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“Tranquil B&B to recharge before our safari” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage

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Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage
Ranked #3 of 97 Arusha B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Tranquil B&B to recharge before our safari”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 March 2014

Onsea House is a lovely place to decompress after our long flight via Doha from Singapore. It was very relaxing to be amid the beautiful grounds and grand views to the valley,

Accommodation: We were given a Guest Cottage comprising 2 spacious rooms with ensuites and a cozy shared living area with french doors to a patio overlooking the garden and valley. Each of the two rooms were well-appointed with big comfy beds and a small alcove / room on the side housing a kitchenette/bar and daybed. Only 2 gripes - wished there was stronger water pressure and brighter overhead lighting that would be useful for un/packing.

Dining: We had all our meals on the Machweo restaurant balcony overlooking the valley. We were a little disappointed that the lunch was mediocre with the usual pasta/sandwich/burger type selection. Dinner however was awesome. It was Valentine's Day and resident chef Axel and his team had created a special menu that was really quite yummy - I have enclosed pictures of the menu and food. It was very good ambiance with candles and rose petals everywhere, the glow of fire braziers to keep away the night chill, the wonderfully talented 2 piece band, and happy diners (both inhouse guests and external). Breakfast is good, fresh and hearty with everything you could ask for before setting off on your safari safari of a lifetime. I must also add that Onsea House's lunch box was one of the better ones we had.

Service: Everyone was smiley and eager to please. Sometimes service is a little slow but we were on holiday and not in a terrible hurry.

Spa: A couple of us decided to further unwind with a massage at the inhouse spa. One came back reasonably satisfied, the other not quite. Not for those who prefer firmer treatments.

Extra: We visited iThemba Baraa Primary School located an easy 10 mins away to donate school supplies and toys we had lugged over from Singapore. The kids were all curious, enthusiastic, and very cute and they had all made a sort of bouquet in class to give to each other for Valentine's Day. Onsea House and a Belgian Foundation iThemba support Baraa. Do have a visit - it is totally worth your while. A Belgian couple volunteering for a year showed us around the school, explaining the progress that the school has made, various sociocultural aspects of African life, and introducing us to the kids. All good - no pressure at all.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank adriennewu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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283 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    16
    5
    2
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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
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2014

Flying into Arusha at 2am wasn't fun. Then it is about a 45-50 minute drive to Onsea House from the airport. So we were dead tired, but very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Inn upon our arrival. Check-in was fast and easy and we were shown directly to our room. We hit that big comfortable bed in minutes and were out like a light. Woke up at about 8am and went and had breakfast which was included in our price. Delicious and hit the spot. Fresh juices, fresh local fruits, pastries, eggs, bacon....We needed that. Back to the room for a nice hot shower. The rooms are nice sized and clean. There is a small fridge and coffee machine. Outside were a few chairs on the porch to read on and view the valley. You are several miles outside of town, so you don't have a lot of congestion and noise. The only noise came from the birds and a barking dog.
Lunch was good, varieties of sandwiches. My wife is Gluten free, and they made special bread just for her. A nice added touch of customer service. We were there 2 nights and only had breakfast and lunch. Our systems were thrown off by the 11 hr time difference so we didn't feel like eating dinner. Lunch held us over. The pool is clean, nice and refreshing. Everyone in the staff is very friendly and eager to please. They keep the grounds very clean.
Overall, a very nice place to spend time getting acclimated to the new time zone and relaxing before departing for our safari.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 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?
1 Thank hottwasabi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
61 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 March 2014 via mobile

Onsea House is a lovely hotel nestled in the hills outside Arusha. It is about 45 mins drive from Kilimanjaro airport and possible the same from Arusha airport due to the traffic.

The hotel is beautiful and peaceful. A great way to start a safari and recover from the overnight flight from London.

Our room was lovely, spacious, had a great bathroom with a rainfall shower and a balcony overlooking the valley that caught the afternoon sun.

My wife had a massage with George that she really enjoyed, although would have felt more comfortable if she had been informed upon booking that it would be performed by a man.

The food in the evening was really good. Don't have a big lunch because there was about 6 courses when you include all the appetisers they kept bringing, and the service was fairly slow so we finished quite late.

Overall a great hotel, welcoming hosts, friendly staff and a nice relaxing way to start a safari.

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank KatCon1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
1 review
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2014

I was in Arusha and heard some good things about this place and decided it was worthy of checking out. It was fairly difficult to find and my driver needed to ask twice along the way to find it. Its off on a small winding dirt road that is about a kilometer from the main road so needless to say it was a bit more difficult for us to find than I original anticipated. No worries or biggy… but what came next was shocking. The security guard would not let us up to see the receptionist. He asked me for a business card which unfortunately I did not have but in lieu of it I gave him (Brighton) my Canadian drivers license. He called up and they informed him we were not welcome despite the fact that they were not full. Wow!! Eventually with a lot of convincing, Brighton gave me the managers number which I call. I called what I thought was the manager number and explained our situation to the receptionists (turns out the manager told the receptionist she was too busy to take the call when I asked why Brighton had not given me the managers number despite his representation). Again, we were told we were not welcome at this time and to call for an appointment. Double wow!! I decided to try once again… and this time did get a hold of the manager who explained to me that it was their policy to only allow potential guest to see the property that had a scheduled appointment and that she was busy in a meeting despite our efforts to find the place. Triple wow!!! After more than half an hour in total of waiting and arguing with the manager she relented and said she would send a receptionist to let us in… Too late. Decided to leave and post this review.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled on business
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank TravelingChef1139
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OnseaHouse, Owner at Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage, responded to this review, 13 March 2014
Dear Mr TravellingChef,
We of course regret that you had a frustrating experience at our gate, which led to a review of that gate, our guard who was doing his job and the fact that we are located in a tranquil place far from the buzzing city (something all of our guests love), instead of a review of the actual place, which we always thought was the purpose of this site. But we understand. Please allow us to help you understand why we cannot let in unannounced agents during the busiest hours of the day. Besides the security and privacy aspect for our guests it is foremost because we are a small family operated business and our guesthouses are by now widely known and coveted for the special care and personal attention our guests get. Furthermore, we also want to give our undivided attention and guidance to our staff in order to guarantee such a perfect stay to our guests. So, unfortunately, having prospective meetings out of the blue with agents is something we just cannot and will not do. The list of agents, safari companies and other prospect clients who have been working with us for almost ten years now and who visit us regularly and have meetings with us is quite long. But they all meet with us on appointment. And we never ever had a complaint about that. Since we’d like to repeat that we understand your agitation and we of course are never pleased with a bad review we would like to invite you to visit and review our place. Maybe this will lead to a quadruple wow, maybe not. Fair is fair. But we think a review should be about our accommodations, service and food. Inside the gate. And not just about venting and criticising a rule that is not only working for everyone for a decade but also guarantees we can give every consideration to our guests and agents alike. So, dear Mr TravellingChef, you don’t even have to give us notice a long time in advance, but if you do our gate will be very open and we will welcome you. Like we always do. And we will welcome any review, just as long as it is based on our rooms, service and cuisine. And we are sure all the visitors of this site will also appreciate this greatly.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gent
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2014 via mobile

I stayed for 5 nights with my camera crew and after work we passed our freetime in the magnificent accomodation of the lodge. Every day we were surprised by the food and the atmosphere, the terrace with the good music, the pool, and 1000 stars who are glittering over the valley and the excellent staff who do everything to please you. See you soon, Patrick Tacq, director.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tacqie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2014

We stayed at Machweo-Onsea Resort for 2 nights before and 1 night after climbing mount kilimanjaro and it was just the most perfect stay. A wonderful boutique resort. Great layout, lots of trees, quaint individual huts with an outside living area and a spacious, well ventilated room and bathroom, stone floors, very comfortable bed and lovely artsy decor. And most importantly, very very clean. Excellent service, very prompt, warm and they know their job. Also, excellent security system.
We got there at 4 am and were greeted by the staff with smiles and yummy pineapple juice. We were taken to our room right away. The next day we saw the restaurant area, an amazing view of mount mero and the local area, lots of singing chirping birds and a lovely decor. very busy too. The breakfast was complimentary and included lots of seasonal fruits, home made spreads and to order eggs/ fresh toast/ pancakes etc. Delicious coffee, juice. In all, a most amazing breakfast! The other meals were also outstanding. The chef, Axel Janssens, makes incredibly creative food with local ingredients. You wouldn't wanna eat anywhere else. We ate at mount mero hotel one time and it was awful compared with onsea. The dinner is 65$ per person, but it is totally worth it. Especially considering that bfast is complimentary and lunch 15$, it seems fair. All meals are outstanding and would give the best NYC restaurants a run for their money.
Greit, a delightful and warm belgian lady, manages the resort and goes out of her way to ensure all guests are taken care of. She arranged a local trip for us, saw to our meals and all our requests. Made our trip highly memorable. She is always around and accessible. We left our stuff including valuables with her during the trek and did not have to worry at all.
We took a massage post-climb (George) and was also amazing!
We highly recommend Machweo-Onsea and will def stay there when we visit arusha next. It is a gem and a steal!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 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 MSnyc2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
162 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2014

If you are looking to spend your last night in Arusha before flying home, this is THE place.. A real Garden of Eden with lovely landscape and beautiful birds that are a wonder to watch and listen to.
The owners and staff are extremely friendly and accomodating... Giving us a wonderful lasting impression of Tanzania.
The rooms are spotless with just about every amenity.. Hair dryer, wifi in main areas, shower gel, lotion, shampoo, in room coffee with generous selection of teas/coffees, swimming pool, outdoor shower, sauna... The dining is fabulous as well.
If you want to be near the main area, book a room there.. There is a private villa across the street with 2 rooms available .. If you want extreme peace and quiet and private pool shared only with the other room, it is simply breathtaking. Note that the bed is a full size.. So if you are 2 people of size, the bed may feel too small. You might be better off booking a room with twin beds or check to see if they have queen or king beds.
Security is round the clock .. Both sides are gated.. Absolutely no worries there at all.
Check out time is 10 am.. If your flight is later in the evening, consider adding a "day room" to your booking. Totally worth it.

One word sums up our experience there regarding the property, management, and staff: FLAWLESS

Room Tip: For the ultimate peace and quiet, request of the rooms in the villa.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 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 MakeupArtist40
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 97 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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