10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
super shooting star
"This was our 2nd stay at The Shooting Star,having had such a lovely time the first time our second visit proved just as good.
The location is best on KIwengwa beach,the view from the beautiful pool is wonderful as you can hardly see the other resorts.
The rooms are big and the flowers on the bed are a delight everyday. The showers are good and hot (not always the case in other places on Zanzibar!)
The whole site is beautifully kept ,the beach bar comfy,the swing beds on the beach very relaxing.
Food is good and the staff all very friendly and helpful with smiles and always ready for a chat! The animals add a touch of reality making you feel that you are staying in a country house rather than a faceless hotel.
Ellie and Lesley are most helpful hosts coming to chat every evening to ensure that their guests are having a good stay again giving a feeling of the house party atmosphere rather than a hotel.
We also like the fact that they are committed to their local enviroment and encourage their guests to donate money etc for the local school.
They also arranged a special meal for us on the beach to celebrate our anniversary with a wonderful BBQ and a fire tended by a Massai! Very romantic.
The Shooting Star Lodge is a small unique gem where you can relax and enjoy a special stay on a lovely island!
I hope we can return for a 3rd trip before too long.
Jane and Geoff England."
- Travel date: Thu 16th of August 2007
wonderful shooting star
"This is the best hotel I have ever stayed in . Comfortable, beautiful, amazing food and very friendly. If you are after a laid back and peaceful stay on the most beautiful stretch of beach you could not beat Shooting Star."
- Travel date: Sun 12th of August 2007
Unique and excellent
"We stayed at the Shooting Star at the beginning and end of a two week visit to Zanzibar in July 2007, and found it to be a very special place indeed. This was the first hotel to be opened in an area that has since seen quite a lot of development, and it has the best possible site - raised up on a low cliff commanding one of the best beaches imaginable. While some of the more recent hotels in the area have a decidedly corporate feel (there are some that could be anywhere), the Shooting Star has real personality, thanks to the proprietors who have built up this unique establishment from scratch, and who are there to see to people's needs, recommend activities etc..
We found the services to be excellent throughout. The rooms, most of which consist of separate buildings, were pleasant and efficiently run. Having been very well planted, the site is like a green oasis. The pool, which circles around the (unthreatening!) cliff edge is clean and spectacular with its srunning views out over the coral reef and Indian Ocean.
The public area - the bar and dining facilities - consists of a roofed but open area complete with coconut palms and spectacular views. The fact that it is open suits the climate completely and renders things that might conceivably be irritating indoors- including the occasional smoker and the two (actually pretty well-domesticated) cats - entirely acceptable.
We thought that there were many advantages to the fact that the Shooting Star plainly has some sense of responsibility to its locality. Rather than importing its staff from the Tanzanian mainland and entirely isolating itself in a separate dollar economy, it employs locally and helps its guests make the most of the wider area should they wish. We found the staff engaging and friendly. As for activities beyond the hotel and its beach, the proprietors have well developed links with local possibilities and a particular talent for finding activities that suited the various guests who express an interest in venturing out. While we were there various guests were diving and snorkelling on the extraordinary corral reef, sailing unlikely looking wooden dhows into the Indian Ocean, investigating local history, visiting villages and spice farms etc. For others, the beach, which was carefully raked and cleaned every morning (you don't get coral reefs without a bit of seaweed) was more than enough. The food was good too, as was the newly installed beautician and masseuse!"
- Travel date: Sun 5th of August 2007
"We stayed at Shooting Star in June 2007. I agree in part with most of the reviews thus far. We went to stay there after a hectic safari for R&R.
The good points were that the location was good and the room which we stayed in was nice.
There were several problems from our experience, which some people may or may not have problems with;
1. The overall level of service was bad. The staff were really friendly, however, they could speak very little English (and this made it hard to communicate - e.g I asked for a glass of white wine and got an empty wine glass!)
Also, on a daily basis, each room was entitled to 2 bottles of drinking water since you are unable to drink the water. We received these on day one, however, did not receive thereafter. I personally informed the owner about this who said that we would get the water that day, and still nothing (and not refilled for next 2 days).
They have a policy of not cleaning the sheets / towels on a daily basis for environmental reasons. This is fine - no probs, but when it was the day to clean, we didnt receive all of our towels back. (You get two sets - one for room / one for beach/pool).
2. Food - whilst the food was an exceptable standard, the service and cleaniness was not. They were completely understaffed. Breakfast typically took 1 - 1.5hr to eat (and that included a buffet of fruit and cereal and you ordered an egg or pancakes with a basket of toast (lightly warmed bread) with it).
Lunch took approximately 2 hr and you had the choice of a starter and then choice of a main (3-4 options - incl Veg if rqd).
Dinner was the longest and it was not unreasonable to be there for 2.5-3hr. This included a choice of entree, choice of main and predetermined dessert.
I refer to the cleaniness as I cannot imagine this occuring within Australia for Health reasons. But at Shooting Star, there are 3 cats and one dog. While you eat your meals, the cats are also around and walk around you whilst you eat. If there are free tables, they sit on top of them and there is cat fur on all the chair covers. We also quite often saw them walk in places which they shouldnt have. And, I know cats are clean animals, but these arent.
Finally, in Australia, smoking from restaurants & bars is banned and as a non-smoker, it is completely disgusting to have smoke blown around you whilst you eat. I understand this wont upset the smokers but if you not, be aware.
3. Drink Prices - as you are so isolated, the drink prices (quoted in US$) are completely unreasonable. We only established how much when we stayed at our hotel in Stonetown which was at least 50% cheaper. Typical prices include soft drinks $1.50, beers $3, wine by the glass $6, wine by the bottle $26. Although it doesnt sound expensive, at the next hotel which was 4*, softdrinks were 80c, wine $2 per glass and beers $1.50. Shooting star was way over priced.
4. The bill - when we stayed, it states in your room that they will get you to sign off your bill at each nite. Well, this didnt happen and we decided to keep a log of what we actually spent. And of course, as we expected, they had put drinks on there which werent even ours and tried to make us pay for them. This could have been avoided by them asking us to sign (as all other hotels do).
As i mentioned at the top, this place is pleasant (rooms and location), however it is extremely boring. If your an active person, there is nothing to do except walk on the beach! The pool was beautiful, the staffwere nice and tried there best, i just think everything else needs to be improved."
- Travel date: Mon 25th of June 2007
"Shooting Star Lodge: If youâre looking for a romantic and luxurious beach vacation the Shooting Star Lodge is NOT for you! Everything about this hotel is BASICâ¦
My husband and I spent 3-nights at the Shooting Star Lodge in a sea-view cottage. We were very disappointed not only with the accommodations, but also by ONE unfriendly waitress, the food and by the beach. The only advantage to the Shooting Star Lodge was that it was laid back and small. The staff was generally quite friendly (except for one waitress).
SEA-VIEW COTTAGE: We chose The Shooting Star Lodge after several nice reviews from tourists and the wonderful pictures on the Shooting Starâs webpage. We found the rooms too be extremely SIMPLE and uncomfortable (here are a few pictures of our sea-view cottage). The shower floor is really UNACCEPTABLE! Our mosquito net canopy definitely needed a wash, it was very dusty.
BEACH: Although the sea has amazing shades of blue and turquoise, the beach is very disappointing, with lots of garbage (plastic bags, tin cans, batteries and even chemical glass bottles!). We were shocked at the trade of shells that occur on the beach. Unfortunately we cannot show you pictures as we were asked to pay to take pictures of these actual trades taking place. It was such a shame, since from far away the beach is beautiful. Luckily the pool was very nice with a great view of the ocean!!!
FOOD: We had read that the restaurant has a long-standing reputation for fine food. The breakfast is very basic: a glass of juice, two slices of fruit, tea or coffee, some toast and a sweet croissant, and a choice of eggs or pancakes. Lunch: one starter, choice of main dish and a fruit salad. Dinner: soup as a starter (since there is no choice of a starter too bad for you there is meat and you are a vegetarian!), the main dishes were always great (choice of fish, meat or vegetarian), and for dessert fruit mouse. There was a curries buffet one evening which was really good.
In conclusion, donât expect TOO much from the BASIC Shooting Star Lodge."
- Travel date: Thu 7th of June 2007
Wondeful Place To Relax
"My wife and i stayed here as part of our trip to Zanzibar on Honeymoon and it was fantastic. The majority og guests were couples, however anyone could stay here if you are looking to relax!
The pool was a real feature and the area surrounding it was lovely and never packed with guests.
The rooms we lovely and big, great big shower room too which was nice.
Steps from the bar area lead down to the beach which was amazing for strolls anytime of the day.
For chilling out, relaxing, great food then would highly recommend this place to anyone!"
- Travel date: Fri 16th of February 2007
Great intimate and romantic destination
"We stayed in this hotel after a few days in the north coast (Mnarani) and the contrast was striking.
The owners have created a relaxed and intimate atmosphere, ideal for spending a couple of days relaxing or exploring the island.
The place is unassuming but very tasteful, with spacious rooms full of thoughful touches, a very stylish swimming pool and a couple of bars to chill out - chess, bao and other games included. One of the barmans - sadly we didn't get his name - was extremely friendly teaching us about local plants, animals and how to play bao!
The food was absolutely delicious and the service excellent.
From the hotel one can stroll over a long pristine beach (massive italian resorts sprouting all over though).
The owners are very accomodating and will organise activities (diving, windsurfing, spice trips) for you.
Most of the guests were couples, however I believe the place is equally suitable for families - the sea cottages are just huge!"
- Travel date: Mon 15th of January 2007
A dreamy piece of heaven
"We stayed over New Year at the Shooting Star with our two children aged 9 and 11 and loved it unreservedly. The owners are charming and helpful, the staff courteous, and the place just beautiful. It sits on the hill above the beach, with steps down to the beach, where there are swings and wooden loungers and a bar.
The infinity pool is a perfect place to lounge and I don't think other guests minded the noise of our children splashing. The sea is shallow to swim in, being so tidal, but fine to play in, and the sand is fine white coral sand soft underfoot. Walking along the beach at sundown was magic, enjoying the blues and pinks of the sky merging into the sea and the sand.
The food was good, as well as the bar service. There is little to do except play in the water, chat to other guests, or play a little backgammon on the cushions in the bar catching the sea breeze.
On New Year's Eve we danced on the beach with a local band playing rare authentic sounds in the firelight. A great way to welcome in the New Year."
- Travel date: Wed 10th of January 2007
Lovely Bar but a little too quiet
"Nice rooms, fab pool and lovely bar area. It was a lovely setting and rooms were being updated as we left. However, the area itself is very quiet and if staying for a few days there isn't much to keep fully entertained (take a few books!). The only place to visit is the Blue Bay Resort which is further down the beach. We did managed to meet some lovely people there but it will depends who is there when you arrive."
- Travel date: Sat 4th of November 2006
atmospheric but damp
"Perched on a hill above the beach with infinity pool stretching out into the ocean with only 14 rooms it promised to be a paradise. With intimate and relaxed atmosphere of the small cosy seating area around the pool and the bar it made it ideal for honeymooners. We were the only couple not on a honey moon. Friendly place - lots of chat in the evenings.
As we booked quite late we could only get a "garden view" room. The room was small, dark and damp. No amount of fresh sea breeze (we left all windows and door open all day) and fan could get rid of the damp feel to it. The pool of water in the shower room didn't dry out at all and the sheets stayed damp all night. The next day we exchanged our small burrow for a spacious sea-view room. However the sheets proved to be even damper than in the previous room and we had to move into a big resort nearby for our last night.
Compared to the big faceless italian resorts along the same stretch of the beach the Shooting Star is an ideal escape but sadly with very damp rooms! The sea view cabins may be better, but definitely avoid the garden view rooms unless you can put up with the dampness.
Apart from the above the owners were charming people and the staff absolute stars. If the standard of accommodation was to improve we would recommend this place for a romantic getaway. Frequently very good food in the restaurant."
- Travel date: Sat 23rd of September 2006