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“Fab food vs dated, tired room” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage

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Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage
Ranked #3 of 98 Arusha B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
singapore
Level Contributor
17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Fab food vs dated, tired room”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2013

Onsea House was the last stop in our 12-day trip in Serengeti. It was touted (by guests I think) as a luxury lodge in Arusha. Having not seen what the other lodges/hotels were like in the city, we can only judge it on its own merit. Top of the main things going for it was the food! Our package included dinner, and I have to agree that the quality of food is top notch. Head chef Axel, who is also a partner in the lodge, produced excellent food and we enjoyed every morsel of it. We had lunch just before we left, but we had major issues with service. We gave ourselves over an hour to have lunch as we needed to depart at 1.30pm for our flight, but by 1.10pm our orders – a burger and a chicken salad - hadn’t arrived! Though we were almost packed, there were last minute things to throw into the luggage. I was most disappointed, when the chef and joint owner arrived for their lunch at 1pm, they were served first. in the end, we told them we couldn’t wait for the food and went off to our room. But because we had already paid (to save time since the food was so late), they sent it to the room. We only had 10mins to rush through the grub, I wished I had a longer time because the chicken salad was indeed yummy, and so were the fries. I went in to do the last minute packing and when I came out for more fries, they were already cleared. So service needs to be improved!
Two other things we enjoyed at Onsea house – the running hot water from the handheld shower! Glorious upgrade from the bucket showers we had for a week. and a moisturizer which helped our dried sunburnt skins. Oh, and we had a lovely visitor in our room – one of the resident cats who followed me wherever I went.
Other than these things, unfortunately, we weren’t impressed with Onsea House. We had room 1 at the main building. It had a lovely terrace that we shared with room 2, which was occupied by the most sullen family we had ever met throughout the whole safari (everyone we met during the trip were smiling and so friendly). Although the room was spacious and sunny, the furnishings look really worn out and dated. It reminded me of a motel room. The curtains were frayed, while those in the bathroom were yellow with stains. The wardrobe doors couldn’t slide, and though they gave tea bags, there was no kettle or a flask of hot water. We each had one hard lumpy pillow each and one blanket on a soft bed. When I asked for an extra blanket as it was chilly in the night, they didn’t have extras. In the end, the lady gave us the throws that were in the terrace.
We had a quick look at the rooms close to the restaurant and they looked newer and in better shape, so request for those rooms. The owners should spend a bit on upgrading the rooms in the main building. it's such a pity as the grounds of Onsea House is beautiful.
Sadly, it was back to hard reality at Onsea House, after being pampered by managers and staff at the bush camps and lodges in the safari.

Room Tip: Ask for room closer to the restaurant - they are newer, cleaner and warmer
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank kimmietravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

283 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    212
    48
    16
    5
    2
See reviews for
53
138
14
12
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
95 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2013

My wife & I stayed here before and after our hike up Kilimanjaro. We enjoyed our stay very much. The rooms were clean and spacious, the staff helpful, and the food was absolutely amazing. Many others have written about the chef when reviewing this hotel, so I don't feel the need to repeat what has been written previously, other than to say that this is world class dining without a question. When we returned from our trek (a day early) all of our luggage was waiting in our room, our laundry was done and staff immediately brought our valuables to make us feel at home.

If I were to make some constructive criticisms, I would say that the breakfast selection could be better. There wasn't a great deal on offer, with even a jug of water not available on the breakfast table. Also, the room we had was relatively near to the restaurant and thus a little noisy both in the evening and early morning.

One other point to make would me to guests arriving in the middle of the night, as we did, there is no one available at reception so it took quite a while for us to receive our room key which was a little frustrating after a long, tiring journey.

However, these points should not detract too much from what was a really enjoyable stay in a quiet, well maintained hotel, with a world class chef making it a memorable hotel for us.

Room Tip: Get a room away from the restaurant.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SJL1605
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2013

We only stayed at the Onsea House for 1 night, our last night, and it was a great experience. It's a fantastic place to relax, enjoy the food and peace and quiet.
- wonderfull surrounding, you're outside of Arusha (not in the city center)
- excellent food
- beautifull room decor
- small, cosy and domestic
- luxurious (!)
It's recommended to stay here at least 1 or 2 nights when you're in Arusha. I'm going back for sure!!!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank NickyAntwerp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Virginia
Level Contributor
70 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2013

After that very long travel time to Arusha, what an oasis ! It is very visually apealing, and so quiet, comfortable, it feels like a special hideaway. The whole place is beautifully designed, down to the smallest details. We were told that much of the furniture is made locally to owner Derek's design and specification. Our room was very clean, comfortable. It had a balcony with a fantastic view,same as the restaurant. The food is very ambitious, and very good. It's all made there. The set menu is several courses, and includes very nice wine pairings. We appreciated them holding our bags while we went on safari. While our safari lodgings were comfortable, Onsea was also extremely nice to come back to ! Excellent, friendly service the entire time.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank quackmar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 June 2013

my partner and i had the pleasure of spending this past weekend at Machweo Wellness Retreat, as we were in Arusha for the Karibu Fair.
we experienced 1st rate service and hospitality; personal yet unobtrusive.
the accommodation is superb, a stylish tranquil haven just removed from Arusha’s hustle and bustle.
we dined every evening at the fine dining restaurant run seamlessly by Chef Axel, with delightful and decadent Afro/Euro dishes tantalising our palates daily. His well thought through menus and flavour combinations made us repeat diners.
we even managed to make use of the spa facilities, thoroughly enjoying the sauna, steam room and swimming pool.
we will definitely return to this sanctuary of serenity when next in Arusha.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jennifer Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
singapore
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 April 2013

We were the only two guests staying at the Machweo lodges. Lunch was meant to be Ravioli but we just got the contents of the Ravioli without the pasta, I think the home made pasta envelopes had been over boiled and had disintegrated, upon showing the owner on my Ipad Ravioli I was informed that the images represented industrial Ravioli!, I disagreed and we have not stopped laughing since, very funny. The evening dinner was worse, the Lamb which was meant to be well done was raw upon been cut, we just ate the vegetables and bread, the chef spent the night drinking along side our table I think he maybe should have cooked for his only two guests. Rooms are OK we stayed two nights, the first night we were kept awake until midnight by a local church who had a very loud preacher on amplification, this is not the lodges fault but guests should be aware of the noise potential. The rooms have no Air con and we asked for a fan twice but we were told there are none provided, so you have a very stuffy room and if you need to close the windows to keep the noise out you get a sweat box for the night. I estimated a staff ration of 7 to 1 but we lifted our luggage in and out ourselves and we could not ring reception because there are no phones in the rooms.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank chezz8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tananarive, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 April 2013

The house is so posh and relaxing, online bookings are fast, responses from front desk is fast.
the hotel is located outside but near the town under cool environments. you can see mount meru.
spa services are glamorous.

Nice place for retreat due to quieter environments

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Charles M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage

Property: Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage
Address: Baraa Road | Moivaro, Moshono Village, Arusha 1259, Tanzania (Formerly Onsea House & Machweo Retreat)
Phone Number:
Region: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Arusha
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 98 B&Bs / Inns in Arusha
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage is voted the best luxury bed and breakfast in Arusha and recommended by several experts as only boutique hotel and hip hideaway in the Arusha/Kilimanjaro region. Enjoy greater comfort and better food than any other guesthouse or restaurant, with more personalized service than in a hotel and more privacy than a lodge resort. Onsea House can be your home base for safaris across northern Tanzania. Machweo Wellness Retreat & Fine Dining offers the guests since September 2011 in total 9 extra spacious rooms, a second swimming pool with sauna and steam bath and a beautiful patio terrace to enjoy a tasty lunch or a candlelight dinner. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage Hotel Arusha
Onsea House Country Inn And Guest Cottage
Country Inn Arusha
Arusha Country Inn

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