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“Nice hotel for people to find peaceful paradise” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pongwe Beach Hotel

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Pongwe Beach Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Pongwe Beach, Pongwe, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pongwe
Kiev, Ukraine
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Nice hotel for people to find peaceful paradise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

We stayed in the hotel for 4 days in January. Rooms - nice, staff - relaxed and friendly, but it is Africa, so service is pole-pole. The best in the hotel is restaurant and its amazing food - very delicious!!! The beach is very nice, but you need to keep in mind high/low tides. The water goes away at 8am and comes back only at 3pm. The shallow line is very long (check on Google earth) and difficult to walk to the water. So we had to enjoy the pool during low tides. If you look for fun (disco, dance, bar) it is wrong place. Barmen don't follow recipes of cocktails. Each time we ordered "Caipirinha" or "Sex n the beach" it was different from previous one :) Sometimes very tasty, sometimes not. After dinner all guests went to ... So at the bar - lounge area we were the only one looking for a fun. Barmen were welcoming us and we could dance, drink cocktails and enjoy nice view to the ocean from cozy sofas.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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581 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (98)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Cork
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Great Hotel, fabulous beach, wonderful food, when you find the three of these together thats special. My wife brought me to Pongwe Beach Hotel a place she had been before and always said I had to see. I was not disappointed it was all she had described and MORE. After checking in and you walk from reception to the bar or dining room area you get the WOW effect. From the beach where it often felt that you had this bit of paradise to yourself, to the dining room and the amazing food, fresh, local and irresistible and then of course the management and staff smiling,friendly,efficient and always with time to talk which gave that personal touch to our stay. The Hotel has 20 rooms, we stayed in Beachfront and Garden rooms (5 nights in each) both lovely. We had a look at their 4 new rooms each with its own plunge pool, they were more like suite's (definitely next time). The ten days flew by and we returned recharged in body and soul from this bare foot paradise. Thank you Pongwe.

  • Stayed November 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bozeman, Montana
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Very high-quality hotel, with beautiful setting in Zanzibar. Swiss-trained managers from Zimbabwe do a superb job of making guests feel comfortable. Cottages are attractive and most have gorgeous views of the extraordinary beach. Gorgeous infinity pool provides shady seating and a very scenic view of a dhow anchored on the beach. In mid-December, we actually found the pool more refreshing from the ocean, which was really too warm for our taste.

The large shamba provides very comfortable dining and lounge. Food is very good. As noted on the web site, the shower water is brackish, which can present hairwashing challenges. Do note that except for walking on the beach, there is not a lot to do at the hotel. Snorkeling is better elsewhere. We did day trips from the hotel to Jonzai to see the Red Colobus monkeys and the mangrove forest, to go on a spice tour and for a trip to Stonetown.
Trips are not cheap, but driver was excellent. I would recommend spending at least one night in Stonetown to take in the Night Market rather than doing the tour from Pongwe.

My only other question re this hotel is whether there is much connection with the nearby village. I did not get that sense. Bottom line: A lovely hotel and very good value. I understand why it won a 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award.

Room Tip: Be sure to request a beachfront room
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  • Stayed December 2012, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

This has to be the most beautiful place in the world. Everything was excellent and I simply couldn't fault one thing. Firstly, the location is out of this world....the beach is pristine and ocean view epic. It is also amazing how they've managed to create a huge feeling of space throughout the grounds so you never feel that it is busy, not that it can ever really be busy with only 20 rooms. Secondly, the staff are the most welcoming I have ever come across and they must be commended for how kind and attentive they are, a really unique quality in Africa. The general staff and management know you by name and go the extra mile to really make you feel at home. Finally, the food......the food is simply to die for. I never met the chef but I couldn’t believe how incredible it was night after night.....the best seafood I’ve ever tasted.

It was so good that we are coming back next year......and bringing the family.
See you in December Pongwe.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 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.
Northaw, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We came back to Tanzania this year specifically because my son and I wanted to come back to Pongwe again, after making a pact with my husband not to return to the same place again. So glad we did. My first impression was the same as last time we had found Paradise on Earth.
The sand is white and the turquoise sea warm. The staff are all very friendly, food good and a very relaxed atmosphere. Only slight draw back bathroom water is salinated as it is from the sea and put through a filter, but there is lots of it.
My only worry is that this paradise could soon be ruined by the hotel that is being built next door.

Room Tip: There are some new rooms with plunge pools that have been added but we didn't get one as we hadn...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

Simply Paradise. It's the most beautiful place I've ever seen, said the one I was with. And she travelled a lot! Everything that's written by the other reviewers, is absolutely true. So I hope to come back to Pongwe beach one day, with the one I love!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

Most people visit Pongwe Beach Hotel for a couple of days tacked on to a long safari holiday. My husband and I went for two weeks after a brief safari and were so happy we did! The unspoilt setting is incredible - sand like velvet, the most beautiful turquoise sea that was so warm we never got that 'ooh!' moment when it hit our stomachs, lovely hammocks and no watersports cluttering the sea, no massive resorts surrounding us or traders hassling us on the beach. Just relaxation and sunshine. We were there when the hotel was nearly full (it can take up to 40 guests) and also much emptier, yet our experience didn't change - it was so quiet and relaxing that often we felt like we had the beach to ourselves. The food was delicious and we soon discovered that we could diverge from the set menu if there wasn't anything that appealed (which happened very rarely). We enjoyed the Swahili dinners and music on Saturday and even a roast dinner on Sunday (the owner is British, so the food is a really delicious fusion of fresh Zanzibar ingredients cooked in quite a European way). I'd read a bunch of reviews about bad service in the restaurant and cannot stress enough how out of date those are, as our experience for the full fortnight was of very attentive waiting staff and excellently-paced service - we were never left waiting for any course and can only assume that the management took previous criticisms to heart as we had absolutely no complaints about the service or quality of food at all. All the Pongwe staff were really friendly and helpful, we felt incredibly safe all the time, our room was cleaned very well and a tap at the foot of the path to our cottage helped us keep sandy feet out of the room. Fresh fruit hour at 4pm was a delight - having pineapple, watermelon or coconut delivered to us wherever we were on the beach, by the pool or on the sunbeds outside our room. Ignore what people say about the brackish shower water - though it is brackish, I didn't spot any difference with regular water and felt nice and clean after a day on the beach / in the ocean, before heading to supper. Budget for bottled water - a 1.5 bottle is $1.50 - and be sure to stock up on things like suncream before you get there, as there is no hotel shop or shops nearby at which to buy necessities. The hotel provides shower gel, shampoo, soap and body moisturiser in the room. The lovely relaxing quietness and stunning beauty of the remote location means that excursions are pretty expensive as everywhere is quite far away - Stone Town is a $100 roundtrip in a taxi - but that didn't bother us too much as we just loved hanging out at the beach. Electricity stayed on 24 hrs a day and the backup generator kicked in immediately whenever there was a glitch in the supply, so we had no problems at all. Beach dining was lovely, the pool (saltwater) is gorgeous and the internet in the lobby was pretty reliable. We enjoyed kayaking off the beach in the free hotel kayaks but would recommend anyone hoping to snorkel to take your own mask and snorkel, as the hotel equipment is a bit ropey. We did one $15 snorkel trip off the beach, in the hotel's little boat, but didn't see too much (and had leaking masks). Instead, we were really glad that we invested in the $60 snorkel trips to the Mnemba Atoll offered by the One Ocean dive centre at a massive resort about 10 mins' drive away (you get a free ride there and back if there are at least two of you) - it's a half day trip with amazing equipment, INCREDIBLE coral and fish, terrific guides and delicious snacks halfway through the trip. Highly recommended. We really cannot fault Pongwe and, most unusually, will definitely be going back, as it is literally paradise in every possible way - the photos do not lie!

  • Stayed November 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 4
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: Pongwe Beach, 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*
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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