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“Tranquility” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pongwe Beach Hotel

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Pongwe Beach Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   PO Box 297, Pongwe, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pongwe
Calgary, Canada
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Tranquility”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

The Pongwe is a small intimate resort, very quiet, and removed from the more populated tourist area. The beach is small and surrounded by rock bluffs, so when the tide is in, it is inaccessible to anyone else. The infinity pool is inviting, and overlooks the beautiful white sand beach and crystal blue ocean. The staff are friendly and accomodating, and meet you on arrival to explain meal times etc. The rooms are standard, clean, 4 poster beds with mosquito nets. Each night a different meal is served in the kitchen, typical food for the area, with local spices, absolutely fabulous! The seafood platter is a must, but is definately large enough to be shared. A taxi ride to Stone Town is resonable, the drive takes about an hour, and the front desk can arrange a driver for the day. If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing rest, away from the hustle and bustle of the city and other resorts, this is the place.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 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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607 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    477
    95
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    5
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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (104)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012 via mobile

We stayed for 3 nights after safari . We have 2 older kids.. 12 and 14.
The hotel is in a lovely spot .. Beautiful beach. The hotel itself is rustic . No AC or mod cons but comfortable. There are only 20 rooms , so quite small.
We had 2 rooms that I believe are new. We had small pool with each room which was lovely. The hotel also has a medium size pool for all guests. There are plenty of beds at pool and on the beach.
If I have any negative things to say its small things. The food is very good, but only on the last night did I understand the ordering system. ( they ask you in the morning what you want. Plus I was unaware until the last day that there were other options for the kids) .
The kids found it a bit quiet and thought its a place for honeymoons! As they were the only children they felt a bit out of place.
Can't blame the hotel for that though. !
In all a relaxing place for a few days.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Regina, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

We absolutely loved it here, and the personal service of the very friendly staff was beyond compare. The food was excellent, and the chef would be welcomed in any gourmet restaurant in North America. One night, we had the seafood platter on a private table at the beach and it was a fantastically memorable experience. [Tip: Unless you are very hungry, the platter is enough food for 2-3 people]. The rooms are lovely, and quiet. We had rooms facing the garden and not ocean-front, which had the advantage of being a little off the path and therefore a more private. There is nothing within walking distance of the lodge, though, so settle in for a very relaxing time. We actually saw bush babies here (the bartenders have trained them to come visiting in exchange for a banana).

Room Tip: Do you want privacy or to hear the ocean at night? The garden rooms are more private, although I th...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Beijing, China
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

We were very pleased with Pongwe! After coming off a wonderful safari in Kenya, we were looking forward, like many travelers, to some sun and relaxation

Pros
-the beach was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. white sand and during the day it was magical to walk out to the sandbar and take pictures in the middle of nothing but crystal waters
-although the hotel was booked when we were there, it never seemed crowded anywhere or at anytime. sitting by the pool or walking around always felt super chill and relaxed.
-loved the architecture and attention to details throughout the resort. The bar was really wonderful with all the woven wood.
-it was secluded. no other major hotels anywhere around which made it feel like your own private paradise
-the management was very friendly and helpful
-the pool was stunning. they also would bring out little treats around 3 or 4 which were a nice touch.

Improvements
-the only reason to give Pongwe 4 stars instead of 5 was the service. It was consistently slow and sometimes they would forget or mix up our orders. Now it wasn't terrible by any means, but I felt like sometimes they just didn't pay close enough attention. Super nice though when you just asked again!
-They need walking paths coming down from the new rooms that sit in the back of the pool (gorgeous!!!) down to the rest of the hotel/pool. Walking through the brush was an easy fix that surprised me they didn't attend to
-the driveway. it was long and extremely uncomfortable to bump along. going out one day for a snorkeling excursion almost made me throw up. I cannot believe they can't throw some cash to fix this.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this place to anyone looking for a quiet and beautiful place to relax. It was incredible!

Room Tip: The newer rooms in back of the pool
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  • Stayed October 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
    • 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.
Scunthorpe, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

After a delay on the mainland due to a thunderstorm and an hours drive through the island, we were greated with a cocktail and an outstanding view of the indian ocean.
We were given a full explanation of how the hotel worked, how to pay for drinks, tips, meal times, beach and pool drinks service and a warm welcome.
The sea view room was functional and clean. Not suptuous 5* luxury, but more than adequate. They are regually cleaned and the turn down service each night ensures the mosquito net is in place and your bed is ready for you to fall straight into.
The brackish showers were no problem and bottled water was provided daily for teeth cleaning.
The main hotel area was very open plan with both the bar and the restaraunt overlooking the beach. Please be aware that this is not a hotel full of nightlife and evening entertainment. Happy hour is 5-6pm in the bar and at that time the bar fills (there are only 16 bungalows, so max 32 people) and everyone enjoys $4 cocktails and eat complimentary bar snacks while relaxing and enjoying the view.
The hotel provide some games, (cards, scrabble, guess who) and for us this was the absolutely perfect way to relax after a busy few days on safari.
Candles are provided in the communal areas on each table so that the evening is not interupted by the occassional power cuts. Everyone is able to continue reading, eating, drinking or playing cards for the short periods of time that the power is off. This is only a problem when you are back in your room and the fan stops working so for a few minutes it can get pretty hot in the 5-10 minutes you are waiting for it to come back on.
I would definitely recommend this hotel; the staff are caring and attentive. The beach and the pool area are well looked after and the view is second to none!
The rooms are basic but clean and provide everything we needed for our time there. Comfortable bed, clean bathroom. No TV. each bungalow gets a beach bag which contains beach towels and a flag for drinks service while on the beach.
There are loungers outside each bungalow and depending on which bungalow you get, some get the sun, some don't. Ours was perfect for laying in the shade in the evening reading and listening the the sea.
Another great recommendation by Claire at Mahlatini.
Please msg me for more info or if you have questons. Gx

Room Tip: Sea view rooms are a must. We were in room 14 which was a 5 min walk across the beach to the pool an...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012 via mobile

Pongwe is on a beautiful beach and came highly recommended. Unfortunately while very nice it did not meet our expectations.
On arrival we found the hotel had made a mistake with our reservation, despite having received both payments required in advance. The hotel did their best to make amends but we could not stay for the third night we had intended.
This aside, we felt the room was large but without character or good amenities. It was lovely to have our own plunge pool although this was not as private as we would have liked. The main areas of the lodge were nice but generic - we could have been anywhere in the pacific and there was no Zanzibar flavour or theme to speak of.
While the staff were pleasant smiling and tried hard, there was little coordination or efficient service. Clearer management leadership is needed.
Overall we enjoyed out stay but wouldn't return

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

We stayed at Pongwe for 5 nights and had an incredible time. It has to be one of the best beach hotels we've ever been to, it felt incredibly remote and quiet and with so few rooms it felt as if we had the beach almost to ourselves most days. The staff were fantastic - extremely friendly (persevering at trying to help us learn a couple of swahili phrases!) and seemed genuinely happy to help.

Our room was an ocean view looking out over the main infinity pool to the sea. We couldn't believe it when we got shown to the room and found that our private terrace with sun loungers also included a private pool! It was great to have the option to sunbathe and swim there if we wanted to.

The food was spectacular. We had read other reviews which talked about how good it was but we were still amazed by the meals we had every evening. Honestly, the kingfish and risotto we had one night was easily as good as similar dishes in SERIOUSLY good London restaurants. We also ate on the beach for two nights which was a real experience.

The list of activities looked great but we'd just come from safari so were perfectly happy to just chill on the beach and by the pool. It is quite a journey (and fairly expensive) to go to Stone Town so I wouldn't recommend doing that. Probably best if you have the time to book in for a night or two at a hotel in or around Stone Town separately after Pongwe.

Anyone looking for the "beach paradise" experience should definitely come here. I'm certainly hoping to go back at some point!

Room Tip: Ask for ocean/beach front and one with a private pool.
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  • Stayed October 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pongwe Beach Hotel

Address: PO Box 297, Pongwe, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Pongwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pongwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Pongwe Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on what could perhaps be described as the best beach in Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach Hotel is a tranquil place where one can escape the hustle and bustle of modern day life. It is modestly sized, with 4 Sea View Suites, 13 traditional Beach Villas as well as 3 Garden Rooms and has an intimate, personal atmosphere. Set within a secluded bay on the east coast of Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach is a true paradise retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pongwe Beach Hotel Zanzibar

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