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“Paradise!” 5 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
Wellington, New Zealand
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Paradise!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013 via mobile

We stayed for 6 nights. The location is fantastic - right on a white sand beach with coconut palms. The rooms are nice with huge Zanzibar beds with mosquito nets and big bathrooms. The food (we went half board) was really great, especially the night we had Sth African beef steak - it was cooked to perfection as was the best steak either of us had ever had, ever! The staff are really lovely and friendly and helpful. We absolutely loved it here and didn't want to leave!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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582 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 (99)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Forest Ranch, Ca
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

Stayed here for 3 days. Wish it could have been more. Nice sandy beaches with beautiful cobalt blue ocean views. The pool has great views of the ocean and is perfect for relaxing. The best part is the very friendly staff. They are always ready to make sure you have what ever it is that you want. Great drinks. Music was fun. The combination of sea breezes, views, laid back atmosphere and security provided by colorfully clad Masai who were eager to talk with guests, made this a perfect spot to kick back after a hot, dusty safari. Already wish I was back there relaxing on the beach. Can arrange all the trips and tours on Zanzibar from the hotel.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lutterworth, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

Stayed for a week after a safari in Kenya. Fantastic welcome - drink, towel and a real honest greeting. The staff were the most friendliest I have met in any hotel anywhere in the world. Nothing was a problem. Rooms were comfortable, well lit and the bed had a mosquito net, which met I could sleep relaxed. Needed a fan in the room as we had a garden view and never got the breeze that was always on the beach front. Shower was good but used salt water.
Meals were taken in the open aired restaurant which over looks the beach. All meals were excellent ,fresh produce (saw the fish being brought up from the beach on several occasions) beautiful tastes, the choice was limited but you only needed to ask if there was nothing you liked and if they they could they would give you an alternative. Beach was the most beautiful I have been on, white sands, warm clear water, no crowds, at times I was the only person in the water, ideallic. The pool was delightful over looking the beach. Hire the Hotels car if you want to go out but be warned there isn't much out there, you have it all at Pongwe.

Room Tip: Have a beach front room
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
904 reviews 904 reviews
175 hotel reviews
Reviews in 273 cities Reviews in 273 cities
510 helpful votes 510 helpful votes
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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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
45 helpful votes 45 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
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 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
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 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.
See more room tips
  • 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.
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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*
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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