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“A Honeymoon to remember!”
Review of The Zanzibari

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The Zanzibari
Ranked #12 of 19 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 May 2011

As the title suggests we headed out to Zanzibar and the Zanzibari to relax and enjoy the start of married life! Eugene and his staff were excellent all the way through from initial enquiries, to the welcome and throughout our stay. The team obviously care about their guests and do their utmost to ensure their stay is enjoyable and hassle free - not always easy in Africa! An oasis close, but far enough away, from the growing madness of Nungwi proper. We stayed in one to the suites with our own infinity pool and took the honeymoon package, loved it! The food was excellent and a surprisingly good wine list, an amazing setting and view just over the beach (which is tide dependent) but it was the service and attention of the staff that make this place special! Thanks guys really enjoyed it!

Room Tip: That little extra for the suite is worth it!
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Zoe78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 May 2011

The Zanzibari is paradise on Earth! A group of 9 friends and I stayed over New Years Eve and we couldn't ask for more. We rented 2 private guest houses that gave us more than enough space. The houses were modern (had large flat screen tv- though we were too busy to ever watch them!) and had views that literally took your breath away. The houses had private pools and were steps away from the main pool. The service was amazing! The staff became our good friends who would do anything to make the trip more enjoyable. The owner was amazing and accommodating even when we had difficulties with our credit cards (he let us pay in both US and shillings). I should note that one must have a credit card not a debit/credit card combo because this will not work. It caused a bit of a problem for us, but we worked it out. The meals were amazing! Some of the best food I had in Africa! The tours were also amazing! I recommend the Sunset Cruise and snorkeling to Mnemba Island. Both were well worth the money. Also well worth the money is the massages they offer. Imagine laying in a beach hut, listening to the waves, as a petite woman gives you the most relaxing aroma therapy massage. HEAVEN! I will note that as a group of ten 20 somethings that this isn't the place to go party. However, the staff was more than happy to help us book transportation to local hotspots like Kendwa. I couldn't have asked for a better stay!

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank freespiritlove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2011

We stayed at the Zanzibari for 3 nights in late April (the rainy/low season) and had a lovely time. I'm not sure why this is the low season - perhaps we just had a particularly gorgeous week - but the days were hot and sunny with only intermittent rain showers (1-2 per day, lasting 30 minutes max), the prices were lower, and it was delightful to experience the island with fewer tourists. There were still plenty of tourists, however, which makes me wonder how packed things must get during the high season months.

Value: The Zanzibari is expensive, but the value is about even when you consider the full package you're getting (compared with other high end hotels, I felt we had a decent deal). We were half board (room, breakfast and dinner included), and when you consider how much a decent dinner can cost, and that the hotel is prime property that's apart from central Nungwi, I think you get what you pay for. You also get free tea in the afternoons. Two caveats to this, though: 1, they charge an hourly rate for kayak usage, which seems excessive since they're just sitting in a shed.. it really ought to be a perk for guests; and 2, car transfers are pretty costly.

Location: Others have remarked that Zanzibari is a significant distance from central Nungwi, and it's true - it's a 20-30 minute walk, which can feel like a long time in the east African sun. We preferred the quiet of being off the main strip, and found this to be a bonus - central Nungwi is really packed with people, even in the low season. If this is what you're looking for, definitely go central - Zanzibari is more serene than social.

Service: The staff were very attentive and friendly and responded to requests quickly and seamlessly. They booked activities for us (i.e., snorkeling, Stone Town tour, etc.) at reasonable prices, gave us recommendations on restaurants, directions, etc. Due to limited room availability the hotel upgraded us to a suite for our last night for free. Transport was prompt half the time - we were stuck waiting upon arrival at ZNZ airport for about 20 minutes.

The previous reviews are certainly right about some service issues, humidity, smells, etc., but some of these issues are just par for the course on a less developed island where most people do not speak English as a first language - it's not meant to have all the comforts of home. That said, it's important for other travelers to be prepared for this so they're not disappointed. For example:
- Everything will get musty/mildewy. The humidity is inescapable.
- The waiters have some difficulty with English, but if you are patient you will get your questions answered. Or, just as you would in any foreign country, learning a bit of the local language helps.
- The tides make beach access complicated, but there is a more "pristine" beach in the high density tourist area, so you can still access one with a walk. We took sea kayaks directly into the water from the hotel and could easily take a dip once we were a few hundred meters out. The pool is quite nice (and clean!) as well.
- Mosquitoes are inevitable but the hotel clearly sprays a significant amount of repellent because they're not as ubiquitous as they could be. I'm not sure one would want any MORE chemicals floating around. If you wear bug spray, keep doors closed, use nets, you shouldn't be pestered.

Overall, we were happy with our stay at the Zanzibari and would recommend it to others. I would suggest an upper level room if you're not in a suite -- each room has a balcony so you'll have more privacy if you're above ground level.

Room Tip: Suite or upper level room
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  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank puresummerhouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2011

Where to start ...
Upon arrival you are asked if there are any alergies, etc .. I am lactose intolerant and believed that this questionaire would mean some care in the meals served .. but not. In most cases desert was off limits for me and there weren´t other options. After making friends with a couple of waiters I started to get fruit for desert and was alloud to have certain dishes without the cream/cheese/milk sauces. Food in general is good but very repetitive in ingredients. The restaurant and pool staff are wonderfull, we only have kind words for them! The recepcioninst is condescending in tone but zero effective and the manager, Mr. Eugene is very nice and a great PR but seemded a very poor manager.
The room (number 8) was nice looking and appeared clean, but the bed is unconfortably high (about 1,30m) and the bathroom needs urgent remodeling. The water pressure is very weak and there is limited quantity of hot water (after a shower of 15 minutes there is not enough hot water for the next person). In our bathroom, every time it rained we would have a flood.
We were in during the rainy season and having arrived after a mud safari we needed to do some washing. The hotel provides the service and we were warned that clothes might take a couple of days to be ready due to the humidity. I asked if they had a tumble dryer and I was informed that yes but anyway the clothes would need to stay out for a while because the dryer is not enough .. this sounded strange but we believed. 3 days after giving the clothes to wash we had a basquet with our clothes left outside of our bedroom door (outside were everyone can see and touch) still wet and with an awfull stench!!! When we confronted the manager about it I was told that it was the best they could do as they don´t have a tumble dryer and depend on the sun to dry their clothes. They washed up again and for the remaining days of our stay our bedroom was a drying facility with clothes hanging all over. We managed to dry everything in time!! In general the towels, bed sheets and table napkins were humid, stained and smelled strange.

To summarize the only reason I would go back to "The Zanzibari" would be to visit the restaurant and pool staff .. to expensive for the service offered and no way a boutique hotel!! In our walks through the area we found nicer and less expensive places ...

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Berget_Lola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zanzibari1, Manager at The Zanzibari, responded to this reviewResponded 12 May 2011

Dear Lola-Berget

I am sorry to hear that we did not meet your expectations during your visit to our hotel, please accept my apologies.
I will certainly pass on your compliments to the service staff here at the hotel.

Thank you for your comments and we will certainly use them to improve ourselves and the hotel.

Kind regards,

Eugene Skoberla

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2011

I feel like I got fooled by their website. It's a beautiful hotel- clean and pretty but I felt like I got deceived by the pictures on the website. It looks like you have beautiful white sand stretching out into the ocean which is not the case at all. There is definitely sand around the pool area, however that ends at a cliff which just has a rocky area leading into the water. After making the long trip there, we were disappointed that the paradise we were looking for (that naturally included a beach) did not have one right at the hotel. We were told- "oh, its just a 10-15 minute walk" and "we can't guarantee a beach, it's up to the wind.". For a beach vacation destination, I was pretty disappointed that there wasn't a beach! Although there is a saltwater pool surrounded by sand, its not quite the same as being on a beach. In addition, I thought the hotel would be somewhat more centrally located but it seems to be at the end of a long bumpy dirt road so its not like you can easily walk anywhere from your hotel.
The dinner at the hotel was quite good, perhaps some of the better food I had during my month in Africa, though the waiters definitely seemed to have a lot of trouble answering questions in English. Like many places in Zanzibar, the power goes off routinely which limits what you can do once the sun goes down.
We splurged and rented a suite, which was an interesting experience... This consists of a villa with one bedroom and living room downstairs and a second bedroom with a living area upstairs. Only the bedroom downstairs is closed off and has airconditioning, while the bedroom upstairs, although huge and with a great view- is pretty much like sleeping in open air with just a roof over your head and no real walls. It kind of felt like camping- although in a nice bed with a mosquito net. Although it was a unique experience sleeping outside - feeling the strong wind and hearing the ocean, I am not sure that was the experience I signed up for. For the amount they charge for the villa, I expected a lot more extras at the hotel- toiletries, bathrobes, etc and not somewhere where I felt like I may as well have slept on the beach with a mosquito net.
Not that I felt unsafe, but you can only lock the door from the outside when you leave, and the rest of the villa is pretty much open to anyone with any desire to get in. There is a safe at the check-in area, but the rest of the villa was pretty open in general. On the whole, considering that we spent a lot more money on the suite, I was expecting somewhere that had air-conditioning and that felt more secure. The private pool with the villa is a cute touch, but realistically its too small to swim in and just more of a dipping pool.
On top of that, despite telling the staff in advance that we were leaving early, it still took about an hour of sitting at the front reception to get them to get our bill ready and paid. I know these experiences are typical in Africa, but when you pay more money you have a higher level of expectation and I don't think that the Zanzibari lived up to that. We left early and switched to the Z hotel, which was much more in line with what we wanted.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with friends
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4  Thank natasha1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2011

We had such a wonderful stay at the Zanzibari, thanks to all the staff! Beautiful quiet beach and hotel facilities, stunning views, great food, easy to come by activities and afternoon tea times are not to be missed! Will go back in a flash!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank scholtzrg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2011

my friend and i took a 3-night weekend trip to the zanzibari in feb of 2011. she had recommended kendwa rocks (from previous experience), but i wanted something a little more upscale than a hostel. the zanzibari couldn't have fit the bill better.

i was the first to arrive and while i initially found the grounds stunning, i was worried that we were located on a sea cliff (there is no sandy beach at this spot on the island). there is a wonderful saltwater pool and a makeshift "beach" area atop the cliff, but i wanted some squishy sand between my toes. when i conveyed my concerns to yvonne, the hostess, she smiled and said not to worry - the beach is a short walk up the coast.

the next morning, we had a sumptuous breakfast, complete with fresh fruit, masala chai, croissants, doghnuts and the most delicious banana pancakes (so delicious in fact that my friend asked to meet the chef and got the recipe!). then, by the time we got our suits on, the tide had gone out far enough that we could walk down to the cliff-steps and right onto the coast to head up towards the sandy areas. the walk itself was amazing - with the tide out you could find tiny lil aquatic ecosystems all over - and within 10 minutes we hit sandy areas, where a lot of the other hotels are. we found a nice secluded beach between some hotels (just past the royal zanzibar hotel) and had a great time spalshing around in the water.

what we realized on our way back was that the other hotels were all crammed next to each other on the beach and made for a very over-developed feel. on the other hand, the zanzibari (though close enough to reach the active beach areas) stands alone at the northern tip of the island and gives you a secluded feel that can't be matched. (by the way, we recommend walking BACK through the village, lest you get stuck in rising tides!)

all in all, the zanzibari had all the perks of a fine hotel (with lovely grounds, clean rooms, amazing service and OUTSTANDING food), but with a cozy and intimate feel, like you're in your own private paradise at the end of the world.

we highly recommend it and can't wait to get back there soon!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank ghuzzi22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Zanzibari

Address: Nungwi Road, Nungwi 10437, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#8 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#10 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
#10 Luxury Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range: £121 - £273 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Zanzibari 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Zanzibari is located in Nungwi on the northeastern tip of Zanzibar. Set above the beach on a low coral cliff with easy access to the sea you are offered privacy, peace and tranquility while taking in the stunning views of the Indian Ocean. The hotel has many high quality facilities, including our infinity pool, spa and famous Dhow Restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Zanzibari Hotel Nungwi
The Zanzibari Zanzibar Island/Nungwi

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