My husband and I stayed at the Zanzibar Retreat Hotel in Matemwe (North East Coast of Zanzibar- 1 hour from Stone Town) for three nights in July 2012. In all honesty, two nights is more than enough.
It is truly a retreat, in the sense that there is nothing to do on the property but relax. There is a pool restaurtant, and bar. There is no vollebally net, communal television, or even music playing on the property. The hotel does have Wi-Fi. If you are looking for something to do during the day other than reading and sitting by the pool, you can go to one of the beach stands to book excursions- Stone Town tour (NOTE: stay in Stone Town, don't do an excursion), Jozani Forest (NOTE: Skip it- $130 for ride out to forest and tour- if you are going on safari, you will be disappointed), snorkeling, or Vespa rental.
My husband and I are runners- so, you can take great runs on the beach. The sand is firm closer to the water. It's nice to run or walk down the long beach.
On to the room...we stayed in Room 7 (I think?- no one could get our room # right). It was recently completed. It has a view of the "garden". Not really- more like the garage where they keep things for the hotel. The room felt cramped. There is one window that has very heavy curtains on them (poorly suited to a beach resort). The bathroom was very adobe like- red clay with one very small window. The room was clean, but even for two people- it was small. RECOMMENDATION: Make sure you have a room on the first floor (preferably facing the pool), they have more light and a little table on the patio outside your room to sit. Don't get one of the upstairs room like we had.
The staff was nice, but not overly attentive or prompt. If you ordered a drink at the pool, there is no rush to get it to you. We went to breakfast one morning and it took 10 minutes for someone to walk over and even take our coffee request- the staff saw us sitting there (true story). Now, I am an East Coaster and am used to a fast pace, but this was the only place in Tanzania that we experienced this.
Being that the room was new, the outlets both failed in the room. One stopped working one day and then the next day the other side of the room stopped working. We did tell one of the owners and he had it immediately fixed.
We had half board there- breakfast and dinner. The food was good and plentiful. No complaints there.
If you are a big water drinker (you'll need it to brush your teeth), save money and don't buy it from the hotel. There is a little store in the village of Matemwe that sells it to you for cheap.
First floor a must- pool view
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.