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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Kenya

Pinewood: stay at a forest beach resort on the Swahili coast

The whole ethos behind Pinewood is not to disturb the tranquillity of this forest, which is backed by a white-sand beach…

By Alnoor Kanji
Managing Director, Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa

Pinewood wasn’t conceived as a resort, it started with my wife and I searching for a spot to build ourselves a little hut on the Kenyan coast. We stumbled upon this piece of property near Diani that was way too big for us, but we fell in love because it was in the middle of nowhere, in a forest backed by white-sand beach. It had a very special energy – so we bought it. Now, we’re celebrating nearly 30 years since Pinewood Beach Resort and Spa opened.

The whole ethos behind Pinewood is not to disturb the tranquillity of the area. We’re the intruders here, not the animals, birds and trees. So, we made the resort small and intimate using earthy materials such as untreated wood and red clay tiles. We have 20 private, two-storey accommodation units spread throughout the forest, two of which face the sea. Each one has a suite on the ground floor and two deluxe rooms upstairs. We’re not a five-star, Dubai-style resort, but that’s not the glitz I wanted. From the beginning, we’ve been part of the community, hiring local staff and making fresh water available to everyone.

We’re the only resort in this area so we enjoy a very secluded, lush environment full of wildlife, we even have endangered colobus monkeys come here with their young. You can see fantastic birds in the forest, including rare, golden weavers that nest by our koy pond. Our beach is lapped by the warm Indian Ocean, where you can swim and snorkel to see tropical fish and dolphins. At certain times of the year, migrating whale sharks pass through and turtles come onto our beach to bury their eggs.

Many guests tell us that there’s an amazing energy at Pinewood and they feel really alive here. They like to relax on the beach or by the pool and perhaps visit our Amani Spa, where we offer treatments using oils made from Kenyan herbs, flowers and plants. Our themed dinners are also very popular, from beach BBQs to Indian curry and Swahili nights, as well as a Mongolian feast by the pool. On Mongolian nights, all the raw ingredients are laid out for you to choose from and our chefs will stir-fry your meal for you live.

Mostly, guests love our personalised service, which starts from the moment you arrive. Your name will be featured on our welcome board and a manager will show you to your room – this really sets the tone for the rest of your stay. We have a very high rate of repeat guests, many of whom have become friends with our staff. Our resident manager Pamela, who started as an assistant in our boutique 20 years ago, has even been invited by guests to come and visit them in Germany and Egypt! That’s the Pinewood relationship. Customers always tell me: “Don’t change anything Mr Kanji, we will be coming back – Pinewood is just perfect.”

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Alfred & Alnoor Kanji

Alnoor Kanji grew up in Mombasa, Kenya, and later moved to the Europe to study. After working as a pharmacist in the UK and Canada for many years, Alnoor returned to the Kenyan coast, where he opened Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa in 1990. Alnoor is proud to run an intimate, nature-focused resort that draws repeat guests year after year.
Alnoor Kanji, Managing Director, Pinewood Beach Resort & Spa

Alfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Annette, who's travelled extensively in Kenya. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife in the Mara, the village chiefs who'll give you a genuine insight into local life and the camp managers who can recommend the very best spot for your sundowner.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656