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“Magical” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pole Pole Bungalows

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Pole Pole Bungalows
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4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Plot 16 - Utende Beach, Mafia Island, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Stafford
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Magical”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014 via mobile

Stayed for 5 nights having spent the previous week on safari and what a great way to relax. Only 7 bungalows on site and we pretty much had the pool to ourselves. Went on a couple of excursions, snorkelling and white snapper bbq over coconut husks was definitely a highlight. Also lovely beach area with safe bathing. Food was excellent and kitchen was more than happy to provide alternatives if anyone fancied a change from the wonderful seafood dishes.
What really made the stay for us was Marta and the team who could not have done more to ensure we enjoyed our stay. From the waiting staff to chambermaids and trip organisers to the massai nightwatchman, pool side to gardener, every single member of the team was always on hand with a happy and smiling "jambo". A truly magical experience.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
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136 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Jersey, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

Pole Pole is lovely. The bungalows are spacious and comfortable and with only a small number very peaceful and quiet. The food was delicious, we thoroughly enjoyed all our meals. We principally chose this resort as we wanted to dive and were not disappointed. The dive centre nearby was very good, the dive sites interesting and varied. Unfortunately whilst there I had an injury to my foot, however, the care and attention I received from Marta and her staff was outstanding. We would highly recommend Pole Pole.

  • Stayed January 2014, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2014

Pole Pole is beautiful - a 7-bungalow lodge, so very quiet and private. Very friendly staff and manager. And incredible food - mostly freshly-caught seafood from the local fisherman further down the beach but the salads,deserts, etc are also wonderful - and there's lots of it, you will definitely not go hungry here (fortunately it's all very healthy too)!!

There is a small, very peaceful beach in front of the lodge, just a few steps from the bungalows. Great for sitting in the shallow waters watching the sunset over the bay and the traditional dhow boats sailing past, sipping a cold beer from the bar. And if a larger white-sand beach is your thing, there is a larger and busier (by Mafia standards) beach a 2-minute walk around the bay. The highlight for relaxing though has to be the Zanziabari Bed on the porch of the rooms, overlooking the palm trees, sea and shows sailing past - could lie there all day! And if you'd prefer to be more active for the holidays, there is plenty to do - excursions, diving, snorkelling, day trips, whale watching/whale shark snorkeling (depending on season).

This was my second time staying at Pole Pole and I will be back again soon!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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Nairobi
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2013

Spent one of our three nights around Mafia Island here and absolutely loved it. The rooms are clean and have all the amenities you need, the pool is warm and shady and the massages took you to another level of relaxation. Marta, the manager, was laid back but on top of everything and very welcoming. I felt completely blissed out the whole time we were there. The food was tastey and abundant and just what you wanted for the location and the staff were all super friendly and helpful with anything you could need. We loved the other hotel we stayed at which was unique and special but in its own way but I would have been very disappointed if we hadn't had a chance to enjoy Pole Pole as well. If I were to pick a couple things I think could be improved upon it would be to not have ties on the mosquito net because that's complicated if you are going to the loo in the night and the pillows could be softer (not that they were bad but could be better). That's how small my critique is though which was against very high expectations. Thanks everyone for making it a marvelous trip!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2013

We came for 3 nights at the end of a two week honeymoon. My only regret is that we did not come sooner!

The lodge was so relaxing, The food on offer was fresh and the menu was varied.

There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied. We would particularly recommend the scuba diving, which we found to be better than Zanzibar.

We would also highly recommend the massages on offer.

One word of advice - if you are coming purely for the beach and sand experience then you might find yourself disappointed with the sand at the shore, due to the lack of strong waves in the area. However the water is very clean and once you go further out (for example for scuba diving) then the water is beautiful.

This is definitely somewhere I have to revisit!

  • Stayed November 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2013

Lovely location, beautiful Beach, Excellent Food, very good service,very comfortable bungalows, Enjoyed my stay here very much and will return. Snorkeled on the reef in front and saw rays,lionfish, it was like swimming in an aquarium. had excellent dive on chole reef and milimani north reef

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Brussels, Belgium
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

Staid here for a couple of days. Really liked the laid-back atmosphere, the wonderful bungalows and the good food (which is not a given in Africa). Be aware that this is an eco-resort though, meaning that, although the service is five-star, you do not get all amenities you would expect in a true five-star resort (which is fine by me). Wonderful beach. Went snorkeling and diving, which was a great experience.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Pole Pole Bungalows

Address: Plot 16 - Utende Beach, Mafia Island, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Pwani Region > Mafia Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Mafia Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Pole Pole Bungalows 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Seven bungalow suites overlook the infinite hues of blue of Chole Bay, the core of Mafia Island Marine Park. Pole Pole is an exclusive eco-resort, renowned for its great cuisine, unpretentious and laid-back atmosphere, warm but discrete hospitality. Balancing luxury and respect for local culture and environment it is the perfect place to relax after a safari and the ideal base for exploring the underwater wanders of Mafia Island. With a touch of style. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Pole Pole Bungalows Hotel Mafia Island

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