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“Wish we had booked for a longer stay!”
Review of Echo Beach Hotel

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Echo Beach Hotel
Ranked #5 of 10 Hotels in Bwejuu
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Wish we had booked for a longer stay!”
Reviewed 6 August 2011

We arrived at Zanzibar airport 2 hours later than we had advised Echo Beach for our transfer pickup (our earlier flight was cancelled without notice). As it was very late in the evening, we were relieved and delighted to be met by Echo Beach's driver.

We could not speak more highly of Echo Beach, it's a great place to stay if you like a low key, small and intimate environment. Our accommodation was a beautiful garden bungalow facing the beach, tastefully furnished with its own private terrace. The whole property and common areas are beautifully maintained and clean. Nothing is to too much trouble for Alex or Sue (the owner), they always made sure that our requests are attended to immediately.

Both were very helpful with booking our day tour and suggesting where are the best non touristy places to shop. Sue made us feel very welcomed and at home, and sometimes shouted us drinks at the bar, which is very generous of her.

The food was great and the portion was large. The quality and variety of choices would have pleased anyone. Lunch was not included in our rate but the daily choices and prices were excellent. We like the fact that meal times are available over a long period so there was no need to rush to get our meal. The local staff was very friendly and helpful, although communicating in English can be difficult for some but then again why do we always expect natives of other countries to speak English and yet we have problem of learning the basic hello and thank you in their language??

I forgot to mention the well behaved, beautiful, black great Dane and the lovely donkey which Sue had rescued, their presence add charm and warmth to the place.

I would love to go back and stay at Echo Beach again.... in the mean time, to those who are lucky enough to be visiting Zanzibar now, I would highly recommend this little paradise.

Room Tip: All bungalows face the garden and sea. The top ones have a better view of the sea.
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Isabelle08_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Sydney
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2011

Following a two week safari with a friend we decided to spend three nights at Echo Beach Resort in Zanzibar. My only complaint is that three nights is not long enough. We considered extending our stay but rescheduling flights would have been very messy with two connections involved. If I return to Africa, and I sincerely hope I do, Echo Beach Zanzibar will be a definite on the itinerary. Sue and Alex were very welcoming, helpful and a lot of fun. I am an animal lover and was so pleased to see a rescue donkey enjoying his well earned retirement. Arriving late from the airport on a breezy night we were tired and a little stressed but that melted away as soon as we were greeted by Alex with her welcoming smile and the sight of a beautifully decorated lounge and restaurant. We knew immediately that we had made the right choice.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank seabriese
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, UK
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 May 2011

We stayed for 5 nights in February and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves - I would be amazed if everything had changed in such a short time (bearing in mind the review below).
Our room (a bungalow) was very comfortable, a lot of effort had been put in to soft furnishings etc and the air conditioning worked and wasn't too noisy. The bathroom looked a bit shabby - the salty water obvioulsy causing corrosion of the taps and shower but it was perfectly clean. The day bed on the verandah was lovely.
The staff could not have been more helpful including Sue and Andrew who were always available and happy to help. The waiting/bar staff were a delight. The food during our stay was excellent with a wide choice available - breakfast was wonderful with a lot of choice.
The hotel is situated right on the beach and the sand is fine and bleached white - just lovely. There is quite a lot of seaweed that is left behind when the tide goes out but it isn't the smelly variety and really didn't matter. Snorkelling is great and if you are prepared to walk out quite a long way it can even be done in the shallow water when the tide is out - fantastic star fish and coral.
Apart from a snorkeling trip, we just relaxed and enjoyed the charm of this lovely hotel - no it's not perfect, the donkey might not be everyone's cup of tea and things might run out sometimes (remember you are in Zanzibar where lots of things we take for granted have to be imported) but we had the best of times and would definitely go back.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SarahB222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sueinzanzibar, Owner at Echo Beach Hotel, responded to this review, 30 May 2011
I would like to thank them very much for replying and giiving an objective review.

We know that the water is a problem, it is the same all over the island Water is in short supply here and we mostly use well water buying .Unfortunately depending on the tides we do sometimes have salty water,but we spend a considerable amount of money buying fresh water.
However I have been in touch with a company who can do desalination using solar power and are awaiiting their quote and delivery time.
Re the showers and taps in the bathrooms, knowing that brackish water is not good for plumbing and having seen corrosion in every hotel we stayed in.
We went to Samuel Heath who are one of the best respected companies in the UK and spent a great deal of money on top of the range frittings.
It is actually only the showerheads that have corroded but this has caused damage to some of the taps underneath.
I have already replaced all the showerheads and am at present negotiating with Samuel Heath about this issue
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cornwall
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 May 2011

My husband and I had booked to spend our honeymoon at Echo Beach.

Firstly, having arranged a transfer from the airport we arrived at Zanzibar airport to find that no one had come to collect us. Not what you want when you have been up all night travelling. After waiting at the airport for nearly an hour, repeatedly trying to contact Echo Beach (tall phone numbers went to voicemail) we eventually found a taxi to take us to Echo Beach.

About an hour later we arrived at the hotel. When we asked why we were not collected the owner told us she “forgot”. Not very impressive, even less so given that we were the hotel’s only guests.

Then we were shown to our room, which seemed OK until later that night when I pulled back the covers on the bed only to discover the sheets were filled with holes.

One of the reasons we booked Echo Beach was the website talked about Sue & Andrew Page who owned it, – Andrew being a French-trained chef. When we went down to dinner, we were told that that Andrew was “in Europe for six weeks”. No French-trained chef then. The sample menu on the Echo Beach website lists Lobster Thermidor, Whole chargrilled lobster, Chocolate fondant raspberry coulis, Creme Brulee as examples of what one should expect. On our first night two of the three courses we were offered were Prawn Cocktail and Ice Cream. The following morning’s “cooked breakfast” was not much better – not least the two circles of charcoaled 'bacon', each the size of a 50p piece.

Then there was the flea-bitten donkey that spent half its time defecating all around the compound, and the other half coming up to our table whenever we sat down to eat and braying at the top of its voice.

We kept trying to give Echo Beach the benefit of the doubt but by the following morning, after another seriously mediocre dinner – this time we didn’t even bother with the starter – we had had enough. I decided to forgo the cooked breakfast next day and simply asked for extra fresh fruit and a peppermint tea, to be delivered to our room at 9am. “You can have any meals served in your room”, we were told. At 9am there was a knock on our door. It was the cleaner.

About 20 minutes later and another knock. A tray was placed down and we were told there was only a regular portion of fruit as “we have run out”. We were the only people staying there and they couldn’t even manage fresh fruit for 1 person. The guy left and I picked up the teapot to find it wasn’t peppermint tea but regular tea.

That was it. We told the owner, Sue Page, we wanted to leave. Although she agreed the service had not been good enough – she still saw fit to charge us full price for the 2 nights we spent there! We then spent the rest of our holiday, which we spent at a different hotel further along the beach, trying to get the rest of our money back, having paid Eacho Beach in advance for our planned 10 day stay, as they insist. We eventually got most of our money back and were told to email Echo Beach our bank details and we would be refunded the rest by bank transfer. That was nearly 2 months ago and they still have not given us the rest of our money back or responded in any way.

This was meant to be our honeymoon but we really felt that Sue Page simply didn’t want to be there and she definitely couldn’t be bothered with us as guests. When, after repeatedly promising us a refund, she still had not done by the end of our holiday this she became incredibly rude and hostile, as did her daughter.

This is certainly not a cheap hotel and our experience was one I hope never to repeat.

Room Tip: There are no 'best rooms'
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank undiyil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sueinzanzibar, Owner at Echo Beach Hotel, responded to this review, 2 June 2011
It is always very disquieting to receive complaints from guests, fortunately it happens very rarely, on the face of it they have a lot to complain about, but things are not always what they seem. This couple told me they had left their first hotel after one night after getting a free upgrade and full refund due to building work.
They are correct that the were not met at the airport and that is inexcusable and has never happened before or since there was a mix up here, I did say this to them when they arrived and apologized sincerely for my mistake. I also said that I hoped it would not colour the rest of their holiday with us.
When they saw their room they said it was perfect and just what they had hoped for. All the rooms had been refurbished and redecorated with Designers Guild and Zoffany wallpapers and fabric. Their room had a large balcony with an uninterrupted view of the Indian Ocean
I gave them Champagne and canapes on the terrace by way of an apology. On their first night with us they told me that they had very much enjoyed their dinner .
The next day they ordered a platter of fruit and omelet to be sent to the room with for breakfast. It actually left the kitchen at 8.59am my daughter was watching the clock and telling the staff to get it to the room by nine as requested.
The fruit was for 2 and included pineapple, mango, oranges, banana and water melon. They asked for more mango but we had served the only ripe and ready to eat mangos already it was out of season and I had driven at 7am to the village to look for ripe mangos I could not find any at all and we had an abundance of other fruit on offer, but she wan
Unfortunately on the third morning when the sheets had been changed they found 1 small tear on edge of the bed, not acceptable, but hardly full of holes. As soon as I was told the sheets were immediately changed. I pride myself on the up keep of the hotel and all the sheets and towels had been replaced with new only one month before and I cannot explain how this sheet came to have been put on the bed.The Head of housekeeping has a stringent check list and inspects every room every day to make sure that it is all in good order which is ordinarily the case.

As for the food, the sample menu is in no way misleading all the items mentioned are on the nightly menu on a regular basis obviously not all together though and had they stayed another night as I asked and allowed us to make their Lobster Thermidor and Creme Brulee they would have been very pleased.
Our menu changes daily based on fresh supplies and what is in season, giving our customers the very best of what is available. This is a third world country and so the menu and our chefs have to be adaptable sometimes even getting butter or cheese or good meat is very testing. Where possible everything is bought on the day it is used which is why we have so many rave reviews for our food, it is not a set international menu because we want to ensure what is served is the very best it can be and reflects what is in season and for the main produced locally.Andrew might have been away, but we still had 2 French trained chefs, who have been with us since we opened over 3 years ago. The day in question I have checked there was pumpkin and coriander soup, vegetable tempura and Prawn Cocktail (not the Harvester type but with jumbo prawns and in our own spicy sauce.) There were 5 choices for main course including vegetarian, fish and meat. There are always three choices of dessert one of which was homemade nougat ice cream which is delicious and served with a fruit coulis.
All our guests seem to like the donkey, well except two. He was rescued when he came to the hotel with a very heavy cart and two hefty boys sitting on top and beating him. He was totally emaciated, covered with sores where the harness did not fit, lame in two legs and blind in one eye, which had been stabbed out with a knife, he had letters carved into his face probably with the same knife. I refused to let him leave the site and we paid the owner $200 so we could keep him and rescue him from certain death. He is now fat and happy and only comes ot the restaurant once a day for his morning carrot. He is wormed and inoculated and has a bath three times a week, just to reassure other guests who may read this and I am glad we gave him sanctuary and a happy life. However he is now confined to the back of the site so that he does not irritate guests.
We certainly did not require full payment for the holiday, we always ask for a 20% payment to confirm the booking, having had a few people not turn up in high season and the rest at the end of their stay. It was their choice to pay in advance it was not asked for.
When they said they wanted to leave they asked for a refund, I asked for their bank details so that I could send it. They had paid by Bank transfer. They refused saying they wanted cash. It was a bit over $2000 and I did not have it as we do not keep cash at the hotel for security reasons.
.This happened at the weekend and the banks were not open. We are 60kms from town so do not go every day. I knew they were planning to spend the rest of their holiday at our neighboring hotel Breezes. So planned to collect the money from town before they left.
They came to see me they told me that they were also leaving their current hotel early and wanted the money now. I said my daughter was in town and would meet them at the bank and give them the money. They implied that they did not trust her to turn up which I found rather insulting. My next suggestion was that I would go to their hotel and pay for their stay, I spoke their reception on the telephone and they were most helpful. Unfortunately when I got there I discovered that they had already paid everything except extras and were waiting for a refund from them too!!!!!!!
Finally in desperation I said I would drive the 60kms to Stone town to collect cash and bring it back the husband angain demanded to come with me, doubting my veracity as well., This is when I became ’hostile’ I told him I did not want to spend 2 houirs in the car with him, he was somewhat intimidating and that I would see him later.
We finally said goodbye to them the balance outstanding was about $50and it had cost $60forfuel to and from town. It was such a small amount I forgot about it. They had all their food and drink for their 3 night stay for free and if he had accepted the offer of a credit transfer when I suggested it he would have had his money in the Uk in plenty of time
The came the next day and I explained that I had not had time to go to the bank
At no time do we insist on payment before the holiday only 20% it was their choice to send the full amount and unexpected. I personally prefer people to pay at the end of their stay
when they are usually more than happy to do so. When they wanted to leave and wanted a refund I offered immediately to arrange a credit transfer to their bank if they could give me the details
they refused saying they needed the cash to pay for their next stay, which proved untrue.
I offered to try to get a refund on our ATM machine, but as they had not paid by credit card it was not possible.
They told me they were leaving on Friday afternoon and as there were no banks open at the weekend I could not go town to collect money
and we do not keep large sums of money on site for security reasons.
I did not get to town immediately it is 60kms each way and I had my manager away and also Andrew, so could not leave the hotel.
They came down to see me again as they were also wanting to leave the next hotel early too and wanted their money, I told them that my daughter was in town and would meet them at the bank that afternoon to reimbursh them.They were not happy about this and seemed to doubt our honesty, implying that she would not be there.
So I said I would ask their existing hotel which is just down the beach if I could pay for their stay with my personnal credit card. Their hotel was very helpful and agreed to do it, but as they had cut short their stay at this hotel as well they were expecting a refund from them also, so we could not do that either,
Finally I said that I would drive the 60kms to Stonetwon to collect the money and bring it back in time for them to leave. The husband said that he wanted to come with me, again implying that we were not to be trusted, this was when I became 'hostile' and told him I really did not want to spend 2 hours in the car with him as he was somewhat intimidating, but would happily go on my own and see him later. We finally said goodbye to them the balance outstanding was about $20 it cost me a lot more than that in fuel to and from town and and in time and as it was such a small amount to be honest I hadn't considered it a problem, we gave them all their food and drink for their two day stay for free and if he had accepted the simpler option of a credit transfer I offered on the day of their departure he could have saved a great deal of stress for both of us.

As a matter of interest the trip advisor comments immediately beside this missive give us three straight 5 stars and very happy guests not to mention all the other fantastic reviews over the past 4 years and the superb reviews we also received at our place in France for 16 years and in all the years in this business we have received very little criticism and when we do we always listen and always act on it. With 20 years in the hotel industry we like constructive criticism and use it to help us improve our service. We are very proud of hotel and our management team who have both done F and B and customer relations in 5 * hotels with experience across the globe. We are truly sorry about the mix up at the airport which as I have said has never happened before or since and was of course unacceptable. I think this coloured the rest of this couples stay after a great amount of time in this industry there isn't much I haven't seen and I often find that it is not necessarily the fault of the hotel (or as in this case some three hotels) but the dynamics in the relationships of the guests that spoil their holiday, small things assume huge proportions whereas taking in the overall picture and just enjoying themselves instead of looking for fault would make them much happier and relaxed. We strive to give our guests a wonderful experience and largely we achieve this and are just sorry that it wasn't the case on this occasion, however as always I did go the extra mile to remedy situation.
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Ottawa, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2011

Just finished 4 idyllic nights at Echo Beach. Greeted with "relax, have a drink on us, mealtimes are a guideline, tip at the end if you like - don't worry about money while you're here" the stage is set. Rooms are great. Daybeds a welcome touch. Showers excellent as is air-conditioning and ceiling fan. Spotlessly clean. Safe. Food is very good - menu changes every lunch and dinner. Cocktails are excellent - try their mojitos! Tide goes out a long way in Bwejuu which is a surprise till you discover the fascination of walking the ocean floor looking for shells, crabs, starfish, little fish in the pools etc.
Pool is walk-right-in warm, yet refreshing. Nice breeze the whole time. Resident Great Dane and rescued donkey add a homely touch. If you want a chill-out, do nothing, no shoes sort of place with great food, look no further!

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Lindaw143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2011

This hotel is just full of character from the unique interior design to the donkey that wandered around (and the dog which was almost the same size as the donkey!) to the people that both work and own the hotel.
The snorkelling directly from the beach at high tide was fantastic. The water was warm and shallow but with so much to see. There are sea urchins around too which is not a problem as long as the tide stays high enough for you to swim over them but shoes would be recommended as I tended to leave it a bit late getting back to shore after snorkelling and the tide would be really quite low, I therefore felt a bit safer with shoes on in case I missed an urchin.
The dive centre can take you along the coast a short way to snorkel or dive from the boat and the coral and wild life was amazing there.
The hotel also arranged for us to go on a Dolphin spotting trip. How many of those have I been on and seen nothing? I have lost count.
However this time not only did I see a pod of around 20 dolphins, that were quiet happy to have the boat approach slowly they also allowed us to swim with them. It was an outstanding experience I shall never forget. Many thanks to everyone who made it possible. At last a dolphin trip that had dolphins!
Finally I really should mention the food and drink – Andrew (The owner) is a chef and it really does show. All the food was superb. Plain food, well cooked can be the hardest to serve well, and there was a really good mix of all types of food to suit every pallet. The cocktails were great fun and the staff loved making them. You were never made to feel that creating a Pina Colada from scratch was anything other than a great thing to do.
This hotel has something rather special and unique and we were all so glad that Pure Zanzibar found it for us. Well done.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MKingham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2011

Echo Beach enjoys a perfect location and an intimate feel. The rooms are comfortable although a total lack of wardrobe space is extremely frustrating. The food is excellent with a good choice every night and everything tasting delicious. Service is sometimes a little hit and miss, for example we ran out of shower gel after a few days and it wasn't automatically replenished - but you only had to ask and they were very happy to help. Also one of the waitresses was almost clinically grumpy - it became a bit of a standing joke!
A lot of people have mentioned the salty water in the rooms and you definitely notice it. It's not a really problem although it has corroded the taps and showers quite badly so perhaps should be looked at in the longer term.
A delightful location on a perfect beach.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LouiseF16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Echo Beach Hotel

Property: Echo Beach Hotel
Address: Bwejuu | East Coast, Bwejuu 3109, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Bwejuu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Family Hotel in Bwejuu
#5 Spa Hotel in Bwejuu
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Bwejuu
#5 Romantic Hotel in Bwejuu
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Slice of ParadiseThe new Echo Beach Hotel resort offers visitors a slice of paradise on the dreamy tropical island of Zanzibar. The very name Zanzibar evokes a sense of mystique and adventure.Sue and Andrew Page, the owners of Echo Beach bought a 5 acre stretch of unspoilt beach to create a unique boutique hotel. There are now 10 individual villas combining unpretentious African architecture with state of the art technology, interior design, fixtures and fittings.Beach Villasin Unspoilt SurroundingsThe individually designed Bandas are constructed from local stone, capped with Makuti roofs .Each dwelling boasts exquisitely hand carved balconies and verandas where guests can enjoy a drink in the shade. The Bandas are completely private and not overlooked, allowing visitors to relish the unspoilt surroundings and uninterrupted views of the beautiful Indian Ocean.Beachside diningDining in the beachside restaurant, decorated with designers guild fabric, in the white and turquoise of the seashore is a highly pleasurable experience, with discreet and efficient service.With a refreshing breeze blowing in from the sea, guests can unwind and relax with a decadent cocktail in the stylish bar area, where designer fabrics are teamed with Zanzibar carved furnishings. Or wander down to the unique bar on the beach, and enjoy refreshments by the sea shore.Local Dishes & International FavouritesFor those who want to get the true taste of Zanzibar there is a wealth of fresh local food on the menu, not to mention some carefully selected International favourites.The ultimate in fresh fare, produce is purchased daily, including lobster, crab, prawns and squid straight from local fisherman who come to the beach.Relax at the Beauty SpaZanzibar is the perfect place for a complete break from the hectic life most people live nowadays. If you want professional, unobtrusive service, peace and privacy to relax, then why not try our professional beauty spa and treat yourself to a complete pampering.Tours and TransfersEcho Beach is happy to arrange transfers to and from the hotel.Whilst on your holiday why not let us arrange for you to explore the magical island taking in the legendary Spice Tour. While spices no longer dominate Zanzibar's economy as they once did, there are still numerous spice plantations in the centre of the island, which make an interesting visit.Friendly and informed guides will escort you on a walking tour of the spice farms, picking bunches of leaves, fruit and twigs from bushes and trees, inviting you to smell or taste them to guess what they are.Swimming with Dolphins is also a magical experience that will not be forgotten and can easily be arranged. The Jozani Forest Tour with the colobus monkeys that are unique to Zanzibar. These are just some of the adventures you can enjoy as well as diving, fishing and snorkelling in one of the most unspoilt areas of the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Echo Beach Bwejuu
Hotel Echo Beach
Echo Beach Hotel Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

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