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“Would have been excellent but.....” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Essque Zalu Zanzibar

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Essque Zalu Zanzibar
Ranked #2 of 17 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Would have been excellent but.....”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2014

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.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
11 Thank linney13
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 review, 28 August 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our property and please be advised that your constructive feedback has been shared with our top management.

It is with deep regret that you experienced a mishap with booking the excursion. We agree that this is totally unacceptable please be advised that serious action has been taken on the hotelier who was involved in organizing the transfer for you. Here at Essque we strive to provide guest with personalized, secure and exceptional services. We always encourage guest to book their excursions through our chosen ground handler (who have a desk at the lobby area) that organize ALL activities through qualified and licensed operators. Please rest assured that we have taken serious measurements to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.
We are grateful that we got to address the problem and compensate you for the same while you were still our guest. We were also glad to hear that you enjoyed the Safari Blue trip that we organized for you on complimentary basis as well as having the opportunity to give you a refund on the initial excursion in person.

We trust that our answer will satisfy you. We are pleased to read that you enjoyed most of your stay at Essque Zalu.

Warm regards from Sunny Zanzibar.
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574 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    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 (118)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2014

This was the second stop of our honeymoon following a 4 day safari and it was certainly a welcome sight. When you walk through from reception the building is just breathtaking and the hotel and grounds are beautifully kept. Essque is a special place and perfect for just relaxing and chilling around the stunning infinity pool. The Jetty is a great touch and the food in the Jetty restaurant was our favourite - it's a shame it's only open for lunch. Breakfast and dinner were always varied and I think that the chefs did an excellent job considering the availability of ingredients. Our room was spacious and well kept (we had an ocean view which I would definiltey recommend). Unfortunately the weather was quite stormy for a few days whilst we were there but it gave me an opportunity to check out the spa which was excellent and I highly recommend. All in all we had a fabulous time at Essque and would highly recommend if visiting Zanzibar (booked through The Luxury Safari Company).

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BreezeLea
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 review, 27 August 2014
Thank you for the lovely compliments and sharing your beautiful experience with us. We are delighted to learn that you had a pleasant stay with us. We normally open the jetty at peak season and when it's weather permitting as it tends to get windy at times.

We Will convey your compliments to Chef Jussi and the rest of our hoteliers who all work hard to ensure that the guest are kept happy.

We look forward to hosting you again, maybe on an anniversary this time.

Sunny regards from Unguja (Zanzibar)
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Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Level Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2014

Nungwi has become a busy part of Zanzibar with hotels cheek to cheek - so Zalu gives you a wonderful sense of privacy and exclusivity away from beach boys, touts and other tourists! We loved the giant roof, and dedicated kid's club organiser Guni is a gem! He took the kids snorkelling with Green Turtles at the rehab centre nearby and even came fishing with us. the best food by far out of our 6 hotels in Zanzibar - excellent chef! Lovely pool ( but salt water) and jetty is a great spot for sundowners. Highly recommend but us and we are tour operators who have seen many hotels in Zanzibar

Room Tip: Beach front rooms best
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jenni_S_12_12
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 review, 27 August 2014
Dear Jenni,

Many thanks for your lovely comments - it was great to host you and your family. Many thanks for sharing the awesome pictures, I have shared some of them on facebook. Guni loved spending time with the boys.

Our infinity and plunge pools are salt chlorinated, (not from seawater) which is far more economically friendly than using traditional Chlorine products

We look forward to your next visit.

Kind Regards,
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2014

Just beautiful, an incredibly grand hotel which seems somehow a little out of place for the quaint island it's sitting on but nonetheless it doesn't disappoint. The pool is in one of the most idyllic positions I've ever had the pleasure of relaxing around, infinity stretching out to the crystal clear waters ahead - it's stunning and incredibly calming. The food was good but could have been better - that said, the lunch offering on the beautiful jetty is great and really tasty! Rooms are very spacious, well decorated and very clean. Would recommend a stay!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kaylie W
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 review, 27 August 2014
Dear Kaylie,

Thank you for your flattering comments. We are delighted to read that you had an amazing time and could not thank you enough for choosing Essque for your vacation. I have passed on the great comments to the team.

Warm greetings from Sunny Zanzibar.
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Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
188 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2014 via mobile

We visited Zalu with my husband and two close friends. It is a magical location. The jetty is very cool. We had a sea front villa, which was spacious. The bathroom is quite big, no tub. Very romantic and calm. The food was not very good, very few choices and the same menu for every meal. No mini bar. The Spa was high quality with Africology products. Very warm staff. A very calm place for romance if you are looking for activity atraction is not the best location in Nungwi.

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank chuzzlehead
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 review, 27 August 2014
Thank you for your comments which is greatly appreciated. Our villas do have bath tubs, in two out of the three rooms at most times. The villas also have a plunge pool situated on the terrace where you can enjoy the sound of the lapping Indian ocean with breathtaking vistas of the turquoise Indian ocean.

We are sorry to hear that you found a minimum choice of food options - we have three restaurants on the property where you could explore the various menus and if you are still not satisfied chef is happy cook something up for you to your preference. Our policy is 'never say no'

The mini bars at Essque Zalu are personalized therefore, we stock up upon guests arrival according to their preferences and requests. The villas also have a personal butler at your service at all times to cater to your needs.

We look forward to hosting you again. Warm greetings from the Essque Team
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
24 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 June 2014

Essque Zalu is pretty as a picture, and has, hands down, the best use of its Nungwi location that I've seen. The jetty leading out to the crystalline waters makes Zanzibar's famously inaccessible urchin-strewn beaches totally accessible for much of the day when low tide would usually keep us from the sea.

And if the tide is out and the sea too shallow for swimming, you can always swim in the amazing, large pool.

The rooms don't disappoint - the food's pretty good. The spa is just good and the drinks could be better, but the view and the overall experience make up for it.

Special points on the in-room clove soaps, which are made in Zanzibar by a women's coop called Dada (which means Sister in Swahili). Grab them and get more at the Dada shop in Stonetown.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank san_shan
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 review, 26 August 2014
Thank you for a great review, it is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback, the comments we receive are key to our continued efforts to improve the quality of our services at Essque Zalu. We hope that you can visit us again in the near future. Warm Regards from the Essque Team
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
90 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 June 2014

Zalu is a beautiful place with luxurious space to chill out and unwind. The pool is spectacular and right on the water front. We had a ocean view room which I would highly recommend.great food and very helpful staff.
Great restaurant and bar options with our favorite being the jetty bar and lunchtime restaurant. Prefect for a cocktail for sun downers and friendly interesting staff to spend time with. The spa is well worth a relaxing treat.
Well worth a short walk is a visit to see the turtles being rehabilitated ( great conservation work) and the local village.
Zanzibar as a whole is a great place but really needs to urgently look into its rubbish problem as there are many other tropical islands that don't have rubbish washed up on their beaches and around town.

Room Tip: Ocean from rooms 11-16.
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  • Stayed June 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?
2 Thank SandyWestcoast
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 review, 25 June 2014
Many thanks for your lovely comments. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay. Many thanks for the information you provide me with all the way from New Zealand. It was good to see a feature of us on one your mainstream local newspapers.
With regards to the rubbish around the village, we are working alongside with other hotels to keep the place clean - this is an ongoing process. Best Regards
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Additional Information about Essque Zalu Zanzibar

Property: Essque Zalu Zanzibar
Address: Nungwi 3151, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Nungwi
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#2 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#2 Luxury Hotel in Nungwi
#5 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Essque Zalu Zanzibar 5*
Number of rooms: 48
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

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