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“Exceptional hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Residence Zanzibar

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The Residence Zanzibar
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Mchangamle, Kizimkazi 2404, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Free Pool diving lessons!
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Staffordshire England
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Exceptional hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

We have been lucky enough to stay in some beautiful hotels around the world, and this one certainly ranks as one of the best places we have stayed. The hotel is beautiful and the service excellent, every member of staff that we met was very friendly and professional, always greeted us with a smile. The food was wonderful with a good variety, we ate at both restaurants and found both to be equally high quality, the live music in the evenings was also very good. The villa itself was large, beautiful and extremely comfortable, each having it's own swimming pool, wi fi is good. We stayed in a garden view villa which was very private and so quiet, some of the ocean view villas are not so private as they lead straight onto the beach. Travelling around the hotel grounds on the bikes was fun in itself.
The road to the hotel that seems to receive so many comments is not a problem at all, it is simply a bumpy gravel road that allows the hotel to remain hidden until the last minute. The beach is extremely private with no hassle from beach sellers that is quite often a problem in Zanzibar. A truly wonderful experience with friendly attentive staff. Thank you for a fabulous stay.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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504 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

We just got back from a 4-night stay at the Residence in Kizimkazi, in southern Zanzibar. We had very mixed feelings about our stay and we are not sure why the reviews here on Tripadvisor are so glowing and overwhelmingly positive.

First of all, there are a lot of positives that you will get from staying here. The grounds are immaculate. The staff is very friendly and the service is impeccable. The private villa with your own pool is a nice place to truly escape from the world. When you are there you really are in complete seclusion and you easily forget that there is a real world outside the confines of the Residence.

There are only two negative things that I can say about this hotel but both are pretty big negatives for me.

First, the beach is nowhere close to what you find in other parts of Zanzibar. We visited about 10 different beaches around the island and the Residence's beach was by far the least attractive and didn't really motivate us in any way. It was, quite frankly, an ugly beach in comparison to those found at Nungwi, Kendwa, Paje, Pongwe, Michamvi, Matemwe... What's more there is no authentic life on the beach. You get used to liking to see local life going on around you, dhows bobbing up and down in the water, local fishermen milling around. At the Residence, there wasn't much of that.

Second, the food. Oh my god. It is pretty hard to reconcile three buffet-style meals a day with a hotel that is one of the Leading Hotels of the World and brands itself as 5-star luxury. Day after day we saw the same regurgitated stuff served over and over again but presented in different variations. The Residence does its desserts well, no doubt about it, but everything else was underwhelming. We ate, to put it mildly, badly. The quality of the ingredients was not up to par, the food was very hit and miss, and by the end of our 4 days we were screaming for a decent sit-down meal. Not at all what we paid for, and not at all what should be expected, especially since it is French-owned and the French, of all people, are very attentive to what is on their plates.

So, if you are a gourmand and like to look at beautiful beaches, stay away from the Residence. Otherwise, it is the best place you can aim for to get away from it all.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michel F, General Manager at The Residence Zanzibar, responded to this review, August 22, 2014
Dear Sir,

Thank you for taking the time in reviewing our property and please note that your constructive feedback has been shared with our top management team.
We are delighted that your stay amongst us enabled you to escape from the real world.
Besides, we are blessed to acknowledge your comments where you noted that you did enjoy your private villa and appreciate the service of our team.

We feel nonetheless concerned by the fact that you did not find yourselves satisfied with our beach.
A particularity of east of Africa is the variance between the high and low tides.
All around the island of Zanzibar, all beaches are affected by tides that come out as well as Kizimkazi affected by this variance. We sincerely do apologize for this inconvenience and hope that our water sports and our stunning ocean facing swimming pool did compensate your disappointment regarding our authentic beach.

We have also taken good note as regards to your food and beverage experience and feel delighted to know that you did appreciate our dessert suggestions.
Although we operate buffet meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we always give the alternative of a la carte and market menu for any guest who would rather enjoy a sit-down meal.
Our continuous food service by the swimming pool and our room service facilities may also be seen as alternatives for the suggestions of our two restaurants. We extend our sincere apologies to you for not having fully enjoyed our food but please note that our executive chef has been receiving high quality training on international 5 stars cooking standards.

We trust our answer will satisfy you, and, finally, we truly want to thank you for your constructive comments and hope we will have the pleasure to welcome you again in our beautiful resort.

With my personal best regards,

Michel Fredric,
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bucharest, Romania
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

Amazing! Fantastic experience,people,food,restaurants&more. It's perfect for kids, adults, actually for all kind of ages! I've been in fantastic places in this world, but here I really felt like my home away from home in that 2 weeks! If you ever travel to Zanzibar, this hotel is a MUST!

Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2014

It maybe that we have been spoilt?! but after an arduous journey to get here, staying here was not what we expected and was a disappointment for us all
Leaving the main road (which is good condition) there is a very rough, slow drive up to the main gates (approx 15-20 mins) once through them it promises what you may have expected. beautiful tropical plants, a welcome by staff, and views towards the Indian ocean. The rooms are comfortable and spread throughout the extensive grounds, every guest is supplied a bicycle to get around. There clearly has been a lot of thought into this hotel, however it stops short of the mark expected.
We were assigned our own butler for all our needs, but never saw her again after checking in.
As we were staying during Ramadan it seemed to mean that only restaurant open was the main one which had a themed buffet every night. Management insisted that the Al la Carte restaurant was closed due to refurbishment, however a member of staff implied it was due to the religious holiday, we never saw a workman during our stay.working there, however they were in other parts of the hotel. (guests should really be notified in advance of their stay if work is in process.)
The beachside service only seems to work by the main bar area, despite notes stuck on the parasols of the extension to ring from your room for service, after 5 days of staying we were still waiting for towels and refreshments.
The hotel was less than 1/3 full but service was barely manageable. God help them when/if its ever full.
The mini bar in the rooms was seldom re filled even after requesting it to be.
Some of the staff are surly and either find it hard to understand us or we them!
The buffet breakfast slightly lacks imagination and fresh fruit /fresh squeezed juices, despite the abundance of fruit in Stonestown.
All in all it was a disappointment, The Residence Company need to apply some attention to detail throughout the hotel.
The service wasn't really up to the mark.
I hate writing a negative report, it is nearly really good. maybe only one restaurant being open wouldn't have been so bad if there were other places to eat around and about, but there isn't!
I do hope the upper management team take heed.

Room Tip: beach front
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michel F, General Manager at The Residence Zanzibar, responded to this review, August 18, 2014
Dear Sir,

Thank you for taking the time in posting your comments on our property and the services offered.
This is indeed of precious help for future travellers.

It is with deep regret that we read about the shortfall and delay in our services which your family had to encounter during this family vacation time which indeed does not reflect the image The Residence Zanzibar.

Your constructive feedback regarding the road coming to our beautiful resort has been shared with our top management team for consideration.

We are glad that you have enjoyed property. We are blessed to have our 66 villas spread over a manicured garden of 32 hectares. Every one of our guest has the pleasure of enjoying his own private space and intimacy amongst lush vegetation and discover the property at their convenience on their bikes.

It is true to say that it did happen that we have closed The Pavilion restaurant on certain evenings for deep cleaning and maintenance works. On those evenings, in addition to the offering of the Dining Room, our main restaurant, the Chef was delighted to extend the menu of the Pavilion at The Dining room as well. Note that we do not have an All Inclusive restaurant as all our guests have the choice of dining either at our thematic restaurant or the Dining room facing the beauty Indian Ocean waters.

During your stay, we did encounter a major pipe bust on the resort while the entire zone was shut down during the repairs for the comfort of our guests.

We take great pride in ensuring that all our customers are being looked after in the most efficient and professional way. The positive as well as the negative feedback has been shared among the team in order to prevent any kind of recurrence and our Quality & Training Dept has been involved for the monitoring of service standards and are key to our continued process to improving the quality of our service delivery and the experience we offer to our guests.

Sir, once again, we thank you for your input in helping us to improve our service standards.

With the warm regards from all the Residence Team and myself.

Michel Fredric,
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2014 via mobile

An hours drive from Zanzibar airport is probably one of the most spectacular hotels I have ever seen. Wonderful setting by the see. All luxury villas with private pool and beautifully fitted. Very friendly staff everywhere a SPA to die for and excellent restaurants. The price does reflect all this extravaganza but you only live once

  • Stayed August 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schlieren, Switzerland
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2014

As an introduction I have to say, that the Hotel is a Leading hotel of the world and I make my statement regarding the expected level of such a hotel. The price is definitely high and therefore a perfect service and rooms can be expected. As far as we are concerned, there is room for improvement.

Rooms: Nice big rooms, but one day it was raining and the roof was leaking. It seemed that this was not an exception. Big bathrooms. Nice size of private swimming pools.

Location: Very remote - 1 1/4 hrs from the Airport; last bit takes 15 minutes to drive on a dirt road (a grader would do good to make the street more even).

Infrastructure: Nice as long as it is not raining. One day it was pouring with rain and the breakfast room was flooded. The breakfast area had too many tables and some places didn't feel that comfortable to sit (an idea for the management: make the lounge area, where not a lot of people sit smaller and take some of the white pots out...). Whenever it is warm and nice enough, then there is space on the terrace.

Beach: We stayed there 7 days and nobody swam in the ocean - you have to take the boat to go to snorkel. From the beach I think the Ocean is not really accessible during low tide.

Service: Despite many reviews I thought that the service was absolutely not up to the expected standard. When we arrived, we got the welcome drink, felt a little rushed and then brought to the room. After 15 Minutes an employee came - we were in the middle of unpacking and taking showers and forced us to fill in the registration (why not do it right up front ?). We could not bring the form to the reception (not acceptable in a 5 star hotel). Our room servicant was not sufficient - the first evening she didn't show up, after we send her away to come later, because we were preparing for dinner. The second day she came in the middle of the day and it took her over an hour to clean the room. I asked her to come during breakfast hours to clean the room, which did not work out. The third day we had the leaking roof and there was nowhere really to go and the workers were there (we didn't know what to do or where to go, because we had no clue, what they were doing...) and the maid just left and didn't come back ?! When we went for a walk that day, I called that the room was still not done (at 2 pm !!) and when we came back 45 minutes, nothing was still done ?? (we are talking about a leading hotel of the world... ). I got angry and I went to the reception to ask for the manager in charge - he told me, he takes care of it. At that time I was just angry to have spent so much money for so little service (we had at the Bushtop excellent service, so it is possible). On the fourth day the maid came again in the afternoon - nothing changed (I got the idea, that the maid didn't speak English...???). In the afternoon the supervisor of the maid came and asked me, if I'm happy with the service - she had absolutely no clue that I complained several times. Next day we wanted to go on the snorkelling trip, but as every other day, we didn't get the information paper with all information for the next day. We reassured at the reception about the time - the gentlemen there had no idea and told us, that if anything changes, we will get a call. What a surprise next mornging, the boat has left without us, because it was 30 minutes earlier, then on the list.
Also for breakfast or dinner - my son asked for a Fanta and got a Coke. Or one Fanta and we got two...
For me this is far away from a standard of even a 4 star hotel. The people seem to be willing, but also in the service they run around, but it is inefficient and you have to wait way too long. A lot of staff, what many who have no education in gastronomy and I should not feel this as a guest and you definitely do so. The General Manager became aware of our situation and offered us a very lovely boat trip, we enjoyed a lot. Nevertheless so many mistakes can't happen, can they ?

Food: The buffets were nice, the cold food was good. The hot dishes are very often mediocre, because there not really warm. The food is precooked and just warmed up - also as far as I'm concerned not state of the art. A la carte was nice, when you have a lot of patience. The atmosphere there is a lot better.

Prices: If you are on have board, the prices are the same as in Switzerland - you pay 5 USD for a mineral water or a Coke. This is exaggerated. Alcohol on the other side is not so expensive - 6 USD for a glass of wine. At lunch you pay for a pizza 22 to 25 USD for Pasta or Pizza or even a salad (???). Since we ate all the time during the Safari, we enjoy just a small lunch, but this is not correct.

Overall an unpleasant experience we made and we would recommend to go to other hotels on Zanzibar.

Room Tip: The beachfront rooms from number 117 upwards have a kind of a garden in front of the pools with love...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michel F, General Manager at The Residence Zanzibar, responded to this review, August 14, 2014
Dear Madam,

Thank you for taking the time in reviewing our property and the services offered which is indeed of precious help for future travellers.

It is with deep regret that we read about the shortfall and delay in our services which your family had to encounter during this family time which indeed does not reflect the image of The Residence Zanzibar.

Your constructive feedback regarding the road coming to our beautiful resort has been shared with our top management team for consideration.

We deeply regret the miscommunication which occurred between our Engineering team, Housekeeping or even your dining experience thus resulting in frustration and rest assured that this has been addressed with the team.

As regards to the tide situation, please note that a particularity of East Africa is the variance between the high and low tides. All around the island of Zanzibar, all beaches are affected with a tide that comes out and at The Residence Zanzibar we are also affected by this variance (2 to 3meters). Candid photos and texts posted on our website or on Trip Advisor by previous guests during the high and low tides are plentiful and will give anyone coming to this part of the world an idea of what to expect and this is one of the reasons why The Residence Zanzibar prides itself with a total of 68 pools for its 66 all-villas property.

We take great pride in ensuring that all our customers are being looked after in the most efficient and professional way. The positive as well as the negative feedback has been shared among the team in order to prevent any kind of recurrence and our Quality & Training Dept has been involved for the monitoring of service standards and are key to our continued process to improving the quality of our service delivery and the experience we offer to our guests.

Madam, once again, we thank you for your input in helping us to improve our service standards.

With the warm regards from all the Residence Team and myself.

Michel Fredric,
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2014

Our family of 4 (2 children 10 & 13) stayed at the Residence for 8 nights after having a safari in the Selous Game Reserve. The hotel is beautiful and situated about an hours drive away from the airport. It is in a very quiet area and is best suited if you are looking to switch off and relax. We stayed in an Ocean View Prestige Villa which was beautiful and had its own plunge pool. During the day we relaxed by the pool, used the gym and played tennis when it was cooler. There are some water sports on offer but the sea was quite choppy when we were there so we didn't really make use of them. All the staff without exception are so lovely. They cannot do enough for you and really want to make sure you are looked after. A special mention has to go to Mcdonald and Kiondo (spelling?) who were always so welcoming and attentive by the pool and in the restaurant. I would recommend this hotel particularly to families who want to spend quality time together and of course to couples wanting to get away from it all.

Room Tip: An ocean view villa is fantastic and we did find out that there are 2 bedroom villas that are not ad...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Residence Zanzibar

Address: Mchangamle, Kizimkazi 2404, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Kizimkazi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Residence Zanzibar 5*
Number of rooms: 66
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Residence Zanzibar lies within a lush, forested 32-hectare estate where five-star luxuries sit harmoniously alongside nature's untouched beauty. Feel your spirits soar amid extensive tropical gardens that meet with powder-soft white sand lapped by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Inspired by the island's eclectic cultures, our luxury Zanzibar resort blends modern comforts with Swahili, Omani, British and Indian influences. Indulge in the privacy of the spacious villas, attended on if you wish by your own personal butler. Enjoy carefree days relaxing by your private pool, on the beach, or exploring the gardens on foot or by bicycle. Savour a taste of the Spice Island's unique blend of cultures and cuisines, and the pleasure of sensational spa treatments. Discover more of the island and the waters that surround it in a myriad of activities, from visiting historic sites and rare natural wonders to deep sea fishing and diving with dolphins. Whether you dream of a quiet couple's retreat or fun in the sun for the whole family, embrace all the delights of our island life at The Residence Zanzibar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Residence Zanzibar Hotel Kizimkazi
The Residence Zanzibar Kizimkazi

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