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“Rating of Hotel and Diving”
Review of Mafia Island Lodge

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Mafia Island Lodge
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Mafia Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 6, 2013

Hotel:
Magnificent location and beach, it really could not get very much better! The place itself is a bit run down but Patrick, the new manager is really working hard getting it back on track! Romms are in need of renovations, the lovely flowers in the room are lovely but cant really hide the renovation backlog. Breakfast is boring... expect the same simple dingdong every day. Dinner is a set 3 course, quite well cooked and presented.
Drink prices are a bit disappointing high, also their beach bar lacking atmosphere, music, ice and decent drink selection. Pity actually for such a cool location.
There are a two local cheap waterholes with cold drinks in the village, also ask for Rosie, the chef from Frontier volonteer camp. She arranges for your washing - good and cheap.
Diving:
The diving centre on site is managed by a frenchman called David. Very good safety and procedures in place. They seem to have only 2 dive sites, one shallow coral and one deeper wall, whicwe actually dived 8 times over and over again...... not interesting.
Whale Sharks: Dave knowingly selling Whale Shark trips at 100 US$, knowing very well there are no animals seen for days..... His phrase: So many Whaesharks out there it is actually Whale Shark Soup....!!! Bloody lie and bloody scam, sorry for my 100US$. Most expensive 4 hour boat trip of my life.....

Room Tip: If you go there avail of one of their special packages from the website
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Irelandjoeeeeee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MafiaLodge, Manager at Mafia Island Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2013

Thank you for your time spent reviewing us and your constructive comments. We are always eager to hear feedback from our guests and strive to improve our standards accordingly.

We are happy to know that you enjoyed your overall experience in Mafia, however, we would have appreciated if you had shared with us these issues when you were still in Mafia: if we are not aware of a problem, we cannot do anything to solve it!

Regarding the rooms, please note that a major renovation project for the rooms is already taken in consideration and will probably take place.
We are deeply sorry you did not appreciate our breakfast, it is very unusual for us to receive complaint about food, usually our breakfast buffet selection of fresh fruits and patisserie plus the choice of eggs or pancakes cooked upon request satisfy our guests, as well as our beach bar, that, with such a stunning position and relaxing atmosphere is usually the preferred place to chill out for our clients. However we will surely take in consideration your suggestions for further improvements.

Regarding the diving, we are very pleased to read that you found our safety standards and procedures of a satisfactory level, these are aspects of the diving industry we deem to be very important and work very hard to maintain and improve. We are sorry and quite surprised to hear that you feel that your diving experience was "not interesting" and repetitive. We remember you clearly very enthusiastic after every dive, especially on the unfortunate day of your unsuccessful whale shark trip, when you told us that the beauty of the dive had more than made up for it.
According to our records you have seen 7 different dive sites over 10 dives. Unfortunately you have been to the same reef 3 times, but it was, as you are aware, a matter of safety and convenience for the tides, which regulates and rule our marine and diving life here in Mafia Island.

Regarding your Whale Shark excursion, we are also terribly sorry that you feel so bitter about it. As you surely will know, these are wild animals and no one can know if they are going to be there or not. We based all our predictions on word of mouth from the operators and several WWF researchers. We did indeed tell you that there had been a very large number of individuals spotted during the season, in fact it was one of the best in Mafia’s history. We would never assure, however, the possibility of spotting them, keeping in mind the fact they are highly migratory fish.
On the contrary, we told you that for the last few days before your arrival there had been no sightings and bad weather. It was made clear to all our guests that the chances of seeing one was still possible but that the odds weren't as high as before. In no way were you forced or ‘conned’ into joining the trip and we are very disappointed to read these allegations and remind you that the excursion is completely outsourced to an exterior company.

Again, we are terribly sorry that this unlucky expedition has stained your overall experience and encourage you to remind yourself of the dives which you were so excited about.

Mafia Island Lodge and Sea Point Diving management.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 - 79 of 224 reviews

Reviewed February 17, 2013

We had 9 nights at Mafia Island Lodge in february 2013. The perfect place relax and do some really nice diving!
If you're looking for a place to stay at Mafia, and think that the food and surroundings are important, Mafia Island Lodge is the place to choose!
The lounge and dining area has a really impressive architecture, and the whole place has a relaxing atmosphere. The food is super! A lot of fish and seafood, and a new 3-course menu for each lunch AND dinner. Patrick, the manager, is very keen that the guests enjoy their stay, just as the rest of the service minded staff.
The beach bar is a nice place to spend the sunny afternoon in, drinking a fruit shake, reading a book, and just relaxing. We LOVE the hammocks on the beach! When not diving, we lay in the hammocks drinking a "Mafia's best" (fruitshake).
If you plan to do an excursion and have Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner), you can ask for a breakfast or lunch pack. The lodge cooperates with the diving center Sea Point (right on the beach), which makes it ideal for diving vacations (and gives you a good package deal with lodging and dives).
The last night of our stay, we were lucky to experience a barbeque on the beach, with Masai dance, grilled fish and sea food, and good company!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Josefina L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

This lodge is right on the beach front and has a beach bar just 15m from the sea. Although the room I stayed in was quite small, it had a lovely terrace and was very clean. What really made my stay here was the management of the lodge and the food... but the very attractive prices were a factor as well.

Patrick, the General Manager from Belgium (but he's happy to be called French as that's what language he speaks!), is a very funny character and it is clear that his focus has been on the cuisine and customer service. The pastry chef is incredible and very inventive. The menus over my stay changed every day and each was equally impressive, especially when you take the time to consider that EVERYTHING is made in house, right down to the bread on the side plate. The waiting staff are incredibly polite and very attentive.

This lodge works closely with Mafia Island Sea Point Dive Centre and offers dive packages. Whether with a package or booking direct, I'd certainly recommend anyone visiting here to take a stroll to the Dive Centre and discover the underwater world of Chole Bay.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Craig S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

We stayed 5 nights at Mafia lodge, and we liked the place and accommodation. The lodge has a very nice beach, and is just in front of the Chole island, that is definitely worth visiting. Although the rooms would need some renovation, we enjoyed the hotel, especially for his location, but also for the wonderful restaurant, and the nice garden. Other guests were not very happy with the food, but we found it good. Mafia is quite a remote island, and in the days we stayed there there were problems with the connections due to a bad weather, so there was some shortage of coffee or other items. But this is also the beauty of Mafia, that is indeed very different from other more touristic places in Tanzania, so we definitely found these small problems as perfectly acceptable. The staff of the hotel is indeed very nice.
The only aspect that we did not like was the diving center associated with the lodge - sea point. In two occasions they canceled our excursions, and in general we found the staff of the center not very kind. But at only 50 m from the lodge there is another diving center - Blue point - where we found a very professional staff, lower prices and perfect organisation. With Big blue we went swimming with the whale sharks, that is definitely one of the most exiting things I have done in my life. So I suggest to stay at the Mafia lodge but definitely to plan your excursions with the Blue point.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Papik G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2013

We've spent a couple of days in november in Mafia Island Lodge (MIL) for our honeymoon.The island is fantastic, it has a huge marine park and the hotel provides easy access to great marine scenery within chole bay and outside the bay (we've seen dozens of whale sharks !!!). The hotel itself allies great calm and constant care for its customers. The food is great, try any fish dish, they are cooked just perfectly. You can also enjoy a beach bar located 15 m away from the shore when tide is low and serving fresh drinks. The manager is very easy going and always willing to make sure your stay is unforgivable.
En bref un hotel qui sait faire en sorte que votre séjour soit génial !

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Stagnara A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

There seems to be some confusion among travellers, including ourselves, about this lodge due to the changes in management recently. Rest assured, the new management is fabulous, and the hotel has been one of our favourites in Tanzania (and we should know, we live here).

Patrick, the new manager, personally ensures that each guest is having a wonderful time. His staff are conscientious, very warm and friendly, and really seem to care about the lodge and its guests. Chiara, his reservations manager, was also very attentive and accommodated each and every one of our rather picky requests.

The chef (compliments!) has done a superb job of using local ingredients mixed with western flavours to bring a delicious fusion of food to the table every day. We went full board and each day brought a tasty surprise. As an example, for Christmas, the kitchen and all the staff came together to deliver a splendid lobster and grilled meats dinner. Delicious.

Lastly, the Sea Point dive centre located on the grounds sets the same standard as Patrick has for its staff, thus providing a seamless experience no matter where you go or what you do.

Congratulations to everyone for what you have achieved at Mafia Lodge!!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Goia G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013

We spent an unforgettable holiday in this hotel. The staff did everything to make our trip an absolute dream. The employees are very friendly and they do everything to ensure that we are well served.
In addition, the food is excellent! We ate 3 courses lunch and dinner. We also tasted a lot of variety of fish! We enjoyed eating a lobster along the beach! Ask after "the frozen dessert coconut" ... delicious!

We were pleasantly surprised at our room! Everything is available: air conditioning, very comfortable bed, mosquito net, beautiful paintings ... We even had flower petals in the room!

Finally, the diving team is excellent. They help us to discover an underwater paradise whereas we never dived. The team is very professional!

We thank a lot this unique staff! For example, the hotel manager came every evening to ensure that we spend a great holiday.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Nicolas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mafia Island Lodge

Address: Utende, Mafia Island, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Pwani Region > Mafia Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Mafia Island
Price Range: $199 - $241 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Mafia Island Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 36
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Mafia Island Lodge stands amidst tall palms on a sandy beach in Chole Bay, in the heart of the marine park near Utende village on South coast of Mafia. 14 superior rooms, 18 standard rooms and 2 family rooms are set among the coconut palms with their own veranda overlooking the bay. They are all self-contained with air conditioning. Twin and double beds are available. Among the 34 rooms there are 2 family suites, which are made out of 2 comfortable connecting rooms with one sharing bathroom, each one with its own veranda overlooking garden and sea. They may comfortably accommodate a max of 5 guests. All our rooms have garden and sea view. Hot and cold water is available 24 hours a day. The main lodge has a relaxing atmosphere with a large open restaurant, bar and lounge area. Board games, table tennis and volleyball are also available. Other facilities include a gift shop, laundry service, excursions, snorkelling, sailing and scuba diving. The cuisine is continental with an emphasis on seafood. Snacks, sandwiches and bitings are also available. Located on our beautiful beach - the only one in Chole Bay unaffected by tide - our Beach Bar offers light lunches and early afternoon fare such as salads, sandwiches and freshly caught fish, complemented by a fully-stocked bar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mafia Island Hotel Mafia Island

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