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“The perfect Zanzibar Beach Lodge” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Matemwe Beach Village

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Matemwe Beach Village
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Matemwe, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 5 Matemwe B&B and Inns
UK
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“The perfect Zanzibar Beach Lodge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

This is one of my favourite places to stay. The rooms are very simple, but put together with love and attention to detail with well mended mosquito netting and lots of personal touches. The location is fantastic, it is on a really long and open beach of soft white sand and swaying palm trees. I is really nice here as although you can have privacy in the little bandas along the beach, you can watch life and the fishermen going about thier day. The food is really excellent and it is nice to have group dining a couple of times during our stay. But what really made me love this hotel is the staff. It is cool, relaxed, unpretentious and everyone makes you feel so welcome.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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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276 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

We stayed here in December and had a great time. The setting is lovely: right on an amazing empty beach, picturesque pool area, ambient dining rooms. The service was excellent and included nice touches such as different, special dining experiences. The food was fantastic, really the highlight of the stay (though I personally would have prefered a touch more choice but assume it is limited as based on what is fresh that day so perhaps understandable) and as good as many top restaurants in London. We snorkled with the dive shop and yes it wasn't cheap but it was a well run and managed trip, felt very safe in their hands. The accomodation itself is good and includes nice touches such as sarongs, but there is some disparity between the standards (size & location) of the non-suite rooms. Some are very well located for the beach but others are quite far back - this disparity should be reflected in the price but oddly all the non-suite rooms are the same price. I would expect the smaller rooms located at the back of the resort be priced marginally cheaper to compensate for the disaprity.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms at the back (13 and also maybe 12)
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

After our Safari trip headed to this beautiful hotel in north east Zanzibar. we took the upgrade room, the Asali Suite,(honeymoon) Wow we were over joyed at this choice, see pics, the staff were good and our room kept clean,although foot bath was dirty and the plunge pool not clean properly,but bedroom and rooms were kept very clean. dinnig food was good but not 5*, breakfast was full english with cerel if wanted, the hosts were also very good and helped if needed, beach is devine but the reef was a littl disappointing due human erosion and pilfering. felt safe there as guards on beach ever night. recommend trip to island to snorkel, saw range of fishes plus swam with dolhins. Bar area with pool very quiet and relaxing. Beach good to watch the ladies seaweed havesting, Also not too much seaweed to deter from swimming in the sea, but very shallow as it is an atol.

Room Tip: go for the upgrade Asali Suite it is well worth the privacy and morning view of sunrise from your be...
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Peoria, Illinois
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Our accommodations were quite close to the beach but separated by plants, thus giving it a sense of privacy. We liked the reality of the beach area in that locals were there harvesting and drying seaweed and heading out in dhows for fishing. Do be careful to ask permission to take pictures as Zanzibar is 95% Muslim and photos may not be appreciated. We had both OKs and No's and honored both.

The food was good. We got in very late and was offered a full meal even though the time for the evening meal was long past. They also had an evening outdoors where you would be placed at a table with strangers. For us, we had a delightful German family that had just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, so the stories were good.

Check out the reef walk which is only at low tide and is with a guide from the facility. Do remember to tip him for his efforts.

We received a complimentary massage because of our arrival problems (even though Matemwe Beach Village had nothing to do with the delays). However, the massage was not all that relaxing, but was another experience to have.

The room interior was spacious and included a broom to sweep out your sand. We were there in July and expected mosquitoes and did not experience any problems. We have more mosquitoes at home (in Illinois) but do come prepared.

Snorkeling was OK. The water was quite choppy and getting to the snorkeling site was an adventure itself.

Should we return to Zanzibar, we would definitely consider this facility.

Room Tip: Ask for room near the beach. Village noise will be less and you will feel more like you are on the...
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  • Stayed July 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
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

We stayed at Matemwe for 4 nights in December 2012 and would definitely recommend the resort.
The communal areas, including the bar and restaurant, are nicely decorated. There is a lovely pool and decking area, with enough shade for the midday heat. Being December it was nice and quiet, which suited us fine, but I guess the pool area could get crowded in more popular months, but it wasn't a problem for us.
Overall the food was excellent - the starters each evening were exceptional; the main meals were slightly less varied but still very good quality. There is also a daily lunch menu, which isn't cheap, but the dishes are good. On our last night we were treated to dinner on the beach under the stars, which was a lovely surprise and very special. All of the staff were friendly, polite and chatty.
The resort is set on a gorgeous stretch of white-sandy beach, with local women picking seaweed to sell at markets and fisherman mooring their boats. We were advised not give money to the women or any children and we found that we were only bothered once by a local trying to sell a fishing trip, but we politely declined and there was no problem. It is advised for women to cover shoulders and knees when along the beach and outside of the resort, in respect of the local culture.
We booked a dive trip through the resort, which was very good. We saw dolphins from the boat but unfortunately not under the water. There was still a good array of amazing creatures and we were guided around at a leisurely pace in a mixed-ability group of 6, which suited us fine.
The only reason not to give the resort 5 stars is because we were slightly disappointed with our bungalow. We were set quite far back from the beach and the bungalow was a little tired and in need of a revamp, despite its rustic, almost north-African style.
Overall, Matemwe is a lovely place to stay for a relaxing, chilled beach break.

Room Tip: Try and opt for a beach-front room
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bozeman, Montana
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

The best thing about this hotel is the excellent dive shop located on the property. Staff appear to genuinely care about their customers and they run safe, good-value trips. While the reef is not spectacular, the variety of fish is very good. We also saw several dolphins on our snorkeling trip. Guests I talked with were very happy with their PADI courses.

The beach is very attractive and lively. Unlike many other hotels, this hotel allows village women to collect seaweed at low tide and the beach itself is open. I applaud the hotel for working with the villagers. It makes the beach more lively and interesting. No one hassled us during our stay there. The hotel also deserves credit for hiring local people.

Unfortunately, service and facilities pale in comparison to Pongwe Beach Hotel, a similarly priced property in Zanzibar. At Pongwe, management made it their business to ensure you have an enjoyable stay. In contrast, service at Matemwe was reasonably efficient, but training appears to be at much lower level. Matemwe is a much bigger property, but there were often fewer staff available. When I had an issue with the room around midnight, I could not find a staff member or even a security guard in the office.

Facilities themselves were fair to good. The family shamba where our family stayed was away from the beach in a rather nondescript area. The shamba itself was reasonably comfortable although it was too hot in late December to use the upstairs covered deck area. We learned only after making an inquiry that air conditioning is not turned on until 9 p.m. and then appears to work intermittently. The ceiling fan in our bedroom was not adequate, but staff quickly brought a stand-up fan on request.

The pool was refreshing, but both the pool and the furniture could use some paint and updating. Food was satisfactory, but not outstanding. Best were the outdoor buffets where guests were -encouraged to share tables. Matemwe attracts an interesting cross-section of guests, but, for everything except the snorkeling/diving, Pongwe is a superior choice.

Room Tip: None of the rooms are advertised as beach view, but the family shambas are further away than many ot...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Vancouver
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

We loved the little cabanas, just steps from the beach! The rooms are basic, but very clean with your own little deck and every night the staff turn down your mosquito net and light little candles, which gives it a very majestic, far away vacation feel! The food was delicious and exceeded our expectations. Make sure to wake up early at least one morning for fresh coffee on the beach at sunrise! And, go for your complimentary sail. The beach is stunning and we loved that the area has not blocked locals from the beach, (people work the beach harvesting seaweed and you'll see kids playing in the sand) plus the accommodations in the area are small, helping to preserve the natural beauty. Respect the hotels request to not give the kids your valuables, this encourages begging, instead they have a fund to help the community if you feel like leaving behind a few dollars. We also went for a snorkel trip and it was fab, we dove in with dolphins and watched them fly by, and the shallow reef was very lively. We opted for snorkeling over diving as the reef is super shallow, so you don't see anything more by paying double to dive. Can't wait to come back! Maybe it's time to book another African adventure.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Matemwe Beach Village

Address: Matemwe, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Matemwe
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Matemwe
Also Known As:
Matemwe Beach Village Hotel Matemwe
Matemwe Beach Village Zanzibar

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