Spent one night at this lodge, but should have had two nights but we ended up not making it there after the cab driver could not find the place after 3 hours in route from the airport. So lets touch on the downside right away and get to the positives.
Nobody at the airport seemed to know where this lodge is. We stopped and talked to 3 other people along the way, even the stopped at the Sunshine Hotel to get directions. After then going off onto a dirt road for over an hour in the dark and nearly getting stuck in huge puddles we told the driver just to take us back to the Sunshine hotel and we will sort it out from there. It turns out the lodge was indeed down that long dirt road, but since there were zero signs to help, it was a lost cause. With that said, having been around the world to many sketchy places, the wife and I had never felt so uncomfortable as we did on a dark dirt road for over an hour. Had we known what to expect or saw just one sign indicating we were on the right path, we would have been fine. So with that said, I addressed it with the owner and he said signs were in the works. So just a heads up until that time, it is not an easy place for a standard cab driver to find. Perhaps pre-arranged taxi would be HIGHLY advised.
Now with that said, everything else was very pleasant with this lodge and after a night at the Sunshine Hotel, this place is exactly what we wanted! The level of noise from the village around the other hotel, (call to prayer, kids playing outside the walls, etc was not heard from the Marine lodge. It was so incredibly peaceful here in comparison.
The lodge grounds are spacious, immaculate and stunning! Again, just walking around the grounds was enjoyable. The pool area was also highly enjoyable. The internet here works very poorly but who cares, we are out in the middle of no where after all. There is usually a staff member around the bar to take drink or food orders, but as it was very slow this time of year we sometimes had to wait a few minutes to get service. No big deal at all.
The staff was very pleasant as well. Always smiling and they seemed very excited to serve you. Their English was rather good as well. Not great but good enough to allow no issues with food or drink orders.
Food options were also good. Nothing out of this world but was obviously prepared with care and the quality seemed to be very high. I think the only suggestion we would have is to maybe get some options of local flair. Nothing on the menu really screamed exotic or spicy like we would have hoped to see. Besides that, the french pressed coffee options was awesome! Bravo to them for doing something unique like that.
And finally the rooms. I believe they really are identical to the Sunshine Hotel. We had an ocean front suite on the first floor. The bed was not too firm and not too soft, and the pillows were of a high standard. The room got a bit hot at night when the power would go out. Nothing that we could handle with kicking the sheet off. The room really does allow for the natural breeze and sounds to come in which is great, but could also be a problem when you have neighbors that dont realize how loud they really are. Nothing a good pair of ear plugs cant handle.
Do not go here hoping for any beach time. The only time we set foot down there was in the late afternoon when the tide went out. This however was a fun walk down the way to a wide open beach where the fisherman anchor their boats.
All in all this is a great property that is VERY remote. There is no shops or other food options that is within a 30 minute cab ride at best. Go here if you want peace and quiet and are looking to hunker down by a gorgeous pool with great views and great staff. I truly wish this lodge the best of luck in the future and would recommend this place to those that understand all of its attributes.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Lodge is situated 20min. Far away from Matemwe, just in front of the beautiful Mnemba Atoll and near the unspoiled Muyuni Beach. Surrounded by a wild bush (local flora), Sunshine Marine Lodge is the ideal location to relax, enjoy the pure nature and the Dive Point diving center's activities (diving, snorkeling, dive courses), far away from the mass tourism and huge properties "all inclusive". The Lodge disposes of 3 outdoor pools overlooking the Ocean and Mnemba Atoll as well the Restaurant and Bar. Guests can choose from "a' la carte menu" tasty dishes from local and international cuisine, different all the days and cooked only with fresh ingredients and lovely care. Half or Full board are provided on request. As located on a rocky cliff, the wooden jetty gives the chance to reach the sea and swim or, on the low tide, do a nice promenade in the sea bottom and discover creeks, wild fauna or reach Muyuni Beach (700mt on foot or 15 minutes by bike). Our diving center provide for special reef shoes and mountain bikes are available at the reception, for free. All the bungalows are within a lush and colored garden. Bedrooms have an African modern design, with sea view, from the private garden with veranda or the terrace, all equipped with outdoor furniture to chilling out in privacy. King size bed with mosquito net, desk, stone bench, bathroom with shower, safe, 3 fans (no a/c and TV), are the main features in all the categories. Family, friends or little groups are welcome thanks to the huge Panorama Suites, suitable up to 4 people or extra/twin beds available in most of the other rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sunshine Marine Lodge Matemwe, Zanzibar