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“idyllic!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Pongwe Beach Hotel

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Pongwe Beach Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Pongwe
Certificate of Excellence
St Albans, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“idyllic!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2012

We came here after our Kili climb and safari. Fantastic! Beach beautiful, food excellent, couldn't fault the staff, they were friendly and helpful. The room was better than expected, I didn't mind the brackish water for showering or the bats roosting in the roof void, it all added to a wonderful experience

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank debra s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    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
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 April 2012

We had the pleasure of enjoying the great hospitality and setting at Pongwe Beach Hotel. The setting is magical, the accomodation perfectly beachy, no A/C but plenty of fans. Staff was very accomodating and friendly and thankfully not pawing for tips. Food was very good to great, some of the seafood was overcooked.

For $15 can go out snorkeling off the beach for two hours of great viewing with Captain Ali (could be Martin Lawrence's twin).

Two things to be aware of are, the hotel is a long way from everything and it cost about $100 (return) to get to Stone Town.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Jamie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2012

We stayed at this place as a (warm!) treat after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and it lived up to all expectations. Granted, we had sourced our own transport through "Zanzibar car hire" which meant that we could venture out for little trips at our leisure, though we were also happy to spend hours quietly reading on the beach or terrace loungers. We had the breakfast-only deal and were happy to pay the price for the additional meals we had at pongwe- they were always delicious. The evening cocktail hour prior to dinner was a perfect way to watch the sunset. The rooms were spacious, clean, and well stocked and the beds were very comfortable. Service was always exceptional and the staff were all lovely. This place does not pretend to be a luxury western cookie-cutter hotel and it does not need to be- its charm and beauty come from being uniquely "Zanzibarian".

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank Emilia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 April 2012

LOCATION: Our friend who lives on Zanzibar told us that this is the best beach on the island. And it really is - Most of the photos I took could be made straight into postcards. Be advised though that the tide is very strong and you cannot swim in the sea before 1pm or after sunset in the evening, unless you want to walk more than half an hour to reach the low tide sea. Luckily they have a nice swimming pool where you can chill while you wait for the high tide after breakfast. During the low tide the sea is less beautiful as you see all the garbage and seaweed on the sea bottom - so take your beach photos in the afternoon.

ROOMS: Bungalows were nice and spacious with ceiling and floor fans to alleviate the sometimes excruciating heat. Note that the rooms have salt water showers, which leave your skin feeling somewhat sticky. It didn't bother us much though, and just added to the "beach bum" experience. Mattresses were really soft and nice, I slept very well on them. Mosquito nets were in good conditions (which is not always the case in many hotels).

FOOD: Food was ok, but we felt that the value for money was rather poor. The Bed&Breakfast rate was $150 per night for two persons, but we ended up paying over $40 for each meal (for two people). In retrospect, we should've opted for half/full board as this would've made it somewhat less expensive. The seafood platter cost $65 (!), which is beyond comprehension given the fact that all the seafood is caught locally and Zanzibar is a relatively poor island. There are no other dining opportunities nearby, so I guess the prices are inflated due to that reason. Having said that, the food was tasty. Just not worth the European level prices. Make sure to book a table on the beach, as this is epic especially with the full moon like we had. You have to book it at the reception (no extra cost)

SERVICE: The staff were super nice, although a bit noisy. The only noise we heard lying on the beach was the loud banter of the cleaning staff who were working on the bungalows for hours. I have found that similar places in South-East Asia the staff is just as effective but invisible in a good way to the guests. The challenge in places like this is to train the staff to meet the levels of the Western guest, despite low levels of education and the different service culture that exists on the island. We thought that the management had done a reasonably good job on this, although we had to sometimes repeat our lunch/dinner orders several times during the day. The Masai guards on the beach were legendary and told many amazing stories.

NOISE: Zanzibar's popularity unfortunately means that it is increasingly difficult to find totally secluded and quiet places on the island. Pongwe Beach Hotel was quiet in the sense that we did not hear much party noise (only on Saturday very loud electronic music from the nearby village). However, there were building projects on both sides of the resort, and building noise bothered us occasionally during our stay.

ADVICE: 1) Go for the full-board if you plan to stay on-site. You will end up saving a lot. 2) If you want to sleep past 9am, inform the management. We were woken up by a cleaner who just entered our room at 9am as we were asleep in the bed. 3) Make sure to negotiate a better taxi deal at the airport, rather than use the hotel pick-up service ($50). You can get to the hotel for about $30 if you can negotiate (in Africa, always start way lower than what you can pay, and then compromise)

ACTIVITIES: We just chilled out on the beach and took walks along the beach during low tide. They have a good library for books, if you're into reading in the nice hammocks. Kayaking is free. You can take the $15 snorkeling trip to the nearby reef, but Zanzibar has more amazing places for snorkeling we were told. Why not walk to the nearby local villages and meet some locals.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Finntraveler80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2012

Loved this hotel. Excellent location away from everything. Small enough to feel exclusive and it is all about relaxation there. I also like the fact that they care for the environment e.g. one showers in slightly salty water and there is no air conditioning etc...so not for everyone. The rooms were really nice, clean and had some locally designed furniture in them. They were not luxurious but very appropriate for the resort and I loved the fact that they had two beds on the terrace outside which were great for reading and afternoon naps. The beach was lovely and so was the pool. There is only one main restaurant with delicious food but if you stay there for more than 5 days it might get a bit boring and going out of the hotel can be expensive. I have to say that I found the staff very helpful and friendly and can only recommend the place.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Wasserloser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2012

My partner and I spent 5 nights there.

A beautiful beach and stunning pool. Food great and friendly staff.

However, the rooms were very average and need work. Ensure you take all toiletries as none are provided (even soap). No AC and fans very noisy overnight.

Having stayed at other comparable hotels in Zanzibar (cost wise), unfortunately I would not stay at Pongwe again.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank Catherine1976London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 April 2012

We stayed at Pongwe Beach Hotel for the last 5 days of our Tanzanian trip, having decided to take a relaxing break after the breathtaking intensity of Northern Tanzania and before heading out home. The hotel's location is gorgeous - it's secluded yet welcoming, cozy yet expansive. We arrived while the tide was very low, and as the multicolored water rose above and below the white sand, creating little islets easily accessible by foot. As for the hotel itself, we enjoyed everything it had to offer, which was plenty. Our bungalow was large, clean and comfortable. We loved the colours and the big mosquito net. Bathroom was quite big by our city standards. The staff was always friendly, playful and helpful. As for the food, we can say it was consistently delicious - the fish and the fruit were particularly mouth-watering. Basically, it was a perfect fit for us - we could wander around aimlessly without bumping into the other guests, we could fool around between the beach and the infinity pool, we could watch the sunset by ourselves, there was no loud music (or loud people) and, whenever we felt like it, we could just go the main building and eat something delicious. There were many other perks which added to our appreciation of the place (the free fruit platter around 4pm, tea delivered to our bedroom in the morning, being able to still lounge about after check out [our plane was late in the afternoon, but we could still enjoy an almost full day of sea and sun thanks to the thoughtful presence of showers and toilets outside the bungalow area]), and they all contributed to a very pleasant and exceedingly laid back stay.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CalistoEloi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pongwe Beach Hotel

Property: Pongwe Beach Hotel
Address: PO Box 297, Pongwe, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Pongwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Pongwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Pongwe Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on what could perhaps be described as the best beach in Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach Hotel is a tranquil place where one can escape the hustle and bustle of modern day life. It is modestly sized, with 4 Sea View Suites, 13 traditional Beach Villas as well as 3 Garden Rooms and has an intimate, personal atmosphere. Set within a secluded bay on the east coast of Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach is a true paradise retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pongwe Beach Hotel Zanzibar Island

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