History

How it all began...

The Diani Beach is one of the top 25 beaches worldwide. The sandy beaches are situated 30 km south of Mombasa. The foundations for Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort started in 1971 and was officially opened on the 2nd February, 1972 by the first president of the Kenya H. E. Hon. Jomo Kenyatta. A plaque celebrating this special event is situated at the entrance to the hotel.

During this time to present day the Resort was extended many times and it offers now 253 rooms and suites in 6 different categories, golf course, conference and meeting rooms. Today, the Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort can accommodate approximately 600 guests in house and accommodate weddings, functions and conferences upto 1000 people.

World tourism started in Kenya in the late sixties and the early seventies and it still is a popular destination for singles, couples, families and groups. The uniqueness of Kenya is that it offers not only a beach holiday but also to go on Safari and view Africa’s wildlife in some of the best game parks and reserves on the continent.

Four businessmen MacLeod, McKenzie, McCrindle and Benzimra shared the same opinion and decided to purchase the magnificent piece of land, on which Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort sits on today. Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort offers a direct access to the ocean and a sandy beach with a length of 400 metres.

The hotel was constructed using only local building materials and with that the Resort was perfectly integrated into the environment. Besides the Makuti, (palm roofs), the furniture was produced out of local wood. A cave, which was discovered during excavations and was quickly developed to a guest meeting place which is now called the “Pango Bar“.

The Lodge was at first a two-story building atop a coral cliff, which offered spectacular views of the Indian Ocean and situated in a lush tropical garden with its own special beauty. Furthermore there is the diversity of animals, bush babies (Galagos), Vervet, Sykes and rare Colobus monkeys. The Baobab trees some of which are over 500 years old, bougainvillea & palm trees decorate the lush tropical gardens.

In 1975, Dr. Wilhelm Meister, a German lawyer and his colleagues purchased the shares Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort. Dr. Meister had a vision and that was to create high class and tourism-friendly holiday resort on the Kenyan Coast. He decided to move from Germany to Kenya to personally supervise his dream.

During the 2nd half of the seventies an additional 80 hotel rooms and 38 club rooms were designed and built. Two years later the Resort was extended with another 56 club rooms and 4 penthouses, which are named today as “Bustani Deluxe rooms” and “Bustani Suites”. After the completion, Leisure Lodge Resort was marketed internationally and was one of the first hotels to put Diani Beach onto the world map.
Dr. Meister had turned the Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort into a worldwide tourist holiday destination. At that time guests were coming from Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium and Scandinavia. In 1985 Dr. Wilhelm Meister became executive president of the Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort.

The first leather bound guest book shows that Dr. Meister’s connections have contributed to the success of the Resort. The Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort has been host to local and international dignitaries. Kenyan Presidents, famous movie and theatre stars, film directors, authors and artists such as William Holden, Lesley-Ann Down, Berti Vogts, Christiane Krüger, Bruni Löbel, Marijke Amado and many more.

The success of the Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort with its unique concept was the main reason for building 16 Golf Villas and for the construction of the 18-Hole Championship Golf Course.

In 1991 Dr. Wilhelm Meister commissioned the famous architect Tommy Fjastad to design the 18-Hole Golf Course. The construction work started in May 1992.

Unfortunately Dr. Wilhelm Meister died of cancer on the 30th June 1993. Tommy Fjastad planted a Baobab tree along the 1st Fairway in memory of Dr. Meister, who never saw the golf course completed.

Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort 18-Hole Championship Golf Course was opened on the 12th May 1998. The addition of the Golf course & club upgraded the Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort to one of the very few resorts in Africa to have such a unique property.

The present owners of Leisure Lodge are the Kantaria family and they have also seen the vision of further adding to the Leisure Lodge Conference and Meeting facilities this is together with the CEO of the hotel Mr. John Mutua.

The family and management also saw that there was a need not only to employ all the staff working at the hotel locally but to also start a project that would give back to the local society. In 2012 a Girls school was opened The Leisure Rondwe Jalaram Girls Secondary School which is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative which focuses on giving the Girl Child better education and a chance in life to succeed and excel.  Kwale County has probably the lowest number of Girls education beyond primary school in the Country.

Dr. Meister Conference Hall was also added at the same time which made Leisure Lodge Beach & Golf Resort the only hotel on the southern coast of Kenya to have full facilities for upto 700 delegates.

Leisure Lodge Beach and Golf Resort now stands as one of the pillars of Local and International Tourism, Wedding & Conference destinations on the Kenyan Coast.