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“Private and Relaxing” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Chapwani Private Island

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Chapwani Private Island
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Chapwani, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #73 of 142 Hotels in Zanzibar
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Private and Relaxing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

Needing a quiet and relaxing holiday we were thrilled to have chosen Chapwani, thanks to all the accurate reviews here. It is a friendly, and clean place - albeit with rustic - yet charming - touches. We found our bungalow (right on the beach) to be simple and exactly what we needed. Folks looking for (I think) unnecessary add-ons like complimentary shampoo etc, telephones, aircon, TVs, should opt for elsewhere. This is a hideaway that oozes "chilled". We were glad to be here in a mid-to-low season, as having people right next door may have encroached on our expansive lazing about. At half board we found the food to be carefully prepared - although after seven days breakfast of fruit and pale eggs did get a bit much. Supper was only fish - so the fish allergic should be aware. Staff and service is unobtrusive, attentive and very friendly. So lovely to have our last night set up by candle light on the beach - with Lobster. And if you want to avoid the draining haggling of Stone Town - we found the on-island boutique to be quite reasonable and I got most of my souvenirs there. Being October it did rain 2 of our 7 days, but did not affect us as much as we thought - the ambient temperature generally remained the same. Snorkeling is technically possible, but unfortunately not great , as there is very little to see, over fishing and dug outs propelled by poles have all but decimated the reef - so heavy duty snorkeling fans may find more joy on the mainland - although what we saw of the mainland resorts (Paje in particular) made us extremely glad to be on Chapwani. One last thing - I do sincerely recommend ear plugs - my partner had never used them in his life, but gladly used my spares due to the nightclubs booming almost all night across the bay, especially on weekends.

Room Tip: 9/10 are the furthest from the main reception, they are also building a larger family style bungalow...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 5 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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62 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    42
    12
    3
    3
    2
See reviews for
11
36
4
1
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 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 (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Oslo, Norway
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

Considering the price, the hotel did not at all live up to our expectations. With a leaking toilet, moldy sheets and terrible meals, it was the worst possible choice for an engagement. What should have been a romantic get away turned out to be a big disappointment, and we decided to leave the next day.
Service: Good staff, friendly manager, sour owner.
Room: Shared bungalow, parted by thin wall, leaky toilet, broken shower head, dark rooms with only one window for light, hard beds. Electricity turned off at twelve, expect a sweaty night without fan.
Food: Breakfast and dinner is included in the price, but the meals were disappointing as well.We got served Nescafe for breakfast all though Zanzibar exports world class coffee. Nice pancakes, got some fruit and one glass of juice per person. Dinner was mostly overcooked tuna with no sauce what so ever, accompanied by dry rice, with a grilled slice of pineapple for dessert. Lunch, which you have to order in advance and pay 20 USD for, was even worse. Really small portions, and dry fish. Drinks are not included, and they're expensive.
Surroundings: The island has such great potential, but sadly, it has not come to its right with this hotel. Beautiful beaches, jungly areas with lots of birdlife, small antilopes that roam free, and quite idyllic.
The disappointment was in major due to the prices, and the feel of cheap management that wants to extort tourists stupid enough to go there, as there are so many wonderful places to stay for one fourth of the price. One would expect great food and bungalow, as this is easy to provide.
All in all, we got engaged and left for a wonderful place in Paje: Cristal Resort.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chapwani, Propietario at Chapwani Private Island, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
Dear Ida,
I’m really very sorry that you didn’t enjoy my place as most of our guests do!
Actually I’m not the Manager but the owner of this place I don’t find absolutely fair your comment.
Your were booked for 3 nights and confirmed by yourself in Chapwani as a direct client and, at arrival, even before showing you the Island facilities or the room , you told me that you couldn’t afford to stay for the confirmed 3 days.
I saw that you were upset for that and I didn’t charge you for the cancellation fees as I was supposed too, I offered you a romantic dinner on the beach thinking of making you happy. Maybe sometimes being generous is not the best move but at the end I’m sorry that you didn’t understand the beauty of Chapwani, the eco friendly atmosphere and the priviledge to be alone under the stars in a Private Island.
I don’t feel and I don’t want to answer to all your points about food and so on....we have fantastic comments that speak for me. By the way, just for your info, we use coffee coming from Bukoba – Tanzania…….
Just one advise if you can allow me to: at your departure, you were very thankful and grateful for what I did for you, maybe a sincere behaviour would have been much more appreciated.
all my best and I’m happy that you enjoyed the rest of your stay in our beautiful Zanzibar
ali hemed
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2012

We have just returned from a 3 night stay, and as in previous comments..we should have stayed on Chapwani Island for our entire time in Zanzibar. We loved the resort, the staff, the food, the views.. Chapwani is not over-developed but provides peace and tranquility yet still offers all the traditional tourist activities - the dhow sunset cruise, fishing, snorkelling, with easy access to stunning Stonetown.
We will return as often as we can!! Thanks to Ali and his brilliant team for a wonderful time - Asante sana!

Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
livonia, michigan
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2012

My wife and I just returned from a three-day stay during the first part of our honeymoon, and the ONLY regret we have is not staying at Chapwani the entire time.

The resort itself is beautiful and secluded, and they haven't overdeveloped the island - only 5 bungalows and otherwise pristine, untouched nature. The bungalows are clean and beachfront by the way. Even though it's secluded, it's only a 20 minute boat ride to Stone Town - stay here, visit Stone Town for the day, and get away from hustle and bustle at night.

The staff are unbelievably friendly and attentive, even with the little things - my wife mentioned in passing that she wanted peanuts to snack on one day, but they didn't have any at the bar. Without request, the staff member made sure they had fresh roasted peanuts for her the next day. The food was perfect, and they only make use of what's available fresh from the ocean or their garden on the island.

This is what a vacation should be - I would stay here over a Four Seasons any day, and the best part is pricing is so reasonable!

Thank you to the entire team at Chapwani - keep up the great work!

Room Tip: Every bungalow is private, but rooms 9 and 10 are at the end furthest from the lobby.
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  • Stayed July 2012, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zürich (Switzerland)
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2011

We have just returned from a 5 night stay on Chapwani Private Island. It is located close to Zanzibar- it's a 30 min trip by boat from Stone Town (daily shuttle service during the morning + on request). The resort consists of 5 bungalows which can accomodate to parties each. So it is a fairly small resort, and it's the only one on this small Island. In my view, this is a key feature of the resort. You will not run into a lot of people, so it's great for relaxing. The infrastructure in the bungalows is relatively minimalistic, considering the room rates, but that appears to be part of the concept. Electricity by generator is provided from the morning until midnight. During the night you use a torch or a candle which is provided. Shampoo is not usually provided, so bring yours or ask the staff to purchase it for you in the city.
Plus number 2 is the food. You get a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit + crepes + eggs as you like and toast + juice. Dinner is equally delicious: you get very tasty fish/seafood dishes (single daily menu) which starts with an appetizer.

The beach is very nice, cleaned regularly (e.g. if there are algae). Due to the strong tides, there is a big fluctuation of the water level. During low tide, you need to walk a bit until you can swim. This is usual in Zanzibar. As there are corals, you should definitely bring good rubber shoes to protect your feet. If you do not have them yet, you can get good ones in the Memories of Zanzibar shop in Stone town (fair fixed prices).

If you want a posh creme de la creme sneaky resort, then this one would not match your taste. If you look for a reduced and a little bit of minimalistic, idyllic resort on a private island and care about good food, then go for Chapwani.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Hague, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2011

If you are looking for a tropical hideaway, without being far away from civilization, this is the place. Only 10 cabins, max 20 people, beautiful indian ocean, view of stone town, this is the getaway from the hustle of stone town.
The staff are very friendly and helpful and try to accommodate as much as they can. Of course there are som limitations (such as electricity, water supply), but this is Africa. This place is actually very well organized in comparison to other places we have seen in Tanzania.
Food can get quite repetitive, since they mainly serve fish (calamari and barracuda etc), but it is well prepared and nicely made.
Many comments focus on the pool. However, bear in mind that it a saltwater pool with no chemicals. We have at least enjoyed the pool very much.
Finally, the prices for drinks are relatively stiff, so bear this in mind. It is a nuisance they don't accept credit cards, so make sure you have enough cash.
all in all a great relaxing experience with a fairytale view.
PS for those who get seasick, it's a 20 minute ride by boat.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warkworth, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2011

I have to admit that I stayed on Chapwani in July 2008 and thought I had placed a review here. I loved the island and the hotel and the food and the staff and of course the lovely Maura. I came there alone straight from climbing Kilimanjaro, exhausted and having suffered from the altitude, etc., and it was such a warm friendly welcome and the peacefulness and the excellent food (for me I have to say I have never tasted better as it was so fresh and well-prepared) and the sound of the waves on the beach at my doorstep and the gentle warm winds and the views of the fishermen as they sail by in thier dows. A cinematic feast. Then to top it all the herons arriving in the morning and the bats leaving at dusk. I have to pinch myself even now when I think about the sheer beauty of it all. And I live in a spectacularly beautiful place in New Zealalnd so it is really something for me to say how lovely and beautiful it all is. As for the cemetery next door to the villa that I had, I loved it, it is truly an historical and beautiful little place and I felt it an honour to go to sleep at night in a villa on a beautiful white sand beach next to the long buried remains of brave saiilors who gave thier lives over 150 years ago fighting slavery. The headstones are engraved with poignant messages and the great baobob trees grow up among the stones. very romantic. My only negative was that for the first 2 nights I happened to be there during the final days of the Dow Film Festival and the noise from the celebrations over on the Stone Town venue made it impossible to sleep. Once that had ended though it was just the sound of the waves which I heard and sleeping was no problem at all.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chapwani Private Island

Address: Chapwani, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#53 On the Beach Hotel in Zanzibar
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Chapwani Private Island 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chapwani Private island is the perfect spot for those seeking a small quiet lodge with good food on a beautiful peaceful beach with Stone Town (Zanzibar main town) and all its facilities just 15 minutes away by boat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chapwani Private Island Zanzibar

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