10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"This hotel was everything we hoped for and more! It's location is fantastic for a relaxing break on a beautiful beach, and it really is right on the beach.
Beautifully furnished rooms in a Zanzibari style
Amazing food - fantastic local fish and plentiful tropical fruit!
Excellent, friendly staff and the owner Jan is extremely hospitable
Lovely swimming pool for when the tide goes out (and it does go out a long way here)
Well organised transfers to and from the airport
All the practicalities we expect and are difficult to achieve on an island like Zanzibar had been dealt with - plentiful hot water, air conditioning, back up generator, internet access, clean rooms
Jan asked us if we thought there was anything he could do to improve his hotel, as he wants to ensure everyone has a fantastic stay, and we genuinely could not think of anything; our stay was perfect.
I booked this hotel directly with Jan based on reviews on trip advisor and a recommendaion from a Tanzanian safari operator and can re-assure anyone else thinking of doing this that it worked perfectly.
If you want a small boutique hotel for a relaxing break ina quiet location then I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough."
- Travel date: Fri 21st of August 2009
"We completely agree with the other reviews - this must be the best hotel to stay in Zanzibar! We loved everything. The food and the wine selection are exceptional. The merits are not only for the beauty of the Matemwe beach, but definitely for the manager Jan and his wonderful staff, who made our stay... unforgettable!"
- Travel date: Wed 12th of August 2009
"The other reviews (all rated 6/6) are true! This is a real gem! The food is wonderful and I recommend the half board dinner menu that rotates every 10 days. We stayed for six nights in July 2009 and liked everything. The site owner, Jan, and his staff are efficient and friendly. The beach is unbelievably long (22 km), white sand, beautiful and interesting. The hotel is very elegant looking and well cared for. Mosquitos were almost non-existent in late July. It was a long trip from Canada but well worth it!"
- Travel date: Mon 10th of August 2009
Made our honeymoon
"We spent the first 8 days of our 2 week honeymoon at the Zanzibar Retreat Hotel and it was a great introduction to life in Zanzibar.
The environment offered everything you would need, such as fine white sand, warm blue sea, a lovely pool, hammocks by the beach and a cozy bar where you have the choice to socialise with the friendly staff and other guests.
The food was made to a consistently 5 star standard, using local produce and was served in such a delicate way. The best food we've had on any holiday.
Last but not least were the staff (Jan and his team), who were truely professional yet personal at all times, made our trip one we'll remember for a long time."
- Travel date: Mon 10th of August 2009
"We stayed at Zanzibar Retreat Hotel for 4 days, and had a magnificent time!! The hotel was build as a private house by a rich american, who spent a lot of time and money on the selection of furniture etc - so the rooms are lovely with authentic zanzibar beds, and the staff keeps them perfectly clean!
Except from the great facilities, with the lovely pool, incredible comfortable sunbeds, and the charming bar and restaurant - it is the hotel owner and his staff that makes this place feel like a 5 star hotel! The service is superb and the staff is very friendly, and so is the owner - Jan.
During our stay, we was always looking forward to the meals in the restaurant. The menu has been created by the hotel owner assisted by a chef with experience from Michelin star restaurants. It was among the best food we have ever tasted, and every night we were highly surprised by the delicate and tasty food that we were served - one course even better than the last one!
If you get tired of just relaxing by the pool or swimming in the sea, it is a perfect spot for snorkling or diving. There are two different dive centres in walking distance from the hotel - and we had two great dives during our stay here! It was also very exciting to swim with the dolphins as well.
As the hotel only has 7 rooms, the atmosphere is very nice and a perfect location for romantic days and good relaxation!
This is really the best place for couples to stay at Matemwe Beach!"
- Travel date: Wed 29th of July 2009
Great food, great drink & great location
"We stayed zanzibar retreat for part of our honeymoon.
the location is great with a sandy white beach and warm blue sea.
Jan & his team are wonderful and really welcoming.
The rooms are great all with swahili hardwood furnishings - all air conditioned with a generator for back up power. There is also a reasonably sized pool .
The best bit was the amazing four course meal! which were fresh, tasty and a true celebration of local produce and culture!
Would recommend this place highly as Jan ensures that his staff provide a consistently good service"
- Travel date: Mon 27th of July 2009
White sand, blue sea, sun and spice
"Zanzibar Retreat Hotel, Matemwe, Zanzibar
Date: 10th February 2009
Reviewer: Chillidip, London, UK
This lovely hotel makes you feel more like a guest at a private Indian beach residence, with its white walls, elegant columns oriental arches and dark wood veranda's overlooking the beach. We were lucky to stay here over the New Year period for 8 days.
It sits in a compound with white Moorish style crenellated walls with a flowering garden by the gates. The other end is an open crescent shaped terrace overlooking a stunning, practically deserted, fine white sandy beach lined by palm trees and the turquoise waters of the lagoons and the Indian Ocean. A pleasant sea breeze takes the intensity out of the equatorial tropical sun. There is a nice pool to one side of the hotel.
Our air conditioned bedroom had a lovely four poster style bed, beautifully decorated with flowers when we arrived. A decent bathroom with a good shower.
You can drink at the bar overlooking the beach or chill out on the sofa's and then you eat on the terrace. The evening meals were excellent. There was an a la carte menu though the half board option which was open to everyone. It was a 4 course meal with a choice of two main courses usually meat or fish and was amongst some of the best food I've had and was very good value at $20 per person. The staff are attentive and the service is excellent.
Breakfast is tea, coffee, fresh fruit, toast and jam. Pancakes, bacon eggs etc. can be ordered. Lunch was available from 12.00 -3.00 pm and was a range of a dishes from snacks to full meals.
If you fancied more variety. For lunch there was Sele's Place about 700m north that did good fish, chicken and vegetarian dishes with rice or fries and a little further was Matemwe Beach Village that had a lovely restaurant facing the beach. It also had an excellent diving center run by One Ocean, where I gained my scuba diving certificate. The Fairmont Resort to the south is expensive and not that good.
There are trips to historic Stone Town and the spice farms where the countryside smells of spice like a freshly baked Christmas cake!!
Practicalities: The electric sockets are UK style, square 3 pin, mosquito canopies supplied (didn't get one bite!!). there are virtually no shops locally you have go to Stone Town and hour's taxi ride away. Though Matemwe Beach Village has a boutique that has toothpaste, sun tan lotion etc."
- Travel date: Mon 9th of February 2009
heaven on the sea
"we stayed at the retreat for five wonderful days for our honeymoon. Can be described as boutique hotel as the place is quaint and beautiful with a fantastic view of the beach. We walked up and down the beach several times and this was the best place to stay.
The pool was wonderful, the service was excellent with perfect attention to detail. The owner tries to make you feel at home by greeting us at the reception with a cold drink and also with small personal touches in the rooms such as beach sorangs and hats. We would recommend this place for anyone looking for a quiet escape to heaven!
Check out the fish market at the end of the beach for some local action.
Make sure you take some shoes to wear in the water as there are lots of sea urchins at low tide."
- Travel date: Sun 21st of December 2008
"The Zanzibar retreat hotel made my trip to Africa a trip to remember. The size and set up of this hotel reminds me of the great boutique hotels of Europe. A wonderful feeling of peace follows you through the whole day, from breakfast to late night drinks at the bar. The food and wine is very interesting and can be described as euro-swahili fusion cuisine with a wonderful selection of South African and European wines.The service was discreet and very efficient.Taking into account all the elements needed to create a great hotel, the zanzibar retreat hotel has a future that will be synonymous for a great stay on Matemwe beach and Zanzibar as an island."
- Travel date: Thu 4th of December 2008
Loved the Zanzibar Retreat Hotel
"Location, location, location. This boutique hotel is as close to the sea as you can get. It is almost built in the water. Zanzibar Retreat Hotel is an intimate, stylish place with a relaxed atmosphere and good food. At low tide you should rent one of their mountainbikes. Really, it will be a stunning ride: the transparent blue-green water, the beautiful local people with their colourful outfits... We would love to return to this hotel.
P.S. Some people confuse this place with that other hotel in Matemwe, the Matemwe Retreat. Don't! The Zanzibar Retreat Hotel is a different place with a different owner."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of November 2008