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“Solid value for an Zanzibar East Coast beach resort” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sultan Sands Island Resort

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Sultan Sands Island Resort
Ranked #6 of 13 Hotels in Kiwengwa
Certificate of Excellence
Silicon Valley, California
Level Contributor
117 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“Solid value for an Zanzibar East Coast beach resort”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 November 2011

Friendly, helpful staff, reasonably good value, clean & tidy cabins, good food, and fun entertainment every night. What's not to like? This resort is reputed to offer better than average value and the experience is pleasant, so go for it and enjoy your beach experience in Zanzibar! One tip: Stone Town is a fascinating place worth a night or two, so I recommend staying there before or after your beach experience at the Sultan Sands, rather than day-tripping.

The Sultan Sands is one of many beach resorts on the east coast of Zanzibar. They offer the beach experience. You lie around in the sun, or under an umbrella, occasionally heading out to the Indian Ocean or to the pool, with waiters bringing you drinks. It's the resort beach thing. If this isn't your style, go somewhere else. Word amongst expats living in East Africa is that this particular beach resort offers pretty good value for the money. This resort will sell you one of several packages with different things included and not included. I recommend the breakfast plus dinner package. They will then try to maximize their revenue by capturing your business for additional add-on services (transportation to and from the airport, tours to Stone Town, spice farms, boat tours, alcoholic beverages, etc. etc.) Just keep in mind that this is part of the game. Their prices are higher than you will get from independent providers, but it is very difficult to assess the quality and safety of other providers, so you are most likely to just go with them for these add-on services. Just live with it and don't let it bother you.

Most of the rooms at the Sultan Sands are cute, unassuming cabins. They are clean and tidy, but not luxurious. We came from Ethiopia where standards are much lower, so believe me they were positively delightful, but by western standards they are nothing fancy. Still, they are pleasant and functional, and very close to the beach -- sometimes with views, so they meet the need.

Sultan Sands dinners are served buffet style, and were quite good. Every night offered a different form of entertainment. A dance band one night, an African drum concert the next, a Masai dance exhibition the next, etc. All were really fun. Seating was outside around the pool or just inside under an awning. The evenings were balmy and delightful.

Several previous reviews complained about the staff. Honestly folks, you are in Africa and you need to chill. The only annoying part about the staff was the above mentioned tendency to lock you in to overpriced add-on services, but in general we found the staff to be quite friendly and helpful. And we LOVED the Masai guards. They are gorgeous and really fun to be around.

Keep in mind that you need to exit the controlled grounds to go out to the ocean, at which point you will be hassled by people hitting you up for money or wanting to sell you something. Again, this is Africa, and this kind of thing is inevitable.

It takes an hour to an hour and a half to travel from the east coast to Stone Town, so a day trip is easily possible. However, I recommend you actually spend a night or two in Stone Town before or after you trip to the Sultan Sands. Stone Town has an absolutely fascinating history and vibe, not to mention many interesting restaurants and bars, so it is worth a day or two in its own right.

Bottom Line: the Sultan Sands offers solid value for a Zanzibar beach resort. Keep your expectations realistic, and have a good time!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TravelinFieldGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Hampshire
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2011

We stayed at Sultan Sands after we had been on Safari, it is a perfect getaway to relax, the staff & service are first class. They also gave us a room upgrade because of problems we had at the airport, which we appreciated. The staff are very friendly & nothing is too much trouble for them.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank redark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
57 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 September 2011

Super-romantic, we found Sultan Sands to be the perfect couple's getaway after a week of safari in the Tanzanian inland. Wonderful, friendly staff, high quality of service, and good food all around.

Be prepared for some slightly annoying beach vendors and a huge difference between high and low tide. Other than that; perfect.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ingeborgv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leyland, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 August 2011

This hotel was suggested by our tour company Imagine Africa, who organised our trip to sui our needs. This hotel was set on the beautiful island of Zanzibar and on a lovely beach. It was in a great location to visit the spice farms and other attractions on Zanzibar. We were however disappointed with the service at this hotel. We had to wait almost an hour for one meal! Another downfall was that although all inclusive, they make you sign for EVERY drink or food purchase, slowing everything down, when often its nice to grab a drink and return to the pool, for example!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Emily D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lusaka, Zambia
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2011

Arrival on the land you have never been to actually gives you alot of thoughts on one's mind as to whether you will enjoy your stay, be safe and generally confortable with everything. I got this full package when I checked in at the Resort....having been stressed a bit with the loss of my luggage, I was feeling very low but when I reached the resort the smiles, the hospitality and the sympathy with my lost luggage from the mainland through precision air just gave me a boost of assurance that all will be fine....And all was fine..all my days spent at the resort are worth remembering...hats off to the members of staff of the Sultan Sands Resort which is part of the Blue Bay hotels for their hospitality. Keep it up Saidi (front office), George (Food and Beverages Manager), My Masai friend Paulo...and those whom I cant remember the names but were equally charming and helpful (and my apologies for forgetting such names!)..thanks to management too. I surely will come back and so will be my friends who are itching to come after hearing my testimony about the place..keep it up. Ciao!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mwansa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 May 2011

We've just returned from Sultan Sands.

Poor reception staff. Rip off exchange rate. Rip off bar prices. Even charged for wi-fi which was free in the best hotel in Zanzibar town.

Very pleasant accommodation and grounds.

Generally poor service in the bar. Bar staff will try and work in extras eg charging branded prices for local drinks which are double. Beach virtually out of bounds due to beach boys. Very isolated, nothing in walking distance and an hour into town and trips/transport expensive.

Breakfast was awful. Fortunately we were able to use the Blue Bay next door. Much better service, food excellent and reasonable entertainmentMoney seems to be the answer.

Not for me.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AdrianJones91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 April 2011

Clean, very friendly staff, food fantastic, good entertainment every night and something to suit everyone. Garden's stunning, flowers beautiful. Staff couldn't do enough for you and always with a smile. No pestering for tips as it was your own choice at the end of the stay. Sea was lovely and warm but it is a shame the coral has all but died. Trips can be booked to any place on the Island from the hotel. No complaints at all.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bodturner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sultan Sands Island Resort

Property: Sultan Sands Island Resort
Address: Kiwengwa, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Kiwengwa
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) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Kiwengwa
#4 Romantic Hotel in Kiwengwa
#4 Spa Hotel in Kiwengwa
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Kiwengwa
#7 Family Hotel in Kiwengwa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sultan Sands Island Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 76
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sultan Sands Island Resort is situated on the wide, sparkling beaches of Kiwengwa on the East Coast of Zanzibar Island. Sultan Sands is a resort with a unique character: an inspired blend of Swahili and Arab architecture and decor creates a relaxed ambience, while first-class amenities and facilities ensure complete comfort. The spacious rooms at Sultan Sands are built in the style of traditional African rondavels, each tastefully decorated with hand-carved Zanzibari furniture. All rooms are ocean-facing with some situated just metres from the beach. The resort's wining and dining venues are equally impressive, offering delicious local specialities as well as Far-Eastern and European favourites. Sultan Sands shares a 500m stretch of beach with its sister property - Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa. Guests of the two resorts also share many facilities and amenities, including the famous Oasis Spa and the One Ocean Dive Centre. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sultan Sands Island Hotel Kiwengwa
Sultan Sands Island Resort Zanzibar Island/Kiwengwa

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