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“Wonderful for relaxation and those looking to get away but still be busy with fun activities” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa

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Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Pingwe
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful for relaxation and those looking to get away but still be busy with fun activities”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 May 2014

My family and I recently spent a week at Karafuu.

It was amazing - from the time I arrived and got handed a welcome cocktail to hugs from the manager when I left. The staff are all so willing to make sure you have the best stay and are just happy, hospitable people. Moses and Freddie greeted us at every meal and made sure we had enough to eat and drink, that the meal was satisfactory and that we were having a great time. It was even organized for my mom's recently purchased local outfit to be cut and hemmed for the traditional dinner.

Beatrice was at the front desk and was absolutely fabulous in explaining all the items included (as well as those that were not so we wouldn't be shocked at the end of the trip). A corporate team of 100 people arrived while we were there and it was all handed wonderfully and we watched from the pool side as 100 pieces of luggage were set up in the correct rooms. Amazingly it didn't make a difference at the resort that we went from 30ppl to 130ppl in a day.

As for the location, it's about 45min from the airport on the east coast of Zanzibar so if you plan to be in stonetown and surrounding town areas a lot on your trip, it may be better to stay closer to the west side. I believe the beach is nicer on the north side but that it's busier with more resorts and tourists so it depends what you are looking for.

I look forward to going back someday!

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nfletche
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 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (76)
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English first
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2014

We were only there for 7 days. And loved every minute of it.

The staff were attentive and friendly. Most of the them speak english very well, but the runners, barbacks and security couldn't quite understand what we were saying most of the time. Learn your basics. Jambo, Habari, Hakuna Matata, Beer, water etc.

The food was amazing and fresh. Fresh veggies and fruit every day. Some of the food however was drenched in oil and bland. Others tasted incredible. Especially the Masai dinner. That was the best. They overcook the meat ingredients and use a lot of mayo in their salads. When you go to Stonetown, buy some chillis and garlic and add that to your food. It changed everything.
It's also so humid that the salt solidifies in the sachets. So maybe take some of our own seasoning with with rice in it to dry it out.

The food at the Italian restaurant was very salty. Especially the lasagna.

We found that between lunch and supper we got quite hungry, so sneak a sandwich into your beach bag. They don't allow takeaways. The Fresh veggies etc are okay to eat as the purify their own water that they wash everything with.

The spa was expensive for South Africans. We didn't go. And you can't use the Spa's pool if you're not using the spa. Low season you can wangle a good deal.

The all inclusive drinks were sufficient. We ended up adding Cape To Rio or gin to all the nonalcoholic cocktails as their normal Free Cocktail list has terrible cocktails apart from Gin and Tonic....

If you are going on an outing early in the morning make sure to order your water in the evening and put it in your bar fridge in your room. You can't get water / drinks before 10am. They will charge you. And the Hubbly bubbly's aren't free... they're around 10 000 shillings. I made the mistake of thinking they were free and they also don't tell you it's not free.

Make friends with a lot of people when you get there. The more friends you have the cheaper the excursions will be. A trip to Stonetown with a guide shouldn't be more that $30.

Tip: Go snorkeling once for $20 and then when they ask you later if you want to see the Starfish tell them yes but you want to go snorkeling again after for $15 together, they won't say no. That takes up most of your morning. Take some bread with you to feed to the fish and be careful of the Urchins.

The "tour guides" on the beach are nice, but there is one Masai man who is very pushy you and will ask you to go into his shop all the time. If you say no he just ignores you the next time you greet him. Don't book through the hotel, book through the guys on the beach and make sure you have some friends otherwise it gets expensive. A snorkel trip shouldn't be more than $20.

Take a walk down to The Pweza restaurant on the beach. They serve Lobster for $15. https://www.facebook.com/pwezabeach. They were so awesome. Great conversation.

Internet and Tennis isn't free. It should be.

The gym is well maintained and has state of the art brand new equipment.

The Rooms are cleaned every day after breakfast and before or during dinner.

Take loads of Mozzie repellent. You'll need it especially if you're playing pool. They hover around your drinks. The geckos are there to keep them at bay most of the time.

The service was amazing and everyone is very friendly. Overall we loved it immensely.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank SuziesilverR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2014

Had a fantastic stay at Karafuu! Thank you to all the friendly staff - Moses, Musa and others. I will certainly visit again.

Highlights of my stay at Karafuu:
-The location. There is the most beautiful reef just off the beach from the hotel (+-150m away). We saw loads of tropical fish, giant clams, a moray eel, and the most amazing corals and spronges. Take care of the lion fish, urchins, and sea snakes - which I saw in the wild for the first time. Take your snorkling gear or at the very least closed shoes so you don't cut your feet.
-Safari Blue Tour. Booked in a group and got a good discount through the hotel. I would advise this option as they have the required permits and they're less likely to leave you stranded in the middle of the ocean. Also they provide lunch.
-Seafood restaurant at Karafuu. This restaurant is not in the all-inclusive package but was well worth it for a special evening with the girlfriend. Food was amazing!

Some improvements
-My only issue was that the bar only opened at 10am which made it difficult to purchase bottled water. Surely you could allow people to purchase bottled water before 10am even if its just through the restaurant at breakfast?
-The "tour guides" on the beach at the hotel. Some were polite but most were really annoying and wouldn't take "no" for an answer. I'm sure the hotel could do more to assist or educate these guys.

Other:
I've seen many comments over the expensive internet and yes, sure you pay $20 for a days worth of internet which is expensive but heck. This isn't even Africa. This is an ISLAND off the coast of Africa. The locals are still sending messages in a bottle so you can't expect internet to be easily accessible even for the hotel.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Lloyd2880
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2014

An amazing week spent in paradise! From the room to the pools to the waiters to the bar staff - all absolutely incredible! Freddie and Moses were incredible and the teams were wonderful!!! Snorkelling just outside the hotel was such a treat because we didn't have to travel far or pay anything! Something I would recommend is a supper at the Grand Bleu restaurant - the seafood platter was superb!!!! We will definitely be going back to this happy place where we were made to feel so comfortable and happy!!!

Room Tip: The garden room facing the 2nd swimming pool was lovely and quiet.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank TheZARexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2014

i had 1 week holiday to Zanzibar in 2013.ı stayed at karafuu beach which was great . Like all coasts in africa , native people tries to sell you things but i can honestly say that , when i compare the natives in Kenya , here in Zanzibar people are more polite and can understand no . hotel is very very fine , in the heart of natüre . we attend to several tours sold by natives in beach . the people in hotel are very hummble and polite , foods are good and cleaning is okey too

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Seda A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2014

Let's start with the not so bad:
- The resort itself is nice. Sure some maintenance is needed but nothing awful. Not a 5-star though.
- The food is fairly decent. It gets old after 3 days.
- The entry level staff is very friendly and tries hard. They however lack serious training. In the room, a pamphlet explains to you that they are all on training. Fair enough, but I thought I was in a five-star, not a hospitality vocational school. So the staff is doing what they can (thanks to you all) while being paid peanuts. Now, nothing proves what they say but several staff members said that they are paid less than 100 USD a month (more like 60 USD). No wonder they get huge turnover and end up with continuously untrained staff.

The cons
- I don't like feeling stuck in the resort with not much to do besides overpriced excursions. This is fine for 2-3 days but not much longer.
- No internet in the room despite the 20 USD per day fee. Of course they forget to tell you that it is only available in the lobby when you buy the voucher.
- Generally speaking you don't feel like you are having an honest commercial relationship with this establishment.

The Classic Room Scam:
I had come the day before to look at the rooms that are available before I make a booking. I decided to go for the full size suite because there was really good discounts on bookings.com. The day after, we check in and they assign to us to a bungalow with view on... the restaurant's terrace. I wasn't very pleased and had planned to ask if it would be possible to move, but nothing awful so far. But when I entered the bungalow, I realized that this was not the category they sold me on bookings.com, it was a category below, the junior suite.

Being a bit annoyed, I head to the front desk. There the front desk manager demands for written proof of the room standard I had booked, tries to explain to me that this is the same category and finally asks if I'm willing to pay for an upgrade... to the standard that I had already paid for.

Hadn't I visited the resort the day before, I would have never been able to say that there are in fact better suite and that this is what I paid for. I would have just accepted that I got unlucky and that I got the bungalow with the worst view.

After much discussion, I finally get a key for one of the full suites. Although I was frustrated with the whole ordeal, I thought that might all have been an oversight that was not well managed on a customer service standpoint. But it turned out that our neighbors had gone through the EXACT same 2 days earlier. bookings.com, the bungalow next to the restaurant, the unpleasant discussion at the reception, etc: EXACTLY THE SAME! This is what allows me to say that this is not just an accident but a scheme designed to deceive people.

You find similar commercial practices throughout the resort. Their exchange rate is ridiculously much lower (10-15%) than the hotels next door. So if I hadn't noticed when I checked in, I would have probably spent much more on drinks, shop, etc. They list all the prices in local currency but prevent you from paying in local currency with your credit card at the end. That way you are forced to use their exchange rate and your bill gets artificially inflated by 10-15%. Oh and another 5% for paying with your credit card.

I will stop here although there are many more (although smaller) stories like that. It took a lot of energy to try to force them to stay honest. It was all but relaxing so sometimes I would just give in. I will never go back.

Room Tip: Make sure they give you a room that matches what you have paid for.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Anthony L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thornton
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 April 2014

Just got back from six days at the Karafuu Beach resort in Zanzibar.

It was excellent. The staff couldn't have been more helpful, polite and down right nicer if they had tried. Always smiling always appeared happy. Like to big thanks to Beatrice and Freddie at this point.

Arrival was excellent drink in hand within 3 minutes of arrival Beatrice sits you down gives you all the info you could need and then shows you to your room.

Rooms are spacious well appointed as are the bathrooms. TV, Hairdryer, mini fridge that you just ask the bar staff to fill.

Outside areas were kept clean and well kept.

We did take the time to go out of the complex during the day and wandered down the road past the local village where everyone was very friendly. You can also wander along the beach the same direction but be aware the young (3 to 6) kids try and empty your pockets, obviously not well.

We were disappointed with the diving as we had seen better in the Red Sea and did feel as if the crew were not as safety conscious as we would have liked. Sending one of the party under water alone.

The food was excellent never a meal when there wasn't something you could eat. Do try the banana soup it was gorgeous.

They do deserve tipping and they do prefer GBP instead of dollars.

They do become even more friendly if you try to learn the language Meckson gave me daily Swahili lessons writing it down for me.

Room Tip: The Bondeni rooms are further from everything but well worth the effort of walking.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tisser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
carmeloZanzibar, Proprietario at Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa, responded to this review, 22 April 2014
Dear Tisser,
Thank you for choosing Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa.
We are glad to read that your holiday was excellent.
Hoping to sse you soon.
Rgds
Karafuu management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa

Property: Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa
Address: PO Box 71, Pingwe, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Pingwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Pingwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 94
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On a deserted white sandy beach, at 65 km from Stone Town, lies Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa, an international five-star hotel, winner of the World Travel Awards as Tanzania Leading Resort and Africa Leading Beach Resort 2011 .It is one of the most luxurious hotels on the east coast of Zanzibar, where, even during low tide, it’s possible to enjoy a comfortable swim in the ocean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Karafuu Beach Hotel Pingwe
Karafuu Hotel Beach
Karafuu Resort Beach
Karafuu Beach Resort And Spa Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

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