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“Worst stay in Zanzibar” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Dream of Zanzibar

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Dream of Zanzibar
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Kiwengwa, Mahonda, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Mahonda
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Worst stay in Zanzibar”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

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.


RECEPTION:
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.

THE ROOMS:
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.

FOOD:
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:
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.

EXCURSION CENTRE:
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.

FASCILITIES:
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.

DEPARTURE:
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.

Room Tip: maybe the big villas down near the pool are better.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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810 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (84)
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English first
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2014

Folowing a week of R&R i returned refreshed - all well worth it
The hotel and accomodation is good value for money
The staff are very helpful, friendly and always accomodating - the visability of the general manager in all locations at different times of the day is gratifying
This resort if truely worth visiting
The only dishearting fact is the country itself - poor to the extreme - it is typical of an African country where the government just do not care other than for themself - speaking to locals and visiting the city and rural areas one can see the extreme in wealth and poverty - this is the only reason I would not visit this country again.

Room Tip: The closer your room to the beach the less distance you need to walk
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Oostkamp, Belgium
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2014

We just got back on 6th January from a 1-week vacation on Diamonds Dream. Only 7 days, we wish we good stay longer. A very clean resort, very friendly staff and a huge room with everything a European need.
Our biggest compliment is for all the staff. They really made our stay relaxing. No worries at all. Everything you ask is possible, you don't have to worry about a thing and always with a big smile. Never seen before.
A must for those who like to visit Africa for the first time.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2014

My husband and I stayed at Diamonds in December 2013. We had the most amazing time. The hotel and hotel grounds are well kept and maintained. The rooms are spacious and equipped with everything you need. There are mosquito nets around the bed, king size beds, TV, DVD player, airconditioning and a mini bar fridge. You will definitely not go wrong with this resort. The food was great and the theme nights were even better. The main pool was big with plenty of sun bed arounds. The beach is breathtaking and clean, however the beach boys can become irritating. There is good security on the beach and it is very safe. They offer a big range of drinks that is well prepared. The staff was the cherry on top. They are friendly and always willing to assist. They make you feel welcomed and relaxed. The safari blue tour was the most exciting and the tour operator at the hotel is very helpful and pleasant. the Blue Vanilla resturant is a must. It is not part of the all-inclusive package but the food is amazing especially if you love fresh sea food. The spa treaments were refreshing and relaxing. We would like to give a special thanks to the General Manager, Allan (Resorts manager) and Shams (Resturants Manager). They made our stay a special and memorable holiday. We would definitely go back and I would recommend this resort.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Kirltand, Ohio, United States
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014

All inclusive resorts are awesome. My husband and I booked here for part of our honeymoon. This resort is very good. You are greeted with a cool towel and a fresh juice cocktail at reception. The staff are friendly. The rooms are spacious with mosquito netting around the bed and air conditioning (definitely needed!). The resort has a beautiful pool- at the perfect temperature. While you sit poolside waiters come around to bring you drinks as requested. There are many restaurants- you have to book in advance for the Asian, Italian, African ones but the main restaurant/buffet is open to everyone. The food is very good and well presented, fresh. Wide variety and they went out of their way to cater for my vegetarian diet. There is a fancy seafood restaurant which is not included but provides a lovely romantic getaway from the resort. It is a family friendly place with lots of kids running and around and playing in the pool so if you want a quiet holiday this is not necessarily the first choice but we loved the atmosphere. The beach is kept clean and during lunch time they have a bbq with seafood and meat, veggies and deserts. It's wonderful to eat your meal overlooking the ocean. The ocean is warm and the tide goes out during the day so you can walk for miles along the shore. They have watersports but we didn't use that facility. I enjoyed the food, pool, relaxing by the beach and reading. We had a private taxi - the guy from the airport was very nice and we used him the whole trip. If the hotel books you tours to the spice farms or Stone Town I believe it's a lot more expensive. We paid $50 to get to this hotel from the airport- that seems to be the going rate (it's about 45 min journey).

Room Tip: the beds are 2 singles put together which was a bit uncomfortable. The garden view rooms are fine. I...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

We just got back on 23 December from a 2-week vacation at Diamonds Dream.

The good:
The staff were amazing and really friendly
The grounds are really well kept
Our room was huge and equipped with everything you need: king size bed with mosquito net, hair dryer, TV (but very few channels) and DVD-player, mini-bar (refreshed daily), free safety box, air conditioning (with individual control)... The cleaning lady was truly doing a great job and our room was kept very clean every days (free of any kind of insect and bug).
The Indian Ocean is beautiful and the beach large and well maintained. There is enough shadow with the palapas and the palm trees combined.
The whole resort itself looked brand new (no broken things here and there like it is sometimes the case when a resort has been running for a number of years)
The Managers were involved. They were always around, helping their teams - in my view this contributes to the good atmosphere of the resort. I do not like to see Managers shouting orders to the personnel in front of the guests.
The alcoholic drinks were well prepared and the wines were better than we have been used to in other all-in resorts.

What we think could be improved:
I found the entertainment at night quite minimalist and repetitive - if you stay 2 weeks, the program is exactly the same from one week to the other. While there is no need to have a completely different program, a little variety should be introduced. I also considered the entertaining program during the day quite poor - not a problem for me but still...
The buffet was not bad but very small as compared to the resort size, with little selection and the same things being served every two days.
We found that many places were lacking shadow. The pool, for instance, was well laid out but it is extremely hot there due to the lack of shadow! Another example is the long stairs leading to the rooms. It was so hot even late in the afternoon that going up was a challenge (it would make sense to have some over-head veil). Same thing at the sushi bar on the beach, most people can't stay seated there because there is very little shadow and who wants to eat sushi in the sun?
For those who like to spend the nights on the dance floor, there is no disco in the resort.
The wifi costs €40/week (for one single device!) and it is only available in the public amenities. It is possible to connect with a cable in the rooms but we tried several times and it wouldn't work.

Now remember that you are in Africa, meaning the service is not as quick as we are used to in Europe. It is also true that the waiters do not have any strategy and barely serve the ones who shout the loudest. We did not mind as we considered this to be part of the local adventure but noticed that some other guests were annoyed. Also note that it is not always possible to swim in the ocean or do water sports depending on the tides.

Overall we had a fantastic time at Diamond Dreams. It's a great hotel and I would recommend it.

Room Tip: We were in building 19, which is the closest to the main amenities with a great ocean view. The othe...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

The pictures on the internet looked fantastic. The real thing is even better.

The grounds are well kept and there's a lot of open space. The gardeners are doing a remarkable job. The buildings are modern with a genuine african look. The rooms are big enough, clean (cleaned on a daily basis) and decorated very nice. The pool is nice and big with plenty of beds around, the beach is majestic. White sand, tall palmtrees and a blue ocean.

The main restaurant (buffet) is of good quality. The food is fresh and what needs to be hot is hot! The other restaurants are fine as well, especially Boma, the african restaurant. Pay attention to the wood carvings in this place. The italian restaurant is mediocre if your used to fine italian dining, but we're in Zanzibar so who cares... We went to Blue Vanilla once. It's the seafoodrestaurant on the beach. It's not in the all inclusive, but certainly worth a visit if you like fresh seafood.

Our biggest compliment is for all the staff. They realy made our stay relaxing. Everything you ask is possible, you don't have to worry about a thing and always with a big smile.

If you want to go for excursions you can trust mr. Brown on the beach and he's a lot cheaper than the hotel or tour operators. Don't forget to visit the shops nextto the hotel for souvenirs, a laugh and pleasant conversation with the locals.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dream of Zanzibar

Address: Kiwengwa, Mahonda, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Mahonda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Mahonda
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Dream of Zanzibar 5*
Number of rooms: 157
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

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