I returned from the the Zanzibar Retreat Hotel about a week and half ago. I must say, it was the perfect end to a fantastic trip to Tanzania involving a couple of treks and safaris. Right when we were picked up at the airport by our cab driver (arranged by Jan, one of the managers of the Retreat), I had the sense that it was going to be a very relaxing and carefree 3 days.
The Retreat came exactly as advertised. It is located in a cozy and quiet corner of the island, in the sleepy village of Matemwe. Make no mistake about it, it is quiet. There are no discos or loud bars in the area. Anyone expecting otherwise will be disappointed. The coziness and quietness carries on into the Retreat. There is no tv or radio in the rooms, just the sounds of waves washing onto the beach. Given the small size of the Retreat, noise from other hotel guests are minimal and they're there likely for the same reasons you are- the peace and quiet.
The service staff was great- from the wait and housekeeping staff to the two owners Jan and Bjorn. Very attentive to our questions. A special shout out to our bartender (who really fulfilled a number of responsibilities)... he was extremely attentive.
We had one of the two upstairs rooms. The washroom, and particularly the shower area, was spacious. The bed was very comfortable and the view (particularly of the sunset and sunrise) was second to none. We had issues with temperature of the water in the shower but given that this is Tanzania, not unexpected.
Lastly, because it is low season, there's not a lot to eat along the beach- this is ok as the Retreat had delicious food, particularly for dinner. Usually included seafood from the local fisherman. Given that we were there over Easter weekend, Jan and Bjorn hosted a fantastic and special Easter Bar-B-Q. It was a pleasant surprise and a prime example of how the Retreat goes the extra mile to ensure its guests are taken care of.
I would highly recommend this Hotel if you are looking to relax. I would have given it five stars were it not for a minor issue with the billing.