10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Tranquil, relaxing and so well taken care of
"I always love to stay at boutique hotels to avoid the hordes of tourists of large hotels and because boutique hotels usually offer unique decor and a more personal service. This is exactly what you get at the Zanzibari.
The room was lovely, clean and spacious with sliding doors on the balcony, the door into the bathroom and on the door to the back balcony. This allowed one to open all the doors at night and let the wonderful breezes blow through the floor length white cotton curtains covering the sliding doors. No need for air conditioning. The view from the balcony was lovely. Loved the typical Zanzibar raised bed and the blue and white decor which was minimalist and not over done.
Food was great, imaginative and very healthy. Staff were extremely nice and inobtrusive. The electric problem was really not a problem because the electriciy was on when you really needed it ,at meal times.
I met the partners (Dave and Tara Guthrie) of the hotel who run Tent with a View. They really went out of their way to make me, a solo traveller, feel so welcome and taken care of. Tara Guthrie found me on the beach the day after I arriived and wanted to make sure I had arrived ok and that everything was fine for me in terms of my room and the electricity problem. She explained the electric problem in detail. She also invited me to join her and her husband for dinner at a table with others, as the rest of the guests were all couples and I would have been eating dinner on my own if she had not invited me. She also graciously offered to organize my last nights accomodation in Stone Town where I went to stay for one night on my return from Sable Mountain, and before I caught my flight home. She took care of this while I went of to their fabulous lodge in Saadani for 4 days. When I returned to the Zanzibari again for 3 nights, on my way to their lodge at Sable Mountain, I found my resrvation for the Dhow Palace in Stone Town all arranged.
The management made sure my airport transfers were organized and on time. No detail was left undone.
I cannot agree with the poor reviews here. Obviously if you are used to staying at 5 star large resorts this is not the place for you. But if you want a place that is exquisite in its simplicity and yet with attention to detail ( and not little details like if the toilet works as well as the one at home) this is the place for you. You can really relax here in peace and quiet and tranquility and fell taken care of."
- Travel date: Mon 25th of January 2010
Fantastic stay at the Zanzibari..
"We had stayed in Stonetown for 3 nights and were aware of the power issues on the Island so were nervous but relieved when we arrived that a generator was in place.
We arrived and were shown to a clean, spacious room with an amzing view over the Ocean. There is only 8 rooms and we were glad to be on the 1st floor though the ground floor was actually raised in any case. Really big terrace also.
The pool area was great, staffed all day and 'Rogers' would get you anything you wanted all day long without being on top of you at all.
We were only due to stay for 8 nights but once relaxed and having looked around we extended for an extra 3 days as it was so incredibly relaxing.
We ate every day in the restaurant for the whole stay, and having worked for some of the best restaurants in London were delighted with the food, which changed every day, always appeared fresh and never actually got boring at all. Lunches also changed daily and were really very good. Considering the power issue across the whole island I think they coped extremely well. The beer could have been colder but hey, no problem.
The setting is great, the management were always around but not over the top and the amazing bar set in a Dhow was a great place to spend an evening.
Compared to pictures on the website it was actually far larger, there was some building next door but that is pretty much complete and in no way affected our enjoyment. Ronny and the team went out of their way to make sure all was ok and it was.
We really liked this place and would go back...it is quiet but that was what it was all about really. Cannot understand the other review, maybe they are talking about somewhere else!"
- Travel date: Thu 21st of January 2010
A perfect secluded tropical hideaway in Nungwi, Zanzibar
"My husband and I stayed at The Zanzibari from 23 December 2009 - 5 January 2010. We were pretty stressed out when we arrived, but within moments the tranquility and beautiful spacious surroundings engulfed us.
We were spoiled from the moment we arrived - fresh flowers on our bed, waiters ready to take our order by pool and give us Swahili lessons, back massage booked by my husband at the Spa on the property, and planned festivities including a sunset cruise, snorkeling at Mnemba island, and Masai dancers on Old Years Eve.
This hotel is situated on the outskirts of Nungwi (close to Ras Nungwi), and has a raised private beach above the fossilized coral outcrops and is about a 30 minute walk from the touristy spot. This is actually ideal, because you don't get bothered by the other tourists or beach boys, and you feel you have the island to yourself.
It was unfortunate that the entire island had a power crisis, but the owner did let us know and had a generator running over mealtimes and in the evening.
If your idea of a perfect holiday is being away from loud irritating tourists, lazing by the pool, reading in a hammock, snorkeling, counting red star fish on the reef in front of the hotel at low tide (I saw over 50), walking though a cultural village, and eating as much sea food as you can - then the Zanzibari is the right option!"
- Travel date: Wed 20th of January 2010
Don't do it!
"My wife and I were booked at The Zanzibari from January 4th to the 9th, 2010 for five nights. However, we ended up leaving after two nights for a variety of reasons. We had contacted the hotel owner in advance to ask about the power situation at the hotel given that Zanzibar Island was out of power. We were told that everything was functioning just fine, except for generator breaks during the day and no power at night except for the sea breeze.
Well, to begin with, we arrived around 10 p.m. and had informed the owner of our late arrival who said they were ready for us. However, upon arrival, we were not greeted by him and were instead shown to our room by his staff. To our surprise, the room we were in had been half-cleaned. The bathroom was dirty and still had the previous guests toiletries in it. The staff were very helpful and moved us to another room on the ground floor as a result. The staff told us the generator would be going off around 11 p.m. We therefore had to finish dinner quickly and ask for a candle for our room as there was no flashlight or candle in the room. Despite the sea breeze, we had an extremely uncomfortable night without the air conditioning and the feeling of being unsafe having our window and balcony open all night for some cool air.
The next day, we were moved to another room upstairs. It was cleaned this time. However, there was no hot water and even the cold water, was trickling down. Not to mention, the toilet flush did not work. The staff had given us a bucket and mentioned it was for the toilet - we didn't quite comprehend at first what we had to do with it, but then clued in that we had to use it to fill the toilet tank with water. No, I'm not kidding. My wife was so uncomfortable, that we spent the entire day making arrangements to find another hotel on the island.
The Zanzibari has potential, but definitely is in need of better management and improvement. It was not the "boutique" experience we expected. The beach and pool are beautiful - can't beat it. But the hotel rooms are standard and the bathrooms need some serious updating - they are old with broken toilets and rusting showers. The service is good - friendly and casual. The staff were very helpful and did what they could, but I felt that the owner or even a manager should have been around more.
Having said that, we are grateful to the owner Ronny who did not charge us for leaving early. We paid for the two nights we were there and nothing more.
We ended up at the Zamani Kempinski and loved it."
- Travel date: Mon 18th of January 2010
You Have Been Warned
"Even by African standards this is one place to avoid at all costs.
Situated on the far side away from Nungwi it is next to a building site with continual daily noise for the next 12 months.
There was no electric on the island yet the manager was too tight to run his generator for more than 5 hours a day.
No cold drinks, no fans or air con not to mention food hygeine, fridges etc.
The rooms are dirty and full of mosquito's the staff are lazy and the management is offhand, arrogant and is for ever trying to get you on boat trips at exhorbitant prices.
The food is absolutly disgraceful, inedible their is no choice and yesterdays leftovers are continually recycled in different dishes.
The portion size is incredibly small 'just as well really'.
The kitchen is somewhat hidden away ask to have a look and you will be refused, it is dirty and disgusting, with a cat running all over the prepared food. If you stay here you are forced to eat at the hotel with it being so far out of Nungwi.
This hotel should be closed down immediately, if it wasn't in Africa it would be.
Only a fool would go here."
- Travel date: Sun 10th of January 2010
The perfect place for a relaxing holiday
"Exactly what we were looking for! Small hotel with very friendly staff.
The rooms are bright, spacious, clean and tastefully decorated. The food is very good and we were pleased to hear that management also takes care in applying some ethics when buying from local markets.
During the first week we did some diving with a nearby center and the manager always informed us on ongoing activities (snorkeling, sunset boat trips, spice tour, etc.). You can also choose one of the many lazing options on the hotel beach (sunbeds, swing bed, hammocks)... No one will disturb you there except for the considerate waiter asking you which menu you are choosing for lunch or dinner (the former also served on the beach) :-).
Spectacular view on the ocean also from the room balconies and good swimming. As on most beaches on Zanzibar, a little bit of walking is needed at very low tide and footwear is recommended when going into water, especially because of sea urchins.
The hotel is relatively new and as we left they were starting to build a swimming pool. They are also planning to build a desalination plant to help preserve water for the nearby village (Nungwi). Check their site for updates!"
- Travel date: Tue 20th of October 2009
great place to relax
"We have just spent 3 nights at the Zanzibari and it is as good as it looks on the photos on their web site. It only has 8 rooms so there is plenty of space to feel as though you are the only guests! The room was exceptional with an idyllic view from the bourgainvillea strewn balcony; the bathroom is enormous with a separate shower and bath. We liked the extra touches such as a kettle, tea and coffee and fridge.
Th food was good with pleasent staff. One word of caution is regarding the boat trips . We went on the sunset cruise and snorkling trip and both times had to wade out to the boats , at times up to our waist . The sunset cruise returned as it was nearly dark and the 150 meter walk wading in water over rocky ground was not for the faint hearted.Footwear is needed as the beach is rocky and there are sea urchins. However we enjoyed both trips and the snorkling one includes lunch on what must be the best beach in Zanzibar.The hotel beach is not the best for bathing but we are both good swimmers and found it best to swim when the tide was nearly high. I would recommend this hotel particularly as a swimming pool is about to be installed."
- Travel date: Sun 18th of October 2009
Beside the sea - quiet and relaxing
"This hotel has a beutiful view of the sea and wide beach a low tide.
The rooms are very modern, beds very confortable, bathrooms exceptionally good and a very pleasant balcony to relax on which is provided in all the rooms.
Food very tasty, and the service extremely good with nothing too much trouble.
Laundry is free, except a discretionay tip.
Quite remote from Stonetown but worth thr journey away from the hussle and bussle.
There are options for snorkelling trips, visits to the local village and board games to play.
I understand that a swimming pool, spa and other things are due to added to the hotel this winter (UK winter) so this should add to the facilitiees."
- Travel date: Fri 2nd of October 2009
Beautiful location and fantastic service
"A great place to relax after a Safari. Right on the beach, beautiful garden, good food and freindly, helpful service. Well appointed rooms with handbuilt furnature (made from old Dhows). Great campfires at night. Enjoy lovely bar which was formerly a boat. Great swimming in the sea (best at at high tide) and great rock-pooling when the tide is out ."
- Travel date: Mon 3rd of August 2009
All in all a great place to stay, with good staff, management and location, we will be back again!
"We had a great stay at The Zanzibari, hotel in Nungwi, Zanzibar. We were looking for a better standard of rooms than normal beach front bandas and thats what we found. Great rooms with balcony, full air conditioning and a hot bath. The food was good and the dhow (local sailing boat) bar underneath the palm frond roof was something special and unusual! We also loved sitting around the camp fire on the beach.
All in all a great place to stay, with good staff, management and location, we will be back again!"
- Travel date: Thu 30th of July 2009