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“Remember it's 3* and you'll forgive the salt water” 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
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Remember it's 3* and you'll forgive the salt water”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

We loved it here. (March 2011 - bit slow in reviewing) Mainly because you were made to feel very special. But no place is perfect, so I'll try to give a balanced review. We are a couple in our 20s, we are fairly well travelled. We had been on safari for 4days before 6days in Pongwe.

Cons - Salt water in the showers. It's not terrible, but it may bother some people. No air-con. But plenty of fans and I never felt too hot in the room, but the restaurant gets no air and I found it a bit stuffy in the humidity. Humid time of year, so I looked like Shakira for most of the stay despite trying desperately to straighten out my hair. But none of these things bothered us because it is a 3* hotel, not a 5*. Who can control humidity eh?

Pros - On arrival a cool cocktail and cold flannel. Beautiful setting. I would add my photos but they look just like everyone elses. The private beach is raked every morning to get rid of debris. Food was excellent, fresh fish, something different everyday. Great service, and everyone has the opportunity to a candlelit dinner on the beach. It feels sooo relaxing, quiet, no background noise, waiters offering you drinks during the day by the pool and on the beach. Free bottle of water 1.5l everyday left outside your room. Room is like something from a James Bond movie, a wee thatched roof house with 4 poster bed and flowers everyday. Nothing is plastic, all natural woods etc making everything feel luxurious. We fished one day for around £15 I think, which was lots of fun. Also went snorkelling - beware, I had on factor 30 and still burned my back stupid - wear a t-shirt. It was like being in Finding Nemo.

Overall it feels very romantic and luxurious and the staff are awesome. It's quite expensive, but having been away on student budgets before, the extra money was definitely worth spending here. We are not people who go to the same place twice, but we have recommended it to all our friends wishing to visit Zanzibar. Would be a great honeymoon destination.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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607 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 (104)
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English first
London
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

We spent three nights at Pongwe Beach after a safari and it was the perfect place to relax and chill. The beach is beautiful and well maintained and the bedrooms very spacious and comfortable. The timing was just right – any longer and we’d have wanted more options for eating and activities – but for a couple of days it was great.

The food was good, but you were meant to decide on dinner choices straight after breakfast – I guess this reduces waste, but it felt a bit unnecessary. The service was very friendly, but variable at times, some long waits and once main course arriving before we’d finished the starters.

  • Stayed June 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

My time here was the most relaxing ever! The food was amazing! You have to order meals a few hours ahead of time as they shop and prepare everything freshly. They have a great infinity pool and a superb beach. You can also request for dinner at the beach at no extra cost! The staff were really friendly. If you get grossed out by insects, take insect repellents to be able to sleep in peace. They have snorkeling gear and two kayaks you can borrow for free. They also organize snorkeling trips and other activities upon request at decent prices. I'm definitely going back!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2013

We recently stayed at this resort in Pongwe, Zanzibar, and found it to be a beautiful place to relax after the craziness of Dar and Stonetown. Our room was right on the beach front, with the high tide waves lapping at the bottom of our steps. The tide goes out a long way, and you can walk along the sand to the village, or just wander in the shallows. Our room was clean, spacious and has good mosquito netting and fly screens on the windows. There is no air con, but we found the fans, and the sea breeze sufficient to keep us cool. There were nice little touches, like robes and sarongs, sun hats in the room.
The staff here are excellent, they provide the best customer service, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. There are no touts trying to sell you things on the beach, so you can relax and enjoy the view, the swimming, or snorkelling out at the reef. You can swim here when the tide is in, and there's a lovely pool for when the tide is out. The hotel has its own boat to take you out snorkelling or fishing.
The food in the restaurant was very good, lots of fresh fish and seafood. The menu is limited, but changes daily, and special requirements can be catered for. The wifi internet is not free, but the operators have installed new wifi so that it is available in all rooms, and the signal is excellent, so its good value at $10 for your whole stay. There's no TV, but you can play various board games in the bar. If you want nightlife, this is not the place for you, however, the happy hour half price cocktails were a hit, before dinner each evening.
Overall, this is a really lovely place to stay and relax.

Room Tip: Many of the rooms have been recently refurbished, ours was sea front, and had a new outdoor area wit...
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  • Stayed June 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Chicago
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

My wife and I stayed here for 10 days during our honeymoon and are very glad we did. The hotel is situation on a cozy strip of white sand beach where you will not be bothered by people selling you trinkets. The hotel has only 20 rooms and definitely has an intimate feel you would expect at a boutique establishment. After only 2 days we felt at home with the friendly staff that all displayed service you would expect at a "typical" five-star hotel. Furthermore, the food was fantastic. The team of chefs consistently impressed us with their offerings for all meals that highlighted local seafood and ingredients. Definitely order a seafood platter and dine on the beach if you do stay here! I high recommend staying here as it is the ideal beach setting to relax at after a safari or just to escape. Kudos to everyone that works at Pongwe I hope to return again in the near future.

Room Tip: Opt for a sea-side view villa with private pool if possible
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  • Stayed June 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.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

If you aren't sprining for the fancy place out off the coast, then Pongwe is for you! HUGE rooms, amazing, white sand beach, breezy atmosphere. They have a truly spectacular chef, and the food was incredible! Only downside is that it's a bit far from Stonetown, the airport, so would definitely recommend several nights here, and one or two in Stonetown, which shouldn't be missed.

  • Stayed August 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
    • 3 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.
Copenhagen
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

The hotel gives you easy access to one of the very best beaches in the world, and this is probably the greatest asset of this place. The staff are overall very good and very attentive to special needs. Travelling with toddlers, we did have special needs, and felt very well looked after.

The rooms are spacious, but too basic considering the price of the accommodation. The restaurant is okay, not great. The hotel is quite isolated from the real world, which is part of its charm.

I can recommend Pongwe Beach Hotel if you're looking for a quiet tucked away place and scenic beauty is your priority. If you want a cultural experience along with beach life you would want to look elsewhere.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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*
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

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