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Essque Zalu Zanzibar
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Reviews (704)
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All reviewsmarket kitchensalt water infinity poolbeautiful jettyour honeymoonmain buildingkids clubpier restaurantmassage roomlow tidethe general managerstone townindian oceanprivate dinnerlarge poolbeautiful hotelrooms are spacioussea urchins
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322 - 327 of 704 reviews
Reviewed 22 April 2014

We were lucky enough to stay in Essque Zalu for 7 nights in early January for our honeymoon. From the moment we entered the reception area we were amazed at how the hotel lived up to the pictures on the website. It is very sad to hear that some of the main building was damaged recently as the 'wow' feeling we got when we first walked in and looked out at the pool and the sea will stay with us for ever. We had a garden view room and whilst a sea view would have been nice the villa itself was amazing with a huge bed, lovely big bathroom and plenty of storage space. It did not bother us not having a beach and it is fairly obvious from the website and other reviews on here that there is no beach therefore I don't understand when people give out about that. The salt water pool is lovely although I would have loved to swim off the jetty but the sea was quite rough when we went there. The food was very good in all of the restaurants and in particular the lunch down on the jetty was spectacular. The drinks served in the bar were also very good. It was quiet when were visited and therefore there was not much of an atmosphere in the bar after dinner however with the hotel so quiet it meant we completely relaxed for the whole week. We stayed in the hotel for all our meals as that was what we wanted however you could walk to Nungwi depending on the tides to try some other restaurants. We walked along the beach one of the days and another day visited the turtle conservatory which is well worth a visit. We were very sad to leave Essque Zalu as we know we may never make the trip again as it is so far away. We would definitely recommend it to anyone who is visiting Zanzibar. Pure Bliss

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank SeoigheN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Essque_Zalu, Director of Sales at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded 26 August 2014

Thank you for taking the time to your experience with us, we are pleased to read that you enjoyed your stay with us and your recommendations are greatly appreciated. We hope that we could again host you as our guest, perhaps for your anniversary... Warm regards from Sunny Zanzibar

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Reviewed 20 April 2014

Well, quite a long list to write about, so will just start from the very beginning,
this review considered for a 5 star resort with price range of $500 per night who claims to have various distinguish awards (one of which is Trip Advisor's resort of the year 2013) which I'm still puzzled how could that be possible unless the reviewers were completely blind or do not have slightest clue what 5 star resort should be like.

The main hotel entrance is nothing impressive and since the main reception 'cathedral-like' structure is under construction (April 2014) from damages occur in February , we had to use alternative entrance to temporary reception area, something that was not communicated on reservation process.
The check in was clumsy, disorganized and seemed more suitable to 2-3 stars hotel in down town.

The property is not very big, the staff are very poorly trained in the various hotel details, the villa is spacious however very weird design with no flow or cozy feel.
Mini-bar is EMPTY, to get a drink you need to call the in-room dining to get it for you, something that took about 20-40 minutes.
They hardly pick up the phone, and if they do- will take them at least 10-15 minutes to reach to you.
Very few suits are facing the sea, the rest are within the garden.

The resort facilities are very poorly maintained, the garden is not groomed , the pool surface paint is pealing off and you can see advanced black algae on the side walls (especially during the night with the pool lights), the wood decks are not painted or polished as well.

Some of the restaurants/bars are not available due to the ongoing construction on the main reception building, as well something that was not communicated on reservation process (aren't they have to?)

The operational restaurants do not have proper manager in place so the staff are quite disorganized and not very attentive to guests needs, we had lunch at the jetty , was hard to get waiter attention, as they were busy FISHING from the back door, and during breakfast, we had to speak to 4 different waiters to understand create dish from the menu, and still none of them properly described the dish correctly (we wanted to know what's inside the Caponata)

The property DONT HAVE A BEACH (you would like to have a white sandy beach coming to a resort in a tropical island, would you ?
And every excursion you may want to take is operated by external company that require picking you, taking you to their launch point and return you after , from any water sport, diving or simply dipping in the water....or you could enter the hotel water through the jetty staircases and risk getting sting by sea urchin.

There are numerous resorts within less than 5km proximity that offer much more for lesser rates, except the fact that you could see both sunset and sunrise from same location on the jetty, we found no reason whatsoever why would such place charge over $400-$600 Per night (full board packages)

The management need to open their eyes and start pulling their act together if they want this place to succeed, potential is there, but not for long.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Shay M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Essque_Zalu, Director of Sales at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded 25 April 2014

Thank you for your comments which we value enormously. We agree that we need to improve on the service in our outlets and, rest assured, this is a priority. The entire management is taking this issue seriously. Surely you cannot blame Essque Zalu Zanzibar for the hurricane that destroyed the roof. We clearly indicated in your welcome letter that we did apologize for the inconvenience. As well, Essque Zalu Zanzibar is not advertised as a beach resort, but as a lifestyle boutique resort. Tastes of colours and foods differ and what you find “weird”, many other guests (please read TripAdvisor) find exquisite and of utmost taste. Who are we to dispute this? The resort is closing in May for one month of refurbishment and this includes the refinishing of the pool. The Paint is peeling off, but there is no algae, rest assured. Please note as well that in the high season, our villas are rented at a much higher rate (and people are happy, again read TripAdvisor); and maybe on your next trip, you should select a 2 or 3 star resort on Nungwi where you would feel more at home. Please do not hesitate to connect with us further on this subject if you wish, by addressing the author of your welcome letter (which you obviously read). Kind Regards

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Reviewed 18 March 2014 via mobile

We hosted 10 people on an incentive trip for 4 nights. Unfortunately a storm a few weeks prior to our arrival had damaged reception area and one of the restaurants.
Check in was painfully slow and very disorganised. We were told we had to walk each and every person (ie 8 people) to their rooms to look at their rooms before we got to our room. Bearing in mind the journey to hotel in sweltering heat... this did not go down well. We were all given different room types... despite our booking being Ocean suites. Some placed in villas.. some in ocean view and some in garden view rooms. After much debate and delay.. an hour and a half later..our group settled in.
Ocean suite rooms are spectacular and lavishly furnished. Extra ordinary setting of jetty restaurant and rooms.
Restaurant, pool, garden and bar staff alll very friendly..but all in no hurry what so ever.. ie 15 min wait for drinks...and incorrect bills on more than one occasion.
The spa front office service was abysmal...yet world class treatments were received.
Work needed on check in and general service and this hotel could easily be no 1 in Zanzibar

Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
5  Thank Nicole P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded 29 March 2014

dear Nicole; thank you for your comments. I did look up your c/i and indeed there was delay. We need to mention though that it was the group members who had asked to see all the room types as we were asked to upgrade a few. Hence the insisting on seeing all the rooms and dealy. The service in the outlets can be slow, yet (and this is no excuse), when one is on a holiday, we should try to leave the stress and rush behind... i would appreciate it if you could send me an e-mail indicating why the spa front office was abysmal. This is the first comment of its kind and we would like to avoid any repeat. (my e-dress is on the website). As a senior reviewer I am sure that you can help. Kind regards, Luc Verschelden

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Reviewed 7 March 2014

I was lucky(very, very lucky!) enough to stay at Essque Zalu for a week during the summer, fresh off climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, running a 1/2 marathon and a 5 night safari. Needless to say, just about any hotel would have felt like luxury but Essque Zalu truely epitomizes heaven. From the moment I arrived and was intorduced to my personal butler (ok, everyones butler, but still...) who showed me around the property before taking me to my amazing room. I really enjoyed everything about my stay here including the staff, the food, the drinks- especially "happy time" by the pool where they bring around a complimentary non-alcoholic special drink of the day. I spent most of my time lounging by the pool, over looking the ocean and soaking up the sun. There are many activities outside of Essque Zalu as well that are fantastic. I went diving and on a Stone Town/Spice tour.
There is a great gift shop as well filled with great African souviners but if youre looking for cheap trinkets you wont find them here. I scooped up an amazing Massai Original bag, wood carvings, beaded bracelets, an old map, a wood carving and a couple of other fun things.
Another one of my favorite things was the massage at the spa, it was exactly what I needed!

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank msheatherelaine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded 12 March 2014

Dear Heather. Thank you for your compliments on this review. With pleasure i will pass it on to all that contributed to make your stay so memorable that 8 months later you are still remembering the details so vividly. When are you coming back? Your Butler is waiting! Kind regards, Luc Verschelden

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Reviewed 25 February 2014

Stayed for 4 nights in February. Sadly the days before had witnessed unprecedented storms which had brought down the roof in the main reception, and taking the a la carte restaurant, bar and reception out of service. Our room, 32, was very nice - bedroom, sitting area, dressing room area and bathroom with massive shower. There were 2 largish infinity pools which looked inviting, didn't realise it was saltwater til taking a plunge, great places to cool down. Great pier with a bar and restaurant at the end. The food in both the main restaurant and pier restaurant were great, with local Tanzanian menus, Vegetarian and "western" Today menus. Service was fine except for 2 dishes served which were wrong choices. The staff wearing green uniforms, "navigators", were friendly but on requesting that the room directory be placed in the room as it should be 3 times over 36 hours, failed and resulted in a walk to reception. On looking in the directory we located the gym. We visited, only to find it unequipped and closed. The hotel GM was always visible and made a flying visit each mealtime. Overall a great hotel if the gym was sorted and the staff more attentive.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MTBSteve11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded 27 February 2014

dear Steve. Thank you for your comments. Your reflection on the Room Directory is well observed and we will ensure that this is rectified. Indeed the Hurricane was a disaster for the entire northern part of the island of Zanzibar. Several hotels suffered damages, many houses had major damage. Fortunately, no casualties! Till we meet again here on Unguja, a.k.a. Zanzibar. Kind Regards, Luc Verschelden

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