Hotel Review: The Sands at Chale Island


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It’s classic bucket list fodder; a stay on a desert island – though a luxurious one of course! Enter The Sands at Chale Island; a small island 600 metres off mainland Kenya.


The resort has a truly idyllic paradise location; Chale Island is just 1.2 km long and 0.8 km wide and lies just our degrees south of the equator so the temperature is reassuringly consistent. 15 acres of the island is dedicated to the resort surrounded by indigenous ancient forest and the other half is sacred ancient mangrove forest or “kaya”. The island itself is really special, it benefits from coral seas abundant with fish life; coastal forests and mangroves teaming with birds and primates; a vast 10,000 m² white sandy, palm-fringed bay perfect for safe, warm bathing; and of course, you are on the doorstep of Kenya’s world-famous safari parks too.

Style & Character

Much of your stay here really revolves around the beauty of the island; the forests, the vibrant tropical flowers, the ocean views, the secluded snow-white powder fine coral sandy beach; it even attracts turtles who like to lay their eggs in the bay due to the lack of seaweed and there’s a mystical inland tidal mangrove lake too – this place is nothing short of extraordinary! Kenya’s beaches rank in worldwide top ten lists and Chale Island’s beach is definitely one of the best in Kenya so you really couldn’t be more spoilt as far as beaches go!

The hotel itself has been very much built with its environment in mind; both to protect (it’s one of the lowest impacts hotels in Kenya) and also to compliment, buildings are scattered lightly and do not impose. The authentic Swahili structures are beautiful and house some elegant African works of art.

Service & Facilities

You have three swimming pools to enjoy; the main fresh water swimming pool which is connected by a small waterfall to a Jacuzzi, a second pool which benefits from panoramic ocean views and also a pool bar, and the third is a salt-water pool with steps leading directly into the sea; just to remind you that you’re in paradise! If the pools don’t take your fancy it’s highly likely that the beach will; there’s a heap of watersports to try out, the hotel has its own PADI dive centre and if you need a rest after all this, book a pampering treatment at the Maisha Poa Spa and Wellness Centre.
The welcome is quite delightful; you’re greeted with a drink and a relaxed chat as you check-in, this very much sets the mood and the pace for the rest of your stay. Kenyan hospitality reigns here, everyone seems friendly, helpful and wonderfully relaxed.


For accommodation, choose between 28 spacious, semi-circular ensuite rooms, a traditional Banda Room with a high, palm-thatched roof and a private lawn or veranda, Penthouse Suites with breathtaking panoramic views, separate sitting rooms and an upstairs grotto with a Jacuzzi on the roof or the simply stunning Overwater Suites! To make an already tricky decision even harder, there is also the Suite on the Rocks; connected to the rest of the island by a small stone bridge, the suite is so amazing that it really needs photos to truly do it justice but just to mention the mini garden in the centre of the room, a circular stairway, a private Jacuzzi on the cliff face and a sunbathing deck – prepare to be wow’ed!

Food & Drink

The charming main restaurant serves traditional Kenyan cuisine with both Italian and Oriental influences. There are steps down from the restaurant to the beach to make your evening stroll that bit easier. There are a main bar and the pool bar (don’t miss the cocktails and the extensive wine list!), the resort also does a rather splendid afternoon tea Kenyan-style.

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