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“Nice place but not "paradise" either”
Review of Butiama Beach

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Butiama Beach
Ranked #1 of 9 Mafia Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Barcelona, Spain
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Nice place but not "paradise" either”
Reviewed December 7, 2013 via mobile

After quite a bit of back and forth we settled on this resort versus an other one for the first part of our honeymoon. Having already been to this part of Africa in very nice resorts in similar price range & looking at previous comments we were expecting something really nice (abs yes we travel a lot!) Well not quite... The place has a certain charm and overall decoration is tasteful but outside of this nothing special. Room wise it really depends how lucky you get, a few (first row) offers a bit of privacy, the others (2nd row) a lot less (view of the back of the first ones) and they are now building a few more that would be even more in the back. It gets quite warm on Mafia and in some room you only get one tiny fan (the type you would mount on a desk...), in the second one we stayed in at least we had one proper fan, a bit better to sleep at night... Food wise, dinner is included but it is a set starter/ main dish/ desert no alternatives. First night was very average others were good. The one thing I would say the resort is really good for is the whale shark excursion and the beach picnic. Both were really nice and I would recommend it without hesitations. As for the honeymoon feel... Well we stayed 6 nights and not once the management thought that maybe it would have been nice to organize a romantic dinner or set up the room with something special ... Quite disappointing & clearly the high rating on tripadvisor might not be helping...

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Laetitia L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
maura541, Owner at Butiama Beach, responded to this review, December 9, 2013
Dear Laetitia,
thank you for your constructive review.
I have never replied to any reviews before because I feel everyone is free to write his own opinions but in this case there are a couple of things which I think I should say:
1. you have never mentioned in any of your emails during the reservation that this was your honeymoon. I did offer you to arrange to transfer you to the other lodge as you didn't like Butiama
2. Butiama Beach can be classified as a 3 stars hotel not a luxury one
3. Butiama Beach has just recently been connected to main electricity (by the way we had to buy our own transformer) so we have always been running 2 silent generators and charged our battery bank through inverters. When most of the other lodges are in darkness and without fan our guests can have lights and a small fan still working the whole night.
Thank you and all the best
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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220 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
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English first
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 25, 2013

W loved our stay in Butiama. The owners and staff are very nice and helpful. They do everything to take care of your needs, you don't have to ask for it. Food is amazing (culinary), the best in Tanzania!

It is a very peaceful place, beautiful bungalows. Je can walk on the beach for hours, beautiful beach, creeks and mangroves. The excursions are very well organized, the under water world is amazing. We really enjoyed out time and like to come back here.

Thanks Maura & Moez!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ruth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hout Bay, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2013

My husband and I took a break from building our home and spent 5 glorious days at Butiama.The owners, Maura and Moez have really cracked the code on great hospitality and stylish simplicity at its best. The staff are friendly, efficient and discreet. The ever smiling Chef Dee spoilt us with fabulous meals. The diving and snorkeling were outstanding. Its the best we've experienced...an abundant paradise with about 13 coral reefs to be explored.On our first day we spotted around 10 whale sharks and we were blessed to actually swim with 6. We explored Chole island which has a few ruins and it was interesting to see the locals go about their business.
The fishing village within walking distance of Butiama is a fascinating glimpse of another era. The beach is full of life - lots of starfish and apparently harmless jellyfish. The only thing that made leaving bearable is that its only a 3.5 hour flight from South Africa to Dar so its very likely we will be back.

Room Tip: Our room was close to the massage hut which was convenient ;-) and we a great sea view!
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ashantha t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2013

This place is absolute heaven. We were there on honeymoon and there were only about 9 other people at the hotel at the absolute most meaning most of the time you feel you have the place to yourself. The staff are absolutely brilliant both in the main areas, but also at the dive centre the resort runs on the other side of the island. Even though it rained some of the 5 days we were there and did limit the amount and type of excursions we could do this in no way detracts from it. The food is beyond amazing, it is so tasty, varied and well presented. We saw humpback whales from the boat and snorkelled with whale sharks not far out from the front of the hotel.

The beach in front of the resort was quiet, almost deserted. I have stayed on Zanzibar a few years ago and it was crowded and filled with people trying to sell you things. Mafia is much more relaxed and secluded.

Go before the rest of the world discovers this as a quiet, peaceful alternative to Zanibar!

Room Tip: One side of the resort has a little bit of generator noise, the other (where we were) had a bit of m...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank JayTrip56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somerset West, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2013

We are a family of 4 (with two boys aged 8 and 11) who visited Butiama Beach in September 2013. We stayed in Unit 10 - the family unit.

The staff - wonderfully friendly, helpful and courteous. From the cleaners, to the gardeners and the client serving staff - they were all fantastic, going out of their way to make our stay fabulous. Saadi, who manages the kayaks, not only loved playing soccer with the boys, but he also invited them to come over at any time. The early morning bar staff taught the boys to play Bao, and was always on hand to have a chat and give advise. Maura and Moez are also fantastic - nothing is too much trouble.

The accommodation - bright, clean, inviting and large enough for a family to stay for 7 days without any issues. Our unit was on the one side of the property, right on the beach. It felt private, while we could also see the ocean and hear it at night when we went to bed.

The location on the island - Butiama is close to the harbour and the main town of Kilindoni (was definitely not a problem in any way). It is right on a fantastic beach (500m from the Marine Park) which we had to ourselves most of the time, and one can walk far in both directions. For diving and some snorkeling sites one needs to go to the other part of the island (where the other accommodation seem to be clustered), but this is 30 minutes drive (on a bumpy dirt road) away. The road was in the process of being tarred when we were there, so this should go quicker once this is done. The Butiama side is however the "whale shark meeting point side", and this was a definitive advantage as we went out of season and we were still close enough to join a group of would be whale shark swimmers when some of the fishermen reported sightings of these beautiful creatures.

The island - a heavenly place, with the most beautiful beaches, waters and sea life! It would appeal to people who like to stay off the beaten path and enjoy quiet holiday away from the crowd. We loved it for all the experiences we could enjoy often by ourselves, but sometimes with 2-4 other people from Butiama...swimming in the ocean, kayaking, snorkeling (WOW!!), swimming with the whale sharks out of season (WOW!!), deep sea fishing, exploring the main town Kilindoni and the nearby Island Chole, the picnics on the Sandbanks.

The food - very fresh and healthy. The breakfast has enough variety and would appeal to most tastes (you can order the normal hot breakfast, but they also put out pancakes, muffins, meusli, yoghurt, fruit, cheese and biscuits every morning). We were out most afternoons, but the afternoon menu includes a nice variety of "western" dishes including sandwiches and pizzas. Dinner was a special affair, either at the swimming pool next to the ocean or in the dining room, and consisted of a three course meal. 75% of the starters and mains are fish (and for 4 South Africans who are used to red meat, we did miss red meat...), which we tried to stick to even though Maura said that we are welcome to ask for an alternative (from the lunch menu) if we need another option. The coconut pudding was sublime, and all in all the food was really great!

The bonus - Butiama does the laundry every day as part of the package. With all the swimming and snorkeling clothes get wet and sandy, so this was an unexpected bonus.

What can I say, we loved the island, we loved Butiama and we loved all our experiences that Butiama offered to us.

The big bonus is that it is only a 3:30hour flight from Johannesburg

Room Tip: They are all good
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank ClaassensFam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Licola, Italy
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 5 days to relax and read a book. Everything was perfect: pick-up from the airport, service: not pushy, we felt at home and the cottages are beautiful. We were left alone when we wanted and helped when needed. The marine park starts 500m from the resort, you can walk for hours without running into other tourists. A 3-course meal is freshly prepared each day, we loved it.

This is how a well managed resort at a perfect place looks like.

Thank you, Maura! We came back more relaxed as we'd hoped for.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank MJBVerhoeven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

We stayed for 2 nights and decided on one more night. What we liked was that it was quiet and peaceful. Moez and his staff with their calm demeanour help you out with your every wish. Our room was located at the end, with a great view of the beach and a few seconds walk to the shore.
The beach is very clean. Sunset views are amazing. There is a nice seating area outside each room..good place for yoga..facing the ocean, the coconut trees and the sunset.
Rooms are excellent, clean, well decorated, beautiful colours, used the mosquito coil for sitting outside in the evenings.
We took the lunch and snorkelling package, 20 minute boat ride to the snorkelling area...unfortunately the tides were too strong to do any snorkelling, so we had to abandon that and headed for lunch on the beach- that was amazing. They set up a tent and we had the best picnic lunch ever. After lunch we saw some blue whales in the distant....the staff took us closer and that made up for missing out on the snorkelling.
The food was not made for a spicy palate, so bland for us. Very healthy and fresh though. We asked for fresh chillies to complement.
Overall a great place to stay at. Staff was very courteous. And yes take a guide to go to Kilindoni, we walked by ourselves and wished we had gone with a guide.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Shehnaaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Butiama Beach

Property: Butiama Beach
Address: Msufini, Kilindoni | PO Box 47, Mafia Island 0202020, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Pwani Region > Mafia Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 B&Bs / Inns in Mafia Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come and experience true relaxation with us at Butiama Beach. Our unspoiled location in a tropical palm grove on the beach has everything you need to unwind, let go, and be yourself. Watch the whale sharks come to feed as the morning sun glints on the turquoise surface of the Indian Ocean. Sail to a pristine sandbank in a traditional dhow, snorkel and dive at some of the richest reefs in the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Butiama Beach Hotel Mafia Island

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