Efficiency is the name of the game at Baobab Beach Resort, and at such a large property you'd expect it. Impeccably uniformed staff pop up everywhere; from the enormous plant-filled lobby (a hive of activity with an Internet corner and a list of animation activities - more on that later) to the hotel restaurants. Right beside reception is the Sultan Lounge, a casual seating area with several daybeds and armchairs inviting you to seek respite from the hot Kenyan sun.
The Sultan Lounge sits between the pool, bar area and the buffet restaurant. The medium-sized pool (underwhelming and beach front), is often busy, while the neighbouring Tapa Tapa bar is found under a high-ceilinged gazebo offering splendid views of the Indian Ocean. This tends to be the hotel meeting point; before dinner, after dinner... Outdoor seating is provided in the form of cane chairs with bright and cheery orange cushions and matching parasols. A few steps away you'll find the Karibu (meaning "welcome" in Swahili), Baobab's buffet-only restaurant. During breakfast, guests are introduced to members of the 33-strong animation team and the day's various activities.
If you feel the need to work off the previous night's buffet, a fully-equipped gym (with Technogym gear, no less) is on site for a fee of 250ksh (about £1.95) per day. If you plan on hitting the gym more than once during your stay you can sign up for three days (600ksh, about £4.65) or seven days (1,200ksh, about £9.30) - these days do not to be used consecutively. OK, the fees aren't expensive but it's certainly the first hotel we've come across in our travels where this facility costs extra. Guests may also play a game of tennis, beach volleyball, boccia ball and table tennis.
Next door to the gym is the hairdresser and beauty salon, marking the entrance to the Ayfa Bora Wellness Club & Spa which offers a range of treatments. Massages are given in small, private gazebos with thatched roofs, while soothing music tinkers softly in the background. An alfresco Jacuzzi overlooks the ocean and it is one of the few quiet corners of the resort.
We must give special mention to the 80 acres of tropical gardens that are well-maintained and provide plenty of shade. A stroll past the acacia, baobab, palm, sycamore, tamarind and Indian sea almond trees is a pleasant one indeed. We are also very impressed with the Baobab animation team and an exceptional entertainment program, which only repeats itself after 14 days - meaning you have to stay at least two weeks to see the same thing twice. The evening shows take place in the open-air Porini amphitheatre (680 seating capacity) and are of a high quality, compared to other resorts along the coast. We witnessed an excellent, impassioned adaptation of The Lion King, complete with costumes, lighting and music. Afterwards, the theatre becomes the setting for the nightly disco, while the nearby Porini bar is the place to be for that "post-show" cocktail - open until the last guest leaves!
Guests with children are welcome to use the kid-friendly facilities found at the next door Kolé Kolé hotel. Not only is there a dedicated kid's club, but also a wading pool, pool games and plenty of other animation activities to keep the little ones occupied. A range of water sports and water-based excursions for all the family are available at an extra charge.