After having spent the previous week and then some in a whirlwind traveling from NYC to Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and finally Zanzibar my wife and I were in need of some peace, relaxation, and a romantic beach. We arrived at the hotel via our own driver. I would recommend this, as a much cheaper price may be negotiated for the trip from Zanzibar Town to Uroa. We paid 40,000 TZS, or $25.00 at the exchange rate at the time. We had to press very hard to get this price, and the cabal of taxi drivers around the ferry port were less than thrilled. We ended up using the same driver on the way out, get the number of your driver and get the same price.
We were greeted warmly, and a Masai warrior helped us with our luggage - very cool! After complimentary juice from the reception staff we were taken to our room. It had a huge king size bed with mosquito netting, which we were thankful for. The room was very clean, by far the cleanest on our trip. A few minutes after we settled in a maid showed with soap, and to check that we had enough towels. Our room even had a little love seat couch with its own mosquito net, which I imagine would be perfect for a kid, or friend to sleep on.
Not wanting to waste the remaining daylight we headed down to the beach. Wow! Perfect, soft white sand, and crystal clear azure water. It was on the same level as beaches we've been to in Bali, one of our top 10 beaches for sure. Yes there was a lot of seaweed. It would be nice if it was completely cleared, maybe that's something they could find a way to do economically in the future. The Masai warriors guard the entire property as stated in other reviews, as well as the entrance to and from the beach. We had previously spent some time with the Masai in Kenya, and it was interesting to talk to them and hear how they wound up all the way in Zanzibar.
When night came my wife went to shower and get ready for dinner, and I spent some time relaxing in the pool. It was one of the most beautiful pools I've even been in, not for the actual pool itself, but for the setting it is in. The facade of the main building is really well maintained and gives a cool Mediterranean/African vibe. I asked at the reception if the pool closed at a certain time and was told I could use it anytime I liked, day or night. Floating on my back alone (we seemed to be the only guests the day we were there, though there were many staying at the adjoining sister property) looking up at the stars, palm trees, and lights from the building was a very memorable experience.
After my swim I got ready and we went to dinner. It's served buffet style, and every dish we tried was very tasty. The staff were constantly checking to make sure we were happy and to see if we needed anything. I agree with some of the other reviewers that the mostly European dishes pandering to the Italian clientele are a little out of place to travellers seeking a more authentic experience. Out of the Italian fare I found the bruschetta particularly good, as were the the other cold salads. My wife and I both had a beer with our meal, and the beer selection, while not overly expansive had Tanzanian beers which we appreciated, and enjoyed.
We slept really well, the room was equipped with both a ceiling fan and a wall-mounted air conditioner. We only used the fan and it was perfect. Super peaceful.
In the morning we went back to the beach, where we saw the local people farming seaweed. It was interesting to see how they do it with grids of string suspended between wooden stakes.
Breakfast was included in the price of our room, and like dinner it was served buffet style. In the middle of the buffet bar they had a staff member whipping up made-to-order omelettes and pancakes. We found three separate types of fresh squeezed juice, a selection of pastries, sausage, eggs, oatmeal, and cereals. There was also a bottled water dispenser for clean drinking water, matching another in the lobby of Samaki available all the time.
Overall my wife and I both enjoyed our stay very much. Except for the seaweed on the beach we didn't have a single complaint, and had a very romantic time. For the price I felt the room itself (including breakfast, we did not go for the more expensive half, or full board options) was a great value. The alcoholic beverages and food were overpriced compared to off property dining, but on par with what you'd expect in a resort-style setting. We were also at a disadvantage compared to European guests, as beer and dinner prices were in euros with an unfavorable exchange into dollars. If we are back in Zanzibar in the future we definitely stay here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Samaki Lodge is a "boutique hotel" located on the beautiful Uroa beach, 30 km from the international airport.Samaki Lodge comprises 19 rooms, elegantly and originally furnished while retaining the style of old Zanzibar.A private beach, equipped with beds, tables and umbrellas is ideal for sunbathing and relaxing under the hot African sun.During their stay guests can make long walks on the beach, meet and socialize with the friendly local people, discovering the uses and customs. The area of sea that lies between the reef and the beach allows you to swim in a safe and wonderful language of coral sand that goes for dozens of meters into the turquoise waters. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Samaki Lodge & Spa Zanzibar Island, Tanzania