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“An unfussy and beautiful secluded escape” 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   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Pongwe
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“An unfussy and beautiful secluded escape”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

This is not luxury, but it is bliss. The salt water showers (there's no fresh water on site) and basic decor might put some off, and the sometimes haphazard service might frustrate, but you don't go to pongwe if you want 5 star treatment. Go if you want somewhere unique, with character, and in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable. The chef and barman are pretty damn good as well. You'll find fault if you are looking for it, but you'll find bliss if you're looking for that too!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 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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573 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (95)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
London
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013 via mobile

We loved our stay here. We never knew we could do so little and love it so much! Beach, pool, lobby, patio with private plunge pool, food, service and atmosphere all great. We would come back if we got a chance.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Bromley
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

Our stay at Pongwe Beach Hotel was a very pleasant experience.We spent one week in a truly idyllic location on a very relaxing holiday.All the staff were very welcoming and friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them.Their main aim was to ensure that we had a great time,which we did.Our suite was very clean and comfortable and we had our own small pool which was wonderful.We spent one day on a spice trail and tour of Stonetown and asked if Mohamad,the senior driver at Pongwe,could be our driver.He was not only an excellent driver but he also knew much of the history of Zanzibar en route to Stonetown. His recommended guide in Stonetown was Godfrey, who was excellent. We arranged our trip to Zanzibar from Capetown with Sunidol Travel which took the strain of organising the trip ourselves.Thank you Pongwe Beach Hotel for a lovely relaxing holiday.We will be back.

Room Tip: The four rooms with own pool are lovely, but any room would be ok.
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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
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Richland, Washington
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

We stayed at Pongwe after Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and an 8 day safari in Tanzania so we were ready to relax on the beach. The Indian Ocean was warm and very inviting and we spent much time going in again and again. A nice touch from the Hotel was that they took us out a little distance in the boat and guided us snorkling with supplying the equipment. It was not like the paid all day excursions but we saw beautiful fish and some interesting coral formations. We were lucky and had the Family Cabin which was the most distant of the cabins. We had a remarkable view and had lots of room since it was just my husband and myself in the cabin that can take 4. Our lady who cleaned our room did an excellent job. She found out I liked flowers and she added flower blossoms to so many things throughout the room. She also did the added touch of making the towels into different shapes adorned with flowers and kept our bathroom supplies adequately supplied. It was very hot when we were there and the hotel quickly supplied an additional fan to help keep us cooled down at night. The food was some of the best we ate. The staff seemed so willing to help and supply anything we wanted. We did enjoy sitting on our patio overlooking the exquisite ocean and having at 4:00 fresh fruit delivered to us. The hotel also has a cocktail "happy hour" which we participated in daily. The complimentary array of appetizers was wonderful--and they readily resupplied when asked. I had my birthday while staying there and they gladly provided our own table out on the beach under a full moon to eat the mouthwatering seafood. (how do you top that for a birthday--except my husband's birthday was trekking for the gorillas). As I stated, it was a full moon so there were extreme tides. It was fun to explore very far out what is usually covered by water and where we had been swimming only hours before we were walking on. Many were out exploring. Since it was so low, we were able to see and learn about the seaweed "farm" that is usually covered. One of the staff noticed we were interested in the coral beach formations and came to accompany us to tell us about them as well as show us a more in depth interaction with the seaweed production. This was done just because he saw we were interested and he was not expecting a monetary gain. Speaking of tipping--it is nice to have an envelope presented at the end where you can make your donation without having to continually having to leave money throughout the stay--just keep some aside for just that. There is a safe at the main reception which they readily helped us with when we needed it. That might be a future suggestion to install individual ones in the room. But the present situation worked--just took some fore thought. As has been mentioned by others--the brackish water for showering. It did take some getting used to and you never really felt clean. But even if you had fresh water, given 10 minutes you would have been salty with sweat in no time. I have much trouble with my eyes in very controlled situations so the brackish water caused me much problem in the shower with my eyes--try as I might to not get it into my eyes. I have and am still seeing my eye doctor to fix the problem started there. But as I stated, this is a huge problem under the best of situations. Just give the brackish water much thought when using it. We found the staff very helpful. We just did not know to ask enough questions. We arranged the Spice Tour and Stone Town tour through the hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed the tours but did not have a clear grasp of what it would all entail. We did not realize that within the tour, in addition to the $20 fee for the Spice Tour that we would need to tip two people, be encouraged (expected?) to purchase some items, have an additional tour guide in addition to the $20 tour guide at the Slave Market site. We literally ran out of cash (!!!) and had to have our driver wait in the hotel reception while we got more cash out of the safe. It was our problem for not having enough with us as we had it in the safe but we did not want to have too much cash while in Stone Town as we had heard several stories about pick pocketing. We just did not know what to expect--our problem. We should have asked--but perhaps reception could have gently suggested what we truly were going to experience. We did enjoy what we learned though and would highly suggest these tours. On some of the reviews it was mentioned that some of the orders got mixed up or slow. Hey, we are on vacation and as they state--a cumma ma ta ta (sorry for the spelling but it means--no problem or no worries). We are visitors in their country speaking our language--they are trying to accommodate. They did a remarkable job--and I wish I were back there often. My only big problem was the brackish water and my eyes--which on hind sight I should have used bottled water on anything to do with my head. The grounds were kept extremely clean and they even raked the beach daily.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Pongwe Hotel for 2 nights in March, we loved our stay. The staff are so nice and welcoming and the food was fabulous. Upon arrival I had a heat rash on my face so they gave me some hydrocortisone cream which healed it up right away, for no charge. I had also contacted them ahead of time to let them know it was my husbands birthday while we were there . They set up a nice table on the beach and all of the restaurant staff came out singing a song with a cake for my husband, it was a real nice touch. The staff definitely went above and beyond for us. The only complaint we had was that there was no air conditioning in our room, we had a couple of fans but I think because it was rainy season it was super humid which made it hard for us to sleep. We are also Canadian so I wouldn't be surprised if people were more climatized than we would be. In all we would love to stay again!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Seattle, Washington, United States
1 review
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
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  • 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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Bradford, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 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.
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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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