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The boutique hotel of Diani

You can swim anywhere in the ocean, sunbath or walk on the endless, white, sandy beaches of South Coast but the staff of Bidi Badu Beach Resort will make your holiday that much more memorable

Cynthia Mukanzi @cynthia_mukanzi

woke up to a horizon splattered with the yellow yolk of the setting sun glowing over the Indian Ocean. The sea hissed with a strong breeze, carrying with it flying white sand pellets from the beach.

It was a beautiful place to take a nap and chill a sundowner, waking up on the shores of Diani beach at Bidi Badu Beach Resort. Time wasn’t of essence; I just wanted to feed my soul with the tranquility and replenish my chakras (body energy points) for as long as it lasted.

I was briefly interrupted by a waiters. Did I care for a glass of freshly blended mango juice? Yes! Where I come from, it’s rude to refuse food or drink. It was my second evening at Bidi Badu, right on the beach, but it felt like I had been there for ages. Before I crashed out on the wooden couch, I had taken an adventurous tour beyond Ukunda.

On coming back, I had a long chat with the resort’s manager, Mercy Omoro, a  smart and savvy woman. The co-owner, Hashim Omar Hashim, was busy in real estate affairs while Hashim’s business partner, a Mr T, was abroad.

Mercy, who checked me in, has a proper understanding of the business. She has worked in the hospitality industry for close to a decade. I got the impression that her team respected her.

She gave me a key to a standard double room named Kipungani. The spacious room had a giant bed for two, a closet with intricately hand-knitted doors, a table and chair, a huge bathroom and toilet. The bed was so big that I lay across it every night, instead of the usual way; and I realised that I slept longer and more soundly that way.

I loved the rustic appeal of the floor, a design of smoothed rocks. The adjustable air conditioner meant that the crazy heat would be staved off even though in June, the sun wasn’t as madly hot as it’s known to be. My stuff were strewn all over in a mess, but I didn’t care. I knew I would soon pack it all up again for departure. Oh, a painting spiced up the wall.

I thought the room was heaven but that was before I tasted their food, a story for another day. The tree-shaded open-air lounging area overlooking the beach is decked with khanga-covered cushions. Like nectar is to bees, there was a bed-like hammock that always attracted. It was occupied whenever I dashed for it, except once and that’s when I understood why it was irresistible.

Guests at the beachfront property are enticed with a kite-surfing centre and school with seasoned instructors, a tennis court, beach volleyball pitch, gym and diving centre. Apparently, kite surfing is on demand in Diani.

A good number of the surfers I met were residing at the resort. Bidi Badu was almost fully booked with check-ins and outs happening everyday. People would set out for expeditions during the day and flock back in the evening.

Mercy offered to teach me how to kite-surf, but my fear of being blown into deep the sea and drowning overshadowed my interest. I would rather jet ski. .

The main building has 14 rooms rating at Sh8,500 for two people a night, with a king-size bed, bathtub and balcony with a sea view. It, however, costs an additional Sh3,500 during high seasons.  Two villas with eight and five five rooms flank it.

Standard double ensuite rooms cost Sh6,000 to Sh9,000 while backpackers pay Sh2,000 -Sh4,000 for hostel rooms. Some evenings are lit up with a bonfire that vacationers huddle around to connect. It felt like home. What made my vacation amazing was the hospitality I received from Hashim and the rest of his youthful team. I felt so spoilt and dreaded coming back to the chaos of Nairobi.

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