We stayed for the 2nd time in Zanzibar Mid December 2013 at Dream of Zanzibar.
READ this, save yourself a let down and go somewhere else.
I've been to Zanizar before so I can compare, and I'm not sure what the people are smoking that thought this place was worth a rating of 3, 4 or 5. Maybe they have never been anywhere else or maybe the place has gone down the tubes...And I only put 2 stars because of the scuba dives at Scuba Libra (their partner) being well equipped, on time, efficient, friendly and professional.
Zanzibar is great, it's a lovely place with lots of history and I would go back again. We had a great stay in Zanibar and had a lovely time as we werent subject to Dream of Zanzibars service all the time. But Dream of Zanzibar goes out of their way to not meet your expectations I feel. I informed them of my issues while I was there, and I either got a blank face or an apology with no solution...Or completely messed around. Todate, after putting a shortned version of this in writing to them when leaving, I've had no feedback.
On arrival we got a cold towel handed to us (this is good) at their horrible reception area, then they walked away. Then we, we being everyone that arrived at the same time, were TOLD to sit without any explanation of why we should sit and not book in. Then they took our passports away without explaining why. When I queried this they said that they were going to make copies, but they didnt know when I would get my passport back. Their toilet fascility (1 toilet) had urine all over the place and it stank. Not acceptable I'd say. a HORRIBLE welcome.
So, after realizing I was now at their mercy with my passport having been taken away they said that my room wasnt ready yet and I should go eat lunch.
Fine, I'm hungry and hot and cant change out of my jeans because my room isnt ready but whatever. Another couple showed us where the restaurant was, we sat down and then were ignored completely by the staff from there. After lunch we took the long walk back to the reception, where our passports were handed back to us (after they nearly gave it to the wrong person, who luckily was on our flight and knew my face) and we recieved our room key and were ushered away with a small, lovely lady trying to offer to carry my heavy suite cases, so I carried them myself, not a big deal but not exactly good either.
So we had no introduction to the place, no explanation of where to go for what, no explanation of the fascilities, nothing.
5 Star? Its not. It ticks all the boxes for 5 star, sure, but it aint any 5 star I've stayed at. The 4 star place I stayed at last time I was in Zanzibar was far far far better.
The bed consists of 2 single mattresses, which is norma when you have a king size, but they were OLD, had indentations from all the people having slept in it and it also had a ridge around the edges - yeah, not great for comfort or cuddling. Honeymooners, run!
The bathroom was decent, but the towels were all freyed. Literally falling apart starting at the edges.
There was no hairdryer, robes or anything else that normally comes with 5 star, and even 3 star places.
They have a TV, it is not tuned and their subciption to their provider has been suspended according to what it said when channel surfing. So you are stuck with the local and Italian TV.
Cockroaches were killed every now and then as well, and they are normally quite hard to find so when you see one scurrying about you can be very sure that they are not alone. I accept that there are animals and insects, but when you take your bed bruised ribs and add cockroaches to the mix it kind of upsets you that little bit more.
They advertise that they have several restaurants. They failed to mention all the food is mostly form the same kitchen! The buffet has quite a lot going on, but do not bank on meat, fish, chicken to be served much at all. What they do serve meat wise from the buffet did not look appetising. They only had Blue Marlin made to order...Tasty, but this is the only fish they had available for the duration of our stay unless you wanted to pay for prawns and lobster (I thought it was all inclusive). Blue Marlin blue Marlin Blue Marlin.
There is a table spoon shortage there so if you see one grab it for your morning breakfast. The staff are super slow, and so is their service.
"coffee?" "Yes please" ...and they bring you an empty cup and leave...Then you have to wait for the 1 person walking around to get around to you after pouring for everyone else, if he is around - and dont worry about that feeling you get when you call a waiter and magically they look somewhere else as you call them. The manager there is super helpful and friendly, but you start to feel bad repetitively asking him to do his staffs job by giving you a spoon, getting coffee or a drink or something else.
At tea time there are some cold teas, pancakes and tiny dry sandwiches you can eat.
The beach lunches were pretty decent, with nice sushi as well.
Dinner time was usually a bit better service wise and they seemed to make a bit more effor with the atmosphere too. But the food at ALL the restaurants was below standard and you will get sick to death of it by the time you leave. You eat because you are hungry.
There is a coffee bar and hooka lounge that remained closed except for 1 night.
You have to book if you want to go to any of their other restaurants (which are only open for dinner), and they never had our booking upon arrival for dinner once.
Blue Vanilla, their flagship restaurant you must pay for. The South African wine, is approximately 6 times more expensive than in South Africa. For a bottle of wine that normally costs the equivalent of $4 in South Africa they are charing about $26. I'm all for profits, but not for getting bent over.
The beach is absolutely beautiful, take a walk down and into some other lodges and see that Dream of Zanzibar looks pretty great in comparison, now if only they ran it properly...
The locals standing in your view of the sea, albeit behind a line the guard drew in the sand, trying to sell you stuff are quite irritating, but they are all quite friendly and are just trying to make a living. Just pretend you are asleep when they call you and tell them you already bought whatever they are trying to sell you yesterday.
Friendly thieving staff there. We read up about a restaurant we wanted to go to that was an hours drive south (The Rock restaurant, try it - it's great), so we asked the lady there about how to get there. She showed us how much the hotel would charge us $215. But she said she could arrange it not through the hotel for $160 so since there is no way of us knowing what else we could do we paid her, cash. Then I asked the taxi driver how much it would cost for him to take us to stone town the following day (which is further away) and he said $40 - thanks for the help excursion centre.
They advertise that they have a wellness centre, gym and so on but dont mention that you must pay if you would like a workout or to sit in the jet pool for a while.
The massages were great, but they whip your underpants RIGHT down so your anus is exposed - wierd but whatever, I can go with it! ...Not had it done anywhere else in the world but OKAY!! :-) Oh and the entrance to the massage room smelt of sewerage, I should have known...
There are quite a few activities to chose from. We were referred to Scuba Libra for our dives, dives we were late for at our expense because the security would not let the bus into the resort. After the bus had been outside for 15min the guard came to reception and said that there was a bus from somewhere else waiting for other people. That's receptions service again! Yup.
THE BAR, SERVICE AND DRINKS:
Super efficent ad friendly barmen, wow wow wow. How the 2 of them serve the whole resort so quickly I dont know.
Ice? harldly any. The beers were warm the whole holiday. Their cocktails are served in tiny glasses.
You will get served once or twice on the beach or around the pool, which is great. But you will start noticing that the staff quickly figure out you are not tipping and serve other people several times and look elsewhere when you call them. I do tip, but since nobody on my arrival told me about tipping staff, I assumed that since the resort is all inclusive and I shouldnt really be carrying cash around as a result I should tip when our stay is over and this would be shared. This is how it was at the other place we staying in Zanzibar and it worked well. Who wants to carry cash around on a beach holiday? There are no ATMs. Maybe they let you draw at reception, but we were not told this when we arrived either.
The night before departure we had a letter waiting for us on the floor that had been stuck under the door informing us that our departure was at 12:00 the following day. This eventhough, the day before I went to reception and asked what time our transfer was coming and they said 10:00.
I queried it and they said, no that's our check out time and not deprature time, eventhough right there on the letter it says "Deprature time". I asked again what time our transfer would come and they said 10:00...So since I'd come to expect that they are useless I had them call the booking agents. Turns out that our tranfer was actually at 09:00, we would have missed it and our flight if I had left it up to their staff.
It was great on the bus ride to the airport to hear that I wasnt the only one who experienced all of the above problems. We had some light hearted laughs about the waiters, lack of spoons and coffee, uncomfortable beds and so forth. We were all agreed that Zanzibar is great, but Diamond Dreams of Zanzibar had completely missed the mark despite the appearance of the place being excellent.
THE GOOD STUFF:
They made an effort with their african and Arabian themed evenings and the food seemed better.
The pool is beautiful, as is the atmosphere when dining at Blue Vanilla, but that's because it's on the beach. There are some staff members that are helpful and good at what they do. The barmen are really life savers because you could walk up after tyring of waiting for a waiter and get what you wanted with a smile and quickly...You could almost forgive the slightly below room temperature beer and lack of ice.
Their general resort manager, Allan I think it was, arrived on our second last day and all of a sudden the buffet was a little better, at least decorated a bit and set out a little better. Not sure if this was because of him though.
Around the pool one day (literally one day) they had a guy with a trolley of cold beer and drinks who will bring you a fresh drink just as you finish the one you are having.
If you dont like eating tasty and healthy things their breads are really great to go with your horrible salad (because it's exactly the same eveyday) and Blue Marlin. The desserts were also sometimes really nice.
Dont stay here. We really liked Azanzi last time we were in Zanzibar.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dream of Zanzibar is a superb 5 star all inclusive Resort, proud member of The Emerald Collection. The Resort is nestled in the midst of exotic gardens on the beach front at Pwani Machangani overlooking the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean. Dream of Zanzibar offers 104 deluxe gardens rooms, 40 ocean view junior suites, 10 additional junior suites with Jacuzzi and 3 beach villas with private pool. The 5 Restaurants offer guests an exceptional variety of dining options and 3 bars feature relaxing environments to enjoy refreshing drinks and cocktails. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Diamonds Dream Of Zanzibar Hotel Kiwengwa
- Dream Of Zanzibar Tanzania