Achola Rosario returns to the coast to check out luxury offerings


By Achola Rosario, Contributing Editor at

(Posted 10th July 2021)

A combination of super-cold and exhaustion from COVID related worries can make you feel like you are hallucinating when you arrive at the gorgeous Swahili village that is the Mombasa Serena Resort and Spa, an architectural copy of how towns at the coast of Kenya used to look like before development ruined everything.

By the time I arrived in this palm-tree embraced paradise, my shoulder was numb with pain, such was my level of stress and cold. I live in Limuru where the cold seeps into your bones when you are not vigilant. So, I was looking forward to shedding physical and metaphorical layers. Most people who have never been to Africa tend to lump all it’s different climates into one as they do all the countries under the banner “hot”, and therefore get shocked when they land in Nairobi in July and find “Winter has come”. But aside from a little shower when we landed at the coast, the weather cleared up into a clean balmy spring wind that pushed the scent of flowers around like a generous lover.

My room, when we finally got to it after passing what seemed like endless plant-covered winding lanes when I first got there, was a large brightly appareled sanctuary that was right on the beach, affording me privacy as well as direct access to the ocean whenever I needed it, which I did. The ocean has a way of rejuvenating the electrolytes within you, so that you feel reconnected with the world and with yourself.

A massage at Maisha Spa immediately afterwards broke down the cement blocks that were my shoulders. Carrying camera bags, tripods and handbags on a regular basis will do that to even the most un-injured human. Thankfully the masseuse handled my arthritic shoulder with the skill of a physiotherapist and marveled at how I have managed to take that pain for so long without seeking relief. I went back to my room and cried. Then went back into the ocean, showered, slipped into my floor-length taupe-colored muslin dress and went to dinner at the Fountain restaurant, ready to savor whatever Chef Charles had in mind for me.

A bottle of Nederburg Rosé was pulled out of an ice-bucket next to me as soon as I sat down and delicately poured when I acquiesced to its lovely peach flavor.

As usual I ordered my favorite starter, beef carpaccio, which was velvety and flavorful but could have been more thinly sliced and with more parmesan and rocket. This one came with a mustard relish that was an interesting take. I liked it. Then came a meal that I enjoyed so much I packed it when I was unable to finish, because wasting it would have been a crime: chicken wrapped in bacon and courgettes, stuffed with cheese, and accompanied by rice and a lovely onion gravy. You cannot abandon that, I think you will agree. Après-dinner entertainment was a blind couple doing 80’s renditions on a synthesizer and guitar, that had me pumping my fists in the air in enjoyment. Everyone clearly misses the 80’s, that is why it is coming back in fashion.

The next morning had another surprise in store for me, in the form of a Champagne Breakfast, for me and me alone. Of course, I had to rope in my new comrades in arms, the Duty and Entertainment managers Phoebe and Marsden, and we had a whale of a time next to the fishy chess pieces, having what I correctly termed “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”. Everything was discussed from history to sex and thankfully politics stayed off the menu. Hurrah for Champagne! It made us giggle instead, and the refills were endless. I like this place.

Then came The Winner: Jahazi Restaurant.

Known throughout the coast as one of the best seafood restaurants on land, it did not disappoint. I ordered what looked on the menu like an innocuous seafood platter, but what hit my mouth was an entirely different story. I never knew such intense flavors existed and yet did not overwhelm the original taste of the fish. It had lobster tails (which tastes better than chicken), a thick scored chunk of calamari, prawns and a fillet of red snapper drenched in herbed garlic butter, a vegetable ratatouille with a sweet onion relish that gave it the correct amount of pique, and quite literally THE BEST chips I have ever had. My tongue and stomach had a party. Then Patrick the waiter, in his ever-present charming smoothness, talked me into having dessert, which I am glad I did, because when I carried it back to my room and finally had some space for it, my tongue had a party all over again. It was a blueberry frozen cheese cake, with just enough salt in the base to contrast wonderfully with the sweet blueberry compote on top of the barely flavored cream cheese. The balance was perfect.

I gave the entire experience an 11 out of 10, a new winner for THE FOMO TRAVEL SHOW, which is quite apt for the start of Season 3.

In the next episode we will profile Mombasa Serena Beach’s wonderful initiatives that sets it apart as a hotel with a heart. Proving that Swahili hospitality is alive and well at the resort, where being treated like royalty is normal.

The Seaview Superior room like I had goes for KShs 19,500 ($195) for a single occupancy and KShs 26,500 ($265) for a double between now and December 2021. From the 23rd December 2021 to 1st January 2022, they go for KShs 28,000 ($280) and KShs 46,000 ($460) respectively. Children under the age of 6 are complimentary. See advert for details.

To make a booking at Mombasa Serena Beach Resort and Spa:

Anastasia Muli: +254 734 699853

To watch Episode 70 of The FOMO TRAVEL SHOW click here:

Happy relaxation and warmth.

Contact Achola Rosario via if you are interested to have your location featured on the F.O.M.O. Travel Show and on