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Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage
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Reviews (316)
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Reviewed March 26, 2014

This guesthouse is perfect! It's small and intimate enough to give every client personal attention. We only stayed one night, but wish we could have stayed longer. The food offered is excellent...breakfast & dinner. They also had a nice selection of wines. Great atmosphere on the deck of the restaurant. The cottages have comfortable beds and little kitchenettes along with nice bathrooms. You couldn't want more!

Room Tip: All cottages are close to one another. Our cottage was a "stand alone" one, but our friends stayed in a cottage where you enter a common sitting area and then there was a room off either side of this common area. I think this would be good for people traveling together, but not so much for people who don't know each other.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Bev E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2014

Onsea House is a lovely place to decompress after our long flight via Doha from Singapore. It was very relaxing to be amid the beautiful grounds and grand views to the valley,

Accommodation: We were given a Guest Cottage comprising 2 spacious rooms with ensuites and a cozy shared living area with french doors to a patio overlooking the garden and valley. Each of the two rooms were well-appointed with big comfy beds and a small alcove / room on the side housing a kitchenette/bar and daybed. Only 2 gripes - wished there was stronger water pressure and brighter overhead lighting that would be useful for un/packing.

Dining: We had all our meals on the Machweo restaurant balcony overlooking the valley. We were a little disappointed that the lunch was mediocre with the usual pasta/sandwich/burger type selection. Dinner however was awesome. It was Valentine's Day and resident chef Axel and his team had created a special menu that was really quite yummy - I have enclosed pictures of the menu and food. It was very good ambiance with candles and rose petals everywhere, the glow of fire braziers to keep away the night chill, the wonderfully talented 2 piece band, and happy diners (both inhouse guests and external). Breakfast is good, fresh and hearty with everything you could ask for before setting off on your safari safari of a lifetime. I must also add that Onsea House's lunch box was one of the better ones we had.

Service: Everyone was smiley and eager to please. Sometimes service is a little slow but we were on holiday and not in a terrible hurry.

Spa: A couple of us decided to further unwind with a massage at the inhouse spa. One came back reasonably satisfied, the other not quite. Not for those who prefer firmer treatments.

Extra: We visited iThemba Baraa Primary School located an easy 10 mins away to donate school supplies and toys we had lugged over from Singapore. The kids were all curious, enthusiastic, and very cute and they had all made a sort of bouquet in class to give to each other for Valentine's Day. Onsea House and a Belgian Foundation iThemba support Baraa. Do have a visit - it is totally worth your while. A Belgian couple volunteering for a year showed us around the school, explaining the progress that the school has made, various sociocultural aspects of African life, and introducing us to the kids. All good - no pressure at all.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank adriennewu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2014

Flying into Arusha at 2am wasn't fun. Then it is about a 45-50 minute drive to Onsea House from the airport. So we were dead tired, but very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Inn upon our arrival. Check-in was fast and easy and we were shown directly to our room. We hit that big comfortable bed in minutes and were out like a light. Woke up at about 8am and went and had breakfast which was included in our price. Delicious and hit the spot. Fresh juices, fresh local fruits, pastries, eggs, bacon....We needed that. Back to the room for a nice hot shower. The rooms are nice sized and clean. There is a small fridge and coffee machine. Outside were a few chairs on the porch to read on and view the valley. You are several miles outside of town, so you don't have a lot of congestion and noise. The only noise came from the birds and a barking dog.
Lunch was good, varieties of sandwiches. My wife is Gluten free, and they made special bread just for her. A nice added touch of customer service. We were there 2 nights and only had breakfast and lunch. Our systems were thrown off by the 11 hr time difference so we didn't feel like eating dinner. Lunch held us over. The pool is clean, nice and refreshing. Everyone in the staff is very friendly and eager to please. They keep the grounds very clean.
Overall, a very nice place to spend time getting acclimated to the new time zone and relaxing before departing for our safari.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank hottwasabi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2014

Onsea House is a lovely hotel nestled in the hills outside Arusha. It is about 45 mins drive from Kilimanjaro airport and possible the same from Arusha airport due to the traffic.

The hotel is beautiful and peaceful. A great way to start a safari and recover from the overnight flight from London.

Our room was lovely, spacious, had a great bathroom with a rainfall shower and a balcony overlooking the valley that caught the afternoon sun.

My wife had a massage with George that she really enjoyed, although would have felt more comfortable if she had been informed upon booking that it would be performed by a man.

The food in the evening was really good. Don't have a big lunch because there was about 6 courses when you include all the appetisers they kept bringing, and the service was fairly slow so we finished quite late.

Overall a great hotel, welcoming hosts, friendly staff and a nice relaxing way to start a safari.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank KatCon1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2014

I was in Arusha and heard some good things about this place and decided it was worthy of checking out. It was fairly difficult to find and my driver needed to ask twice along the way to find it. Its off on a small winding dirt road that is about a kilometer from the main road so needless to say it was a bit more difficult for us to find than I original anticipated. No worries or biggy… but what came next was shocking. The security guard would not let us up to see the receptionist. He asked me for a business card which unfortunately I did not have but in lieu of it I gave him (Brighton) my Canadian drivers license. He called up and they informed him we were not welcome despite the fact that they were not full. Wow!! Eventually with a lot of convincing, Brighton gave me the managers number which I call. I called what I thought was the manager number and explained our situation to the receptionists (turns out the manager told the receptionist she was too busy to take the call when I asked why Brighton had not given me the managers number despite his representation). Again, we were told we were not welcome at this time and to call for an appointment. Double wow!! I decided to try once again… and this time did get a hold of the manager who explained to me that it was their policy to only allow potential guest to see the property that had a scheduled appointment and that she was busy in a meeting despite our efforts to find the place. Triple wow!!! After more than half an hour in total of waiting and arguing with the manager she relented and said she would send a receptionist to let us in… Too late. Decided to leave and post this review.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled on business
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Thank TravelingChef1139
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OnseaHouse, Owner at Onsea House Country Inn & Guest Cottage, responded to this reviewResponded March 13, 2014

Dear Mr TravellingChef,
We of course regret that you had a frustrating experience at our gate, which led to a review of that gate, our guard who was doing his job and the fact that we are located in a tranquil place far from the buzzing city (something all of our guests love), instead of a review of the actual place, which we always thought was the purpose of this site. But we understand. Please allow us to help you understand why we cannot let in unannounced agents during the busiest hours of the day. Besides the security and privacy aspect for our guests it is foremost because we are a small family operated business and our guesthouses are by now widely known and coveted for the special care and personal attention our guests get. Furthermore, we also want to give our undivided attention and guidance to our staff in order to guarantee such a perfect stay to our guests. So, unfortunately, having prospective meetings out of the blue with agents is something we just cannot and will not do. The list of agents, safari companies and other prospect clients who have been working with us for almost ten years now and who visit us regularly and have meetings with us is quite long. But they all meet with us on appointment. And we never ever had a complaint about that. Since we’d like to repeat that we understand your agitation and we of course are never pleased with a bad review we would like to invite you to visit and review our place. Maybe this will lead to a quadruple wow, maybe not. Fair is fair. But we think a review should be about our accommodations, service and food. Inside the gate. And not just about venting and criticising a rule that is not only working for everyone for a decade but also guarantees we can give every consideration to our guests and agents alike. So, dear Mr TravellingChef, you don’t even have to give us notice a long time in advance, but if you do our gate will be very open and we will welcome you. Like we always do. And we will welcome any review, just as long as it is based on our rooms, service and cuisine. And we are sure all the visitors of this site will also appreciate this greatly.

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