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“nice place, would recommend” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sunshine Hotel Zanzibar

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Sunshine Hotel Zanzibar
P.O. Box 4749, Matemwe 4749, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 7 Matemwe B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Toulouse, France
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
“nice place, would recommend”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2012

Booked direct with hotel and requested the garden room which was cheaper than the other rooms and situated near the reception area only a few metres from the pool area. All e mail correspondence was answered quickly and they arranged transport to pick us up from the airport ($50).
The room was lovely; downstairs was a sitting area and bathroom with an amazing power shower and upstairs a double bed, storage, desk and safe. No a/c in the room but don't let this put u off, ceiling fan and plenty of breeze through the window meant we were more than comfortable. Rooms cleaned immaculately every day and little flowers left on the bed. Also an evening turn down service where staff would put the mosquito net down and spray the room.
Food was very nice although a bit pricey in comparison to other hotels in immediate area. Amazing breakfast! There was a few choices of places to eat outside the hotel we tried Seles (very friendly staff, felt very welcomed, chilled out & good price), nyota (cheap, laid back place), hotel kiwa (very cheap but slow service) and zanzibar retreat (food ok but made to feel like an outsider, staff not very polite) I liked the fact we could chose different places each day but would have equally been happy to eat at sunshine everyday as the menu changed daily.
Beach on front of hotel was lovely white sand and clear warm sea. I went for an early morning run and felt totally safe on the beach.
Weather was mostly fine, a few spots of rain mid morning and one cloudy afternoon. Definitely bring a warm top to cover up in the evenings as its very windy here.
The pool area was big and we always had the pick of beds, plenty under shade, others directly overlooking the beach as well as sun loungers on the beach.
Staff at sunshine were all so friendly, pleasant and polite, particularly Ibraham who always greeted us with a smile and went out of his way to chat and ask how we were. We also met Doris & Rudi and their gorgeous dogs and Rudi was so kind in sharing his chocolate with me when I asked where I could get some from (chocolate is scarce in Zanzibar apparently).
Please also be aware that the hotel is in the middle of a small village, therefore it was difficult to get a good night sleep without being disturbed at 5am by the local mosque, dogs, chickens and various bugs that could be heard in the roof! I know this is completely out of the hotels control and part of the experience but thought it needed highlighting.
Only slight problem we had was no wifi for the week but regardless of this id highly recommend this hotel and think for the price we paid ($150 per night) it was good value for money and the best around in the area.

Room Tip: the cheaper garden room was great, not sure it is worth spending money on the more expensive rooms
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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.
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223 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2012

The Sunshine hotel is stunning. The location is idyllic, you are one step from the pool or the restaurant straight on to the beach - white sands, warm azure sea stretching for miles and pretty much all to yourself. The hotel is laid out in a thoughtful way with attractive and colourful gardens surrounding the bungalows and the pool area and restaurant facing the sea - it's not huge but big enought to find privacy if you want it and was never over crowded during our one week stay. We found the rooms spacious, simple but chic, comfortable, cool and unpretentious. Especially liked the memory foam mattress and being lulled to sleep every night by the sound of the waves breaking on the coral reef out at sea, sleep was not a problem. The area offers plenty of opportunity to swim, snorkel, dive or take boat trips. It's interesting to walk along the beach in either direction and there's plenty to see with local people and children harvesting seaweed, fishing and gathering shellfish along the shore. You can also pop into other hotels along the beach to have a drink or eat, we found all but one (one of the Italian hotels very welcoming.
The food was simple and the menu varied each day - delicious fresh fish always available - catch of the day, grills, chicken, interesting vegetable dishes using local vegetables such as okra and pumpkin - curries, samosa, soups, all attractively presented with salad garnish and many dishes served with chips or rice. The bread, croissant, cake and pastries served at breakfast and other meals were pretty and delicious, made by the chef at the hotel and different each day. We were pleasantly surprised by our bill at the end of the week and thought the food was very good value for money.
We found all the staff charming and helpful everywhere and the managers Rudi and Doris always available to help in any way they could - nothing was too much trouble.
Would have no hesitation in returning to Sunshine.

Room Tip: We liked the sea view rooms on the first floor of each bungalow, however the steps are quite steep s...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2012

... this hotel is a true gem!

The first impression when arriving is a bit bland, as you reach an uninspired facade with an armed guard (lots of purse snatching on the beaches around there) and the just as uninspired name plaque. However, once you enter the premises, you find a beautifully manicured garden (an old lady meticulously spends all day gathering fallen leaves), just a few bungalows (4 rooms in each, be sure to ask for an upper-floor one), a large semi-open restaurant area (with a cozy upper floor for a drink or borrow from their extensive book collection), two pools (did not use them, but they looked nice) and finally a very nice beach (could have used a few more deck chairs at times, but this was perfectly adequate overall). You will be accosted a number of times by locals (both men and women, and whether you are either) on the beach, as they try to sell you snorkelling trips or services of a more "personal" nature, but nothing too annoying. Be wary of purse snatchers on deck chairs at then end of the day though, as well as the high tide (which almost reaches the border of the hotel).

The (German) team is very efficient and quite nice, though at varying levels of smileness. They will let you borrow for as long as you want some masks and flippers, as well as the absolutely essential swimming slippers (the sand in the water is full of urchines, but there is still plenty of room to maneuver). Watching the algue growers here is an interesting thing.

The rooms are very well ventilated (sometimes too much at night due to the palm leaves roofs), and they have the most fabulous clove soaps you could dream of. Electricity availability (and hence water) sometimes fails (they have a relatively small generator, which they concentrate on the main building and kitchen), but that's the standard price for staying in this kind of area in a developing country. We had a bit of an issue to connect to the Internet at first, but that was due to the wrong password being written on the information sheets in the room; be sure to ask for the new one at reception.

Now for the food, which seems to be a let-down for numerous previous posters. I strongly disagree here, but you have to select carefuly from the menu. We never went for international dishes (does not make sense when there is so fresh sea food available), and almost always chose from the chalkboard. The grilled fish plates were always fresh and plentiful, with options of fries, rice or mixed vegetables. The squid salad is a perfect light lunch. The mixed plate is huge and all items are very tasty. The steamed pot is absolutely fantastic and also huge. The desserts are a bit of a let down in comparison, but we rarely wanted/needed them anyway. However, breakfast was indeed disappointing, with extremely dry pastries (except muffins), though the press coffee was excellent (a rarity in Tanzania, which is odd considering the reputation of the country on this side; be sure to order PRESS coffee and not instant coffee).

Room Tip: Be sure to ask for an upper floor room (and stock up on their fabulous clove soaps!)
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

We (a couple) stayed 5 nights in the Sunshine Hotel between the June the 13th and June the 19th. We arrived from Stone Town where we spent 2 nights in a wonderful hotel, quite traditional. A huge contrast with the Sunshine hotel which is (voluntarily) really international, too much for us.

Let's begin with the good points of the hotel:
- situation in Matemwe: easy access and possibility to visit the village of Matemwe where the locals are leaving, a huge contrast with the really clean hotels along the beach.
- beach in front the hotel: perfect to swim and discover the coral reef (by walking or swimming according to the tight). Plus, there are some locals in the beach offering differents types of services/ attractions: massages, snorkling tours, transfer to the airport or Stone Town, all at really good prices in comparison with the prices of the same services/attractions delivered by the hotel.
- Facilities of the hotel: 2 nice swimming pools (when the tight is low!), bikes available to visit the surroundings, palms and tuba for snorkling
- Room: we had a room in a bungalow in the first floor, with a nice balcony. The room was big and nice, including the bathroom. Only problem in the room, there is not enough light, so difficult to read or do anaything after the sunset (between 6:00 and 6:30 PM).
- Employees at the bar and restaurant really professional : nice and efficient.

Now the bad points:
- Restaurant of the hotel: we took the half board, huge mistake! The food has no taste, from the breakfast (at least there are some fresh fruit at breakfast to save us) to the dinner. The menu is really international, with 80% of the meals served with chips. We only had fresh fish one night (in 5 dinners!), even thought the hotel is located next to the local fish market of Matemwe. For lunch, it is worth than all: international food only at prohibitive costs: US$ 15 for a sub, where you can eat for 16000 Shillings some amazing fresh seafood in the small restaurants around (fortunately we discovered those small places around to enjoy a meal per day). The choices of wine for dinner is poor too (in comparison with the other places we have been in Tanzania, including in Safari in the Serengeti).
- The ambiance in the restaurant is ‘boring’: no local music, just some ambient music so relaxing than everybody is half asleep in the table at 8:30 PM. Consequence, everybody leaves the restaurant to go back to their room at 9:00 PM (I stayed one night a little bit later, the bar was closed and a armed guard with a huge gun welcomed me when I was on my way back to my room (quiet scary actually in the dark!).
- I can’t say that the owners (European people, not locals) are really friendly: they never talked to us (we stayed 5 nights, quiet a long stay), and were difficult to find, even at the end of our stay when we intended to pay our bill. To leave the place and go to the airport (we had to leave at 7:00 AM), we missed the last night the locals in the beach, to book a taxi. Result: the locals offered us the day before a price at US$ 35, the hotel charged us US$ 50, a huge difference according to the cost of living in Zanzibar.

So our advice will be this one: the Sunshine hotel is a really nice place to stay if you don’t mind to be in a really international environment (don’t come here to find the ‘true’ spirit of Zanzibar). And avoid the restaurant, really too expensive and poor in quality (prefer the local places along the beach).

Room Tip: Rooms at the first floor of the bungalows offer a nice view of the beach and sea (at the ground floo...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

We stayed two nights at Sunshine hotel, and had a fairly positive experience. The rooms are great. The set-up of the pools, restaurants, palm trees and whole lounging area is amazing! The set-up is very idyllic and relaxing, although a little busier than places a 5 minute walk south. However if you want a higher end (although not super high end as you will find elsewhere in Matemwe), this is the perfect place! The hotel managers were also very helpful.

The one negative is that we were very underwhelmed by the restaurant. At breakfast we found it hard to get attention to order our coffee and eggs, and were surprised to get fruit that wasn't ripe given the location. We also found dinner over-priced with out delivering the expected quality. However as the hotel doesn't do half-board, I would not have this stop you from staying here, but would suggest unlike us walking over to one of the many other hotels a 5-10 minute walk away for dinner.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franklin, Tennessee
Top Contributor
177 reviews 177 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2012

We stayed here 3 nights after a safari and absolutely loved it. The staff is great, the rooms and views are spectacular. We had this same view shown in the photo here and could listen to the ocean as we drifted to sleep. It was the perfect place to unwind and relax. The area is frequented by the locals since it is also a kelp plantation in the shallow waters. We rented a boat/guide to take us to the island to snorkel--a bit unsettling during the early morning as the waters were rough but the bright blue starfish and other creatures were wonderful to see. Massages on the beach for $40. And, they have a wonderful spice soap that was amazing.........I brought some back to remind myself of a wonderful stay.

Room Tip: 2nd floor best view of water.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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Zurich, Switzerland
Top Contributor
285 reviews 285 reviews
76 hotel reviews
Reviews in 89 cities Reviews in 89 cities
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2012

With fantastic hotels, you can always find a downside - which should of course not be neglected, as it in general leaves a foul taste of the experience. While we stayed several days at the Sunshine Hotel, the room was spectaculous - also the restaurant had a great setting and the multiple pools are in low season comfortable to scatter around and not get in each others ways. When we arrived, the pools were dirty - only a few days later did the hotel organize the pool to be cleaned which made a great difference. The staff is highly attentive to the guests and they are very friendly. The owners are from eastern Europe and sometimes you get the impression you are an obstacle on their premisses. Asking for the tip box, we were told, that it's not necessary - something that lets the staff down. Overall a nice place to staff

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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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Additional Information about Sunshine Hotel Zanzibar

Address: P.O. Box 4749, Matemwe 4749, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Matemwe
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Sunshine Hotel is a 16 room, beach hotel, located in Matemwe on the north-east coast of Zanzibar. Eco friendly, stylish and cozy, carefully designed by professional designers, creates a unique chill-out ambiance to make you feel happy and relaxed. Set right on the unspoiled white sandy beach, lined with palm trees and washed by warm, turquoise waters of Indian Ocean, it's a perfect gateway from everyday life. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunshine Hotel Zanzibar Matemwe

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