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“Amazing Location” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Z Hotel Zanzibar

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The Z Hotel Zanzibar
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   PO Box 4807, Nungwi, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 17 Hotels in Nungwi
Top Contributor
178 reviews 178 reviews
60 hotel reviews
Reviews in 78 cities Reviews in 78 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
“Amazing Location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

Once again, it would be nice if there were a rating between Very Good and Average. My husband and I recently spent three nights at the Z Hotel in the little village of Nungwi at the northern tip of Zanzibar. The location of the hotel is amazing - right on the beach and the beach is superb. There are, in fact, a whole string of luxury hotels along the beach there. However, the stretch of beach that the Z Hotel sits upon seems to be the longest. The water is beautiful and warm and the sand is soft and white. The views from the hotel are spectacular - we were in one of the huge roof top rooms so our views were truly amazing.

The room itself, being one of the larger roof top terraces was very large. Sitting area, desk, lots of closet space, two oversized decks. Bathroom for such a large room, was surprisingly not that big though certainly big enough. The problem with the bathroom was that the counter upon which the sink sat was way too small - and unnecessarily so given that there was unused space immediately beside the end of the counter.

The hotel also has a very pretty, though not particularly large, eternity edge pool with a fair sized deck around it for sun bathing and a sort of private beach area just below where the swimming pool sits. The problem with the pool was that the entire time we were there it felt like bath water. It was very hot while we were there and the swimming pool provided absolutely no relief. In that regard, one day, on a beach walk, we wandered through a few of the other hotel properties. I stuck my toe in one of the other pools and it was nice and cool and very inviting.

There are two restaurants - the casual one which is open for lunch and dinner and snacks - good menu and the food was good and the views are wonderful. And the "fancier" one. This was where they served breakfast and dinners as well. We had dinner there one evening and had a good meal. I have reviewed the two restaurants separately.

Now for the problems. The room had a/c but it was impossible to adjust. No matter what temperature or fan setting you set it at, it blew like a nordic wind non-stop. It was so hot that you couldn't sleep without the a/c on but with it on it was actually too cold. As the don't provide a blanket (just sheets) we ended up using the heaving bath robes as blankets!

The electricity shut off several times a day and night. I understand this is kind of the usual for Zanzibar but needless to say it can be quite annoying. Sometimes in the middle of the night the a/c would kick back on but not always so you would find yourself fumbling around for the a/c remote and trying to get it back on in the dark.

The shower was very pretty - lovely tiles, nice rain shower head - but hard to maintain both even water pressure and even temperature so showers were often an experience. To make matters worse, two out of the three days we were there, we had no water at all between about 4 and 6 - not the entire two hours both days but a good long chunk of time. As well, there was often a sewagy odour emanating from the bathroom so we had to be careful to keep the toilet lid down and the bathroom door closed.

The other problem we encountered, and I should add that this seemed to be a problem wherever we went in Tanzania, wait staff appeared to speak english but often did not actually understand us. So, for example, they could tell us what the food specials were or what might not be available on the menu that day, but if you asked them a question about the food (I have one food allergy I always check about when ordering) they are simply incapable of answering the question although often they sort of pretend to understand. If they simply admitted they didn't understand it would, in fact, have been less frustrating. We found this with a lot of the staff at the hotel, not just the restaurant wait staff.

Finally, I wanted to add a word about the tour company that has a little office in the hotel and which the hotel recommends you use for outings and which one tripadvisor reviewer recommended for a spice farm tour. I had therefore decided I wanted to use them for a spice farm tour and both my husband and I were very very disappointed. Not only do we feel it was way over priced at $50 per person but the guide, his "assistant" and some other participant (he climbed a coconut tree) all had their hands out for a tip. Someone came around part way through the tour wanting to sell soaps and the guide was pushing us to buy some. At the end of the tour, there was a "spice shop" you were expected to buy from - extremely limited product and, I kid you not, more than three times the price of the exact same product we had seen in a store in Stonetown. All in all we felt royally ripped off - oh yeah, and we had to practically beg the driver to give us a bottle of water (we had checked before leaving the hotel and been assured we would be provided with water) - and to add insult to injury, the water was luke warm. All in all, a bad, frustrating and annoying experience.

Most of the problems we encountered at the Z Hotel were undoubtedly endemic to Nungwi. And there is no doubt that it is a very beautiful hotel and the room was really lovely. However, given the price, it strikes us that a few significant improvements would be in order.

Room Tip: The roof top terrace rooms have the best views and are the largest with oversized outdoor spaces.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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647 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013 via mobile

This was our last hotel after being away for two and a half weeks and we were hoping for a little more. The rooms were small but adequate, but my major problem was the smell from the toilet/sewer which was very unpleasant. When the rooms were cleaned housekeeping sprayed heavily to disguise the smell but during the day when the spray wore off, there was no mistaking the smell of sewer. The major positive was the beach which offers a crystal blue sea and clean white sand. Unfortunately the beach lounges from the hotel are non adjustable and a little rickety but the beach itself was gorgeous. The pool is too small for the complex and if you want a lounge by the pool, be prepared to set your alarm for 7am to get a towel to save one. The 'Happy Hour' cocktails were good value for $5 and Justin who served us in the bar was always very welcoming and efficient. Dinner on the lower level was fine and the location over the water was lovely. The hotel could do with some staff training to cater for the demands of Europeans and other westerners which at it's price point is the market it is pitching itself at.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013 via mobile

We stayed 4 nights and was really impressed with the Z. The service was exceptional and all staff went out of their way to make conversation, even if only to say hello. The pool deck, beach & restaurant are in a great location that can't be faulted. The food was excellent, although we preferred the upstairs restaurant to the fine dining as we felt the service downstairs was too formal for us. We tried other restaurants at the neighbouring hotels and wasn't as impressed with the service we got at the Z. Only negative was the room was a little on the small side, but so well equipped & clean that it didn't make a difference to us.

  • 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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Calgary, Canada
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

We stayed here after one week climbing Kili, a second week on safari, and 2 days in Stone Town. We desperately needed rest and relaxation, which is exactly what we got for 5 nights at the Z hotel. There were no children when we were there. Our top floor penthouse suite was clean with a fantastic view. We didn't use our private hot tub on our balcony because the water was kept extremely hot and 2 out of 5 days we were told it was off limits as they put chemicals in. We tried turning down the temperature on it but it never went down. Also, the button for jacuzzi bubbles did not work. We enjoyed the buffet breakfasts and all meals were well prepared and tasty. Reserve a table on the lower level next to the ocean one night for dinner. The power goes out a few times during the evening but we brought our headlamps to dinner so that didn't bother us. The infinity pool is the perfect temperature and the beach is clean. The staff is courteous, although it took me 3 days of asking to finally get a 2nd key for our room. The flower arrangements on the bed every day are beautiful but unfortunately the flowers do bring in small insects sometimes so I always took a picture and then moved all the flowers to a glass of water on the balcony. The A/C worked all the time when we were there. The library has two computers which are very slow but WIFI is available. Overall, I would recommend the Z hotel.

Room Tip: If you get a penthouse suite don't pay extra for the one with a hottub on the balcony. You won...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

I found this resort a little disappointing and if staying here again I would ask for one of the bigger rooms on the top floor. The resort seems to have far too many rooms for the facilities that it has, the pool area is small (as is the pool itself) and when we were there most of the beds had towels on them by about 7.30am. They provide some very uncomfortable beds on the beach which we used rather than squash around the pool however there is no service offered on the beach so you have to go to the pool bar to get a drink.

The staff in the Cinnamon Lounge and downstairs restaurant were lovely but they could do with some training, service was really slow which isnt an issue when you are on holiday but the little things like bringing the wine after the food, the wine being room temperature, asking many times for ice to cool it before actually getting it.

The rooms also lacked some of the things we had come to expect in Africa such as shower caps, face towels and hand towels which were there on day one but not replaced for the rest of the stay (4 days) and the mini bar didnt seem to serve any purpose as it was empty and you had to fill in a bar form and request it be delivered, that didnt make sense to us.

This is one of the nicest and cleanest beaches that we have seen and sitting in the restaurant of an evening looking over this and watching the sunset was postcard material and relaxing end to our safari holiday.

From what we saw this is the best resort available on this strip of beach and it just a bit of tweaking to make it just that much better and improve the overall experience.

Room Tip: If the budget allows go for a suite as the rooms are quite small.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

Stayed at the Z for 5 nights with my fiancee. Would really recommend the Sea-view deluxe rooms - fantastic view.
Hotel was overall a really good experience - food, staff, cleanliness.
The hotel pool overlooking the beach was fantastic. Free working wifi.
The only downside would be that the village suffered a couple of long power failures during our stay; however the Hotel generators were up and running pretty fast.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Stayed here for 4 nights at the last minute. The room was clean and well taken care of by the housekeeping staff. The air conditioning worked well but after the power goes out (once or twice a night), it comes on with a loud beep, which woke me up every time. Every day the maid leaves a beautiful flower decoration on your bed, which I was loath to disturb. There are no blankets provided unless you ask, just a sheet, which was fine as it was so warm. Calling the desk for a blanket had one delivered in less than 5 minutes. All the staff were extremely attentive and genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs. I had an unfortunate incident with a sea urchin (do not swim in the ocean at low tide without shoes) and the staff were very quick to bring me papaya and vinegar to treat the spines in my foot. The restaurant had decent food but not many choices for vegeatrians. The bar (Cinnamon) had more vegetarian choices. Service was at an African relaxed pace (an hour for lunch, two plus hours for supper) and was not as attentive as North American - you have to ask for more drinks, they do not offer them when your glass is low. Nicea was an excellent at the front desk and took care of our group exceptionally well. Minor issues such as a clogged shower drain were taken care of quickly. Beach access is right out the back of the hotel with beds and towels provided. Make reservations for dinner especially if you have a group. A great place to stay, would not hesitate to stay there again. They well deserved the Trip Advisor awards they proudly display.

Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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 The Z Hotel Zanzibar

Address: PO Box 4807, Nungwi, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Nungwi
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#5 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
#5 Luxury Hotel in Nungwi
#6 Family Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Z Hotel Zanzibar 4*
Number of rooms: 39
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This chic, boutique hotel located on the northern tip of the Island, blends contemporary design with traditional Zanzibari features to create a unique, cool and relaxing environment. Set in a lush tropical garden with direct access to white powder beaches and the Indian Ocean, the Z hotel has been finished to an extremely high specification. Each room has floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading onto a balcony, which looks out across the crystal blue ocean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
z Hotel Nungwi
The Z Hotel Zanzibar Nungwi

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