The Sands at Chale Island

The Sands at Chale Island

Hayes & Jarvis Rating

Kenya's exclusive island resort

Intimate, picturesque and situated just four degrees south of the equator, Chale Island is the perfect place to truly unwind and get away from the world. Although the island is only 600 metres off the mainland, it feels a world away due to its turquoise Indian Ocean surroundings, abundant with coral and fish.

The tranquil resort is located within 15 acres of indigenous and tropical forest with a breath-taking secluded white sandy bay protected by a vibrant coral reef. In addition to its exclusive location, the real standout feature of the island is its two over-water suites – the only place in Kenya with this type of accommodation – which offer a unique experience, ideal for romantic getaways and honeymoons. 

The rustic yet elegant hotel has three swimming pools, including a saltwater pool with waterfall connecting to a large Jacuzzi; the restaurant offers a blend of traditional Kenyan cuisine with Italian touches and a hint of the Orient and a wonderful selection of afternoon tea and cakes; and there's also a choice of bars, including the poolside Galana bar which serves chilled Champagne and cocktails. 

The Maisha Poa Spa and Wellness Centre (Maisha Poa, meaning 'good life' in Swahili) offers numerous treatments in a peaceful spot in the middle of the island. If you're feeling active then head for the fitness centre or take part in one of the many activities, such as PADI scuba diving, snorkelling, glass bottom boat rides, kayaking through the mangroves, game fishing and catamaran sailing. The resort even has its own app that details the times of all activities and outlines what there is to do.

The Sands at Chale Island offers something that no other resort in Kenya can, making it a must for a stay – either after a safari or as a standalone holiday.

  • Kenya's only island resort with over-water rooms
  • Exceptional food with Kenyan, Italian and Asian influences
  • Enjoy panoramic views from this unique and utterly beautiful location
  • Participate in a range of activities including scuba diving
  • Retreat to the spa for a relaxing treatment to enhance your laid-back stay

Top Tips from our Experts

Lucy

Destination Specialist

"Are you looking for somewhere unique and stunning in Kenya? This is the only place where you can stay in an over-water suite, giving you the feeling of being in the Maldives but with more accessibility after a safari."

Hotel Features

Hotel Category

Luxury

Location Type

Beach

Main Facilities

  • Diving
  • Fitness facilities
  • Outdoor pool
  • Spa facilities
  • Watersports
  • Wifi

Accommodation Type

  • Authentic
  • Barefoot style
  • Boutique
  • Eco-friendly
  • H&J Recommended
  • Hidden gem
  • Private island
  • Private villas

Board Basis Options

  • All Inclusive
Location Highlights

The Sands at Chale Island

  • Beach
  • Approx. 2 hours from Mombasa including sea crossing
  • A private island with just 60 rooms
  • Easily accessible from the mainland
  • Resort offers a selection of bars and restaurants
The Sands at Chale Island

Facilities

Scuba diving

The island has its own dive centre, called 'Diving the Crab', and is a certified PADI and SSI centre. On a daily basis one or two tank dive excursions visit an array of dive sites around the island. Diving here offers coral reefs dropping to depths of 30 metres which are full of marine life but the real star of the show is the frequently spotted whale shark (from November to February).

Watersports

Available activities included: - Snorkeling from land or boat; - Glass bottom boat rides; - Kayaking; - Game fishing (half and full day tours); - Catamaran sailing;

Spa & Wellness Centre

The centre is built at the heart of the island – close to the ancient mangroves, tidal lake and coral caves to provide the perfect ambiance in which to relax – with nine open-air treatment rooms offering a range of treatments to pamper and re-energize. The fitness room is close to the wellness centre and is equipped with cardio machines and weights.

Excursions

There is a huge variety of boat excursions offered weekly, including: - Twelve kilometres north to Diani Beach (ranked as the fifth best beach in the world) - Twenty kilometres south to Kenya’s top marine reserve, offering great snorkelling and regular sightings of dolphins - Two kilometres west to a local fishing village, where you'll catch a glimpse of traditional Kenyan life

Shopping

There are two small but well-stocked boutiques with a wide selection of clothing, souvenirs, African art, jewellery, swimwear and toiletries. They also have local wood carvers at the beach who can produce customised carvings to order. Shopping trips to nearby Diani Beach are also arranged on a weekly basis.

The Sands at Chale Island

Room Types

Standard Rooms

There are 28 semi-circular double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, each one with Swahili day beds on the verandah facing the ocean.

  • Air Conditioning
  • Balcony or Terrace
  • Safe
  • Sea View
  • Separate Shower
  • Towels included

Bandas

Translating as 'small house' in Swahili, the bandas offer views of either the ocean, beach or the lagoon and mangroves within the island. Each has a palm-thatched roof and spacious veranda with Swahili sun beds.

  • Air Conditioning
  • Balcony or Terrace
  • Safe
  • Separate Shower

Penthouse Suites

The penthouses are set above the treetops to provide wonderful views of the island and surrounding ocean. They feature separate sitting room, a veranda with a 270 degree views and an upstairs cubby room which leads to an outside Jacuzzi ideally positioned for enjoying a beautiful sunset.

  • Balcony or Terrace
  • Fridge
  • Safe
  • Sea View
  • Separate Shower
  • Towels included
  • Whirlpool in room

Over water Suite

The two over-water suites are the only such accommodations in Kenya. Found on the northwest of the island, with fantastic views of Gazi bay and Bird Island, the rooms have a large bedroom, en suite bathroom with ocean views and a separate living room.

  • Balcony or Terrace
  • Fridge
  • Safe
  • Sea View
  • Separate Shower
  • Towels included
  • Whirlpool in room

Suite on the Rocks

Situated on a separate islet connected to the island by a stone bridge, a thatched roof soars high above the circular construction, then plunges down in the middle allowing rainwater to fall directly into a mini garden in the centre of the room. A circular stairway leads one around an intricately crafted walled garden to an upstairs lounge, while the front veranda overlooks a private Jacuzzi on the cliff face and sunbathing deck.

  • Balcony or Terrace
  • Safe
  • Sea View
  • Separate Shower
  • Towels included
  • Whirlpool in room
The Sands at Chale Island

Food & Drink

Restaurant

The main restaurant is situated to give a true island feeling as steps lead straight to the center of the beach. The excellent team of highly trained cooks lead by Chef Evans combine traditional Kenyan dishes and add in twists from both Italy and Asia. Being an island there is a strong emphasis on seafood and the live grilling station and pasta corner ensure all meals are freshly prepared.

Bars

The main bar is nestled between reception and the restaurant and is always open while the Galana pool bar offers wonderful sea views. Available are coffee, cold drinks, cocktails and a variety of wines, spirits and beers.

Afternoon tea

This is an essential part of the Chale Island day. They offer a great choice of tea while you quietly contemplate the passing of Island life.