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“Paradise in Zanzibar” 5 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
Seattle, Washington, United States
1 review
“Paradise in Zanzibar”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Pongwe Beach Hotel was PERFECT! When I heard that all beach front rooms were already taken and that I had to stay in a garden room, I was a pretty disappointed. But once I got to Pongwe, I realize that all rooms including garden rooms were only a few seconds of walking from the beach anyway! I mean the rooms are literally "on the beach", the minute I stepped out of my room, I am touching white sand on my feet. Everything was great including safety. (I am woman and traveled alone in Zanzibar)

Service was incredible, the moment I walked in the hotel I was offered fresh mango/passionfruit juice and greeted by all the staff. Never did I encounter any rude staff during my 4 day stay. The managers specially were really helpful. I lost my adapter and they even let me charge all my electronics in their office. All the tips they receive are also shared equally by every staff.

Food was amazing, they prepare everything fresh (I would recommend any of their seafood dishes!). The dining area is right at the beach front and couples have an option of doing romantic private dining right on the beach, separate from the common dining area. During the afternoon, they would walk around the beach and give free fresh fruits to guests.

The beach was just incredible. Clear turquoise water, and the whitest sand I've ever seen. Also plenty of space to have a peaceful alone time which I absolutely love. It truly felt like my own private beach right outside my room.

Safety is also very important for Pongwe. There are guards posted at the front gate of the hotel. You would also see guards dressed in traditional Massai warrior outfits guarding the beach front against any intruders. So staying at Pongwe was even more relaxing knowing the place is well protected.

PS- Cute little bush babies come out at night and sometimes they would pop-in the main lobby or near the rooms. (They are friendly and never attack, unless you hurt them). You would also encounter weird insects once in awhile, but this is just expected when you travel to an exotic place like Zanzibar. So bring enough insect repellent!

Overall this was an amazing experience. I would definitely come back here again!

Room Tip: Garden rooms are cheaper and are just about the same distance to the beach
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 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
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565 people have reviewed this hotel

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 (94)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Bradford, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

After Safari, chilling out at Pongwe was absolutely fantastic. The setting is pure magic , on the Indian Ocean, when the tide goes out you can walk out into the warm water, with all its colours, off the white sand beach. The staff are great, friendly, nothing is too much trouble. The attention to detail is wonderful.The food is the best I have ever had on holiday. Its easy to slip into ... breakfast, sunbathe or ramble in the grounds, down the beach, light lunch, sunbathe etc.. cocktails at 5, dinner, drinks and bed. There are excursions if you want, a trip out to the reef fromm the hotel is cheap but ok for snorkelling (other parts of the island would be better but would involve more cost). There are resident bush babies, geckos and small crabs on the beach (including hermit crabs).. theres a private pool & an infinity style pool and the sea is fine for swimming.

  • Stayed March 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

I'll agree that the location on the beach was just stunning. It was the perfect place to relax. The rooms were comfortable and very tastefully decorated. The staff was polite and very kind. I also agree that the price was very reasonable compared to other resorts on Zanzibar. My only complaint was that I found the seafood dinners to be somewhat disappointing. However I have to stress that that is only my opinion. Many other clients found them to be excellent.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 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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Lancaster, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

Pongwe Beach Hotel offers one of the most idyllic beach experiences one is ever likely to find. The view from the door of one's beachside cottage offers layers of blue and aquamarine sea, framed by almost artificially placed palm trees, with a sandy beach which seems to be made from white talcum powder. When we were there in February the cottages were surrounded by hibiscus attracting clouds of butterflies. Sometimes the sea was not warm but hot, though when the sea had come in over the sand, it offered ribbons of water of different temperature as one swam out to sea. And one can take extended strolls along the beach.

With these advantages, Pongwe Beach does not have to work hard to make itself an excellent location for the perfect Zanzibari holiday. The food offered is of a good standard and sometimes considerably better than that, though breakfast was not a high point. The staff are extremely friendly and have every intention of providing first class service, though orders at the table and the bar are garbled more often than one might reasonably expect. On the down side, the cottage we stayed in - one of the oldest on the campus - was beginning to look a little tired and gloomy inside - and the bar and dining room were all in one large space that could on occasion become rather institutional and noisy, especially when Pongwe Beach is a larger hotel than some of a similar type and quite naturally attracts guests with very different tastes and preferences. And the continual canned music struck a disappointing note. But the overall experience was very enjoyable and we would certainly return.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloucestershire
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
110 helpful votes 110 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

This was our second visit to Pongwe and it's still just as beautiful. They have added 4 new rooms since we were last there in 2008 and we enjoyed staying in one of them, having its own plunge pool, outside deck and modern finish inside. If you want a quality modern room then they are fantastic but we felt we lost something of the "African experience" by not staying in the more traditional rooms right on the beach even if they are more basic.

As everyone else says, the beach is stunning! For us, the service was great and nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff who were always smiling and keen to get to know you. The food was good too, using fresh produce every day and if you didn't like what was on the menu for dinner it was no trouble for them to cook you something different.

The sand is so white and soft and at low tide you can walk straight out for at least 20 minutes on the sand or in only a few inches of water and spend time exploring.

We hope they don't add any more rooms as if they do we fear they may lose some of the intimacy of the hotel which is one of its endearing features. The downside since our last stay is the way taxi prices have rocketed on the island which makes you less inclined to get out and about on a regular basis - not that this is the fault of the hotel!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
90 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013 via mobile

Compared to some other places on this side of the island, this place is less expensive, and the rooms, at least ours, are on a matching scale, still being a good value.
The beach is very nice and constantly maintained. The breakfast is average, but we got once an excellent seafood dinner (quite expensive, but finally worth it).

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I stayed at the Pongwe beach hotel for four nights at the end of our honeymoon. I have to say that overall we were disappointed with our overall stay. We stayed in room number one which we found to be dark, cramped and hot (the fan was nowhere near the bed). The bed in our room smelt of sweat. On speaking to management we were told that room one was being demolished in one months time, unlucky for us. I'm sure if you requested one of the new rooms the hotel would have been great.

Please note that hotel is located approximately 1 hour from stone town and a return taxi is US$120 return. This made day trips out the the hotel very expensive and time consuming.

There were plenty of positives to our stay... The staff were nice, the food was good and the drinks at the bar were reasonably priced. The beach was clean, well maintained and secure.

Overall I would stay at the Pongwe beach again but for probably only two days rather than four and I wouldn't stay in one of the older rooms in the hotel

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Additional Information about Pongwe Beach Hotel

Address: Pongwe Beach, Pongwe, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Pongwe
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
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 ten traditional sea view cottages 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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