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Reviewed March 27, 2017

You will never regret coming to Pole Pole. The location is amazing. The staff takes so good care of you that you never want to leave. I can warmly recommend Pole Pole to anyone who wants a truly relaxing vacation. Go swim with the whale sharks, dive or simply relax at the balcony of your sweet bungalow. Well worth the price! I would love to come back.

  • Stayed: February 2017, traveled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Lenepene55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2017

We came to Pole Pole with my bf for a week. This is an absolute paradise on earth. Beautiful gardens, very lovely lodges and romantic views over the ocean. The staff treats all guests like kings and queen and you can really switch off at Pole Pole. The restaurant food deserves Michelin star - only local ingredients, all fresh, freshly baked bread and you can adjust the menu to your dietary preferences.

There is no wish that cannot be fulfilled at Pole Pole. Absolutely worth seeing and experiencing. Excellence is present everywhere where they engage.

  • Stayed: January 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Ester S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2017

I stayed 4 nights at this hotel while on a diving trip in Mafia Island. The rooms are comfortable and well equipped, the property is beautifully landscaped, the staff are friendly and well trained, and the food is really top notch.

The food was particularly surprising, you can really tell the Italian owners / managers spent time paying very close attention to recruiting the right chefs and training their staff. Mafia Island is super primitive and people don't come here expecting any sophistication, I was really pleasantly surprised with the food at this hotel. Really well thought of menus, very creative combinations and most importantly excellent execution. Far from your typical mundane hotel food, or the easy-way-out options you expect from such a primitive island.

The resort is tiny with only about 7 rooms, each a stand alone bungalow style room with a nice balcony / terrace - most with a sea view. Expect very personalized service with really professional staff.

I used Mafia Diving Center, which is about a 10 minute walk from this resort and the two teams are fully synchronized to the extent that we'd receive random snacks on the boat - sent by the resort team.

  • Stayed: February 2017, traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Ftarzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2017 via mobile

We came to Mafia Island to dive and get away from "it all" and left feeling as though we received so much more. We did!
Pole Pole's natural beauty is intoxicating.
The service is outstanding. The food is delicious, creative and so fresh. The management and staff make all of their hard work look so effortless..The service was flawless and made us feel special and welcomed. Not to sound like a Chinese fortune but: Unplug at Pole Pole, be in the moment and you will live a long and happy life!
Warning, returning to "civilization" will NOT easy.
Thank you Pole Pole!
With love,
Tia and SF

Stayed: February 2017, traveled as a couple
Thank Tia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2017 via mobile

The place is probably the best on Mafia Island. The staff are super nice and helpful. It is just not for everyone. The rooms have mosquito nets, but have holes in them. Even though they spray insecticide every evening, you still have mosquitos. One night I saw a rat in my bathroom, which the staff apologized saying it was possible for rats to come inside the bungalow, which I agree. They probably cannot do anything to make sure rats will never get into your room. Though other guests didn't complain about rats and mosquitos or the fact that there's no AC, I just wanted to warn you that this kind of place is not for everyone. It is very expensive and because it is an eco place, there is no AC. When it is hot all the time and you go out to do different activities coming back super sweaty, you take a shower, then it's still very hot. I am from Thailand and we have kind of the same hot climate and still this kind of place is not for me. (And I thought I came prepared with mosquito spray and cream for itchiness, but nope, I wanted to go home after the first night.)

Stayed: February 2017, traveled solo
5  Thank Natasha S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PolePoleMafiaIsland, Guest Relations Manager at Pole Pole Bungalows, responded to this reviewResponded March 22, 2017

We would like to thank Natasha for her kind words regarding our staff and for crediting us as probably “the best place on Mafia Island”.

We were sorry to discover that Mafia was not the right destination for Natasha. Unfortunately we don’t all share the same needs and perfectly agree that Pole Pole and Mafia Island are not for everyone. It is always disappointing for us when despite our best efforts, we cannot make a guest happy and this time was no exception. Unfortunately we have no control on tourists’ expectations, especially those used to different countries and travel experiences.

The information we provide to our clients before they book is quite clear and comprehensive, including the fact that we do not have AC, something that our guests usually do not consider a problem. Our bungalows were thoughtfully designed and built in a way that allows a pleasant, natural cross-ventilation, improved by one ceiling fan in the bedroom and one on the verandah.

Pole Pole, and in general Mafia Island, are not particularly more affected by mosquitoes than the rest of Tanzania or other tropical destinations. The breeze from the sea helps to keep them at bay but we also take extra steps to ensure our guests have a comfortable environment to relax in, such as fumigating and ensuring nets are kept in perfect condition. Although rare, it can happen that small damage to nets can be missed, but when brought to our attention we swiftly take action. In this particular case, our guest was immediately invited to another bungalow while we fixed the problem.

The most misleading comment, however, regards ‘rats’. Rodents are part of the unique ecosystem on Mafia, as are many other creatures such as bush babies, elephant shrews and monitor lizards to name but a few. There are several species of rodents that can be observed during the day and at night, including spiny mice and pouched mice (a genus that is endemic to Africa), red and grey squirrels.
To use the word rats for the entire family of rodents can give the wrong impression because they are associated with garbage and sewage, while here they are just one of several species that share a clean and natural environment.

We are sorry that Natasha’s holiday didn’t meet her expectations and wish she had filled our appraisal form to assist us in improving services and facilities for future guests. Unfortunately she didn’t mention her desire to leave, had we known, perhaps there would have been something we could have done to alleviate her discomfort.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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