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“Loved everything - perfect paradise!” 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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Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Matemwe
Oslo, Norway
1 review
“Loved everything - perfect paradise!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

Zanzibar Retreat is by far and large one of the best hotels I've stayed at, for numerous reasons.

- Location-location-location: Zanzibar Retreat is located right on Matemwe beach which is a dreamy paradise with white sandy beaches and turquoise water.The tide pulls back during mid day, so swimming in the ocean in the morning or afternoon is best.
- The food is delicious and locally grown which makes it extremely tasty, i loved the fruit and vegetable combo in the salads. The kitchen changes the menu every day so you don't get bored. I'm usually not too fuzzed about fish or seafood, but was amazed at the fish-dishes they created and had the tuna on several occasions.
- The owner was away on holiday so the hotel was run by the assistant manager, Karin. A lovely, hands-on and fun lady who runs a tight ship and facilitates a peaceful and chilled atmosphere. You could tell that she cares deeply about making her guests feel at home and relaxed while staying at the hotel and approached each guest every day asking how they were, such a small gesture goes a long way in making you feel looked after. She assisted with everything from organizing tours to treating a sun-burn --- thumbs up for her, she was great. The waiters, chefs and housekeepers were all attentive and efficient.
- The rooms are medium-sized and have everything you need, with a safe and Zanzibarian chests and closets - looks very authentic and cool.
This is not a party place by any means, which attracts an slightly mature and cool crowd, the hotel is small (13 rooms I believe) and you get to know everyone there. I'd say this place is great if you're traveling solo. Will definitely come back!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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229 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (34)
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Lusaka, Zambia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

I stayed with my family (wife, 10-year and 4-year kids) for 5 days. The hotel is located just next to the sea shore with white powder-like sands. My children loved to swim and explore the seaside everyday. The hotel provided us some toys for kids to play on sands, so they never get bored. The hotel's swimming pool gave them other attraction.
The atmosphere of hotel was very peaceful. No music and no noise, but just sounds of winds and surfs surrounding you. It is good for "retreat" of your life, so I found many gentle couples and even single adults to stay there. In other words, if you were looking for a disco-tic life, this hotel is not your place. (If you want it, you go to Nunguwi beach on the northern part of the island)
While the atmosphere is good for adults who loves peaceful time, the family with small children (like us) never get isolation. Rather, the hotel staff welcomed us very much and talk to my children, so we (including my children) enjoyed our stay.
The hotel provides a selection of tasty foods including some for kids. For 3-4 days, you never get bored because of good selection. If you need a change of taste, you can find a restaurant attached to a lodge named "Village Kiva" (5 min walk by seaside to North) where you can enjoy simple foods such as pizza, sandwich, etc. (even slight BGM from 80's).
We booked for two rooms because of family size. The rooms and beds are not very big, but you cay stay well because they are kept clean.
I wished staying for more 3-4 days.
I will definitely come back again.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bristol, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2014

Amazing stay. The staff were fantastic - they were thoughtful and wonderfully efficient. They also were not robots. They also were interesting to talk to, but they knew when to leave you in peace. Faultless.

The food was delicious and varied. There is a restaurant just down the beach who's name I can't remember which is worth visiting, but you probably won't eat better than you will here. Being pretty indifferent to fish normally, I was blown away by the fish dishes they cooked at the hotel.

This holiday was completely perfect for me and my girlfriend because we had just come from a safari in Arusha and wanted nothing other than peace and quiet. We came in low season and it was VERY quiet here.

The hotel also offers snorkelling, massages, taxi service and other extras. Having stayed in Jambiani to the south I thought these were all highly overpriced and we didn't indulge in these extras. We did pay about $20 each (vrs. $45 each via the hotel) for a snorkelling trip with a local fisherman, independent to the hotel. While on the one hand, it was amazing and we swam with dolphins, but on the other hand shopping around for deals on the beach brings out the worst in some people and we did come across some unpleasant sellers. Also our 'guide' did not speak a word of English. So I suppose it is quite a personal choice on how you want to play it.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Paris, France
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2014

My friend told me it was a nice place to stay but I didn't expect it to be so great! The hotel is quite small (12 rooms) which gives you a certain exclusivity with the employees and their manager. We were supposed to spend one night and leave early the next morning but felt soooo good that we stayed the whole day without causing any trouble to the staff (apparently). The sand is just a dream and the way they got our room ready/welcome was incredible. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Geneva, Switzerland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2014

I stayed here last week for two days and nights and recommend it highly. The hotel itself is clean and comfortable, the food in the restaurant is very good and the hotel is in a beautiful quiet location right on a white-sand beach. I felt well there and found it easy to be able to relax, which is not something I do so easily. It was very meditative to sit on the cushions in the open-air restaurant under the palm trees listening to the methodical sound of the waves rolling in.

The staff are polite and seem happy and well-treated by the management, who are warm, friendly and professional. They went out of their way to help me feel comfortable and welcome. I am female and was traveling alone, yet I felt taken care of, from the start when I got picked up at the airport to the end when we made a dash from the spice market to the airport to make my flight by the skin of my teeth!! I really enjoyed my few days' stay and wish I could have stayed longer. Highly recommended :)

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Kristinehamn, Sweden
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2014

A cosy styled hotel far away from the tourist areas, but close to the perfect beach and the best diving areas. I had some wonderful dives and snorkeling with fabulos fish life, enourmous turtles and beautiful dolphins.
Diving and snorkeling companies are just some minutes away with car, or a nice walk by the beach.

All staff are very service minded, much above average in this part of the world, especially with this price. They always do their best to make your wishes come true. And this is about all areas, like off the meny requests at the restaurant, requests for special trips and taxi arrangement, and nice flower decorations on the bed at arrival.

I would recommend this hotel for adventurer (like me), families on vacation (like me), or anyone that want a totally relaxing place.

Room Tip: Small hotell with good standard on all rooms, The second floor rooms have a better view (if you plan...
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  • Stayed April 2014, 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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Kampala, Uganda
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2014

The Retreat is a cozy little place, situated under palm trees directly on Matemwe beach. I arrived from a noisy and busy Kampala looking for somewhere to relax for a few days, and I could not have found a better place! The Retreat is very laid back: it is quiet and peaceful, the staff is friendly (always smiling!) and there is a good restaurant with a nice veranda/terrace, serving great food from Zanzibar.

The Matemwe beach is gorgeous with turquoise water and white sand - and as a bonus the beach was almost empty when I was there in the end of April. Karin, the assistant manager at the Retreat, helped me arrange a snorkeling excursion (which included both the "Finding Nemo" fishes, as well as swimming with dolphins) - so if you do not want to hang out on the beach all day there are also great diving and snorkeling opportunities.

I warmly recommend this place and I plan to return to the Retreat this autumn - then brining my parents!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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*
Number of rooms: 10
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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