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“The perfect getaway”

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Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The perfect getaway”
Reviewed 10 August 2013

Our stay at Matemwe was superb. The view from our villa was spectacular. We watched the local fisherman sailing their vessels on the tides, just amazing at sunset. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful and always willing to help however they could. What I did appreciate the most was a conversation with staff about the resort's involvement with local community projects. I think that this could be promoted more as they are doing an amazing job with their efforts. Yes, this is a 'must have' experience when visiting Zanzibar.

Room Tip: If you can upgrade to a villa as this provides you with a butler.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Cathy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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174 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
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  • Portuguese first
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English first
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 1 August 2013

We stayed at Matemwe Retreat for 5 days in June. Amazing diving, amazing staff, amazing food and overall a great experience. We stayed in Leyla and our butler Abdi made our time special.

Yes you can't always swim at the beach, yes they might have power issues or problems with their hot water, but the location and the helpful staff make up for everything!

Again I would like to thank Frank from the dive centre as well as Abdi our butler.

We will go back again!

Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Michael B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed 20 July 2013

We spent 4 fabulous nights at Matemwe Retreat in the "Nuru" house. The villa was wonderful, the view absolutely breathtaking, and the people... fantastic. Menlad was our butler and he was incredible. We both worried it would be uncomfortable having a butler around during our honeymoon. Menlad was such a professional, so caring, and became a good friend to us. Since we were leaving before the resorts traditional swahili dinner on Sunday, Menlad had the chef prepare a special swahili dinner for us in our villa on our last night. Menlad even brought traditional attire for us to wear and decorated a very romantic table. We will never forget his impersonation of how my wife should greet me, mimicking a lady with a sultry "jambo".
We can't say enough good things about Menlad and the entire experience at Matemwe.
Clayton and Nichole Cheek

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank clayton c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2013 via mobile

Matemwe retreat is everything you read in the hotel profile. Great accommodations, wonderful service, blue ocean waters and white sandy beaches. The staff did everything to make our stay enjoyable, but the remote location of the hotel and clear issues with the locals made it hard for us to get comfortable with our accommodations.

Nothing happened with the locals specifically, but You got the feeling from everyone you encountered (zanzibar as-a-whole)there was an unsettling. Generally the locals were not happy to meet, speak with or interact with tourist. The retreat seem to know this well as they tried to mask it with over compensation highlighting what a great relationship there was with the locals.

This is not a reflection on matemwe at all.

It might be more of a reflection of the type of traveler I am. I need more than just a beach. I like to explore, interact and emerge myself in the culture. Given it was so far from stone town or major communities, so I got a little board.

I was there for six nights. I went snorkeling, trip to stone town, bike ride, walk on the beach and kayak around the reef. I had a great trip. We had amazing service enjoyed lots of local dishes prepared by the retreat staff and relaxed.

I recommend this place for anyone that wants a wonderful, secluded beach retreat with one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen.

Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Caleb A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
newport beach
Level Contributor
56 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 June 2013

Spent 5 nights at the retreat.
The retreat and rooms are very quiet and exotically decorated.
Would not return as, there is no swimming beach. They may tell you there is one, but is a beach full of boats and you would have to swim out real far to have the water reach your knees.
The room was supposed to be air conditioned. It was broken the entire time. A repairman came out 2 days spending the time talking with our butler. Destroyed any privacy and unable to take a shower or sleep while they were there. They would say it was fixed but never worked.
Our butler was mildly hostile. Would walk in on us without knocking. Would give wrong information about massages and buffets. He seemed burned out and resentful. Actually he was pretty obnoxious. Rather than providing relaxation he prevented it.

Room Tip: I would go elsewhere for a nice beach and more caring staff. Stonetown was a great day trip.
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank NewportBeach1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AsiliaAfrica, Manager at Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa, responded to this review, 8 July 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. First and foremost, we are very sorry to hear your experience at Matemwe Retreat did not meet your expectations. From the Matemwe management we understand you did raise most of your concerns during your stay, and that compensation was offered by not charging you for your massages and the excursion to Stone Town. We understand that the aircon should work at all times and hope you appreciated our gesture towards compensation.

The Matemwe beach – as with most of Zanzibar’s beaches – is dependent on the tides; and therefore only allows for swimming and snorkelling during high tide. During low tide, we offer reef walks and encourage Retreat guests to make use of the two swimming pools in Main Lodge, or their private rooftop plunge pool.

We acknowledge your negative experience and have already taken proper actions to prevent a similar experience for any future travellers, and ensure we maintain our high service levels at all times. Should you wish to further discuss, please feel very free to contact me at marleen@asiliaafrica.com

Warm regards,
Marleen Haverkamp – Marketing Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2013

First off a warning ... Traveling into Zanzibar, while painless, can be a shock to some people as its a very poor and basic country but please don't let that put you off, the people are simply fabulous and friendly and happy to have any and all tourists and the resorts and staff really go all out and try to make peoples stays as wonderful as possible.

Now onto Matemwe which was beautiful and the villa was divine, we couldn’t have been happier with our choice. The space and lazing areas are wonderful and while we could see that it was coming to the end of the season and some cushions etc need repairs and replacing – they were already busy with all that and were changed days into our stay.
They also spoilt us completely with our Butler Martin, he was really just brilliant and wonderful in everyway – bringing us fruit treats on our snorkel and making up baths for me without me even having to ask or mention it. My advice is don't be shy with your butlers, on the first day we told him what we liked to have in the mini bar etc and he made sure to cater to our needs and kept everything just so for the rest of our stay. Also we often changed our minds about what we wanted for breakfast and he would smile and arrange it in minutes so they do anything really to keep you happy. Please do note that your butler looks after everything, no one else really enters the Villas at all - they do all cleaning etc so I would definitely recommend you bring extra cash for a nice tip as they certainly earn it.
He just looked after us so very well that when I went on to another resort in Zanzibar I have to admit that their service there just did not live up to the same standards! When we left Martin gave both of us a big hug and it was just the sweetest. Not that the other staff around weren't great too – they were, and even more so when they knew we were in a villa and always happy to do anything with a big smile. Food wise I was very impressed considering where they were, cant say I had a bad meal. Thought the deserts were not really great, but I don’t eat much sweets so wasn’t bothered.

This is a remote Island though so hiccups do happen, just be prepared and go with the flow and you will still enjoy your stay. Like when we first arrived they had no water (or any of the places around them) which considering how hot and icky we were was not the best but a “bath” in the pool as we are after all used to Africa travel sorted us out and after about a day and a half the pumps were up and running again and we could get a proper shower which was great. The only two main niggles we had, one which was a small one was that the pillows are just flat and not comfy and the main one which was that the aircon just did not work and you could not get cool so we ended up not sleeping very well at all. We tried all things – two fans, leaving all the slates in the doors open (as we were told not to leave the actual doors open), sleeping without the nets etc – but it was just to hot and humid to ever get comfortable in bed. But since we spent 90% of our time lazing, we really didn’t stress about this and it was also maybe the time of year with such high humidity making it worse as well.

But all in we adored Matemwe and our stay and would 100% recommend it to people, though only the villas – we looked at some of the rooms and were much happier with our luxury and AI as though you may think the bungalows cheaper you end up having to pay for all extras, drinks etc - so go on spoil yourself and choose a villa you wont be sorry. Another tip - go down to the main bar for sundowners and take them to the upper pool, they have a swing chair right on the edge of the cliff and its just the best spot (attached pic)

Room Tip: We didnt see the other retreats, but did look at the normal resort rooms - definitely book into the...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Feegee4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gulu, Uganda
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 19 June 2013

My wife and I just spent 10 days in the incredible Matemwe Retreat. Really an outstanding property and Celine and her crew do just an excellent job. I was looking for a place to escape and the retreat was just the place. There are things to do, but we chose to do nothing and Ndaki ensured we were completely satiated with luxury. The upstairs plunge pool area was just extraordinary. Getting in the van to leave, we felt traumatized having to vacate our amazing retreat. Hats off to the all the staff and the sea creatures that graciously gave their lives for our dinner. Just can’t say enough good things.

Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank MTribble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa

Property: Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa
Address: Matemwe Beach, Matemwe, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Matemwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 18 Speciality Lodging in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa 5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy your own private tropical escape at Matemwe Retreat. The four elegant villas that make up the retreat are set high in the palm trees with uninterrupted Indian Ocean views. With its secluded location and dedicated private butler, the retreat is considered one of the most exclusive choices of accommodation on Zanzibar Island. If you are looking for pure escapism, these villas - which combine the spirit of Zanzibar with the highest standards of comfort - were designed for you. The private plunge pool, personal bar and spacious roof terrace with day bed and loungers are so appealing that we would not blame you if you relaxed in your hidden sanctuary for your entire holiday. Echoing the white sand beaches and the changing turquoise hues of the tropical waters, the fully air-conditioned Matemwe Retreat villas are a reflection of their tranquil island surroundings, filled with locally produced materials and furnishings. The ground floor of each villa features a private bar area, cool and airy double bedroom with king-sized bed and en-suite bathroom with double basins, shower and a sunken bathtub with impressive views of the sparkling ocean. Outdoors, impressively comfortable and very private lounge areas invite you to make the most of the tropical climate.The rooftop deck with sparkling blue plunge pool offers panoramic Indian Ocean views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa Hotel Matemwe
Matemwe Retreat, Asilia Africa Zanzibar Island

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