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“Disappointment in the service” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Upepo Boutique Beach Bungalows

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Upepo Boutique Beach Bungalows
Bwejuu Village beach, Bwejuu, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 7 Bwejuu B&B and Inns
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Disappointment in the service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2010

Although that Upepo is probably not the worst decision in Bwejuu, I can not share the opinion of the previous reviewers.

First of all getting to the Upepo was an adventure since there is no sign for the place. Even local people who have been asked by our taxi driver had no idea where Upepo is. I am still not sure whether we were just lucky that we have met the owner of Upepo in the middle of the village or he was actually looking for us, so he then led us to the place. If you will go to Upepo look for the White Beach Hotel sigh at the main road.

In particular, I want to express my disappointment over the quality of services in Upepo (with the exception of the cook, who is excellent). Bungalow (the bigger one) in which my family spend the second half of holidays in Zanzibar is basic, but spacious and clean as mentioned in the previous posts. Mosquito nets are provided. We received only three pillows though our family has four members. Upon request we get one extra, but they took it away when they got guests in the other remaining bungalow.

Bathroom is large, but without proper light (one dim red light), only cold water is provided, which was not such a big problem after all. Upepo problem is quality of service. The first impression was indeed very positive, smiling faces, everything we asked (it was not much) seemed feasible without any problem.
But output and realization of agreed was another matter. My biggest displeasure goes to the fact that my son celebrated his fifth birthday at Upepo and the first question that I asked at the check-in has been, if they can provide a small chocolate cake on which we can put the candles and wish him a happy birthday. Everything was no problem to them, but in the end it turned out that this was a big problem. We finally got the cake, which was not the cake at all, after few urging. It would be easier and more pleasant for all it they would simply say at the beginning that it could not be done and we would find another solution.
Regarding to food, which was great, the main problem was that we had to wait at least one hour and a half for our meal and the prices (food and drinks) are 20% higher than in all the surrounding restaurants. Breakfast is very basic and the same every single day (even the fruit) and the normal milk was not provided till the third morning of our stay even that we asked for it the first morning. Only plain omelette is possible (we could not get a boiled or fried egg).

Bungalow was cleaned without asking only the first day, and not been touched till the third day, when we asked them if they can clean it. I guess that happened because we were unpleasantly surprised by the price of TZS 20.000 for four pancakes. Although the price was later reduced by half we could not get rid of the feeling of over-charged food especially for the food that was not on the daily menu and the price has not been written.

Overall, for the price of the room, we certainly expected more - and I felt like it is definitely overpriced for what you get. In a month travelling around Kenya and Tanzania, Upepu was definitely the worst choice of accommodation and we regret that we were not somewhere else, where we could definitely better conclude our African journey.

I would also like to mentioned that the general problem in Bwejuu is low tide every day for at least four hours so, if you are after beach holidays, that isn't the place or find the accommodation with swimming pool.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 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
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Debs1923, Owner at Upepo Boutique Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, December 14, 2010
We always appreciate comments from our guests, and it is obvious that this guest has had a less than spectacular experience which we take to heart. We are more than happy to address our shortcomings and give our thoughts on how things can be improved. We have yet to have any complaints of Upepo being difficult to find as there are two (bright yellow) signs on the main roads as well as the front and back of the hotel. We always offer transportation to our guests from Stonetown with a reliable driver as some unscrupulous taxi drivers will pretend a hotel does not exist in order to bring them somewhere else where they will receive a commission. Perhaps this was the case in this instance. We do apologize for not having an extra pillow on hand and have remedied this situation. As a small hotel we had one pillow for each bed so when two children were placed in one bed we came up lacking. A birthday is a very special occasion and we are very sorry the special day was less than wonderful because we could not a produce a proper birthday cake. We have hosted weddings here with much success as well as Christmas and New Year parties and birthdays. We do want to stress that Bwejuu is a very small fishing village and there are two ovens available in the community to bake a cake (generally used to make bread for the villagers). We had hoped that we could produce a cake locally with the village oven but in the end (we are after all in Africa) sometimes things do not go exactly as planned and we did out best to produce something for the special occasion although we understand it was not enough. Perhaps better communication about the POSSIBILITY of the cake would have been more appropriate and we apologize. I think perhaps much of the disappointment of this guest was the expectation of a class of service provided by a more expensive hotel in a less remote area. We pride ourselves on fresh, local, home cooked, made to order meals and waiting an hour for a meal to be prepared is de rigeur for any restaurant here that prepares it's meals from scratch. Precooking food is not a good practice in a hot country so we believe we do not even cut into potato until you order your chips ! I understand that this can be frustrating with children so we advise our guests to order in advance and let us know what time they would like to eat. This would have been a good solution in this instance. We generally provide condensed milk with breakfast to our guests as "normal milk" tends to go bad very quickly in the heat. It is also not a mainstay of the local diet here so is not readily stocked in the store - we can only apologize for the 3 days it took to access it. We have only had compliments on our chocolate pancakes but we do apologize that perhaps it was not mentioned that one order of pancakes feeds two people. At 5000 tzs a plate ($3 US) we don't feel that this is a particularly expensive dessert for two people. We respect our guests' privacy and do everything to keep them comfortable and clean in their bungalows. As a small hotel we do not have a daily housecleaning service but our guests can ask us to clean their rooms as often as they feel comfortable (or we will generally do it every three days). We must maintain that we have very competitive prices for our rooms and for our food in terms of the quality of the experience you get here. There are many restaurants to choose from on the beach, all within walking distance and so every guest is free to make his or her choice about where they eat and how much they pay. I am glad this guest enjoyed our food but unfortunately did not enjoy the price nor the time it took for it to be prepared. We can only say that for the quality of food and the ingredients used to prepare it we feel it is fair and we have a high volume of restaurant traffic from guests of other hotels so we feel confident that we are doing something right in this regard. I do think that this guest would have been happier (as he suggested) with accommodation that included a swimming pool, and various other services that more befit a higher priced, larger hotel complex and not a small boutique bungalow accommodation such as ours. We do hope that we can make whatever improvements we can so that future guests will have a positive, relaxing and enjoyable vacation. Thank you for your comments and we are sorry your stay did not meet your expectations.
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52 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cape Town
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2010

Just returned from my 5th trip to Zanzibar. This time around I stayed at the
Upepo Boutique Beach Bungalows in Bwejuu - right at the beach on the south-east coast of Zanzibar. Their Zanzibar style bungalows are spacious and have big, very comfortable beds with mosquito nets, bathrooms with shower and toilet, separate room with wash basin. Accommodation is prized amazingly low, great value for money. One pays double that prize 5 km south in Paje for similar accommodation. The owners, Shareef and Fatima, are lovely hosts. Shareef is one of the best cooks that I encountered in Zanzibar so far - I ate at their beach restaurant every day of my 10 day stay: all kinds of fish, octopus, prawns - straight from the sea. The beach goes on for kilometers, white, powdery sand, lined with coconut trees - paradise! I relaxed on a deck chair right at the beach, or on one of the typical Zanzibari sun beds or on a hammock. Swimming is amazing and safe (Zanzibar is surrounded by a coral reef) - I just lied on my back, being gently rocked by the sea. I'll stay there again, definitely!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled solo
    • 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.
New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2009

Myself and my friend stayed here for 4 days and had everything we had hoped for. This small hotel was spotlessly clean and had a great garden with lots of places to sit / lie down and relax. Food was fantastic and was much better quality than anything else we ate in other restaurants in Bwejuu. Very kind hosts who showed us a lot of things to do and seem to speak any language you can come up with !!!! Beds were big and comfortable, bathrooms are clean and basic and we really appreciated the privacy of this little hotel - it was like having your own house on the beach! It is not a well known tourist hotel yet so a great gem if you can stay here.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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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Additional Information about Upepo Boutique Beach Bungalows

Address: Bwejuu Village beach, Bwejuu, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Bwejuu
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Bwejuu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Upepo Boutique Beach Bungalows offers the convenience of a hotel with private bungalows on the beach and a great breakfast included in the price. Set on a long white sand beach on the East Coast of Zanzibar, we offer a quiet safe environment to relax. Enjoy opportunities for snorkeling, diving, kite-surfing, or rent a bike and explore on your own. Our restaurant uses fresh local ingredients and serves Zanzibar dishes as well as International favorites. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Upepo Boutique Beach Bungalows Zanzibar/Bwejuu

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