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“AKA Cell block S”
Review of Smugglers

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Smugglers
Ranked #7 of 9 Hotels in Vilanculos
Moraira
Level 6 Contributor
154 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“AKA Cell block S”
Reviewed April 30, 2013

Luckily we only spent two nights at this revolting accommodation. There is a nice garden and pool but the run down, shabby rooms and facilities make this irrelevant.
Showers and lavatory facilities
A sensory experience, you can relax as mosquitoes swarm around your face as you sit on the loo under a flashing light (if you are lucky) and watch out for electrical charges from the shower and taps as the stone cold shower drips onto the broken tiled floor.
Our 17-strong group stayed in the barracks-type room block with one male and one female shower and toilet (grubby) at each end. Three of our group got more than they bargained for when using the shower, receiving free electric shocks. One managed to bang the tap off using the broken towel rail, another balled up her towel. Management's response was to turn off the electric lighting so we had to walk about in the dark and I banged my toe. We were forced to do without showers and even when we came back and they had 'fixed' it I did not get a hot shower. The showers and toilets are the last word in grotty.
Bedrooms
First of all, the old curtain rail fell on my head. The fan didn't work and nor did the power points. The bed was small and old. There was a giant cockroach in the room (that is to be expected in Mozambique). The floor was horrible and stained. The mosquito net was old and patched and having to tuck it tightly around the mattress made this a really claustrophobic experience.
Quality of rest
Although I sleep wearing headphones, that wasn't enough to drown out the thumping music coming from the 'hotel' bar until 3 am. It's a pity the accommodation doesn't get the same attention from the owners as the bar does....
Bar
Yes, there is a bar... there is free WiFi (a bit temperamental but this is Mozambique.
There is an almost finished hotel next to Smugglers... try and stay there... in fact try and stay anywhere except for Smugglers. The only good thing about the place is the friendly staff (and there are some cute dogs), but that isn't enough. Oh... and it's opposite the dirty fishing beach.

Room Tip: Perhaps the other rooms are better than the barracks... I don't know. Stay as far away from the...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank julietyjuan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
InhambaneSmugglers, Owner at Smugglers, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
As the owner and operator of the property Smugglers i would firstly respect the opinion of this review and whilst it certainly is not favourable to us ,and i fully understand the negetative implications and the harm a review of this nature has on perspective customers in the future.
In responce to the review i would like to point out that Smugglers is a iconic social venue specifically attracting young travellers from all over the world, they are generally travellers traveling on restricted budgets whom are attracted to Smugglers primarily as a social venue,and a gateway to the islands of the Bazaruto Arhipelago offering basic affordable, clean and safe accomodation. The grafity written by hundreds of travellors on the walls of the bar is testament to the wonderful experiences enjoyed with us. we certainly acknowledge that Smugglers is not five star accomodation and may not be attractive to all,and we also acknowledge that the facility is due for refurbishment and we are exicited to anounce the following

To All Our Valued Clients,
We have an exciting news flash!!
“Smugglers Vilanculos” is undergoing rebranding to” BeachBums Island Base Camp”, falling under the umbrella and trademark of “BeachBums International “, and in partnership with Beachbums SA. One of the key aims will be to offer South Africans an affordable island getaway and link from BeachBums SA by launching a door to door bus service which will depart from BeachBums SA (situated on the beach 10 minutes south of Ballito and 5 minutes from the Durban King Shaka International airport) on a regular basis, to BeachBums Vilanculos at a very competitive rate.
The rebranding and renovations to the existing site at Smugglers will fall in line with the BeachBums International look and will be a work in progress, with painting, expansion and renovating of the main restaurant and bar facilities, rebranding, and refurbishment of the existing accommodation, ablution facilities, and much more. The local community remains one of our core focuses, and we welcome all to come and mix with our new clients and friends.
Trevor and Nela welcome Brandon and Bridgett as partners in this exciting new venture – we all thank you for your past patronage, and look forward to your continued support in the future
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2013

There is literally nothing nice I can say about the hostel or the management. It is incredibly run down, the rooms (and bathrooms) were filled with mosquitoes, the bathrooms had moldy shower curtains, the sheets had stains on them, and that's just to start. The security is non-existent and in Mozambique this is a poor choice. There is a gate man who does nothing, but that's it. The reception is left unattended and multiple times when we went to look for a staff member, not only was the room empty, but it was unlocked and the room keys were just exposed and open. The staff was unhelpful, hard to find, and I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone. If you are looking for an affordable hostel stay at Baobab Backpackers, the staff isn't much better, but the place is quite secure, the rooms are clean, and it's right on the beach.

Room Tip: The only good room would be at a different hotel.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Travelbuggie1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Vilanculos hotels

Blantyre
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2013

Bad experience! Stay away if you are a family. Back packers might enjoy it - not so sure. Very, very expensive for what you get. The bed felt like 2 cardboard boxes put together. We booked a chalet for a family of 5. The room with the 5th bed, was a creapy little place in the roof, with only a bare mattress in it. The place was infested with mosquitoes. We waited hours for our food. It is a sin to charge the amount of money they do, for a gross room.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank YokkaBlantyre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Turin, Piemonte, Italy
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed September 18, 2012

We stayed at Smugglers this summer for two nights and this is the only negative side of our experience in Vilanculos and in Barzaruto Island.
At a first sight, the place seems very nice for his beautiful garden with a small swimming-pool, but rooms are very small and not so clean.
The restaurant/bar is a bit too noisy and the quality of food is average. The staff is kind, but this is not enough to make this place worth a visit.
For the price that you pay is absolutely not the thing you can expect. If you are looking for a good accomodation in Vilanculos look at Casa Cabana Beach or to Casa Rex (this one is so nice, but a bit expensive).

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Gianni V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2011

Smugglers lodge was the 23rd hotel/resort/lodge we booked this year, and it was the worst by far.

One should have been suspicious, given the dated website and lack of online booking options. However, at the time nothing else was available in Vilanculos. So I took a shot, thinking that if they can charge $110 for an en-suite room, it must have a certain quality to it... Wrong.
The room was dreadful. The furniture looked at least 25 years old. The sheets were clean, but not all pillows were.. Some pillows were ripped.

The bar/restaurant was quite busy. Apparently a lot of locals come for a drink/bite. I tried the catch of the day, a fish fillet. It was full of bones! Normally we wouldn't even consider eating at a place like this, but Vilanculos has few if any alternatives to offer.

At 3 AM I woke up from the noise of the bar, although our room was a good 30 yards away.
I woke up again at 5 AM, and lay awake until 6, while the music was still pumping.
At 8 AM I woke up again, this time from excited talking in the garden. I looked outside and I saw about 10 people (not hotel guests) having some kind of pool after-party 7 yards away from the guest rooms. Note: I didn't see any other hotel guests while staying at Smugglers.

On the plus side: the garden was nice and so was the pool. But the beach on the other side of the street (to the north) was not. Pollution. The beach to the east was nicer, but very rocky and hardly suitable for taking a swim.

We walked all the way through Vilanculos and came across one place that looked nice, sort of. If you really have to stay at Vilanculos, go for The Beach Village. Nicer rooms than Smugglers, a better beach, and $75 per night. Or otherwise find a more expensive lodge outside of town, and book well in advance.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank MarOhv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
1 review
Reviewed March 29, 2011

I stayed at Smugglers over the new year period with a bunch of my mates for a few nights. The rooms are cheap and clean, clean sheets, mozzie nets etc all provided! and underpriced if you ask me, its great value for money! Not to mention the great parties we had in the pub! If you are looking for a good time and reasonably priced accommodation this is the place for you! the staff were so friendly, great barman too and the waitors are always smiling! Great food and super breakfast, not to mention, once again cheap!...We all really enjoyed our stay, it would not have been the same had we never found smugglers! Thanks Jo for having us!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank georgecollins34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2010

We booked rooms at Smugglers for our last night in Vilanculos. The air-conditioned, ensuite rooms were small and basic, beds had clean sheets and mosquito nets. Good for one night, but if you're looking for anything more than a place to sleep you should probably search for alternatives. We paid 2400 MZN for the room, which is a bit much considering that breakfast was not included in the price. The standard rooms with shared ablutions (1600 MZN) are probably the more sensible option at Smugglers.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank finmoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Smugglers

Property: Smugglers
Address: | Dhow Harbour, Vilanculos, Mozambique
Location: Mozambique > Inhambane Province > Vilanculos
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 9 Hotels in Vilanculos
Number of rooms: 12

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