Chale Island is a small romantic island situated about 600 meters from the mainland and 10 km south of Diani Beach. The term 'Chale' refers to the name of an old warrior of the Digo tribe who is buried on the island. On certain days of the year his descendants still come to celebrate religious rituals. The architecture is a blend of Swahili and Italian styles, and it is built from local materials, in harmony with the environment.
Measuring 1.2 km long and 0.8 km wide with north-south orientation, Chale Island is divided into two parts: the hotel, main beach and immediate surrounds and the forest, which is home to plentiful wildlife, and inland mangrove lakes.
The Sands at Chale offers a choice of rooms, bandas and suites. All are comfortable and en-suite, and have views of the ocean, gardens or lagoon. There are 2 penthouse suites complete with sitting rooms and verandas with jacuzzis. One suite is located over the sea, and another is on its own rocky outcrop, reached by a small bridge, wonderfully secluded and ideal for honeymooners.
There are 3 swimming pools and plenty of sunbathing decks, and with 2 restaurants and 2 bars you have all you need for a leisurely day. While you here you can treat yourself to a massage or beauty treatment at the spa in an open air treatment room cooled by the breeze. There are all sorts of activities if you can bear to tear yourself away from the hotel. take your pick of water sports, go for a cruise in a catamaran or glass-bottom boat, head across to the mainland for a safari and go dolphin watching at Kisite Marine Park.
Photographs courtesy The Sands at Chale
Open: Sands at Chale is open all year.
Location: The hotel is on Chale Island, just off the Kenyan coast and 10kms south of Diani. It is in 6 hectares of forest on a wide bay sheltered by a coral reef. The nearest airstrip is Ukunda, from where it's a 40 minute drive to the dock where you board a boat at high tide, or a tractor at low tide, for the crossing to the island.
Rooms: There are 60 rooms and suites comprising 28 standard rooms, 28 bandas, 2 penthouse suites, 1 over-water suite and 1 suite on the rocks. All are en-suite. Standard rooms face the beach and have balconies. Bandas are built in traditional style with thatch roofs. They have views of the ocean, lagoon or mangroves, and all have a private veranda with daybeds. Some have a garden to the rear with an open air shower. Penthouse suites have a sitting room, wide balcony, and rooftop jacuzzi. The over-water suite, as the name implies, is built on stilts above the sea. It has a sitting room and a ladder giving you access to the water. The suite on the rocks is on its own islet reached by a bridge. The seclusion makes it ideal for honeymooners. It has a high thatched roof with a hole in the centre that admits water for the plants that line the winding staircase. The upper floor has a lounge, and there's a veranda with a jacuzzi and a separate sundeck.
Activities: Take part in a variety of water sports including snorkelling and kayaking, go for rides in a glass bottom boat, sailing in a catamaran, go game fishing, visit Diani on the mainland for shopping, to see Kisite Marine Park and go on safari. There is a PADI dove centre on Chale Island which organises diving trips. Visits to a local fishing village can be arranged.
Facilities: The hotel is in extensive forested ground. There are 3 swimming pools, a jacuzzi, sundecks and a spa with 9 treatment rooms and a small gym. The hotel has its own water sports centre. There are 2 restaurants and 2 bars (see below). The 2 shops sell artworks, jewellery, clothing, souvenirs and toiletries.
Dining: The main restaurant serves a mix of Kenya, Italian and Asian dishes, and Chapateria offers a la carte meals for dinner and a range of snacks and light meals during the day. The main bar is between reception and the main restaurant, and the second bar is by the pool. Both serve a range of hot and cold drinks.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is free wifi internet access.