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“Perfect place to relax”

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Flame Tree Cottages
Ranked #15 of 17 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
105 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Perfect place to relax”
Reviewed 13 July 2009

This is a charming, small and peaceful place located in Nungwi. Booking was easy through their web pages (www.flametreecottages.com) and was answered by Elizabeth or Seif, the owners. 30 percent deposit must be paid via bank transfer, but I paid the whole amount and didn't need to carry so much cash with me. Credit cards are not accepted, only US dollars, euros and Tanzanian shillings. What comes to currencies anyway, do change your money into shillings in Stone Town or Dar es Salaam because there aren't any exchanges in Nungwi. And you get a better value by using local currency rather than dollars.

It's about 1 hour drive from Zanzibar airport to Nungwi and I booked the transportation (50 USD) from hotel. Local minibus #116 also comes to Nungwi, but it leaves from Zanzibar Town's bus station which is 7 km from airport and takes about 3 hours.

Room, or should I say cottage, was very nice. A big bedroom with double bed surrounded by mosquito nets which were sprayed every night, wardrobe and desk with kettle and toaster. Bathroom was also spacious with properly working shower. However, sewage was sometimes stuck leaving water on shower floor. Air condition worked well, but I mostly used just the fan on the ceiling and left windows open - there were mosquito nets on them of course. There was no safety box in the room, but you
can leave valuables to owner's safe located in the main house.

Every room has its own terrace or verandah where breakfast was served. Fruits to start with, then eggs to order, bread, coffee and juice. You just step out of your cottage and someone will come to ask you when would you like to have your breakfast, what a service! You could also order lunch to your own verandah, or have it in the outdoor restaurant where dinner was served.

Service was excellent. There are enough staff and once you've introduced yourself they remember your name. Those wearing green shirts are supervisors so should you have any problems talk to them. There are various trips available. I recommend a snorkelling trip to Mnemba by owners' boat, it was truly amazing undersea world.

Electric cuts were common so take your torch with you. However, there was own generator so the cuts weren't very long, but torch helps you walking on the beach after sunset. Flame Tree is right on the beach. I couldn't understand someone writing it's not. You can walk along the beach or through the village to nearby restaurants and bars. It's safe and there is a lot of night life within 5-10 minutes walk.

All in all, this is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the pole pole (slow) days!

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank HelTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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212 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
37 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2009

I am absolutely baffled as to how Flame Tree Cottages can charge 120 USD per night in the Nungwi/Kendwa area. I initially booked Flame Tree as it was our last stay on a six week holiday in East Africa and wanted a splurge at the end of the trip.

However, upon arrival, we were told none of the cottages were available but we could stay in another room (it appeared to be a maid's room above the kitchen). There was no view of the ocean, but the beach wasn't much to look at. The section of beach where Flame Tree is located has winds/water carrying piles of seaweed onto the beach, which rots in the sun. The water is murky as well (likely due to the same conditions). I can't be positive these conditions are year-round (we stayed in May).

The owner attempted to charge us the full price of a cottage for our night in maid's room as he "had the inconvenience of moving us" (we carried our own bags). Upon looking at the cottages, which were decent, but outrageously priced for that area, we decided to cut our losses and simply move on. We ended up a Kendwa Rocks, which was by far one of the highlights of the entire holiday. Their top rooms were gorgeous with tons of character (carved wooden beds, air conditioning, turkish style bathroom) for under $100, a huge beach with lawn chairs and a tiki bar, and lovely blue sea. Also, I imagine Lonely Planet has been updated since, but we found that LP's descriptions for Nungwi and Kendwa were actually opposite in practice (that is, we found generally Kendwa was much more active and picturesque than Nungwi).

Overall, the actual cottages at Flame Tree appear to be clean and well-kept but it's a very poor value. You can easily find comparable (and even better) rooms in the area for literally half the price.

  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank DarcyKT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level Contributor
30 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 July 2009

Stayed here with a friend for a week in February. Was just what we needed before we flew home. Service was great and loved the breakfast on the verandah each morning. Food was scrummy. Its not flashy but its really just comfortable and relaxing. I loved Zanzibar - would recommend this place in an instant.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank AussieDaydreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
123 reviews
108 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 June 2009

Lovely, clean, great location and wonderful service.

Stayed 2 nights in flame cottage and if you want quiet and well located place this is it!

We arrived in late June and only reason we did not stay longer is we found comparable places nearby for 40% less.

also they have wifi for 10 bucks a stay!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Max S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RSA
Level Contributor
91 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2009

We spent 7 nights at Flame Tree in Feb 2009. Elizabeth (the owner) was extremely helpful and efficient when I was enquiring about Flame Tree and that, together with the other reviews on Trip Advisor helped me to decide to go there.

The setting is gorgeous. Right on the beach, and a short walk away from the better swimming beaches, but also away from all the other "resorty" places. The staff were lovely - polite and helpful. Breakfast on the verandah every morning was bliss. No need to change out of your pajamas! The weather was scorching hot, but the cool sea and the airconditioner (which worked like magic) made it bearable. The rooms were sparsely decorated, and I felt they could do a lot more with them, but it was spotlessly clean and really had everything we needed.

Our favourite restaurant that we wish we had discovered earlier was Langi Langi, situated on a deck over the sea. The food was absolutely delicious. They don't sell alcohol but you are welcome to take your own. We found a little bottle store in Nungwi and bought a bottle of local gin (Konyagi) and a few tonics. The only thing I found lacking was ice - there was never much available.

Cholos Beach Bar is also a great place to eat and has a good vibe - you sit right on the sand with the waves crashing nearby.

The locals were all very friendly, but they do try and sell you things ALL the time which got a bit annoying after a while. We shopped around for the best deal on a snorkelling trip and got one for USD20 p/p. It was an awesome day out, and we returned utterly exhausted after a full day without our feet touching the ground.

We also chose to go into Stonetown for a day (don't think I'd go for any longer - too hectic!) in the local "dala dalas" (taxis) for a mere fraction of the price of an organised tour. Definitely the way to go! The trip there was interesting, seeing the locals hopping on and off and going about things as they always do. Expect to get lost in Stonetown...and allow time for it. It was fun exploring the weird alleyways. Don't bother buying a map, you'll soon find you've been ripped off and it doesn't help at all.

Hopefully you won't get a travellers bug like I did...but just in case, arm yourself with immodium and valoid! Medication there is very expensive. Also be sure to take a good soothing aftersun with you.

Enjoy every second!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Clare-bell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 5 June 2009

We stayed here for 7 nights and in terms on Nungwi, I think Flame Tree is probably one of the nicest spots. Service was fantastic and the beach/beach chairs were great. However, that's were it stops for me. I will say that perhaps I am a bit jaded as I was disappointed by Zanzibar in general, but I think if Flame Tree was just a few notches up, it would have made all of the difference.

In terms of food, the breakfasts were pretty good ... but the rest of the food was not. We ate one dinner there, and decided not to eat there again for the rest of our trip. We tried a few lunches - with the same experience. I will say we didn't have much luck with other restaurants in Zanzibar ... so maybe that was the issue? We do like and appreciate good food, and were at the end of a long trip -- so perhaps that was a factor.

The rooms themselves were quite basic and honestly, outdated. The furnishings and bedding all seemed old and worn out. Some simple improvements in decor could make all the difference. I agree with another poster ... this place is at 75% (I'd probably say 50%) and has potential ... but at this time, I wouldn't recommend it to others. As it did seem to be the nicest spot in Nungwi - I guess I wouldn't recommended Nungwi either.

In general - in Zanzibar, I think you need to stay at a fairly high-end place. We stayed the two nights following at Matemwe Bungalows for about 6x the price (outrageous, I know) ... but if I were doing it again, I'd cut my time in Zanzibar to 4-5 days (instead of 10) and take it up about 6 notches.

  • Stayed August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank gublevart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kinsale
Level Contributor
98 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2009

As a group of six, we spent Easter week-end at the Flame Tree Cottages. We rented two cottages that had comfortable sitting rooms as well as the air conditioned bedrooms and bath. This modest priced hotel lived up toits website and the reviews we read from Trip Advisor(and chose it due to the reviews). The food was delicious and we were sorry that the one night we ate at a local restaurant the meal was only mediocre. Staff were friendly, patient with our many questions/ requests and most helpful to set us up with drivers who took us wherever we wished to visit. We hope to visit again and will share this great find with others who wish to relax at a beach and only visit Stone Town for a day visit.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank margieinkinsale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Flame Tree Cottages

Property: Flame Tree Cottages
Address: Nungwi, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Flame Tree Cottages 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Flame Tree Cottages. A small 16 room beach hotel in a private garden. It is one of the newest developments at the quiet end of the North West Nungwi tourist area, which boasts some of the nicest beaches in Zanzibar. We are beachside & West facing for perfect sunset views & it's a close walk to numerous restaurants and bars of Nungwi. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Flame Tree Cottages Hotel Nungwi
Flame Tree Cottages Zanzibar Island/Nungwi

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