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“have some days to chill out...”

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Coral Rock Zanzibar
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Jambiani
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 January 2014

We stayed for 3 days in Coral Rock and enjoyed it.
All in all it is a place to recommend.
Well, the room we stayed in could be improved. The door was very hard to open, the toilet seat was not fixed. The Hotel was under construction when we arrived, that is why it was a bit noisy.
The women at the beach, offering "massage and Henna Tattoo" where a bit annoying and importunate.
The restaurant offers really good and very tasty food and drinks. Great! Very friendly and helpful staff. I also enjoyed the little pool and the great ocean view.
The hotel also offers some tours. We did a dolphin tour, but I really do not recommend it... the dolphins were haunted and it was a really stressful for the dolphins and also for me...
you sit in a boat without a roof, so it gets really hot...and you have to hurry to get into the water to see the dolphins. Not very relaxing.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank juliaivana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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215 - 221 of 566 reviews

Reviewed 27 January 2014

I was running on fumes, desperate for a relaxing holiday with few demands, and dreaming of an ocean horizon (I'm living in land-locked Rwanda). Coral Rock was exactly what I wanted, exactly what I needed. I spent 5 days there, mostly sitting still, but with enough engagement in the local scene to have something to write home about. The staff, both local and ex-pat, are responsive, helpful, solicitous without being intrusive. The food was so good I never bothered to eat anywhere else. The room was comfortable and clean, and as another reviewer said there were a variety of places to sit and stare at the ocean, including a small but beautiful infinity pool (how big of a pool do you need? do people really go to Zanzibar to swim laps?). I was travelling solo as a Woman of a Certain Age and felt totally comfortable - people were friendly enough but also allowed me my privacy. I will definitely return to the Coral Rock when life gives me the chance.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Janet S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2014

Simply put there are just better and cheaper hotels with nicer atmosphere close by.
It has a cool location and all, but is a tidbit tacky.
Liked the staff. Nice people.
My room unfortunatly smelled really bad due to some problems with the toilet.
It could happen to any hotel, but how they had not checked this problem before I arrived is beyond me. The resturant is quite good but a bit slow.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Thojohmail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JambianiNeil, Owner at Coral Rock Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded 25 January 2014

Thanks for your feedback and custom. We should mention that there are only 3 rooms at Coral Rock that feature one way mirror glass. These are the 3 rooms overlooking the pool. This was installed not as an aesthetic choice, but rather as the only viable solution available to us to address the over-riding issue we faced with these rooms - ensuring our guests privacy without compromising their view. With the pool being a popular common area, normal glass would mean that anyone at the pool would be able to stare directly into these rooms unless the curtains are closed. The result would be an unacceptable compromise between the two attributes that our guests value most –our views AND their Privacy…not one “or” the other. The mirror glass tint also reduces harsh light and heat from sunrise and the morning sun (intensified by the reflective glare of the pool) where curtains alone have proven insufficient. Another useful quality of the mirror glazing is that it reduces ambient noise.
Our guest comfort focus did not stop there. Another unique design feature of the room you were in is that it is the only structure on our property that does not have a traditional wood frame frame makuti/thatch roof. We created a private sunbathing area for these rooms by going with a Arabic style flat, concrete roof/ceiling doubling as a private rooftop terrace accessible by an "in room" staircase. This way you can enjoy the view from your room, indoor and outdoors, in complete privacy. It also remains true to authentic Zanzibar design principles whilst reducing insects and fire risk.
Our unique location and our inherited legacy infrastructure constitute very real restrictions in terms of options & available space guest privacy and comfort above all else whilst also having to overcome the restrictions we face in terms of space and an inherited legacy infrastructure. Any return guest can attest to the fact that our biggest accomplishment has been in overcoming these challenges and consistently providing improved personal space and privacy for our guests. I'm happy to take anyone visiting Coral Rock on a tour of the property so they can see just how much we've managed to achieve in this regard over the last few years. The room you were in was one of the two newest rooms we've built at Coral Rock. Those two rooms are unique but not the only rooms we have in our superior category. Our superior category rooms are defined by having private sunbathing areas, private terraces, unrestricted sea-views, greater floor space and specially commissioned interior design and architecture. Even the front doors of the rooms you were in are made from re-enforced hard-wood to reduce ambient noise from common areas. It was in October last year that became aware of the fact that the unique design and construction of these rooms resulted in a sporadic odour and damp problems that were difficult to isolate and we shut them shutting them down in November in order to completely rebuild the original faulty plumbing architecture, the overall room ventilation and an entirely new rooftop access design. The problem has been fixed, but it did require extensive re-building and I'm sorry that this did not happen before your stay with us. If any guest experiences any discomfort or distaste of their assigned room, we are only too happy to offer them a range of differing room options where available.
As for atmosphere, the irony here is that Coral Rock's success and reputation was built on atmosphere. Atmosphere is a very subjective and dynamic thing. It's also highly dependent on the type of people we have at the resort at any given moment. We read your review of Red Monkey, and it may be that you were there on a Monday night for their jam night, whereas we do our thing on Saturday night. We do not like to force atmosphere on people, and now that we're older we tend to value peace and quiet and let the location provide the atmosphere. 1 night a week is as frequent as we get to throwing events these days. and we're quite happy with that.

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Reviewed 17 January 2014

We spent three nights at Coral Rock this January 2014. The accommodation is of a good standard, clean and pleasant. What really sold this place to us was the atmosphere. The communal area is beautifully arranged with different areas and seating options. This means that although you are sharing the space with other guests, you still have a sense of privacy. It's a suitable place for solo travelers, couples and young families. A great place to sunbathe, read, swim and relax with no intrusions. The tide comes in twice a day and when out, you can walk on the beautiful sandy beaches. There is a strong wind which is both refreshing and good for water sports. The food was very tasty.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Clare R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2014

I absolutely loved this hotel. Having climbed Kilimanjaro and spent a few days on Safari we wanted a quiet place to rest and relax on the beach afterwards. Coral Rock was perfect and ticked all of the boxes for what we needed. The setting is wonderful- situated right on the water, yes there is seaweed out front (I have read the recent bad review and would not agree with it at all) and high tides but it didn't bother us at all. At high tide you can take a lovely walk along the beach and when the water comes in up to the hotel you can just walk left down the beach a bit and go for a swim there. It is a very natural environment and that is what I loved about it. You don't feel like you're in a man-made resort. Everyone knows each other and the staff are really nice. Breakfast was cereal, you could order a hot one, fresh juice (sooooo good) a range of drinks, coffee, tea etc, toast, fruit- what more could you ask for! I also loved the ice teas- delicious. The coffee is really good too.

The rooms are really great, clean, comfortable beds with the 'coral rock' throughout in the bathroom. We had a porch with chairs out front. The pool is great, small but you don't need much more and throughout the front of the hotel there is a hammock, beds, benches etc for relaxing on. There are also tables to eat outside. The restaurant has a large menu and everything we had was really good (I didn't eat too much having picked up a bug but from the little that I tasted was all fantastic). We didn't try any other restaurants because we simply were resting and didn't have the energy to venture too far. I thought the prices were reasonable as well.

There are watersports you can try but again we kept to ourselves and relaxed at the hotel. I loved sitting out front on the beds reading and feeling the warm breeze. It gets so hot in Zanzibar that the hotel is in a perfect location for a cool breeze.

The village itself is very small but again this is what we liked about Jambiani. When you walk up the beach you get the feeling you are in a very untouched part of the world - if you travel anywhere in Europe the beach is full of deck chairs whereas here, you have complete 'timeout.'

We got chatting to the manager quite a few times and told him how much we thought it was a great place and really untouched. We felt that the hotel was a complete gem in a part of Zanzibar which is not as developed as other parts. There is a kitesurfing centre next door but book ahead early as it's small. You can arrange a taxi with the hotel to neighbouring Paje which we did for kitesurfing. A few other members of staff, the owner Neil and (I have forgotten name now!) New Zealand guy were really helpful when we had a difficult situation with a taxi driver on our way back to Stone Town.

The hotel can arrange excursions for you and one I would recommend (we did this via stone town) was Blue Safari snorkelling on a dhow boat. We had a great time and you get a full fish lunch.

What else can I say? I thought it was really good value for money compared to similar resorts in Europe. I loved it and would return in a heartbeat. If you are looking for a place to relax, chill out, drink cool drinks, eat nice food and re charge your batteries then this is the place for you. It's fantastic!!!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Lynne360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2014

Coral Rock is jotted on a rock at the very outskirts of the sleepy village Jambiani.
There is basically no beach during high tide, and during low tide the so called beach is covered by a thick layer of stinking seaweed. To go to a decent beach, you will have to walk about 20 minutes away.
The hotel in itself is comprised by a dozen quite simple rooms, not very clean, and safe.
In our room, the safe wasn't working and the fridge in the room neither. When mentioning this to the "manager" he bluntly told me to get cold drinks from the bar (where a bottle of water cost 3$ (about 4 times as much as in the store down the road).
The transfer from Zanzibar town/airport takes about an hour by taxi. The hotel is trying to rip you off and charges you 60$. Personally, with rather limited bargaining skills, I managed to get one for 35$ from the airport.
At the hotel, there is nothing to do. A miniscule swimming pool and some filthy sunchairs is everything on offer. Or you can spend your time in the ridiculously overpriced hotel restaurant.

Breakfast is very basic but ok. I would strongly not recommend the restaurant, unless you prefer to pay European prices for slow and inefficient service. The service is nothing but a joke. Imagine having 20 Manuels working at the same time and there you go.
There are plenty of decent restaurant in the Jambiani village or along the beach for much better value. The only problem is that it's very pleasant to walk all the way back to Coral Rock after dark.

Avoid this hotel. Blue Oyster (who helped us arrange a transfer to DAR airport for a fraction of the cost) seems as a much better deal.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank pcberlin1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JambianiNeil, Owner at Coral Rock Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2014

Thank you for feedback and your custom. We're sorry to hear your stay with us did not live up to your expectations. Hopefully we can address some of the issues you raised and provide some valuable info to interested parties in the process.
1) Fridge not working: We do not list or advertise fridges as a feature of any room, we do provide them upon request should specific needs arise (for example need to chill store medicines). Mineral water dispensers are provided in superior rooms providing free hot and cold water and reducing plastic water bottle waste. We are hoping to roll these out into the standard rooms at some point in 2014 to promote better environmental responsibility. We do offer our guests the possibility of keeping their drinks cold in the fridges at the bar and it is possible that when a staff member offered you this option it may have been misheard.
2) Regarding the seaweed on the beach: This is actually sea-grass and what I can tell you is that if conditions were like that all the time we’d not have been in business for over 20 years. On our website, under the "information" section, there is a page entitled “what to expect”, which provides transparent & comprehensive info on the possible effects the annual trade-winds can have on weather (specifically wind), the beach and the environment overall. Your review mentions a 20 minute walk to the nearest clean beach, I am only assuming you mention this and took photographs only of our north beach, if you did not venture to our south beach (accessible by stairs behind the restaurant). We can confirm that there was no seaweed covering this beach at all during that period. This beach is less than 2 minutes’ walk from any point of the hotel.
3) Activities: Once again I will refer to our website which lists a number of activities on offer. For most people the whole point of coming to Coral Rock is to relax and do nothing, but we also offer some of best snorkelling & diving conditions you can get, free kayaking and windsurfing for our guests, we have a Kite School within 2 minutes’ walk from the hotel and one of the best locations for this sport in the world. We offer live entertainment and music 3 to 4 times a month. Free wi-fi throughout the hotel, Satellite sports on request in the bar. We can arrange bicycle and motor-bike/vespa hire. Sailing by dhow and a bunch of other activities and excursions all easily accessible from Coral Rock.
4) Cost of a bottle of water at the hotel: We’ve explained in a previous review response why this would be higher than a local shop, people tend to forget that we offer ice, lemon, glasses, waiter service, wi-fi, seating, refrigeration, music, credit card facilities and we pay tax, VAT, electricity etc, adding all these things up you may find that we make less profit on a bottle of water than a local guy selling water out of a small stone structure in the village. I’d also advise people check the bottles are still properly sealed in case of bottles being filled up from water other than what may be on the label (this is rare, but it has happened).
5) Safe not working: We are aware of one safe not working in December and because there is no possibility to repair or purchase these in Zanzibar we have to order new ones and wait a few days before we can replace them. When this happens we do have a couple of house safes that we make available to guests should they choose to make use thereof.
6) Restaurant prices and wait: Yes we are more expensive than local eateries for many reasons (much in line with what we mention regarding bottled water). As for the wait, we made a conscious decision to offer a large menu to cater for the fact that many of our guests stay for up to 2 weeks and many visitors come to eat with us because we offer diversity and choice. Return guests and visitors know they can get what they want or have had before and that’s not that common in these parts. We also decided that all food should be prepared fresh, from scratch, no short-cuts, that decision was made easier considering the fact that people staying or visiting are seldom in any real rush. We do offer the option for people to order and specify a time they’d like to eat in advance. Therefore we opt for slow food, a la carte menu (not buffet * unless on special occasions) with lots of choice and comparatively high degrees of item availability. This has worked for us well for many years now and this is unlikely to change anytime soon.
7) Transfers prices: We have covered this in detail in a recent review response. We advise many guests on transport options available to them. There are many reasons for the rate we charge for transfers. It’s not a sustainable business practise to “rip people” off, if that were indeed the case no one would be booking transfers with us after all these years. We can also inform you that there have been guests that have experienced some serious issues opting for cut-price transport. We value safety over savings when it comes to transporting our guests.
8) You mention a competitor would be better to stay with, yet you mention you did not stay at that hotel which is somewhat confusing for us and impossible to answer to. We also saw you reviewed their restaurant and rated it lower than you have rated us. You mention they transferred you to Dar airport (not Zanzibar airport as per our transfer offer). To get to Dar airport from Jambiani would involve a flight or ferry booking, therefore we can only assume this part of your review was in error; if not we submit that these transfers could not be reasonably compared.

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Reviewed 30 November 2013

My husband surprised me with a honeymoon in Zanzibar, and with our stay at the Coral Rock Hotel. I have to say coming from South Africa it is a very convenient flight on Mango air direct. We were thrilled to step into paradise. The hospitality of the hotel staff was lovely, were we're greeted with smiles and all our requests were met with enthusiasm. Our room was lovely with breathtaking views of the ocean and roof access to our own deck chairs. It was kept nice and clean and we had fresh flowers every day. We made a lot of friends, I made my husband promise to bring me back every year. Lots of sundowners in the swimming pool make for an epic getaway. Paradise..... :)

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Janet G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Coral Rock Zanzibar

Address: Mfumbwi, Jambiani 4125, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Jambiani
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Jambiani
Price Range: £55 - £212 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Coral Rock Zanzibar 2.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Coral Rock is one of the most popular small to mid-size hotels in Zanzibar. We offer incredible views and an authentic Zanzibari experience that encourages local and cultural interaction within a functioning Swahili fishing village. Our aim is authenticity & value for money. The unrivaled view and location has been home to international fashion shoots by the likes of Sports Illustrated and FHM, as well as almost half a dozen reality TV shows on account of the striking and unusual natural beauty and panoramic vistas that can be enjoyed from every room and facility at the hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Coral Rock Jambiani
Hotel Coral Rock
Coral Rock Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Jambiani

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