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“The ultimate luxury”

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The Residence Zanzibar
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Level Contributor
103 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“The ultimate luxury”
Reviewed 13 August 2014 via mobile

An hours drive from Zanzibar airport is probably one of the most spectacular hotels I have ever seen. Wonderful setting by the see. All luxury villas with private pool and beautifully fitted. Very friendly staff everywhere a SPA to die for and excellent restaurants. The price does reflect all this extravaganza but you only live once

  • Stayed August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mimi Michel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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880 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (204)
Date | Rating
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English first
Schlieren, Switzerland
Level Contributor
77 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2014

As an introduction I have to say, that the Hotel is a Leading hotel of the world and I make my statement regarding the expected level of such a hotel. The price is definitely high and therefore a perfect service and rooms can be expected. As far as we are concerned, there is room for improvement.

Rooms: Nice big rooms, but one day it was raining and the roof was leaking. It seemed that this was not an exception. Big bathrooms. Nice size of private swimming pools.

Location: Very remote - 1 1/4 hrs from the Airport; last bit takes 15 minutes to drive on a dirt road (a grader would do good to make the street more even).

Infrastructure: Nice as long as it is not raining. One day it was pouring with rain and the breakfast room was flooded. The breakfast area had too many tables and some places didn't feel that comfortable to sit (an idea for the management: make the lounge area, where not a lot of people sit smaller and take some of the white pots out...). Whenever it is warm and nice enough, then there is space on the terrace.

Beach: We stayed there 7 days and nobody swam in the ocean - you have to take the boat to go to snorkel. From the beach I think the Ocean is not really accessible during low tide.

Service: Despite many reviews I thought that the service was absolutely not up to the expected standard. When we arrived, we got the welcome drink, felt a little rushed and then brought to the room. After 15 Minutes an employee came - we were in the middle of unpacking and taking showers and forced us to fill in the registration (why not do it right up front ?). We could not bring the form to the reception (not acceptable in a 5 star hotel). Our room servicant was not sufficient - the first evening she didn't show up, after we send her away to come later, because we were preparing for dinner. The second day she came in the middle of the day and it took her over an hour to clean the room. I asked her to come during breakfast hours to clean the room, which did not work out. The third day we had the leaking roof and there was nowhere really to go and the workers were there (we didn't know what to do or where to go, because we had no clue, what they were doing...) and the maid just left and didn't come back ?! When we went for a walk that day, I called that the room was still not done (at 2 pm !!) and when we came back 45 minutes, nothing was still done ?? (we are talking about a leading hotel of the world... ). I got angry and I went to the reception to ask for the manager in charge - he told me, he takes care of it. At that time I was just angry to have spent so much money for so little service (we had at the Bushtop excellent service, so it is possible). On the fourth day the maid came again in the afternoon - nothing changed (I got the idea, that the maid didn't speak English...???). In the afternoon the supervisor of the maid came and asked me, if I'm happy with the service - she had absolutely no clue that I complained several times. Next day we wanted to go on the snorkelling trip, but as every other day, we didn't get the information paper with all information for the next day. We reassured at the reception about the time - the gentlemen there had no idea and told us, that if anything changes, we will get a call. What a surprise next mornging, the boat has left without us, because it was 30 minutes earlier, then on the list.
Also for breakfast or dinner - my son asked for a Fanta and got a Coke. Or one Fanta and we got two...
For me this is far away from a standard of even a 4 star hotel. The people seem to be willing, but also in the service they run around, but it is inefficient and you have to wait way too long. A lot of staff, what many who have no education in gastronomy and I should not feel this as a guest and you definitely do so. The General Manager became aware of our situation and offered us a very lovely boat trip, we enjoyed a lot. Nevertheless so many mistakes can't happen, can they ?

Food: The buffets were nice, the cold food was good. The hot dishes are very often mediocre, because there not really warm. The food is precooked and just warmed up - also as far as I'm concerned not state of the art. A la carte was nice, when you have a lot of patience. The atmosphere there is a lot better.

Prices: If you are on have board, the prices are the same as in Switzerland - you pay 5 USD for a mineral water or a Coke. This is exaggerated. Alcohol on the other side is not so expensive - 6 USD for a glass of wine. At lunch you pay for a pizza 22 to 25 USD for Pasta or Pizza or even a salad (???). Since we ate all the time during the Safari, we enjoy just a small lunch, but this is not correct.

Overall an unpleasant experience we made and we would recommend to go to other hotels on Zanzibar.

Room Tip: The beachfront rooms from number 117 upwards have a kind of a garden in front of the pools with love...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Ursula M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michel F, General Manager at The Residence Zanzibar, responded to this review, 14 August 2014
Dear Madam,

Thank you for taking the time in reviewing our property and the services offered which is indeed of precious help for future travellers.

It is with deep regret that we read about the shortfall and delay in our services which your family had to encounter during this family time which indeed does not reflect the image of The Residence Zanzibar.

Your constructive feedback regarding the road coming to our beautiful resort has been shared with our top management team for consideration.

We deeply regret the miscommunication which occurred between our Engineering team, Housekeeping or even your dining experience thus resulting in frustration and rest assured that this has been addressed with the team.

As regards to the tide situation, please note that a particularity of East Africa is the variance between the high and low tides. All around the island of Zanzibar, all beaches are affected with a tide that comes out and at The Residence Zanzibar we are also affected by this variance (2 to 3meters). Candid photos and texts posted on our website or on Trip Advisor by previous guests during the high and low tides are plentiful and will give anyone coming to this part of the world an idea of what to expect and this is one of the reasons why The Residence Zanzibar prides itself with a total of 68 pools for its 66 all-villas property.

We take great pride in ensuring that all our customers are being looked after in the most efficient and professional way. The positive as well as the negative feedback has been shared among the team in order to prevent any kind of recurrence and our Quality & Training Dept has been involved for the monitoring of service standards and are key to our continued process to improving the quality of our service delivery and the experience we offer to our guests.

Madam, once again, we thank you for your input in helping us to improve our service standards.

With the warm regards from all the Residence Team and myself.

Michel Fredric,
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2014

Our family of 4 (2 children 10 & 13) stayed at the Residence for 8 nights after having a safari in the Selous Game Reserve. The hotel is beautiful and situated about an hours drive away from the airport. It is in a very quiet area and is best suited if you are looking to switch off and relax. We stayed in an Ocean View Prestige Villa which was beautiful and had its own plunge pool. During the day we relaxed by the pool, used the gym and played tennis when it was cooler. There are some water sports on offer but the sea was quite choppy when we were there so we didn't really make use of them. All the staff without exception are so lovely. They cannot do enough for you and really want to make sure you are looked after. A special mention has to go to Mcdonald and Kiondo (spelling?) who were always so welcoming and attentive by the pool and in the restaurant. I would recommend this hotel particularly to families who want to spend quality time together and of course to couples wanting to get away from it all.

Room Tip: An ocean view villa is fantastic and we did find out that there are 2 bedroom villas that are not ad...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank TWellsMum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bromsgrove, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2014

We were recommended The Residence by our travel company and were not disappointed with any of the venue elements at all. The hotel venue was perfect with white sand beaches and palm trees making it the most romantic of destinations. We had an Ocean Front villa and knew we were in for a fantastic stay when the brochure photos and visitors photos were identical and also exactly what we saw ourselves. the villa was spacious and luxurious and the maid service everyday and evening was first rate. The dinning room and restaurant service was exceptional and the staff could not do enough for you. Added to the quality of the food which was varied and first rate foe every meal we had, even when we ate on our own veranda one evening when I think the kitchen staff excelled themselves. The pool was the best we have ever seen or swam in and we spent most of our time in and around the pool as again, the service and quality was fantastic.

All in all, it was the best holiday we have ever taken, with a perfect venue, amazing food, superb service in every aspect and was just the perfect start to rest of our married life. I know they say that your honeymoon should be your once in a lifetime experience which is good as I doubt we would be able to better this destination in our lifetime. Simply the best.

Room Tip: The Ocean Front villas have the most amazing views and sunsets every evening.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Phil M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
29 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 July 2014

We stayed here for 7 nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. We stayed in garden villa 312 which was nice and private. The pictures on the website are accurate and everything is in good condition. Staff are extremely friendly. Beach is tidal and far out during the day while we were there - so if you like swimming in the sea, this is probably not the best hotel for you. We stayed in the main pool or our private pool and this didn't affect us at all. Drive to hotel from airport is about 1 hr 20 minutes, with the last 20 minutes on the bumpy lane - its nowhere near as bad as past reviews make out but in a non 4x4, it is bumpy. Staff were fantastic and lots of good touches for us honeymooners. Would def stay in a Residence again and would highly recommend this hotel. Great food - we mainly ate int he Dining Room with the buffet which was excellent

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Melissa R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
68 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2014

We loved the Residence and had a relaxing honeymoon here. The staff are what make it - there is a warmth and a desire to provide great service among what is clearly a young, inexperienced team, and they do a great job of making you feel at home in a way which is still authentically African. Rooms are great, very comfortable and the location is in a wonderful setting. Main pool is fantastic, very big for a hotel pool and great service from the boys serving drinks and ice creams. Great spa, and we loved the touch of providing each room with bikes for getting around the site (even if they are falling apart!). We would ignore the negative comments about the approach road - you're only on it for 10 minutes - and the beach. The resort is isolated so not for you if you want to explore but we did one trip out to Stone Town which is well worth a visit.

Our holiday was a holiday of 2 halves. Resort was deserted first half of it, mostly with honeymooners like us which was ideal, but later in the week it got much busier with families as the European school holidays started, which inevitably created a different feel. This wasn't a problem for us but what did prevent this review from being a five was the slightly disappointing reliance on buffets for all meals in the second half of the week, with only one of the two restaurants open at any one time. While the quality of the food is good and in some cases very good, the a la carte was better and the entertainment on the buffet nights was fun as an occasional treat but became a bit 'cruise ship'. The management recognised this probably wasn't ideal, and went out of their way to look after the honeymooners, with private dinner on the beach and on our private poolsides - gestures very much appreciated. So this is absolutely somewhere we'd recommend to get away from it all in Zanzibar.

Room Tip: Oceanfront suites are worth it. Those closer to the jetty (to the right of the pool and restaurant...
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Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank NushNushandBooBoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2014

i have travelled the world but never have i experienced the hospitality like The residence. my family and friends were blown away by the culture of the staff and the way they looked after us. no request was small enough. excellent hotel but extremely excellent People.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank vimal1610
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Residence Zanzibar

Property: The Residence Zanzibar
Address: Mchangamle, Kizimkazi 2404, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Kizimkazi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Residence Zanzibar 5*
Number of rooms: 66
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Residence Zanzibar lies within a lush, forested 32-hectare estate where five-star luxuries sit harmoniously alongside nature's untouched beauty. Feel your spirits soar amid extensive tropical gardens that meet with powder-soft white sand lapped by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Inspired by the island's eclectic cultures, our luxury Zanzibar resort blends modern comforts with Swahili, Omani, British and Indian influences. Indulge in the privacy of the spacious villas, attended on if you wish by your own personal butler. Enjoy carefree days relaxing by your private pool, on the beach, or exploring the gardens on foot or by bicycle. Savour a taste of the Spice Island's unique blend of cultures and cuisines, and the pleasure of sensational spa treatments. Discover more of the island and the waters that surround it in a myriad of activities, from visiting historic sites and rare natural wonders to deep sea fishing and diving with dolphins. Whether you dream of a quiet couple's retreat or fun in the sun for the whole family, embrace all the delights of our island life at The Residence Zanzibar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Residence Zanzibar Hotel Kizimkazi
The Residence Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Kizimkazi

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