Sea Cliff seems amazing on the photos on the website – in reality it looks even better. All in all, this is a very relaxed resort and we definitely recommend it for a carefree vacation in the sun. Yet, they would have all the ingredients to create a resort with a touch of luxury by addressing a couple of areas.
The resort is built on a wide stretch on the waterfront with a fantastic view. This setup not only maximizes the sea view from the grounds and rooms alike, but also allows enough sun loungers. They are spread so that you’ll always find your own peaceful spot. Also, location on the West coast of the island pampers the visitor with a sunset every evening. Best place to enjoy the sun going down: their jetty bar that is a wooden deck on the sea with a cool lounge feel.
We had an all-inclusive package and you obviously choose this option when seeking for an effortless, relaxing vacation. We loved how easy it was to get a bite or a drink or to be active: just visit the gym, do some tennis or pick a kayak, hop on a shuttle to Stonetown.
The Balinese spa they have onsite is very high quality and comes recommended.
Before saying more about service we want to underline that staff is very friendly, helpful and do their very best. It is nothing but a management issue that the service is a bit wobbly. We understand that staff members probably have not had any opportunities for client experiences themselves – a starting point that calls for very strong training and working continuously as a team to improve the quality of service. Most of the times the lack of experience together with very limited English language skills resulted in staff that seemed quite startled with their tasks (especially at the buffet).
Food comes in a large variety and even for vegetarians there are always enough options in the buffet. A chef makes you an omelet in the morning, fresh lunch wrap or a pasta for dinner as you wish. The quality is, however, “vacation food”, no fine dining here. Something we couldn’t get used to were bees that had taken over the breakfast buffet. This is something we never saw before in resorts in Europe, Latin America, Caribbean or Asia – surely there is a way to get rid of these bees?
3) Areas to improve
Rooms are big and tastefully decorated and they come with good basic amenities. Where there is nothing wrong with the original design of the resort, it seems they’re low on the maintenance budget. You see the effects in bathrooms as well as quite worn out textiles everywhere: bed linen, mosquito net, curtains, beach towels, staff uniforms… It may be Africa, but clients travel and compare resorts globally and in that playing field shred mosquito nets or bleach stains in beach towels are something that instantly put off the luxury you’d like to experience at such a special place.
Another issue is their “all-inclusive” program. We’re used to all-inclusive meaning what the name suggests. Here it meant “selected foods and drinks inclusive”. This was never made explicit to us not in our travel agency briefing nor at arrival to the hotel nor in the guest services catalogue in the room. So, we were taken by a surprise at the end of the stay they wanted to charge us for some wine and sparkling water we thought were included. The person at the front desk didn’t speak enough English to handle the situation, but the manager called in took it with style and removed the items from our bill. Another thing is that you still need to sign a bill with prices on the receipt after every order – every single beer or soda water. The whole point of all-inclusive is that you get rid of the hassle with paying – this signing policy brings an unwanted administrative procedure to the vacation. All in all, we would recommend benchmarking with some other all-inclusives and uncomplicating the program.
4) Travel tips for Zanzibar
Safari Blue snorkeling trip is a must. The original (beware of copycats) packs snorkeling, sailing, swimming from a sandbank, lunch on the beach with a local band and dolphin watching in a full day trip. Coral is breathtakingly beautiful and you literally swim with the fish.
Doreen Mashika is a local designer whose chic boutique in Stonetown (Hurumzi Street 267-268) stands out from hundreds of shops with a fully identical souvenir collection. Her designer clothing and accessory items are not cheap, but I was very happy to purchase a unique two-piece bracelet of silver and cow horn for $150 and to support a talented female entrepreneur.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Driving into Sea Cliff Resort & Spa you know you have found something special. The 4 km road through a coconut plantation that leads to the hotel is a reminder of the Zanzibar of old. Peace and tranquility, no other hotels or busy roads just open space and palm trees.As you enter the courtyard filled with tropical flowers and palms the view of the ocean stands before you. With our traditional makuti roofs and Arabic towers lit by brass lights you know this is not a typical hotel. Its an hotel built with our location in mind. It is a unique combination of modern facilities mixed with the original exotic architecture of historical Zanzibar. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Sea Cliff Hotel Zanzibar
- Sea Cliff Resort And Spa