Lifestyle, Luxury travel, Travel

Review: The Sands at Chale Island

The Sands at Chale Island is the sister hotel to Nomads in Diani, Kenya. It’s located 600 meters off the mainland. 10 km south of Diani and is the only hotel on the island. Transport to the island depends on the tide; low tide one takes a tractor, high tide it’s a boat.


I dealt with a wonderful lady over the phone and via email in order to make the booking. It was last minute with only a few days until we were due to depart to the coast. The process was very straight forward with a 50% deposit needed upfront.

Checking in

We were collected from our hotel in Diani (the driver turned up early) and were driven by a very friendly driver to the crossing. We were welcomed with a bottle of cold water each and a fresh towel before we bordered the tractor to cross. It was a lot bumpier than expected! Check in was quick, although they had to check that we had already paid our deposit, but once that was cleared we were taken to our room. They also made sure we were aware the “Chale time” was 1 hour behind Kenya time. (I’ve heard rumours this is going to change as it’s absurd).


The rooms

The rooms are amazing. It was the view, it was the location- it was everything- that made it so special. We were on an island for Pete’s sake! Our bedroom door looked onto water, and our veranda door looked onto water and the beach. It was incredible. The rooms are large and have a large bathroom (although there is a lack of a bathroom door).

There is no power in the rooms during the day (10:00- 17:00), but if you want to charge your phones you can leave them at reception. The reason for this is there is no electricity and power is run through the generator, and they want to “reduce [their] carbon footprint as much as possible”. This also means there is no fridge in the room.

They have five different room options. We stayed in the bandas and 100% I would go back again.

The service

Service on a whole was fantastic. We ordered and drinks came quickly. Staff were happy and knowledgeable to answer questions and I don’t think we have anything to complain about.

The food

Food was generally good. We were on 1/2 board of breakfast and dinner, with both being a buffet option. Lunch we opted for a la carte. They did not have a huge amount of seafood, and of the few days we were there a few of the options (such as avocado) was not available as the transport had not yet brought it from the mainland.  However, the pizza was good.

Overall verdict

I would definitely go back again- I had a wonderful time. It is definitely an attractive place for couples as the atmosphere is very romantic. I would, however, also go with a group of girlfriends for some time away from the hustle and bustle of life.

The spa is set in a beautiful location and the therapists very friendly, and the dive centre staff are knowledgeable and friendly. Martin did a free dive, I think it’s called?, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

There are other activities to enjoy as well such as kayaking around the island, hiking in the forest and day trips to Wasini Island for snorkeling.

I would highly recommend Chale Island.

Cost: 23,000 half board per night (for a banda)

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