Bistro Bar & Restaurant (poolside restaurant offering buffet breakfast, lunch and evening barbecues), Baobab Restaurant (open for buffet dinner). Pool bar and beach bar. Freshwater swimming pool and separate kids' pool. 2 tennis courts. Beach volleyball. PADI dive centre*. Evening entertainment. Indoor kids' play area. Ngutuni overnight safari excursion available*. Laundry service*. Babysitting*. WiFi is availabile in the lobby and guest lounge.

3 nights at all times.

* Denotes local charge.

Ngutuni Excursion option - price from £150 pp.

Day 1: After an early breakfast depart Papillon Lagoon Reef at 5:15am and drive to Tsavo East National Park. Enter at the Bachuma Gate and proceed on a game drive along the River Circuit to Ngutuni Game Reserve and Ngutuni Lodge. Lunch and then return to Tsavo East for an afternoon game-drive returning to the lodge at dusk. Dinner and overnight stay at Ngutuni Lodge. (B/L/D)

Day 2: Early morning game-drive in Ngutuni's private 10,000 acre game sanctuary. Return to the lodge for breakfast and then continue to Papillon Lagoon Reef arriving in time for lunch.

Dress code: smart casual for dinner. Men must wear collared shirts, long trousers or smart shoes and shoes in the evening. Breakfast and lunch is casual but modestly covered. Sleeveless t-shirts, vests and swim wear may not be worn, however please feel free to wear t-shirts (with sleeves), shorts and beach wraps.

Rating summary

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (373)
  • Very good (290)
  • Average (80)
  • Poor (24)
  • Terrible (18)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating The staff are what made it

Dec 8, 2019 Cathy H Ipswich, United Kingdom

What lovely staff so polite and helpful despite working very long hours - couldn’t fault them at all. Initially we were in room 116 but had to move due to the damp and musky smell , even the bed sheets were damp. Not nice at all. There was no problem getting a move I think the hotel knew these rooms were damp and just hoped we wouldn’t complain!… Read more
What lovely staff so polite and helpful despite working very long hours - couldn’t fault them at all. Initially we were in room 116 but had to move due to the damp and musky smell , even the bed sheets were damp. Not nice at all. There was no problem getting a move I think the hotel knew these rooms were damp and just hoped we wouldn’t complain! 208 was so much better. I loved the monkeys that roamed around the venue even when they shared my wine! There was always something different to eat ,BBQ night was the best and there was a lovely stir fry lunch one day. Drinks could have been better and there was only ever one bar open at a time when we were there in November. No tea or coffee facilities in the rooms.Safari was amazing but yet again another room change on our return as you have to pack up and leave the suitcases at reception whilst you are away for the night. We were put back in another downstairs room 146 on our return. Similar damp smell but no where near as bad as 116. If you get a choice go for an upstairs room. Pool was lovely however I would have preferred some music during the day as I am not one for silence but if this is your preference it would be perfect for you.. All in all a great holiday but avoid if you want 5* Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Fantastic atmosphere!!!

Dec 6, 2019 Agnieszka K

Papillon Lagoon Reef maybe is a three star hotel, but outstanding in many areas. It has a beautiful property with a very big garden, well kept and nicely planned. Access to the beach is very comfortable, rooms are really enough for vacation stay, basic but sufficient. Food is good, maybe not a very big choice, but always fresh and apart from… Read more
Papillon Lagoon Reef maybe is a three star hotel, but outstanding in many areas. It has a beautiful property with a very big garden, well kept and nicely planned. Access to the beach is very comfortable, rooms are really enough for vacation stay, basic but sufficient. Food is good, maybe not a very big choice, but always fresh and apart from breakfast it changes every day. The most important thing however is the level of service and staff. This is the strongest side of the hotel. The atmosphere they create makes you feel very relaxed and taken care of. Special thanks to waiters: Nicholas, Dennis, Tonny, Eddie and many more, sorry, I do not remember all names. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Number 7

Dec 5, 2019 Michael B

Well, here we go with another review. It will be virtually be the same as all my other ones. Making an old man eat and drink too much, and sending him home a lot fatter than when he arrived.!!!! Its just what you expect from a good holiday. Apart from that,I must say how good it was to see all the friendly faces of people, not just staff, but… Read more
Well, here we go with another review. It will be virtually be the same as all my other ones. Making an old man eat and drink too much, and sending him home a lot fatter than when he arrived.!!!! Its just what you expect from a good holiday. Apart from that,I must say how good it was to see all the friendly faces of people, not just staff, but people I have met over my years at the Papillon, and am pleased to call friends. There are not many places you can do that . Everything was just the same,from my room, ( new decor) to the pool and the restuarants. So clean and tidy everywhere. As for the staff, what can I say, but thank you all for the friendliness and interaction from you all, even the Man U supporters.!!!! I am afraid I was not my most mobile due to a cracked kneecap on my first day there, no alcohol involved, but that still did not detract from a wonderful holiday. Once again,thank you all so very much. Once again, you made an old man very happy. Best Wishes. Regards,Mick. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating excellent place, excellent staff

Nov 28, 2019 EWA S Gliwice, Poland

Pappilon Lagoon Reef is in a great location if you are looking for somewhere clean and to stay right by the beach. A beautiful place with aesthetic views. The staff are really polite and helpful. Hotel hospitality was great. It is just the right space for a relaxing beach vacation. I would certainly come back even it will be 3rd time. Great value… Read more
Pappilon Lagoon Reef is in a great location if you are looking for somewhere clean and to stay right by the beach. A beautiful place with aesthetic views. The staff are really polite and helpful. Hotel hospitality was great. It is just the right space for a relaxing beach vacation. I would certainly come back even it will be 3rd time. Great value for money. I would thoroughly recommend staying here. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Simply Amazing

Nov 23, 2019 amybL7338YG Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

After travelling for almost 24 hours, we arrived at approx 11am after what felt like the longest, sweatiest taxi ride ever. We were greeted with a cold drink, smooth check in and 2 lads helped us to our room with our cases. We were allocated room 204, close to reception on the second floor looking out onto the gardens where the monkeys would play… Read more
After travelling for almost 24 hours, we arrived at approx 11am after what felt like the longest, sweatiest taxi ride ever. We were greeted with a cold drink, smooth check in and 2 lads helped us to our room with our cases. We were allocated room 204, close to reception on the second floor looking out onto the gardens where the monkeys would play every day and would often frequent our balcony. The room was clean and comfortable with 2 bottles of water on arrival (which you could refill or purchase more from the shop) AC was on from late afternoon until mid morning but the fan was more than adequate for the rest of the day. There is no mini fridge, tv or coffee making facilities in a standard room but for us this wasn’t a problem. There is a safe which you can use for a daily fee but we didn’t bother. After returning from safari we were given a free upgrade to a sea view room, this room has a mini fridge which was restocked and a tv and bath (both of which id never use on holiday but others might like) complimentary bath robes and tea/coffee making facilities with an amazing view of the beach - something I’d never tire of. There were also fewer monkeys around the sea view rooms, little bit of a shame as I’d become very fond of them and could spend hours just sat on the balcony watching them. We’ve stayed in AI hotels with an abundance of food options, a long list of cocktails, a la carte restaurants etc etc and if this is what you’ve come to expect of AI holidays, this place might not be for you. We found the food tasty, fresh and had more than enough options to see you through 2 weeks. I’m not a fan of seafood but the fish (no idea what it was) was really nice, that’s something coming from me! There’s omelette stations at breakfast with continental and full English options, beautiful fresh fruit, toastie station at lunch with salads, fresh fish, chicken etc, the stir fry day was my favourite! There was a BBQ night on a Friday and the food was great. We never went hungry that’s for sure. The local beer (Tusker) is good and there’s the usual spirits and mixers with white and red wine. Shame there wasn’t any Tusker cider as we had that in a few local restaurants and it was really good! Drinks aren’t icy cold but it was 30 degrees when we were there so can’t really expect anything to stay cool for long! Ask for ice if this is an issue. We ventured out for a few meals, Tiki Bar and Ali Barbour Cave are both definitely worth a visit. Reception will ring a taxi for you and prices are reasonable. The pool area was clean (like everywhere, the staff work tirelessly to keep this place spotless, you can always hear someone sweeping up!) and we loved the swim up bar. The beach is beautiful, soft white sand for miles, slightly spoilt by the incessant beach boys. We avoided the beach for the first few days because of this but soon realised that a firm but polite “no thank you” (stay strong and don’t give in :)) did the trick and I even bought a few scarfs and dresses before I left, some are too pretty to resist. We used the dive school in the hotel, with a refresher in the pool and went to Diani Sea Resort just along the road for our boat dives. It’s possibly the most thorough refresher I’ve ever had, the dive master was fab, a great instructor and a lovely man. Would highly recommend you trying this, even if it’s something you haven’t done before. The diving is fantastic. What made this holiday for us was the staff and the people of Kenya. Such lovely people, nothing ever seemed like too much and everything was done with a smile. Special mentions to Raphael and Frederick at the pool bar and Meshack in the restaurant. It’s pretty unfair of me to mention just the 3 as there were so many fantastic members of staff, but we got to see these lads regularly. The staff really did make our holiday. If you haven’t arranged a safari, book one! Ngutuni Lodge was outstanding. The dolphin wasini Island tour was great too, we booked both through the virgin rep (friends had different experiences of the dolphin tour when booked through the beach boys so be careful!). Just a few more things... don’t feed the monkeys, don’t even attempt to eat anything on your balcony, you’ll not get a chance to finish it! The monkeys are not shy but they’re cute. Take a refillable water bottle, a chilly bottle to keep drinks cool. If you have anything you don’t wish to take home, flip flops, Shoes, clothing, toiletries, stationary etc, speak with staff to see if there’s anything they could use. We took a lot of donations for a local orphanage too. Overall, this is quite possibly my favourite ever holiday. Don’t go with expectations of 5* luxury and a la carte food, think local cuisine, friendly people, authentic, traditional accommodation and enjoy the local culture. We loved our stay here and can’t wait to return - we never go to the same place twice but Papillon Lagoon will be the exception. Thanks you everyone who made our holiday one to remember. We will hopefully see you again soon. Read less