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“Perfect place ready for romance and relaxing” 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
Cairns, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Perfect place ready for romance and relaxing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

After extensive research my partner and I decided to spend a night at Matlai - and what a glorious night it was! We had been staying in much cheaper accommodation for a few days to save up and were keen for some luxury. On arrival we received a lovely fresh coconut and a cold towel and were shown to our lovely suite by a hotel intern. Our room 'Dunia' was made in white and earth tones and opened gloriously onto a sizable patio directly over the sand of Pingwe Beach. Tastefully decorated the room was spacious, had everything we needed and more and made us instantly feel at home (if only my home was that beautiful). The room included an IPod player, robes and slippers, beach towels and candles. Then we stepped into the bathroom and were blown away. I am a bathroom girl, living in Tanzania, I miss having a bath. And there it was - a beautiful clawfoot bath sprinkled with flowers and waiting for me. Almost in the open air it was surrounded by local sticks and flowing curtains and the Zanzibar breeze just floated through the room. I was in heaven. Everything in this hotel was done to a high standard using local materials where appropriate and beautiful European addins where required. The finishes on the rooms were first rate and it was very clear they had used good tradesman. very important to the overall look and feel of a place.
I judge a hotel strongly by its mattress and I just think there is no excuse for a poor mattress even in a $30 a night place. Matlai well and truly measured up and once i got to bed I slept like a princess (and felt like one too). THe sheets were crisp, white and there were all sorts of pillows to choose from. From our bed we gazed directly onto the ocean and the beautiful moon. Heavenly.
The food was good and solid and the desserts were really very excellent. We bought a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc for $16 a very reasonable prince considering most even chepaer hotels in Tz charge 30,000 to 40,000 Tsh per bottle ($20-30) Our food was served by Ramadan the butler and he did a great job and was not intrusive on our special time.
Matlai almost overhangs the beach and we happened to be there on a full moon, so as the night moved along we watched an orange moon rise and reflect a beautiful image onto the sea.
We also managed to squeeze in a swim in their lovely pool which was partly shaded and nice and deep. The shade is very necessary in Zanzibar in summer. One comment I would make about the pool is that it could have a little ledge for sitting on the area closest to the ocean. But that is just a minor detail. In the back of the property is a beautiful garden, where you can eat your meals, relax on hammocks and generally chill out. They also offer movies under the stars - and although we did not take advantage - I know it would be wonderful.
If Matlai can manage to keep the property as polished and as well maintained as it is, then they will continue to be a success. With only 4 rooms, that was what we loved - the intimacy, the personal touches and feeling like it was our own home. My partner and I have both worked in luxury lodges in Tanzania and Zanzibar and we think this one is one of the best small hotels on Zanzibar. It feels luxurious but doesnt have the price tag attached.
We have already talked about having our wedding in this beautiful setting and I couldnt think of a better place.
TRY IT! (But book early!)

Room Tip: All rooms are different and all are special. But we especially liked the downstairs room because the...
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  • Stayed May 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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58 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

We spent two nights and booked the whole house. A very welcoming and warm Place. Everyone in our group had a great time from the youngest to the oldest. The place is beautifully decorated with furniture chosen with great taste. My kids also loved the outbags to lounge on.
The beach was beautiful and the pool was the perfect size. Food was always delicious, the table for our first dinner was decorated as if we were attending a wedding. we felt so special during the whole stay. the staff was outstanding and professional. We danced with all the staff as we had taarab musicians over. Unforgettable moments. The hotel arranged everything for us: the taxi, the dolphin safari, the musicians....
We will definitely come back and will recommend to all my friends who live in Dar.
Thank you very much Inge, Tim, Omar, Ramhadani, The chef, the cook, the housekeepers, Gardners, guards, ... You made our stay just perfect.

  • Stayed May 2013, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

3 nights in hot season. Received with fresh coconut water; gorgeous shower to wash off sweat and salt water; obligatory bathtub annexed to palace size room; circular swimming pool in lobby facing the sea; swimming at high tide in 30 degree ocean; walking with octopus fisher women from the village at low tide. Probably the best coral reef on the east coast at Blue Lagoon, ideal for amateur snorkellers. Reached by short boat trip
Exorbitant pampering, a splendid view and plenty of cooling breeze from the ocean in all 4 rooms. Not to mention many laughs with the good humoured waiters.
Ideal combined with longer stay in Stone Town - if not on low cost budget.

Room Tip: all 4 rooms are excellent
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riga, Latvia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

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Additional Information about Boutique Hotel Matlai

Also Known As:
Boutique Hotel Matlai Zanzibar/Pingwe
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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