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“What an amazing place, absolutely perfect...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Boutique Hotel Matlai

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Boutique Hotel Matlai
4.0 of 5 Guest house   |   P.O. Box 3464, Pingwe, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Pingwe B&B and Inns
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“What an amazing place, absolutely perfect...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

My husband and I just spent 7 nights in boutique hotel Matlai, and have been blown away by the service and quality from the moment we arrived. We hope to come back to this superb hotel very soon. We've been in some great hotels, but this is a very special place with high quality at a small and intimate scale, making you feel at home from the very first minute.
The house is right at the beach and looks brand-new, using high quality natural materials and eye for detail, making the experience feel very comfortable and luxurious. We had chosen an upstairs room (there are 4 rooms only, 2 downstairs and 2 upstairs, so a small-scale and relaxed atmosphere) with amazing sea views awaiting us from the room and whilst having breakfast or lounging on our balcony. We would recommend upstairs over downstairs because of the views. The room was huge, well designed, very bright, with a great bed that was decorated with flowers every day, and with an enormous bathroom that overlooks the beach. Although it was quite windy when we were there, this actually was no problem at all using the rather open bathroom, it more added to the beach-experience. By design of the house, the inside is always very cool and refreshing, which is welcoming because of the hot climate of Zanzibar.
The beach and garden surrounding the house offer several options for relaxing and sunbathing (there is always a sunny or shady spot to choose), and the pool is very refreshing. We went diving a couple of times through the next-door hotel (a short walk), made a dolphin tour (very recommended!), and also were able to have a great massage in the on-site little spa, where you overlook the beautiful beach. Tim (the manager) arranges the tours for you and has some great connections for that.
The personal butler service is something we had never experienced before, and this really makes the experience such a treat. Omar (the head butler) makes sure you get everything you can imagine, and the hotel has got an amazing chef who can make just about everything you want and very very delicious! The meals were a real pleasure every time, and the locations were different every evening. We especially loved the full-moon private beach dinner under the stars, surrounded by candles, the open air cinema dinner and the very romantic Swahili style dinner on our last day. Omar is incredibly creative, and we recommend to just let him surprise you...
All in all, this was an incredible week which seemed to last a lot longer because of all the great and varied experiences... very highly recommended.

  • Stayed January 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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63 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    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 (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Riga, Latvia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

Very good location with perfect view from your room (bed). Boutique room interior with small details. Amazing looking outdoor bathroom, but shower was very unpractical and it is very windy in the evenings. Be informed that the outdoor pool contains salted sea water, so be ready to shower after each pool visit. Personal and kind attitude form the owners as they are on the spot all the time. Recommended.

  • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

We stayed in the hotel for 2 Weeks before Xmas 2012. The owners are extremly friendly and helpful and the best is that they have service totally tailored to your needs. You tell them what you want to eat and the cook cooks it for you. The Butler "Omari" was really nice & helpful and made sure all our wishes were fulfilled.

Overall a really amazing experience. The internet is quite good too for African standards!

Room Tip: I would recommend the upper rooms!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

This was the culmination of a three week holiday to Tanzania and turned out to be the icing on the cake. We arrived on an evening flight from Kilimanjaro (Precision Air) and were promptly met at the airport by our driver (complete with air conditioned vehicle - a first for the holiday and very much welcomed!) who took us on the hour or so journey across the island to the Matlai.

Upon arrival we were met by Tim and Inge who made us feel at home right away. Tim kindly gave us an overview of the hotel and its beautiful facilities, followed by handing us a mobile phone "should we require anything at any time on the island" - an excellent touch. Next we were handed over to Omar (the self confessed "crazy butler") who had prepared us an excellent dinner for the evening, served in one of the many dining areas in the garden. The food is great. Fresh, well prepared, local ingredients combined into delicious meals at your request, or, Omar is more than happy to surprise you with something different should you be feeling indecisive. We had heard many good reviews about "The Rock" restaurant a short walk down the beach, but we didn't feel the need to eat out as each meal at the Matlai is so varied - The rock lobster is particularly recommended.

We spent most of our time relaxing in the hotel gardens, snorkelling at low tide, swimming around the pool or simply chilling on the balcony. What's nice is that there are so many different areas within the hotel grounds to enjoy. Hammocks, sun loungers, an awesome wicker basket "pod", a hanging bed, floating pool cushions, or simply a seat at the bar where Salim the barman will happily conjure up a cocktail or two (perfect for pre-dinner drinks).

One evening we casually mentioned to Tim about doing some fishing over a few drinks in the bar. The next morning Omar informed us over breakfast that "your boat is waiting on the beach where some local fishermen will take you out for a morning of fishing". What a great surprise! We caught twenty eight fish and even had the chef prepare some for our lunch - very satisfying indeed.

Another night Tim set up an outdoor cinema for us. We watched a film under the stars while Omar served us dinner - a lovely treat. Later in the week my girlfriend made the most of the Spa service and indulged in a massage with one of the local masseuse organised by the Hotel. Something she highly recommends. We finished off the holiday with a guided tour around a spice farm and a tour of Stone Town - this is a must for anyone visiting Zanzibar and a great day out.

One thing worth noting is that when walking on the beach, brace yourself for being targeted by local salesmen, aka "the beach boys", trying to sell you anything from day-trips to football shirts. Although persistent, they are all very friendly and soon get the message if you tell them "thanks, but no thanks" sooner rather than later.

Overall this was a wonderful stay in what is best described as paradise. The attention to detail is amazing and the level of service outstanding. Inge, Tim and Omar really go the extra mile to ensure you have a memorable stay. We will certainly treasure the time we spent at Matlai and hope to return one day soon!

  • Stayed December 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

My wife and I found this gem via Tripadvisor, and decided to spend a few days here during our 20th wedding anniversary trip to Zanzibar.
From the moment we arrived (after quite a long drive from Stone Town; note that the taxi driver may need to search a bit!) I know this would be heaven. Tim, the General Manager, welcomed us personally and warmly. He put a small mobile phone in my hand: "for you to use on the island, and to reach out to me, the butler (!!) or the chef cook at any time".
We loved the privacy (so much respected by all the staff), the food (the chef works miracles, each time) and the location.
I have little to add to the very detailed and accurate description of the other recent reviewers, so will focus on a few other points:
- the best time for snorkelling is at low tide. The water pulls back for about 500 metres, so be prepared to walk (water shoes or water sandals recommended). Then you swim across a small channel, and then you walk on the whitest sand bank ever. The sand is so white, and finer than even grains; it is almost like plaster. At the far end of the sand bank (now you are about half a mile from the beach) you slide in to the crystal clear and warm water and there is fish everywhere! Tim will tell you where to go, but in essence it is right in front of the hotel. Leave at least 45 minutes before the low tide (a calendar with all tide times is available).
- if you like a jog, go to the right: you first pass the local village, and a small resort, but then you have a few kilometres of empty beach for you. Again, low tide is best (but it does not have to be at the lowest, so you can do it before or after the snorkelling). The sand is not too lose, so it makes for pleasant running.
- the well-know restaurant The Rock is about 500 metres to the right of the hotel. The setting is truly unique (look it up on the net), and I took so many photos. When staying at Matlai you will never go hungry, but it is still nice to visit The Rock, if only for a coffee or so.
- about the same distance to the left you have a big resort, but we really never saw many of these guests; they seem to stay around the pool and on the hotel grounds. It is worth a visit.
- last but not least, because of the purpose of our visit, Tim and his crew had adorned our suite in honeymoon style: it was lovely.
Thank you to the whole Matlai crew: we loved it! Keep up the quality and care. We would love to come back!

  • Stayed November 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Accra, Ghana
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

This place is outstanding, one of the nicest places I’ve ever been. We spent a couple of wonderful days in this small boutique hotel in the Northeast of Zanzibar. The German family-run place has only 4 rooms, all beautifully designed according to the 4 elements: a fire, water, earth and air room. All rooms and their terraces/balconies face the stunning beach and also a quite unique pool (as shown on the picture). The hotel is really good for spending honeymoon, but also for friends or family holidays or just for a couple of days relaxation. They have a lot of stuff there for guest to rent/try/do: boule/boccia, kubb, dart, beach volleyball, snorkeling equipment, a library with over 250 different movies and approx 100 books, open air cinema, x-box, massage, diving and kite-surfing not far from there, etc. etc. But these things are not offered actively like in one of these clubs. the atmosphere is very relaxed. The staff is very helpful and friendly. They have a main house where the 4 rooms are located, a unique pool which forms the centre of the “resort”, terraces as well as a separated restaurant and bar which can be used by guests, but also by other people. We spent wonderful days there: Thumbs up!

Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
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Dar es Salaam
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

It was the second time staying at Matlai. It is indeed a piece of paradise on earth. Spacious luxury rooms with superb bathroom. Excellent service and very good food. Breakfast can even be taken in the afternoon. Very friendly and professional management. Inviting nice swimming pool located right at the beach.

Room Tip: rooms at ground floor. Direct access to beach
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  • Stayed October 2012, 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
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 Boutique Hotel Matlai

Address: P.O. Box 3464, Pingwe, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Pingwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Pingwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Boutique Hotel Matlai 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Matlai is designed as an exclusive villa resort for people seeking a high level of comfort and privacy in a relaxed atmosphere. Our first villa, Asili House consists of four bedrooms, named and decorated after the four elements. All rooms are equipped with dressing room, bathroom and balcony or terrace and have a fantastic sea view. The furniture are unique and handmade by local craftsmen. Asili House is perfect for groups or families. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Boutique Hotel Matlai Zanzibar/Pingwe

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