10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Heaven on earth
"Heaven on earth!
We had a great time at Matemwe Bungalows! Very friendly staff, excellent rooms with a beautiful sea view. Every morning they bring you fresh coffee and tea! You can drink this on your private terrace!! So lovely (see pictures)â¦
Beautiful swimming pool, amazing cocktails, the perfect atmosphere for a perfect holiday!!!!!"
- Travel date: Sat 9th of December 2006
"I had a briljant stay here.
The bungalows are big, if not to say huge, with simple but beautiful furniture, an excellent bathroom with bath and separate shower, and a very nice and private veranda overlooking the ocean crashing down on the rocks benath you. All bungalows are situated in a gorgeous and very wel maintained garden with a lounge bar and two pools. One overlooking the ocean and one in the garden sheltered from the occasional ocean breeze.
The food is really good and served by very friendly staff. The manager informs every evening about the activities for the next day. He is keen to have a short chat, but also sensitive enough to leave if you just want to spend the evening with your partner.
In all I really enjoyed the five days I spend here and would recommend it to anyone wanting to spend some time in a small and intimate resort on one of the most beautiful spots on earth."
- Travel date: Sat 9th of December 2006
"After a warm welcome from the staff, with coconut drinks and a necklace of flowers, you are accompanied to your own luxurious bungalow with private veranda overlooking the sea. Having unpacked you walk through the lush garden to the infinity pool for a relaxing day in the sun. When the sun is setting you go for a drink in the bar, where the romantic seats are separated by typical zanzibarian sailing boot sails. Then it is time for dinner where very friendly staff brings you lovely food and the manager inquires, without pushing, about activities (snorkelling!) you might want to do the next day.
It was a wonderful end to our tanzanian holiday. We were not on honeymoon, but the atmosphere and staff at matemwe bungalows made it feel that way."
- Travel date: Fri 8th of December 2006
"Having stayed at Ras Kutani and Selous safari camp, matemwe was, i'm afraid to say, a real let down.
I have to say its not like me to write a review like this and i am not fussy, but when you are paying that amount of money (around $400 per night) and are on honeymoon, you expect a lot better.
In short, the service is lousy, the standard of the food is at best mixed, the beach (contrary to the photos on some websites) is thoroughly dirty and unpleasant (lots of litter, locals defacating on the beach in front of you etc) and the sea is a no go area, due to the presence of sea urchins, which have infested the reef following the destructive over-fishing by the locals. The rooms are disappointing in the sense that they are getting a bit tired, are badly maintained, and the quality of the furnishings is far below you'd expect for that sort of money (little things like holes in the mosquito net, uncomfy mattress and dirty pillows in our case)
So you are left to lounge by the pool, which is nice, just remember lots of books so you dont get bored as there's not much else to do."
- Travel date: Thu 2nd of November 2006
"We also went on honeymoon to this place in September and am afraid to say we totally agree with the review given in September rather than the recent one for October.
We spent the first part of our honeymoon in Tanzania - including at Ras Kutani which is absolutely heaven on earth.
Matemwe Bungalows was simply a huge disappointment. The beach is filthy with rubbish from the villages (we didn't mind the seaweed as were expecting it, but did not expect the tons of blue rubbish bags and rusting cans everywhere). Why is the hotel making no effort whatsoever to clean up a bit? The whole 4 days we were there not one of the hotel guests seemed to sit on the beach. The result is that you are confined to the pool area, which although lovely, is not quite the "paradise beach experience" that the brochure boasted of.
I also agree with the review about the food - the buffet was left out for hours and the coverings are only half put on with the resul t that flies and wasps seemed to cover the fruit and jams at times.
The rooms are lovely but don't try to order a drink from housekeeping -whilst it seemed like a lovely idea that they come round and offer to bring you wine to your balcony, we ended up waiting 1 hour and 20 mins, and then walked to the bar to get it ourselves. The service generally is slow and unfriendly.
All in all, despite the nice rooms and pool area, for the money you are paying this could be a lot better. The management should pay a visit to Ras Kutani to see how a place could and should be run if it is trying to get into that small luxury category."
- Travel date: Thu 2nd of November 2006
"Gosh I've just read the last review and having returned from our honeymoon in Zanzibar we had such a different view of Matemwe Bungalows. We stayed for 6 nights at Matemwe and came away completely satisfied. I appreciate that 'yes by being a stones throw away from the coastline you could hear the sea and feel the elements' but isn't that the point?!
We found it very romantic to wrap ourselves in blankets and watch the sun go down, ready for the firefly spectacular to follow.
The staff were very friendly and professional. It was positively embarrassing how many people were maintaining the beautiful grounds for the small number of guests to enjoy. We thought the food was of a good standard, with plenty of choice and we didn't consider there were any major hygiene risks. But again may be we were too busy having a honeymoon. On our last night the staff treated us to a wonderfully romantic meal - which I won't divulge so as not to ruin it for others.
Unfortunately the sea is festooned with urchins - but the hotel arrange daily snorkelling trips so you can get out and swim near the reef plus the staff will give you a tour of the reef at low tide.
We have visited Thailand, Indonesia, Polynesia and the best places we have stayed in aren't European-esque 5* luxury. If you enjoy experiencing new places, that aren't so manicured as to make you feel you're in an American chain hotel then for a small taste of Africa's east coast this is a great resort and so initimate it makes a great honeymoon destination."
- Travel date: Sun 8th of October 2006
Not paradise, unless you like salt spray and crashing waves
"We have just returned from a holiday in Tanzania and Zanzibar, where we spent the last 5 nights at Matemwe bungalows. We had been spoilt at our earlier accommodation, but Matemwe bungalows was a real let down.
1 The bungalows are right on top of a coral cliff, only a few feet from the edge. Which might sound great, being so close to the sea, but at high tide, the waves were pounding the cliff so hard you could feel the ground shake. And the noise meant that we never had a good night sleep, and that was with ear plugs.
2 The crashing waves also generated a lot of salt spray, which covered the inside of the bungalow. Any soft furnishings were damp and loaded with salt. The floor was sticky and was not cleaned while we were there.
3 The thought of relaxing on the Private Veranda, is best left as a thought. The hammock and outside seat had foam covers to them, which were soaked in salt spray. I canât imagine that they had been washed for a long time. The veranda floor was also covered in a matting, which meant that it couldn't be cleaned and like everything else was sticky and covered with salt. Also, it only got the sun in the early morning. By 10am, the veranda was in the shade. Overall, we spent a minimum amount of time in the bungalow.
4 The buffet food was left out with covers on them, but these were more of a token effort, which were not keeping the flies off the food. The jams at breakfast sometimes had wasps in them, as did the fresh fruit.
5 On a positive, the pool area was nice.
We wished we had spent the same money at a nicer hotel, even if it meant it was for 3 nights instead of 5.
We were glad when we had to leave."
- Travel date: Tue 26th of September 2006
very relaxing, amazing place
"This was our first destination on our honeymoon and it was a brilliant start to our trip. We stayed for four nights on a full board basis.
First of all our bungalow was very luxury and had a great view out over the oean. Our terrace had a very comfortable hammock (for two) and we loved our morning tea brought to our breakfast table every morning.
Food was excellant, great breakfast, 3 course lunch and dinner (my favourites were the Red Snapper, BBQ kebabs and Banana flan).
The two swimming pools were very nice and the top pool looked out over the ocean, with a infinity edge to it, very luxury. Plus lots of comfy areas around the pool to chil out.
Beach was just off to the side of the resort, and had the softest white sand. Also had some nice sun loungers to rest on.
Only thing I would say is that it did get very windy from after lunch until early evening, but I think we were there during the highest tide???
Trips - only did a snorkling trip out to memba island, not bad but watch out for the choppy sea just before you turn to go over to go over to island, got soaked (so put your camera in a plastic bag!)
Overall loved it."
- Travel date: Sat 12th of August 2006
"My Husband and I visited Zanzibar recently and stayed at Matemwe Bungalows. We were wanting to stay somewhere that was small and intimate, with a real personal feel to the place. Although the resort was small with only 12 (very private) rooms it was lacking a certain something. Before arriving in Zanzibar we were staying in the Masai Mara at a camp called Kicheche, where we were spoiled rotten by the ambiance, food and service (spectacular), so when we arrived at Matemwe Bungalows we thought we were being a bit critical. We arrived one week after new management and I think there may have been some teething problems between the new manager and the staff. The attention to detail was missing and many elements of the service were quite lacking.
The forces of nature are quite strong on this beach as well. Very high winds constantly. It is defintely not a swimming lagoon as the sea urchins are absolutely everywhere so if you are quite happy to lay by the pool or on the beach its quite good.
My husband and I have visited The Hawaiian Islands, The Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and The Maldives and although we found Zanzibar interesting (culture/religion) and Matemwe Bungalows relaxing, in our opinion we wouldn't rank either as "paradise" or a world class destination/resort."
- Travel date: Fri 30th of December 2005
Paradise in Zanzibar....at a great price too
"Wow. I've stayed in some of the best hotels in the world and this place ranks right up there. Mark and his wife are the management team here and truly know how to take care of their guests and make you feel like royalty. This coupled with the fact that Matemwe is one of the most beautiful places i've ever visited make this an unforgetable experience. Staff are amazing too. they also have two pools now which is very nice. We went snorkwling off a dowe which was very cool. they even let me drive the boat which was very cool.
Bottom line, this is your ultimate Zanzibar destination. Stay at least three nights and pair with a stay at Emerson and Green in Stonetown and you'lll have memories for a lifetime."
- Travel date: Mon 10th of October 2005