After a long illness from which I am still recovering, we selected this hotel for a convalescence period in which the plan was to do nothing but lie in the sun and read. For this the hotel was perfect. We booked directly and at every stage, from initial enquiry to arrival at the airport for the return flight, the staff were courteous, friendly, helpful and informed.
You have to realise that this hotel is not the Four Seasons in New York, or the Steigenberger in Franfurt, or even the Kempinski in Zanibar. It is a local hotel, with local people and if you want a hotel that has some luxury, is safe and yet still lets you know you are in Zanzibar this is ideal.
I think it would be a shame if people were put off by some of the other reviews I have read.True the beach is not ideal for swimming, but we loved the oportunity to wade out to the reef at low tide and see all the starfish, sea urchins etc. Watching the tide rush in each day was exhilarating.
We stayed in a family room, which was plenty big enough for 2, although I think 4 would have been a bit of a squash as the bathroom is small.
Everything worked in our room. When the bulb went on the outside light, we reported it and it was replaced, no problem. We couldn't work the safe, and someone came immediately to show us how. Any time we had a problem, we told the staff and it was fixed. There really was nothing that was too much trouble.
We did see some very rude guests and the staff behaved admirably under these conditions.
We stayed for 2 weeks, the longest stay of anyone this month at least, so we saw all the menu. The evening food was varied, we had a buffet only on 5 nights. 2 of these were the Swahili dinner, which was a nice attempt to give us a flavour of the country, 2 were barbeque nights. Apart from these the choice was different every night we were there. Lunch menus did get a bit boring after a few days. However, if there was nothing on the menu that you wanted the chef would make something different.
Breakfast was fruit, fruit juice, coffee/chocolate/spice tea/tea, special bread, bread (with a toaster, marmalade etc.), eggs however you wanted them including filled omlettes, a cake (varied - doughnuts, cookies, pancakes & syrup, chapatis, muffin), and at the weekend fried potatoes and meat (similar to bacon).
The bar is good, and makes lovely cocktails, we particularly liked Blue Sea and the freshly made mango juice. The mark-up on sodas etc compared to the local village was about 50% - about what I would expect to pay in any hotel bar.
I ran out of books to read, and was very grateful for the hotel's library.
We booked 2 trips through the hotel and both were excellent.
The owner is often there, keen to get feedback and improve the guest experience.
I guess, in the end, it comes down to expectations. We expected an African hotel, offering the chance to rest, do not very much and be looked after in reasonable luxury for a couple of weeks at a good price. We certainly got this, plus the added bonus of friendly, happy staff who really made us feel at home.
We would happily recommend the hotel to friends and family if rest and pure relaxation is what you need.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mnarani Beach Cottages is a beach resort hotel, located on the northernmost tip of Zanzibar Island in the village of Nungwi, next to the old lighthouse.Mnarani has been independently recommended by The Lonely Planet Guide, The Bradt Guide to Zanzibar and many other East African travel guidebooks. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mnarani Beach Cottages Hotel Nungwi
- Mnarani Beach Hotel
- Mnarani Beach Resort
- Mnarani Beach Cottages Zanzibar/Nungwi