Diani Blue, formerly known as Asha Cottage, is a privately run boutique lodge built in the Swahili style on one acre of seafront property. It has a lovely open air verandah along the front which provides seating space too - overlooking the pool towards the sea. Guests are usually booked on a bed and breakfast basis, as there are many restaurants nearby, though lunch and dinner can be provided on request.
There are just six guest rooms, all large and with air conditioning and ceiling fans. There are Swahili style Lamu ceilings, floor tiles and local carpentry work. All rooms have king size beds, mosquito nets and spacious bathrooms. One of the rooms is larger, with its own lounge and terrace, ideal for those seeking greater seclusion.
Continental breakfast is served on the veranda, consisting of freshly baked bread, cakes, jam, fresh fruit, cereals, fruit juice and tea and coffee. A cooked breakfast is available if you prefer, at no extra cost. If you opt to have lunch here it will be a light meal such as pasta, salad, grill or snack, and dinner is a three course meal with several choices. These meals are generally served in 'The Edge', Diani Blue's beach bar, or by the pool, complimented by wine.
There is a pool in front of the house and lovely gardens to relax in, and indoors there are two living rooms and a cosy bar. Massages and beauty treatments are available at Indigo Spa.
While here you can go for rides and snorkelling trips in the lodge's dugout canoe, try your hand at fishing, and take a dhow trip to the nearby marine park where dolphins and whale sharks are often seen. There are diving opportunities for beginners as well as experienced divers, and at the lodge you can sit and watch monkeys and birds in the gardens and fish in the ponds.
ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL ETHICS
The lodge has strong environmental ethics, using solar power, rain water collection and recycling on a daily basis.
Diani Blue are major supporters of the Eyes for Africa blindness eradication programme, a British-based charity founded by Helen and Iain Leckie (Helen is known professionally as Dr Helen Roberts), managers of Diani Blue.
Diani Blue also supports local education though the Asha Cottage Educational Fund, supporting local children through school. They also help fund the Diani Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy (DCCCP). They support local wildlife conservancies.
Open: Diani Blue (formerly called Asha Cottage) is open all year.
Location: The lodge is on Diani Beach 30kms south of Mombasa. The nearest airstrip is Ukunda, just a 5 minute drive away, which has flights to and from Mombasa and Nairobi Wilson airports
Rooms: There are 6 guest rooms. These are individual chalets each with a king size bed with a mosquito net, ceiling fan, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, safe, mosquito-screened windows, and large en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, hairdryers and bathrobes. 5 of the rooms â€“ Azure, Lapis, Cobalt, Teal and Sky â€“ have double doors opening to a private terrace which leads to the pool. The 6th, Kingfisher, has a sitting room and secluded terrace in the gardens. All have loungers and parasols.
Activities: This area has some great diving sites and local dive centres offer excursions for experienced divers and novices, which can be arranged by lodge staff. Guests can use the lodgeâ€™s dugout canoe which can take up to 4 adults and comes with snorkelling equipment. Cathc and release fishing is popular, as are dhow trips to Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park. On land you can visit Shimba Hills National Reserve and the neighbouring elephant sanctuary, have a guided tour of Kaya Kinondo sacred forest, and play golf on a 18 hole championship course.
Facilities: The lodge has 2 lounges exclusive to guests, Blues Bar, dining terrace, large veranda, and The Edge, the beachfront bar. There is a swimming pool, open to residents only. The garden contains many trees, flowers and fish ponds and is home to colobus, blue sykes and black-faced vervet monkeys, bushbabies and a great many birds. Indigo Spa is located in a beach-facing chalet and offers massages, wraps, facials, scrubs, manicures, pedicures, reflexology and aromatherapy. There is a laundry service.
Dining: Most guests are booked on a bed and breakfast basis. Breakfast can be continental or a full cooked meal. Lunch and dinner are available on request. Lunches are simple and light, while dinner is a 3-course meal. Most meals are served outdoors on the terrace or by the pool, and lunch and dinner can be eaten at The Edge. The lodge has a cellar with a wide choice of South African wines. Free tea and biscuits are served at 4pm each day for guests.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Extra beds and cots can be provided. Childrenâ€™s meals and babysitting can be arranged if advised in advance.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access.
Notes: There are many foreign exchange bureaux on Diani Beach.
"This is a perfect place for relaxing. Highly recommended (I think especially for couples, but generally for everyone). The hosts were very nice and friendly and helpful. We were told we were like in our home and this is how you feel there - very pleasant atmosphere."