The Sands at Nomad is the big brother of the Sands at Chale, half an hour's drive away. There are many similarities between the two, including the ambience, the decor, and the layout, among other things. The Sands at Nomad is unquestionably a charming establishment. Its small scale facilities make it a friendly-sized hotel and a far cry from the huge resorts normally found on the Kenyan coast. You might come across the odd family here, but this hotel is best suited to couples.
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The hotel is about 30 mi from Mombasa. Do bear in mind, however, that the transfer time to and from the airport does vary according to the number of people taking the ferry, as it is the only way of getting to the south coast of Mombasa. If everything goes according to plan, the entire journey should take around 2 hours by road.
The 37 guest rooms at the Sands at Nomad differ according to their location, with the Standard rooms located above reception and the cottages set amid the gardens along the seafront. Go for one of the little bungalows if you get the choice, as these are better located, even though the Standard rooms are perfectly pleasant. The only drawbacks are the absence of a balcony and, above all, the fact that you cannot open the windows! The room is a little on the dark side, but the decor is very pleasant. You'll also find a basket of fresh fruit waiting for you on the coffee table in the little lounge area on arrival. The walls are adorned with local tapestries and the large bed is topped with a lovely mosquito net. The imposing solid wood furniture blends in perfectly with the rest of the room. You'll find you have all the amenities you could need (including Wifi), apart from room service, including a large and very charming bathroom with a shower separated from the rest of the room by a simple little wall. Be warned, though, that the pressure of the showerhead can be pretty temperamental!
Having opened in 2006, The Sands at Nomad runs some 225m along the seafront and has been very tastefully decorated by renowned local artist Mario Scianna. You'll quickly begin to feel right at home here. The small reception is slightly dark but nevertheless welcoming and is housed in the main building. Just a few more steps will take you to the charming and very private little swimming pool, surrounded by vegetation and furnished with a few wooden deckchairs and parasols arranged around the pool. Those who like to indulge in a massage are also catered for at the hotel's little spa, tucked away amid the trees, where you'll find 4 indoor and outdoor massage rooms available.
Food and drink
Meals are served at the Nomad Beach Bar & Restaurant. To the far end of the hotel along the beachfront, it offers spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. Meals are served as a buffet with a different theme every day, though an à la carte menu is also available. The fresh produce is displayed in small refrigerated units, an idea that is as clever as it is decorative, with a variety of high quality and mostly international dishes on offer. The dining area is protected by a makuti roof that allows fresh air to circulate freely, which is very fortunate given the temperatures this country can reach. Light, ambient music plays in the background during the meals. The second restaurant, the Red Pepper, serves traditional Swahili cuisine, should your taste buds fancy a change of menu.
Guests at The Sands at Nomad can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Diani beach, though you'll find the deckchairs laid out on the hotel lawn rather than on the sand. There are 2 reasons for this: first, all of Kenya's beaches are public, and second, the beach boys here can be particularly intrusive! The palm grove also benefits from a nice sea breeze, making the heat a little more bearable. The sea, meanwhile, is a gorgeous colour, though it does go out a good way at low tide, when you'll unfortunately find a lot of seaweed left behind. The water opposite the hotel is primarily sand-based, but do think ahead and take a pair of sandals with you, as there's a lot of dead coral about.
For those who are more inquisitive by nature, Mombasa has little in the way of tourist attractions, but it would still be a shame not to take the time to visit the old town. The neighbourhood could do with some sprucing up, but we strongly recommend you visit Fort Jesus and discover its amazing history. Built in the 17th century by the Portuguese, its purpose was to protect the port from foreign invasions.
Those who like to sunbathe topless should bear in mind that it's simply forbidden in Kenya and punishable by law.
The hotel closes during low season. The closing dates are not fixed though, as the establishment adapts them to accommodate for various bookings. Generally speaking, it is closed between May and June.
spa, massage, beauty salon, Turkish bath, wellness, keep fit
golf, paddle boats, sailing, water-polo
The spacious guest rooms
The tranquillity of the place
The bungalows set amid the gardens
The absence of a balcony and a window that opens in the Standard rooms
The noise of the air conditioning unit in the guest rooms