10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
gorgeous place to relax
"The three days we spent at Matemwe Beach Village before our Kilimanjaro climb were the most relaxing days of our month-long trip to Africa. We stayed in one of the groovy Barbapapa-esque suite cottages. The bedroom was spacious, comfortable, and clean, and the upstairs area under the thatched roof provided a lovely place to hang out after dinner.
Our daylight hours were spent walking and swimming at the gorgeous beach, snorkeling with the excellent onsite diving school, floating around in the pool, and enjoying the simple but tasty food. The staff were all incredibly helpful and kind; they even made a cake for my traveling companion's birthday.
The open-air shower and bathroom, though charming, seemed to attract mosquitoes, but we found that the mosquito coils provided by the hotel kept the mosquito population under control.
We had a wonderful time at Matemwe Beach Guesthouse, and we will definitely stay there if we get the chance to return to Zanzibar."
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of December 2007
Great place to relax
"Stayed here for the second week of our honey moon in September 2007. Stayed in one of the Shamba suites. This was huge and we had more than enough space. The bed was very comfortable and room quiet. A story was left on the bed every night to read before going to sleep. The hanging beds upstairs were just fantastic with great views out to sea. We were in S1 which is apparently the best one for views. The only downside which management say they are trying to sort out are the VAST amount of mosquitoes that gather partic in the bathroom. Make sure you takes LOTS of spray and coils with you. They do come and zap them all before you go to bed but they still multiply by the morning. We did manage to avoid getting bitten too much though.
The communal areas are really nice. A great pool bar and swimming pool. Main bar not quite as good - shame they don't keep pool bar open all night. The food is fantastic partic the lunch menu. A good happy hour at 7pm too with half price drinks. There were a couple of themed dinners with BBQs, Indian food etc which was really good. You all sit at big tables so get to talk to different people. Overall a great place to stay - not as quiet as other places so good if you want to socialise a bit in the evenings."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of November 2007
a very special place
"Occasionally on our travels we have found places that are really special, where we immediately felt entirely comfortable and blissfully happy. Matemwe Beach Village was one of them. It was our first visit to Zanzibar, and we stayed in a number of small lodges so that we could get a good feel of the island, and of all the places
we experienced, we loved it the most.
There was a wonderfully relaxed and totally uncontrived atmosphere about the place that made one feel cared about but not fussed over. The staff were all extremely kind and helpful, even in the smallest ways, without ever being pushy or overbearing. I had a cold when I arrived, and one of the staff who cleaned our shamba thoughtfully (and with a beautiful smile) made sure that I was given extra boxes of tissues without being asked. We particularly appreciated the fact that the lodge was managed by local Zanzibaris, as in some of the other places we visited we found that the German, Italian or English influence was so evident that it rather spoilt the experience. We also appreciated that the background music in the dining room was mostly world music from Africa â beautiful sounds, not popular tourist fodder - which really added to the atmosphere.
The food was simple but excellent, the indigenous garden kept under control by the resident goats was wonderful, and entirely eco-friendly, and the buildings and swimming pools inhabited the landscape beautifully and with sensitivity and style. The fresh blue and turquoise tones in the dÃ©cor and staff clothing created a casual but tasteful continuity, and perfectly reflected the gorgeous colours
of the sea and sky outside. The boutique was the best we found anywhere, with beautifully selected items that were reasonably priced, and I really appreciated the way it supported such worthy local craftspeople.
The dive centre was also excellent, and extremely professional. Our snorkeling off Mnemba was outstanding.
There were also little touches that made one feel special, such as the complimentary dhow trip through the most beautiful crystal blue water imaginable, and the bedtime story left on the pillow in the evening.
We stayed in a shamba which was delightfully quirky and very spacious
â we particularly loved the airy space upstairs with the hanging beds
for relaxing on sleepy hot afternoons. Because the sea breeze doesnât
reach the shambas, there were quite a few mosquitoes, so donât forget
your mosquito repellent and prophylactics. I mentioned it to the management, and they are currently looking for a solution to the mosquito problem.
We were only able to secure a booking for three nights, but we would have loved to have stayed for longer, and would recommend it highly."
- Travel date: Wed 24th of October 2007
Best hidaway in the world
"It was a few years ago since I stayed with my girlfriend in one of the bungalows at Matemwe Beach Guesthouse. The suites were practically new then and it was just great. The round huts with tatched roofs, upstair terrace with ocean view..nothing beats it. However, as you can read in earlier reviews, the standard rooms are less exclusive, the suites are recommended! Staff is great, the snorkelling is awesome (better than anything IÂ´ve ever seen) and food is good too. People complain about basic menues but I can't agree. Fresh lobster and seafood, fresh juices, coconut etc. Remember you're in a remote paradise islandand not at the Hilton in London. We got engaged there and are going back for our honeymoon now in December. Combine your stay here with a night or two at Emerson & Green in Stone Town and a few days on the mainland in either Tanzania or Kenya (Lamu Island is also amazing). The best, laidback paradise holiday on earth."
- Travel date: Tue 2nd of October 2007
Beautiful Location - Guesthouse Overrated
"The location of this guesthouse is absolutely beautiful and the communal rooms for hanging around in the evening are great. However, we were really disappointed in our room which was small and dark and contained a bed and a very small table. It had one window which had a view of the opposite bungalow. The porch had a small table with two hard chairs which were certainly not conducive for relaxing. Food was OK but not much of a variety. I've read everyone else's great reviews about this place and I'm left feeling really suprised as I didn't think it was particularly great - I certainly wouldn't return. The long white sandy beach and the amazingly blue sea were stunning but, apart from the staff who were really friendly, the guesthouse was a real disappointment."
- Travel date: Tue 24th of July 2007
Relaxing, laid-back and gorgeous!
"This place is simply great. Why?
- the beach is very long and wide, totally quiet and absolutely gorgeous! We wondered how this is possible...most of the time we saw no other people on it... had it been anywhere in the world exept for Africa this beach would have been full of hotels, that's for sure.
- the staff are the kindest people you have ever met. No, the efficiancy isn't always like it would be europe or the us. But the people working at Matemwe are very genuine and will do anything to make your stay there a good one. My husband was sick when we arrived at Matemwe, and all the staff were so concerned and always checking up on us in a really sweet way. Needless to say, he recovered very quickly at Matemwe!
- the suites are huge, airy and nicely decorated. the upstairs area is open and was great for an afternoon snooze.
- food was basic but good. We felt that there was some room for improvement here - food was totally satisfactory and fresh, but could be more creative and exciting.
all in all though - this is a wonderful place to stay. The dive center next door was very professional with some great instructors. There isn't much to do here exept relax but for 3-4 days it's perfect!"
- Travel date: Mon 25th of June 2007
"If you are looking for a real 'get away from it all' experience - this is the place to go. They offer free transfers from Stonetown airport and the resort is located in the remote north east side of the island.
There is nothing in the surrounding area (town wise), so no distractions apart from relaxing on the powder white sand beach, overlooking the tranquil lagoon. The rooms are designed a seperate traditional thatch roof huts. We were upgraded to a suite, which was beautiful. Very simple decor, but well designed with a couple of interesting touches (the shower, bathroom and terrace).
There is a relaxed lounge area overlooking the beach and the restaurant sits adjacent to this. The service was very friendly - but simple, with few mod cons. The restaurant has a daily menu, offering fresh, local cuisine. Once a week there is a 'curry' buffet - which was very nice.
The beach is very quiet - which is a real plus. The lagoon is great for a quick dip, but not ideal if you like to swim in the sea. The lagoon is used by the local villagers for fishing and farming seaweed - giving you some great photo opportunities. There are also bikes for hire and a dive centre.
If you are looking for a stripped back, simple vacation, on a natural, perfect beach - this is the place for you. A great place to relax after a sarafi, or climbing Kilamanjaro."
- Travel date: Thu 21st of June 2007
excellent beachfront accommodation
"Spent 5 nights here at the end of a month away in africa. we stayed in the honeymoon suite which is amazing, right on the beach with wonderful views and open air. Your own chef to cook you breakfast lunch and dinner, you just tell him what you fancy to eat and the time you want to eat it. Great pool area and dive site. wonderful snorkelling trips to mnemba, the best we've ever done tops red sea, caribean, great barrier reef.
If you fancy a few quiet days spent on a beautiful beach watching the local women collecting their seaweed, snorkelling and getting a suntan, you can't beat this place, would love to go back."
- Travel date: Sun 25th of March 2007
Better than previous reviews suggested
"Slightly apprehensive about this place in light of earlier reviews, but enjoyed our three days stay there. Not musky or damp, food good to excellent, nice pool, huge empty beach. Beware snorkelling can be very choppy - not for beginners!"
- Travel date: Mon 5th of March 2007
So nice to go back
"Matemwe Beach Guesthouse was as good as we remembered - the new Shamba suites were wonderful: - lots of space, great showers, lovely finishing touches, lovely open air upstairs areas with day beds etc. The only negative was the mosquitoes in their open air bathrooms. But they are dealing with this - the rooms are sprayed regularly and mosi coils are lit for you each night.
The addition of the wonderful pool area at Matemwe is also a real positive - especially as it allows you to have a welcomed swim at low tide. We also felt that they have improved their food greatly since our last visit four years ago (and even then it was quite good. There was more choice and the quality was excellent. It is also so nice to be able to walk that wonderful beach and see the fishing boats come in - the setting is second to none. The staff were once again a positive part of a stay at Matemwe. It was lovely to be back.
Sue & Jim, Northern Ireland."
- Travel date: Wed 3rd of January 2007