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“Loved it!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zanzibar Retreat Hotel

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Zanzibar Retreat Hotel
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Matemwe Beach | Zanzibar, Matemwe, Tanzania   |  
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THE GREEN ALTERNATIVE
Ranked #1 of 5 hotels in Matemwe
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Loved it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

I stayed in Zanzibar Retreat Hotel for two weeks in March 2013. It was just an amazing experience. The hotel is managed by Jan, a very friendly and helpful Fin who is always up for a coffee or a chat. The staff is equally friendly and you can see that they enjoy working at the hotel.
The hotel is straight at the beach and there is nothing more relaxing than lying in the hammock for an afternoon nap or sipping a cocktail at the small bar.
And not to forget the food- very fresh local produce is used to make tasty dishes, often with a local flavour. Besides there are African nights where you get to tastes traditional dishes.
After this, the seafood I had in Paris did not seem to have taste..:)

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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175 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
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English first
Kigali, Rwanda
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

If you need a place to hide away for a while, just to be with yourself and maybe your nearest ones, you have come to the right place! The sound of the ocean, the gentle touch of the wind, the simpleness of the surroundings with the beach just there next to the hotel - a bonus is the seaview from the upstairs rooms. Thank you for the good selection of wines to match our dinners! Every now and then I am going back in my mind to the drink/coffee corner with the ocean view. Nice.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Toronto, Canada
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

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.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

Three of us (my husband, myself, and adult daughter) spent three restful nights at the Zanzibar Retreat Hotel in two rooms with connecting bathroom. This hotel was just what we were looking for, a place for relaxation with nearby access for our daughter to scuba dive and my husband to snorkel. They were more than happy with Scuba Fish Diving located north of the hotel. They found very professional, safe, courteous service. A local had solicited for a snorkeling outing at a better price, but after an accident caused by one of the unlicensed boaters, they were so glad they had chosen Scuba Fish.
Me, I just wanted to “veg.” with a good book in a quiet place. The beach had weeds, but there was no smell and it was interesting seeing the local women gather the weeds for drying. My daughter read that the seaweed was sold to the Orient. We enjoyed walking along the beach, as well as sitting on the covered verandas and covered area by the pool.
Food was good, service was good, everything was very clean. We bought water at a local place, had a drink at another hotel, but otherwise ate all our meals at the hotel--very satisfied. Jan arranged a guide to go with us (via taxi) to Stone Town for a tour before we needed to catch our flight. This was well worth doing, and we felt we saw everything we wanted to see in Stone Town without cutting too much into our time at Matemwe.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lund, Sweden
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

Big thanks to Jan and his staff at the hotel for our wonderful stay. It was a cozy and relaxing hotel on a lovely quiet beach. The food is just amazing! I would recommend opting in for the weekly BBQ they have. Simply delicious!
This is really the perfect place to relax and enjoy the hakuna matata life. We were also able to go on dive and snorkelling trips to the nearby mnemba atoll which was amazing.
Would highly recommend this place!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Vantaa, Finland
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

The room was quite small, but there was everything you needed (you don't need TV in this retreat). The atmosphere was very relaxing. Beach was very quiet and beautiful. This part of the island is even more laid back than Nungwi. Would recommend this to couples, who need a total relaxation from the fuss. Unfortunately the food was disappointment. There are couple of good restaurants near by - just bury your feet into the sand and follow the smell, as it's is so dark in the evening that you can't see your way...

Room Tip: Wouldn't take a room near the restaurant.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I stayed for 2 nights with my sister and her family. If you only want a quiet place for lounging around, this is the place. There is nothing to do but lounge or swim in the pool or the beach. Unfortunately we didn't realize how small this place was, so I felt trapped and extremely bored. The rooms were small, and the bathrooms were in poor condition - toilet seat didn't fit the toilet, shower was tiny, very dim lighting. Food was very good, but service is extremely slow. I suppose that is the pace that the Retreat sets - slow and leisurely. I ordered a cocktail from the bar (no one else was there), and it took the bartender 15 minutes to get around to making the drink. He chatted with another worker, gazed out at the ocean, and puttered around. At one point I thought he forgot about my order! So if you like slow, laid back, and casual, this is a good place. But if you like a bit more activity and nicer rooms, then you should look elsewhere.

Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GoZanzibar, General Manager at Zanzibar Retreat Hotel, responded to this review, March 24, 2013
Dear guest and readers of Tripadvisor.

First of all, thanks for your comments regarding your stay with us. Despite your feelings for the small shower (90x120 cm) and not perfectly matching toilet seat, I do hope you were comfortable staying with us as a part of you vacation here in Tanzania. We will try correct these errors immidiately.
The electricity on Zanzibar is not so stable right now, which effects not only the lights in the rooms, but also other equipment and machines. This is widely known to be the case, not only on Zanzibar, but in the whole country. We do hope the level of voltage will improve to next season. On behalf of Tanzanian Electricity Board, Sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Im happy to hear that the food was enjoyable but again not to pleased to hear about your drink been served after 15 minutes of waiting. We have responded to this and hope it will not happen again.
The issue of our relaxed and tranquile location, I cannot promise any improvements Im afraid, as this is our profile as hotel, to be a quite, relaxed retreat without disturbance of a discoteque or a noisy bar. Matemwe is a peaceful place, and I will emphasise this to the tour operators even more, so the guest know where they are going, avoiding in the future people getting bored as they have choosen the wrong place on the island.
These issues could have been taken up with the management during the stay and we could have responded rapidly and made your stay better with us. However, we hope the rest of your journey went well, and you still can remember your trip to east africa with a good spirit.
best regards
Jan
owner/manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Zanzibar Retreat Hotel

Address: Matemwe Beach | Zanzibar, Matemwe, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Matemwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 hotels in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Zanzibar Retreat Hotel 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small beach Retreat. Good food and drinks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zanzibar Retreat Matemwe
Zanzibar Retreat Hotel Matemwe

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