We came to Essque Zalu as the final stop on our honeymoon having spent 3 nights on Safari in the Masai Mara and 4 nights in Pongwe (Zanzibar). It was time for some luxury and relaxation to end the most special time of our lives.
Overall our stay was very enjoyable, the restaurant and bar staff were superb and we really enjoyed our lunches on the peer. My wife especially enjoyed the spa and the girls were fantastic.
The accommodation and facilities were excellent.
Unfortunately our trip was soured when booking a trip through the hotel reception staff. We sat down at the excursions desk and picked a couple of activities through the recommended booking agent. One of them was the well known safari blue day trip, which includes dolphin spotting, sailing and lunch on a secluded island. The staff member told us that because the hotel prices were very expensive, he was prepared to offer us a discount, providing we kept this to ourselves. The money wasn't a particular concern as we were on honeymoon, however we weren't going to argue this point. The staff member then said that we would need to pay the driver on the day. At this point I should have known something was up, but I didn't think that a 5* hotel would have employed staff that would be prepared to scam their customers. The trip was an absolute disaster. The driver didn't have any food or water and because it was Ramadan, we were unable to get anything on route. Instead of being on the safari blue trip we were dropped off at a beach, handed very old snorkels and fins and ushered onto a very unstable, small speed boat. The driver of the boat asked us whether he needed to bother with life jackets. We got on the boat which was a very scary experience. The waves were very choppy and we proceeded to chase dolphins instead of waiting to see whether dolphins would come to us. This didn't feel right and when my wife got in the water to attempt to swim with them, the boat driver almost took her head off on two occasions. This was too much for me. I demanded to be taken back to shore.
At this point I was very angry and tried to contact the hotel to find out what was going on. I was largely ignored with the staff member telling me that this is what I booked. I explained that I wouldn't pay the driver, however we were held to ransom and the driver refused to take us back without payment.
When we finally got back to the hotel and tracked down the staff member who booked our trip, he finally admitted that although he often us a discount, instead of getting a discounted price he decided to give us a cheaper alternative that he arranged himself and didn't use an insured company. It later transpired that the discounted price he quoted was also more that the original price. He essentially stole from us. What compounded the issue is that one of his colleagues tried to help him cover this up and tried to do a deal with us to keep quiet and non mention this to the manager. We were so angry that our honeymoon had ended like this that we had to contact the manager. She looked into the issue and agreed that the staff member had scammed us and stolen from us. However, her response to this was not adequate. Only once we explained the seriousness of the situation did she offer us anything as compensation and she tried to make excuses for the staff member. We explained that in the UK this would be an instant dismissal and possibly police involvement. I don't even think she was considering dismissing this member of staff.
Up until this point we'd had an amazing honeymoon and great stay at Zalu but the end of our trip left a really bad taste and was an unhappy ending to the trip. We were really disappointed with the way it was handled.
The rest of the hotel is fantastic but please be careful about booking any trips through the staff at the hotel. Make sure you get a signed voucher and run everything past the management team. I don't think this was the first time it happened and I think a number of the front end staff members were in on it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Take a deep breath of fresh Indian ocean air, relax and unwind. Essque Zalu Zanzibar is an intimate boutique destination nestled in a natural cove in the north east coast of Unguja (alias Zanzibar). Essque Zalu Zanzibar combines contemporary luxury with a real sense of place. This boutique hotel has the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean to one side and lush green forest to the other, and there is just a hint of spice in the warm and fragrant tropical air. At Essque Zalu Zanzibar, create your own personal paradise, your own kind of luxury, an experience of a lifetime. Choose from 40 individual suites and 8 villas all with picturesque views over the lush tropical garden or the ocean turquoise blue. Our suites offer a luxurious-styled space crafted from local materials, adorned with native artwork and housed under a traditional pitched makuti roof. From farm to table, we take great pride in our sumptuous cooking. Satisfy your taste buds with a choice of two unique restaurants, three well stocked bars and a variety of destination dining experiences. Unashamedly indulgent, the Spa comprises of two couples treatment rooms, four single rooms, vichy shower, a sauna and steam room - a haven of restorative and rejuvenating perfection. Using only 100% truly organic and natural ingredients, our focus is on capturing the intelligence of nature in the restorative process. We know that the essence of nature can synergistically interact with the energy system, and this knowledge forms the basis of our Africology creations, all orchestrated to help you lead a more holistic lifestyle. Essque Zalu is your outpost into the first steps of the wildness and tranquility of Zanzibar. Reconnect with nature and experience a land rich in life and uninhabited space. We offer guests the opportunity to partake in activities to experience some of the islands most Spectacular and scenic excursions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Essque Zalu Zanzibar Hotel Nungwi
- Essque Zalu Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Nungwi