We spent 5 nights here after 3 days safari in Saadani. Quite a contrast from that small, intimate place which I'd been very sad to leave. Very many positives and a couple of negatives.
The layout and planting are beautiful though quite a lot of steps to climb if you're at the lowest level. However that's not at all a bad thing as the buffets are superb with a huge amount of choice at both breakfast and dinner, which makes it very difficult not to eat far more than is good for maintaining a beach body. :) The staff and management are very friendly and attentive - possibly even over-attentive if I wanted to be picky.
A great band plays in the evening. We chose to sit in the outside area which I regret now because I missed a lot of good stuff. Masai warriors dancing and performing their famous jumps and a ritual that's performed for a girl who's about to marry. I did see some of it but wished I'd see it all. So make sure you get an inside table if this interests you - or it can be totally unobtrusive if it doesn't. (It's not actually inside, just covered.) Best was the Swahili themed evening when various members of staff joined in to demonstrate their prowess. Amazing! Participation was invited but never forcibly encouraged. I'm too shy but those who did join in we're visibly buzzing.
I very much liked the layout of the bandas. The dressing area, bathroom and balcony surrounds the bedroom. The standard of housekeeping is very high; rooms are thoroughly cleaned and tidied with fresh petals from the gardens arranged on the bed each morning - a very nice touch. In the evening beds are turned down and the room effectively sprayed for Mosquitos.
We both took (and passed :) ) courses from the dive centre. Patricia is lovely and went out of her way to accommodate us. They were very busy as they'd had to cancel a couple of previous days because of the weather, but she shuffled things around and managed to fit us in. I'm so glad she did because the sights to see down there are truly wonderful.
The negatives, which are minor in comparison:
- it's difficult to get a sunbed. Even though there were lots empty they had been claimed with towels. I think it would be better if they were removed after, say, 2 hours of non-use but there is a charge of 30 dollars for not returning a towel so they can't do that. I think this policy should be reconsidered as I doubt if many people staying there have the need to steal a beach towel.
- the pillows are lumpy
- you can't get any currency except Tanzanian shillings and even then it's converted to dollars first which I'm pretty sure must result in a poor exchange rate. You can't get US dollars even though the bill is charged in dollars. This led to a pretty unpleasant experience at the airport when we needed dollars to pay the exit tax. The bureau de change doesn't take cards, the ATM was supposedly not working (though they check your flight time before confirming that) which gave a porter the opportunity to arrange a taxi into town at a extortionate price to visit an ATM. All very stressful. Our own bad planning to blame but make sure you don't make the same mistake!
I feel bad ending with the negatives because the pluses are numerous and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a stay here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on Zanzibar’s picturesque North East coast overlooking the turquoise Indian Ocean, it is as the name suggests a little piece of paradise. From your arrival at Zanzibar Airport, the resort is a meandering 45 minute journey through un-spoilt scenery, passing typical African villages where the way of life has changed little for hundreds of years. At Ocean Paradise Resort Zanzibar, you will be greeted by a blaze of colour as you sweep down the imposing driveway, saluted by a Masai warrior as you pass through the entrance gate and be captivated as you arrive in reception and look out over the resort and the azure blue sea. Mature coconut palms swinging in the breeze, white sandy beach, beautiful landscaped gardens, traditional style round chalets with pitched makuti roof, a stunning waterfall feature and the largest swimming pool in Zanzibar are just some of the sights that await you. A big smile and the greeting of "Jambo" will be the first words you hear, as you begin to feel the warmth that the people of Zanzibar are famed for. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ocean Paradise Hotel Kiwengwa
- Ocean Paradise Resort Zanzibar
- Ocean Paradise Zanzibar
- Ocean Paradise Resort & Spa Zanzibar Island/Kiwengwa