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“Very relaxing” 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
Certificate of Excellence
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
1,182 reviews
188 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 732 helpful votes
“Very relaxing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

Lovely pool, good food, relaxing vibe. This place is a really nice place to hole up for a few days.

We actually got upgraded to a pool suite - we asked for a seafront bungalow but got given one of the new rooms with a private pool. You actually get less of a seaview from these suites (its more sea glimpses as its set back behind the public swimming pool) but I must admit it was pretty nice to have a private pool right by your lounger!

I would recommend it, but I can't quite stretch to five out of five as a few things are missing that would make it truly excellent (e.g. salt water showers, it being too hot for the fans to cope with at night in January, staff getting orders mixed up reasonably often).

Should point out that I live in Western Australia now so I don't really count blue sky, turquoise sea and white beaches as a winning factor all by itself as I get them at home! If all you want is these, good food and a relaxing vibe I'm sure you will love it.

Room Tip: Of the seaview bungalows the two furthest south from the main lodge looked to have the best view. Th...
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Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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656 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
    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 (118)
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English first
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

I stayed here for 2 nights (which sadly was about all I could afford).

There are so many superlatives here: the beach setting, the sea, the lounge area, the quality of the food, the swimming pool.

The beach is private and there are a few conspicuous 'Masai' staff (very friendly) wandering around making sure no non-resident tourists cross the beach (i think they allow locals to cross, but will watch them). I think there are only a couple of other resorts nearby (Queen of Sheba is next door but does not have a full beach), so it feels very isolated which seems to be what most people are looking for who come here (mainly couples).

We had a sea-view room, but I have to say our sea-view (room 9) was the most limited in terms of sea-view of all the sea-view rooms. Still it did have more privacy than the rooms on either side, and I still think it's worth paying the extra for the sea-view as opposed to the garden-view (which adds an extra 30 yard walk to the beach).

Inside the room, furnishing was a bit sparse for a $200 a night room, and there was some oddness, like a plant pot in the bathroom containing the remains of a dead plant. Also water pressure in shower was not that great (bizarrely the cold rather than the hot seemed very low pressure).

Food at the hotel was excellent. I'd booked B & B, as opposed to HB which would have cost an extra $50 a night. As it turns out the evening menu was priced such that a 3 course meal for two would cost about £58, so HB would make more sense if you want to eat well. For lunch there was always a choice of several dishes all of which were huge and reasonably priced (by western pricing standards). Lunch was excellent. For dinner there was never a choice, which was disappointing. There was a special seafood platter option which at $65 per person seemed a total rip-off. We had the main course one evening and it was excellent, though more expensive and less generous than the lunch. However the starters and desserts were miniscule and not worth the price. Here i think if you've not booked HB then you're better just to have a main.

One night we went next door to the Queen of Sheba (since the dinner menu hadn't tickled our fancy). The food there was mediocre but a lot cheaper, and next morning we both had slightly dodgy tummies, so be warned.

The hotel bar had good cocktails (happy hour 5-6). Most people just seemed to converge for one at happy hour (all cocktails came with a nice platter of olives, nuts, popcorn!). I suspect anyone wanting more excitement later would be disappointed.

There's a boatman called Ali who does snorkelling and fishing trips. We enjoyed our outings with him. On the last day I did some fishing (alas wind was high so we couldn't get out beyond the reef for big fish) and caught some white snapper. We took them back and the chef (French chap I think) cooked them up specially for lunch with salad and chips. They tasted divine! That was much appreciated, and the charge for this was small.

The last day we could stay as long as we wanted and they had a shower to use to freshen up before we left since we had to vacate our rooms early.

The taxi back to/from Stone Town they organise is expensive ($50) in my opinion. The concierge told me that even she pays $40 for the trip through her own contact, which left me thinking since they have a special exclusive arrangement with the taxi firm why aren't they negotiating a better price for their customers. Taking the proverbial somewhat. For reference you can take the 233 dalla-dalla which cost me 5000 shilling for two people ($4). It is very uncomfortable though, call it an experience.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

I really enjoyed my 4 days at the Pongwe Beach Hotel. Superb rooms and superb food! The beach is wonderful and the service is fantastic.

The place feels very intimate and safe - largely due to the Masai guards who look after the property.

They also let you settle the bill at the end rather than paying as you go, which adds to the relaxed atomosphere.

Overall, I know this place is at the top end but its well worth it

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
South Cave, East Yorkshire
Level Contributor
22 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

We stayed at Pongwe Beach for 9 days. It is a perfect place to stay if you are on honeymoon.
We hired a car for a day and it was the best decision we made. Trips from hotel are quite pricey, but by hiring a car for a day you can see quite alot. Some guide books advise you not to travel by yourself (without guides), but it was two of us in the car and we have had a very nice trip. We never felt unsafe, just the opposite, if we ever asked for directions, people were very friendly and always helped us. It is true that the local police stops cars, but they only check you have International driving licence, which you need to get in advance and it only costs $10. We were stopped once and I gave them $1 (they didn't ask for it!!), they were very pleased and waived us goodbye. We went to see Colubus monkeys in Jozani forest, saw what was left of Sultan's palaces and went on a Spice Tour. Spice Tour is highly recommended to see. Because we were by ourselves in the car, some local youth started hassling us to come and see "their spice farm", but we found a quiter place. Spice tour costed around $25 per person, after some negotiations. We saw so many things! Mangos, ylang-ylang, cinnamon, turmeric, gnger... the list is endless. They let you smell and try all of the spices/fruits.
Staff in the hotel were very friendly. Ladies at the reception were very knowledgeable and helpful, particularly Kara.
Food was amazing, very fresh and very high quality. You get a choice of 3-4 starters / mains every night and they ask for your choice during the day. Fresh fish, good steaks, Indian and African influences, I could it that every day!
It is worth having a dinner on the beach. Staff will set up your table with flowers, candles etc. - very romantic!
When we arrived, we were told we got one of the new rooms which had its own pool, which was a nice surprise.
We didn't see many people on the beach, only a few couples, everyone kept themselves to themselves.
Please note that there are no loud bars / clubs nearby, it is a peaceful place.
Would truly recommend it to all!
If anyone has any questions, please ask me.

Room Tip: They have four new rooms with their own pools, would be perfect for honeymooners.
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  • Stayed September 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
    • 4 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.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
126 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

This hotel is a perfect place to relax. We stayed here for the last 3 nights of a three week holiday. (Part safari) and found it to be perfect for our needs.

The staff are all friendly and welcoming nothing seems to be too much trouble. The resort itself is well maintained and very pleasing to the eye.

The quality of food is of a very high standard and the bar prices are reasonable.

I would certainly recommend this hotel for a perfect relaxing break.

Thanks to all the staff for making our stay so memorable for all the right reasons.

Room Tip: Vals room is perfect
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Level Contributor
36 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

On grey, drizzly days in Manchester, we would close our eyes and conjure up an image of Pongwe Beach: sugar-white sand with gently waving coconut palms, turquoise ocean, enormous azure skies. But were we deceiving ourselves? Was our memory playing tricks? Not a bit! This year it was ‘Pongwe II – Return to Paradise’. Cara and her staff were as welcoming as always. The new chef was only too happy to provide delicious food to suit our vegetarian requirements. If you can get there, go!

Room Tip: Try 'Val's Room' at the far end of the beach.
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  • Stayed January 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

I was only a mere daytripper into Pongwe... as I was staying for a month at villa on the Island for a month over Christmas. My friend and I did weekly trips to the Pongwe Beach Hotel to indulge in some luxury and and good food. We were made to feel so welcome by Robin and the rest of the staff... wow what a wonderful place you all run. The beach was beautiful and clean, the service was so friendly and genuine the food was lovely and fresh and the cocktails a real treat.. the welcome my friend and got was so warm... Thank you so much Robin and staff... if I manage to get out to Zanzibar again... I will most definately be booking at the Pongwe Beach hotel.. :-)

Best wishes
Sarah and Brenda...

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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 Island > 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 Island

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