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!)
- Also Known As:
- Boutique Hotel Matlai Zanzibar/Pingwe
- 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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