Hotel Black Marlin Resort Hotel 4 star
Kilifi, Mombasa north coast Kilifi, Kenya
Amy Adejokun Section editor

On the quiet shores of Kilifi, the Black Marlin Resort was recently reopened after extensive renovations. This small resort is a charming getaway for those wanting to enjoy the unspoiled beaches of Mombasa's north coast, and for those not bothered about being a bit further "from the action" of Mombasa. It won't please everybody though, as there are no facilities for children, no animation teams and the local village is just that - a small town - so no discos or beach bars for miles and miles. But for those who value their peace and quiet, the Black Marlin might be a little piece of Kenyan heaven.

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    • Hotel Black Marlin Resort

      Black Marlin Resort   -   Luis David Alvarez / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel Black Marlin Resort

      Black Marlin Resort   -   Luis David Alvarez / EASYVOYAGE

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    Location 6.79 /10

    Almost 40 miles north of the island of Mombasa, the Black Marlin Resort is located in the quiet seaside village of Kilifi, roughly halfway between Mombasa and Malindi. The drive from Mombasa takes you past beautiful landscapes filled with Baobab trees and sisal plantations.

    Accommodation 7.70 /10

    While the rooms are clean and very spacious, they are either disappointingly bare (white walls, a table, wooden armchair and matching four poster bed) or bordering overload with the African decoration (tribal masks, statues, etc). Some might find it "so African-inspired!" others might find it a bit kitsch. Each room has a large walk-in closet area that leads to the medium-sized bathroom, with shower, double sink vanity and a cheery, multi-coloured dolphin theme that is curiously not in sync with the African theme of the rooms. Besides the double rooms and suites, the resort also offers six single 'fan only' rooms and three single 'air con and fan' rooms.

    Accommodation in the Beach House (the Royale Suite and the Black Marlin Suite) is naturally the best available and can also be privatised. The suites boast huge terraces, a private entrance, a private pool and garden (to share with the other suite) and a chill-out attic area where guests can kick back on the huge day beds made for two. Each suite is enormous (over 100m) and features leopard print upholstery (perhaps too much for some), casuarina wood furnishings and decorative objects like sea shells, traditional Masai shields or Kamba carvings. The piece de resistance is each suite's bathroom; the size of small apartments, they each feature an elevated Jacuzzi bath, his and hers sinks and enormous 'double' showers. The attractive black, brown and white tile theme has a classy effect.

    Meanwhile, the two suites also share a central bar and spacious sitting room, with bar stools made to look like African drums, stone tiles, wooden rafters finished in rope trim and a warm and cosy black/brown colour scheme. Outside, nestled in a pretty garden with ocean views, the beach house's private pool has a stand-out terracotta, black and white tile design. There are also two small gazebos that serve as massage areas or as a setting for alfresco meals.

    Overview 8.45 /10

    With 23 rooms and a capacity for only 40 guests, the Black Marlin is a small, intimate resort in an out of the way location. The property has a very consistent African theme, with tribal ornaments and African-inspired furniture at every turn. The pleasant reception area opens up on to a large terrace where guests will get their first look at the resort grounds, tumbling down to the sea. The spacious grounds boast lovely gardens and two pools, one near the restaurant and another nudging the beach front. Accommodation is housed in a cluster of buildings topped with the makuti-thatched roofs that are a common sight in Mombasa.

    Down at the water's edge, a large gazebo is used for massage treatments where guests can soak up the gentle sounds of waves hitting the shore; relaxation therapy in itself. Next door is where the resort's two catamarans await guest usage (at an extra charge). Nestled between the beach and one of the pools is a small, outdoor circular lounge area used for bonfires under the stars, while built over the sand are large wooden decks used for sun bathing, cocktails and casual meals, with direct access to the beach.

    Food and drink 7.70 /10

    Being such a small resort, there is only one (open air) restaurant at the Black Marlin, found amongst the gardens, a short walk from the rooms. Buffets and set menu services are held here three times a day at breakfast, lunch and dinner, while there is a snack bar serving lighter meals at the waterfront. Cuisine is local and international with the occasional themed evening.

    Beach 9.70 /10

    The beach at the Black Marlin Resort is superb and seemingly untouched. Here, there is a definite calm and a more natural feel because of the lack of development in the surrounding area, the absence of beach market stalls and fewer beach sellers. The sand is as pure as you could wish for and the colours of the Indian Ocean at their most dazzling here. Traditionally, the best beaches are not found on Mombasa's north coast but the beach at Black Marlin is certainly a hidden gem. Guests have use of a large deck area shaded by coconut palms, set up with sun loungers, tables and chairs with direct access to the beach.


    To know

    Guests who need to keep busy on holiday might get bored here; while there are some water sports on offer, (snorkelling, jet ski, catamaran sailing, windsurfing etc.) the Black Marlin lacks the facilities for other activities (gym, kids club, disco, spa etc.) found at more traditional beach resorts. If, on the other hand, you are after a quiet holiday to practice the art of doing nothing, this resort will probably tick all your boxes.


    • Restaurant
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa


    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      jet ski, sailing, windsurfing


    • Quiet location
    • The natural and untouched beach
    • The Beach House accommodation


    • Families may find that children are not catered to
    • A long drive from Mombasa and its tourist attractions
    • On-site facilities are limited

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10