10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Death Trap - Avoid Coral Rock & Choose Another Hotel
"You have been warnedâ¦We stayed at Coral Rock in Feb 2008 and have to admit that even after one whole year of continuous traveling around the world this has to be by far the worst hotel I have ever stayed in.
We had initially booked to stay here for 3 nights. On the second day there was no water for quite a few hours and therefore we were unable to use the shower or flush the toilet. Didnât really mind this as I know these things are unavoidable. However when the water supply was finally restored my wife decided to go for a shower which worked off an electrically powered hot water boiler but when she touched the taps she got a nasty electric shock! Luckily for her she was wearing rubber flip flops in the shower otherwise God only knows what would have happened. She had managed to turn the water on but couldnât then turn it off because every time she touched the taps she was being electrocuted! We complained about this to Bonita and JP, the South African reps at the hotel. They thankfully understood the grave nature of this problem and the serious consequences it could have. However the local general manager of the hotel, a chap called Ali, was not so concerned. He acted as if this was a trivial issue despite both Bonita and JP trying to tell him otherwise. Perhaps hotels in Zanzibar have no health and safety regulations to follow (?). They finally got an electrician out to fix the problem and he showed us the loose live wiring in the boiler that had led to the short circuit.
Even after this was fixed we did not quite feel safe enough to stay at this hotel and so requested to be moved to another hotel. The management of Coral Rock obliged and we were then thankfully moved to another (and far superior) hotel called Sau Inn next door.
Other negative points:
- The water in the bathroom is saline so you never feel quite clean even after a shower or brushing your teeth. Plus dodgy electrics in the boiler and saline water in the shower â a definite no no.
- The infinity pool is more like a salt water plunge pool.
- Despite earlier reassurances from the owner (see Neil Caveâs response to loxodonta review 28 Dec 2007) the Maasai hawkers were present everyday within the hotel compound and if you were unlucky enough they could be parked right outside the patio of your room!
- The aircon in our room didnât work and never got fixed even after numerous complaints.
- One side of the beach is rocky and full of coral and the other side is full of rubbish and seaweed - not ideal for swimming. Maybe itâs seasonal and tide dependent but when we were there it was impossible to swim due to the tonnes of seaweed that got blown in.
- Keep tabs of what you've had to eat and drink as there doesn't seem to be a hotel policy that requires guests to sign off their purchases periodically.
- The trips offered by Kasim, the local operator, were quite pricey. He wanted to charge us $140 per person for the Chumbe Island day trip. You could book this trip for $80 directly with the island! Lots of other operators in other hotels were offering the same excursions for a lot less.
- The âcouldnât care lessâ attitude of the local general manager Ali.
- The hotel is a bit isolated so you could be a bit stuck for places to go to outside of the hotel for evening meals/drinks/entertainment.
On the plus side:
- Bonita and JP were very helpful and supportive during the âelectrocutionâ crisis and in resolving our move to a different hotel. Thankfully someone in this place was client focused.
- Food at the restaurant was good but had to be pre-ordered during busy periods to avoid long waits.
- Bar staff were friendly and the cocktails were good.
Overall I would not recommend this place in light of the dodgy electrics in the shower. My wife's hands were tingling for three days after the initial electric shock! For a similarly priced hotel I would recommend Cristal Resort in Paje which has by far the better beach, fresh water showers, working aircon and generally a more customer focused service (see my review on Cristal Resort)."
- Travel date: Sat 1st of March 2008
Had the time of my life!
"I am the type of traveller that wants a unique and authentic travel experience when I go on holiday.
I want to experience new surroundings, culture, food, people - I want these things to be different to what I experience back home day to day. However, coming from a first world environment, I do not want to experience any discomfort whilst experiencing these things and I also expect professionalism from a service provider. This is why I loved Coral Rock. I appreciated the prompt professional correspondence with hotel management in respect of booking and handling my never ending list of enquiries. When I arrived I was introduced to 3 managers (2 South African and one local) and all the key staff who discreetly ensured that everything I required was attended to. The service was top class for a budget hotel. The views from the hotel were fantastic. Everything about the hotel was really authentic unlike many "cultural" places I have been to that are superficially "authentic" with fake rocks where speakers emit bird noises etc. Food was authentic and tasty, I had the best duck I have ever had at Coral Rock. If you love fish and coconut curry sauce, like I do, then you'll love it. I also ate some interesting dishes that I have never seen on any other menu. Nothing was out of line price wise with other restaurants in the area. A short walk also provides you with many different places to dine and drink at very good prices. I liked the fact that you get to experience real Swahili life in a rural fishing village and that the hotel is not isolated from this like many other resorts I have been to in Zanzibar. What impressed me was how clean the rooms were and although basic had everything I needed to ensure I did not experience any discomfort. Real hand carved Zanzibar doors and beds (which were massive - bigger than King) added to the experience. Bathrooms were impeccable but only with showers. Air-con is a must and hard to find in hotels on the South East coast. A pool is a must and also not common in that area.Theirs was the coolest pool I have possibly ever spent time in, the views from the rim flow pool were a highlight for me. I have stayed at 4 resorts in Zanzibar and have to say that Coral Rock was more my cup of tea.
- Travel date: Thu 7th of February 2008
"We stayed here for a week and after a mix up with the booking and having to spend a night next door all was well. bonita and the staff were attentive and the room was clean and adequate with lots of hot water. captain Chicken took us out on his dhow feo snokeling and we spent a day on a Robinson crusoe Island with only crabs for company and great swimming. Kazim was an efficient tour operator and the fish was lovely. Many thanks for a truly relaxing stay"
- Travel date: Tue 5th of February 2008
A laid back treat in Zanzibar
"We were very impressed with the Coral rock hotel - and the friendliness of the staff made up for the few short comings. The location is fantastic on a very picturesque beach right where local life was very much a part of the whole picture. One word of warning though for anyone thinking of a trip to Jambiani is that the seaweed left on the beach after the tide goes out has a very strong odour that takes a bit of getting used to!
The rooms were comfortable and clean - my only complaint that the bed sheets are not quite big enough to be tucked around the edges of the bed (which is huge!!) so that we always woke up with it crumpled up between us and we were lying on the bare mattress.
We were there in low season so not all options on the menu were available - but what we could have was generally pretty good and tasty - although there were a few complaints from other guests and instructions to the chef on how to properly cook calamari.
There are a wide number of activities available that can be arranged by the hotel - but these are not forced on you. The snorkelling with Chicken was by far the best - and the diving (arranged with a dive shop belonging to another hotel) was spectacular, especially outside the reef.
In general I though the hotel was good value for money - it doesn't tout itself as a luxury resort and it certainly isn't - but it will please anyone looking for a laid back holiday in a beautiful part of the world."
- Travel date: Tue 22nd of January 2008
A room with a view!
"A great deal for the money. Nice rooms with a spectacular view (especially those at the north end), decent food, good beach, friendly staff, fabulous pool. The pool makes it, since at low tide along most of the east coast, there is very little water to be found."
- Travel date: Thu 17th of January 2008
Lovely, simple hotel on amazing beach!
"We stayed at the Coral Rock for eight nights in October 2007. The hotel itself was small and simple, but perfectly formed! There is a lovely swimming pool overlooking the beach, and a small restaurant. The rooms were spacious, and very clean, with a really comfortable bed!
The location is amazing, on a quite part of the island, with no large resort type hotels. The beach is beautiful, with some great snorkelling, which the hotel can arrange. The staff were very helpful, and we did quite a few trips to other parts of the island, which were adequately priced and efficiently organised!
Overall, we had a great time at Coral Rock, wouldnt change anything about the place, and will definitely be going back!"
- Travel date: Sat 12th of January 2008
Great time in Zanzibar
"> Hi there, Recently my husband and I and our 3 children plus sundry others went to the Coral Rock hotel in Jambiani to celebrate out 25th wedding anniversary. We had the most wonderful time. The accommodation was clean and more than adequate with air conditioning (an unbelievable bonus at the price) and en-suite bathrooms. The host - Neil Cave and his family - couldn't do enough for us, and the relaxed and informal style of dining were so welcome after our frenetic South African life style. Trips were arranged, and transport provided without any hassle, and the staff were friendly and HONEST. On the one occasion when the subcontractor for a trip to some off shore islands for snorkeling was not up to par, we were not charged for the trip, and we were treated to a fantastic seafood 'feast' as compensation. It is my opinion that you would have to be difficult to please if you didn't enjoy a visit to this venue, and we would love to go again.
- Travel date: Fri 11th of January 2008
"We booked Coral Rock after looking at the website and seeing it promoted via an agency that dealt specifically in environmentally friendly and community owned/managed establishments. We live and work in Tanzania, so know what is possible and what is not. We initially booked for four nights, but left after two nights.
The rooms were clean, and in ok condition, and people were friendly.
But a few things to bear in mind:
Music plays all day and till late in the lounge/dining room, so you cant really escape it, especially if you are in the first few rooms.
The food was appalling. The chicken was off. When we pointed it out, there was no apology, or attempt to offer something else. We noticed that although the lodge was almost full, few people ate at the restaurant.. perhaps they knew something in advance?
In spite of being promoted as conservation minded, the rubbish bins in the main area overflowed, and werent emptied any time we were there.
Somethings needed fixing in our room - light and aircon not working - but inspite of explaining the problems, leaving our keys with reception in the morning, nothing was done. The manager (?) saw us in the evening and claimed that he hadnt been able to find us - we spent the afternoon by the pool, next to our room - or get into the room to fix the problem - the houskeepers had managed to get in to clean the room!
We were also surprised to see maasai selling their handcrafts right in front of our room. All day. No problem with people coming and selling their wares, but a little disconcerting to have it two feet in front of your patio!
Overall, we wouldnt recommend the place. It has potential, but the managers need to put some standards in place, and work on following them up."
- Travel date: Fri 28th of December 2007
Stunning location and very friendly
"Coral Rock is in the most beautiful location, and all the rooms look out onto an ocean of about 16 different shades of blue. It's just stunning. The food is excellent, particularly if you enjoy fish; and the rooms are clean and tidy with lots of local touches. The staff were extremely friendly and went out of their way to help with my bags which were lost by the airline. There's not a lot going on in Jambiani, but if you need somewhere to just relax and kick back, this is the place!"
- Travel date: Mon 26th of November 2007
Best Holiday Ever!
"Wow! Coral Rock is definitely the place to stay at when visiting Zanzibar. The staff become family, the hotel becomes your home. You are made to feel more than welcome and the food is to die for! As part of Jambiani village you get to really get to know the locals - we went fishing with locals, they took us on Vespa rides and we made many new friends. We never locked our door and knew that all our possessions were always safe because of the trust and ethics of community members- what a welcoming experience (being South African!) Thanks to Bonita nad her team at Coral Rock - best of luck with the renovations - can't wait to go back and see the restaurant when it's painted!"
- Travel date: Fri 16th of November 2007