Papillon Lagoon Reef

Papillon Lagoon Reef

Hayes & Jarvis Rating
TripAdvisor Review
670 Reviews

Traditional Swahili-style hotel on the beach

Occupying a tropical location, nestled in exotic gardens, the Papillon Lagoon Reef is situated on one of the most beautiful beaches in Kenya. Built in a traditional Swahili style, the resort has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where colobus monkeys populate ancient baobab trees

A range of water sports are available including diving, which can be organised through the PADI dive centre. Swim up to the poolside bar for a refreshing drink throughout the day and on fine evenings dine under the stars at the popular Baobab Terrace. In addition, the spectacular rooftop Baobab Restaurant serves a selection of international and Kenyan buffet cuisine, while breakfast and lunch can be enjoyed at the poolside bar and bistro.

Ideal for couples and families, the Papillon Lagoon Reef offers an idyllic location, many activities and a children’s pool and play area for younger guest’s enjoyment.

  • Located on beautiful Diani Beach and a short taxi ride to Diani Town
  • Optional one night safari to Ngutuni Lodge
  • PADI dive centre
  • Family rooms available

Hotel Features

Hotel Category


Location Type

  • Check-in Time:
  • Check-out Time:
  • 150 rooms
  • Transfer duration: Approx. 90 minutes from Mombasa Airport.
  • Floors have lift access: No

Main Facilities

  • Diving
  • Outdoor pool
  • Spa facilities

Accommodation Type

  • Authentic

Board Basis Options

  • All Inclusive

For Families

  • Babysitting
  • Family Rooms
  • Kid's Pool
Location Highlights

Papillon Lagoon Reef

  • Beach
  • Approx. 90 minutes from Mombasa Airport.
670 Reviews 85% of travellers recommended this hotel

Traveller ratings

  • Excellent 308
  • Very Good 257
  • Average 67
  • Poor 20
  • Terrible 18

What to Expect

  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness


May 07, 2018

Love this hotel

London, United Kingdom

My second visit to this hotel and loved it even more second time around, the pool, the beach, the food, the staff, the room, the view, the entertainment, the peace and relaxation everything about this hotel was perfect. We left this hotel and went to baobab next door but next time I will stick with this as it’s much better if you want a quiet relaxing holiday . Only problem is the ‘beach boys’ even more annoying and persistent than before.and ridiculous prices-one guy wanted £190 for a small Masai statue! And £60 for a key ring!
May 07, 2018

Great beachfront but an average all-inclusive


This hotel was a mix bag of pleasant and not so pleasant aspects on just about every front. It has one of the nicer beaches in Diani and close to just about all the great spots in Ukunda in general. The property is definitely old fashioned beach hotel but there are areas that have been renovated. The rooms nearer the reception are darker and no chance of a beach view. We paid extra to get the beach view and while it was worth it, the balcony too small to really sit and enjoy the breeze and the monkeys are a permanent menace thanks to the guests who ignore the signs in five languages not to feed them. The room was quite spacious but the floor tiles were uneven, no black-out curtains to stop the glorious sun coming through in the wee hours of the morning. The rooms were cleaned well but the hours were never consistent. You could find your room cleaned by 11 am one day and 3 pm the next. The pool was lovely - I wish it was bigger though as they do have activities going on throughout the morning and it would get crowded. The swim-up bar was constantly packed but the bar staff did well to get drinks out and remembered orders. There are no umbrellas on the lounge areas so if you're seeking a bit of shade, this is not the place for you. We had to move around like sun dials during the day to get some shade so be aware if you burn easily. They also seem to have a real problem with flies. There were so many buzzing around throughout the grounds and especially at lunch, you become an expert and dodging them or eating quickly your food quickly. We went through a fair bit of insect repellent during the day. I'm not sure if it's a chronic issue or if it's due toe the rainy season and the fact this is such a green leafy resort and its natural habitat. There is a magnificent baobab tree nearer the beach that they claim is the largest in the area but it is quite spectacular. The food was consistent in its inconsistency. The menus on offer were fairly simple and not too elaborate. Sometimes the soup would be hot, more often not. Variety at lunch was limited to chips, salad and a sandwich and then one day you get a barbecue feast. Dinner was always disappointing in terms of variety and imagination. e.g., the pasta bar was always pasta bolognese, the salad bar had the selection from lunch and onto dinner and we never once went for the dessert. The staff, though attentive when you had them were often forgetful about orders. Breakfast was the one meal that delivered what you would expect and what we ended up looking forward to. The beach is lovely with warm white sand. The beach vendors were respectful for the most part but very persistent if you even show the slightest bit of interest in any item they were selling. I have two major complaints about the hotel and it's accepted practices. 1. The tourists who continue to feed the monkeys who they think are so cute despite the warnings and staff just walk past without addressing the issue. We observed one woman trying to feed a little monkey by placing food in her mouth and encouraging it to feed from there. There are also baboons on the property which tourists didn't seem to differentiate as extremely dangerous and would try entice them with food. 2. There are no women staff hired at this hotel. With the exception of one security guard and a lady from the massage/spa, there is not a single woman serving attendant, room attendant, bar staff - not a woman. We asked the manager about it and he said it was an issue being addressed but I gather it's been an issue for a while. This hotel is a favorite as there are repeat visitors - it would do well if they could acknowledge new visitors to encourage them to return.
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Papillon Lagoon Reef


Sports Facilities

A range of sports facilities can be found at the resort including: table tennis, pool, bar football and board games plus beach football and volleyball. Payable locally: scuba-diving, glass bottomed boat, fitness centre and deep sea fishing.

Swimming Pool

The meandering lagoon swimming pool overlooks the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and features a swim-up bar.

Ngutuni Safari

Optional one night safari which can be booked and paid for in advance when booking your holiday. The price is a supplement which will be added to the overnight rate of the hotel. Itinerary: Day 1: After an early breakfast at Papillon Lagoon Reef drive to Tsavo East National Park. Enter at the Bachuma Gate and proceed on a game drive along the River Circuit to Ngutuni Game Sanctuary and Ngutuni Lodge. After lunch partake in an afternoon game drive in Tsavo East. Dinner and overnight at Ngutuni Lodge on a full board basis. Day 2: Early morning game drive in the 10,000 acre Ngutuni Game Sanctuary. Return to the lodge for breakfast and then continue to Papillon Lagoon Reef arriving in time for lunch. Restrictions: The safari usually takes place on either a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday however guests will be advised on arrival when the day of the safari will be.

Papillon Lagoon Reef

Room Types

Garden Room

Garden Room

Garden Rooms have a balcony or patio with garden or pool views. Room safes are available locally for an additional fee. Room service is available throughout the day (10:00am to 17:30) for drinks only at an extra charge.

  • Air Conditioning
  • Butler Service
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe
  • Separate Shower
  • Telephone
  • Towels included
  • TV
Beach Front Room

Beachfront Room

Beachfront Rooms, as you would expect, are located perfectly to ensure you enjoy stunning views of Diani Beach which is widely considered to be Kenya's most beautiful beach. All are fitted with a luxurious 4-poster double bed, a Swahili sofa which is ideal for smaller children and upgraded furnishings throughout. Rooms come with a mosquito net among many other amenities.

  • Air Conditioning
  • Butler Service
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe
  • Shower over bath
  • Telephone
  • Towels included
  • TV

Family Room

Family Rooms offer rear garden views and a balcony or patio area where you can enjoy the lush surroundings. A drinks service is available throughout the day from 10:30am until 5:30pm at an extra charge locally whilst room safes can be requested locally for an extra charge. Rooms come with a mosquito net among many other amenities.

  • Air Conditioning
  • Butler Service
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe
  • Separate Shower
  • Telephone
  • Towels included
  • TV
Papillon Lagoon Reef

Food & Drink

Baobab Restaurant

Baobab Restaurant is a buffet-style restaurant with an open-air terrace, serving international dishes and Kenyan cuisine. Restrictions: Guests are requested to dress smart/casual for dinner and men must wear collared shirts, long trousers and shoes. Dress for 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.

Bistro Bar and Restaurant

Located by the swimming pool, the Bistro Bar and Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here you can enjoy evening entertainment and barbeques. Opening times breakfast - 7.30 – 22.00; lunch - 12.30 –14.30; afternoon tea - 16.00 – 17.00.

Pool Bar

Swim up to the pool bar for a refreshing drink.

Beach Bar

The Beach Bar serves a selection of drinks.

Board Basis Options

All Inclusive

Papillon Lagoon Reef is an all inclusive only resort. The following elements are included: full buffet breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, a choice of cocktails, local beers, soft drinks, house spirits, house wines and mineral water, served by the glass. Tennis, free pool scuba demonstration, regular evening entertainment, Taxes and tips.

Please note that á la carte meals, room service and snacks, non-house brand wines and spirits and bottled water are excluded and must be paid for locally.