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“Shabby chic luxury and seclusion”
Review of Fundu Lagoon

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Fundu Lagoon
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Pemba Island
Certificate of Excellence
Northern California
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Shabby chic luxury and seclusion”
Reviewed September 21, 2009

We stayed at Fundu Lagoon post safari to relax and rest up. A great, small beach resort w/ outstanding service.

Was upgraded to a Superior Room which was outstanding. 2 level outdoor sitting area, large private dip pool--all right on the beach. The resort definitely has a Robinson Crusoe/Swiss Family Robinson vibe to it. If you like thatched huts and bamboo, you'll be right at home--we were.

I've read other reviews where people complained about the beach (drastic high/low tide=lots of debris and radical differences in beach geography), but we found w/ the our own dip pool, the great pool up high above the resort and the pristine beaches of Misali Island (just 15-20 min boat ride away), we didn't miss having a walk right in beach right in front of us.

Food is good-very good and available. Dining room, restaurant at the pool and room service are all available. They also set up a beach BBQ w/ tables set up right on the beach just meters away from the water.

Best:
-Jetty Bar: Amazing sunsets and ultimate relaxation out above the water
-Pool: high above the resort, plenty of lounge chairs and good food and drink
-Spa: Two Balinese therapists gave terrific massages
-Beach BBQ dinner: very romantic, don't miss it
-Sunset sail: on Mon and Fri; complimentary and a great way to end a day

Worst:
-Beach: as noted above, this is a small nit as between Misali, the pool and your own accommodations to occupy your desire to be in the water.
-Bugs and creepy crawlies: Lots of bugs (mosquitoes) and things crawling around (snakes, giant centipedes, etc). Not a major drawback but don't want people to be surprised by this

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank iTraveler2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Dublin, Ireland
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2009

We came here for the last week of our honeymoon and loved every second of it. The whole experience was perfect and we wouldn't have changed a thing. The site is very well done, it really blends in to the hillside and they've done a great job of minimising the number of trees cut down. The views are magnificent. We stayed in the furthest away superior suite from the jetty and it was amazing. The private plunge pool was deep enough to jump into and as a result we never swam in the main pool atall. The 'room' (tent) was very nicely done and always clean thanks to a small army who descended on it twice a day. 3 minibars were most welcome, as was the option of having any meal brought to you for no charge, which of course meant we were not often seen at the restaurant. The food was consistently excellent, and very varied. And they make the best bloody mary I've ever had! Managers Matt and Anie are both lovely people and they were unfailingly attentive to our needs, however outlandish / decadent they might have been. They both manage to strike an unusual balance between professional and friendly which we really appreciated.

All in all, fantastic. Go, whether you can afford it or not.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
1 Thank michaelandsal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed May 18, 2009

Fundu Lagoon was wonderful - great rooms, delicious food and fabulous service. We spent three nights here before heading to Breezes, and although we liked Breezes, it didn't even compare - we wish we had spent our entire time in Zanzibar at Fundu Lagoon. The staff was friendly and attentive. The rooms are very private, but there are great public spaces in the resort for congregating when that's what you're in the mood for. We did a day long dive trip and the crew took care of all of our gear and brought out a fabulous packed picnic lunch. Bring bug spray though - my legs got bitten up my sand fleas while walking on the beach at dusk (but the wonderful managers took one look at me and gave me a tube of hydrocortisone cream free of charge). Highly recommended!

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jessup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mexico City, Mexico
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 12, 2009

We had the best time of our lives!!! They gave us a suite and the service is just too good!!! Highly recommended. We went for a safari dolphin and saw around a hundred of beautiful dolphins

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank evtorrado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, England
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2009

We came here for our honeymoon after 1 week of safari in the serengeti and we're still talking about what an amazing stay we had. The resort is gorgeous, all made out of indigenous wood and the food is made by pemba/Zanzibar born chefs and it's all local produce. Your room is a luxury tented house with a little wooded bathroom and it's all in the middle of the forest, you have little wild monkeys and bush babies all around. Between the amazing food, lounging by the pool and having spa treatments there are plenty of activities to do (if you have the energy!), great walks on the beach, excellent diving, dolphin safari and a visit to the local village with one of the staff are just a few things to do.
Their honemoon package is great and you get that "little extra" that makes it really feel like a honeymoon, like champagne in your room, a private dinner on the beach with your own chef.... they really go the extra mile. I could just go on forever and ever about our stay but i'll let you experience it for yourselves....

  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank karinmcintosh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2009

We arrived at Fundu Lagoon a few days before Christmas 2008, sickly pale and knackered from months of overwork. We'd been crawling on our hands and knees toward our much-anticipated Christmas and New Year break in Zanzibar, which I’d keenly booked nearly a year before. A few days before our departure, my partner checked out the Fundu Lagoon website and cried with dismay, "You mean, we're staying in a TENT?! You didn’t tell me THAT!" I'm sure I'd informed him of the set-up when I booked our trip nearly a year before, and I assured him these weren't ordinary scout-camp pup tents. And indeed they weren't. Yes, the rooms are canvas tents, but they sit on hardwood floors and have nice furniture and thatch roofs overhead (above the canvas roof of the tent), with normal bathrooms indoors. Even my fussy 5-star partner was delighted when he actually clapped his tired eyes on our Beach Suite 11.

When we arrived at Fundu Lagoon after an overnight flight to Dar es Salaam, two short hop flights, a 40 minute van ride and a speedboat to the resort, Fundu Lagoon was so stunningly surreal, I thought I must be hallucinating from sheer exhaustion. After months of unceasingly dismal British weather and office lighting, my eyes had lost whole muscle groups designed to take in such electrifying blues, dizzying whites and dazzling sunshine. I had to squint back tears as my eyes adjusted to the new reality as we shuffled down the long wooden pier toward one of the most perfect hotels I've ever stayed in -- and we've stayed in a fair few wonderful places. The spice-scented cold face towels and mango smoothies on arrival at the pier bar were the perfect welcoming touches.

Fundu Lagoon describes itself as shabby chic, but I disagree with the "shabby" part of the description. It is stylish and luxurious in a barefoot luxe kind of way. It was all immaculately clean and well maintained – lots of batik fabric but not a threadbare cushion in sight. Our first view of our amazing accommodation as manager Matt led us down the sand path to our tented room with separate chill out zone remains one of the highlights of our entire stay in Zanzibar. We had finally arrived in heaven! We'd MADE it! I warned Matt that he’d have trouble evicting us at the end of our 7 night stay.

Our private plunge pool and deck area overlooking a spectacularly pristine beach and mangrove were our idea of the perfect holiday; we really only emerged for meal times and sun-downer drinks at one of the three bars and a dip in the infinity pool for some variety. Guests who want more of a party atmosphere and a lively social scene should book elsewhere. This place is where you go to CHILL. Oh, and maybe do some snorkelling and diving. We also had some wonderful spa treatments from the two petite but strong Balinese ladies, one of whom even managed to do a credible repair of my ruined French manicure (mosquito spray + nail polish are not a good combination).

The food was excellent, especially if you are a fish lover. The menu isn't extensive, but it changes daily and there were always enticing options, including a vegetarian choice.

Service was exemplary, from the attentive but discreet co-managers Matt and Annie through to the bar staff (William and Eddie in particular, and I’m sorry I’ve forgotten some others’ names already) and the restaurant staff – especially the ever-cheerful Liz (who is shown on an attached photo). The cleaning staff were also great – our room was always fresh and spotless, with towels changed MORE than twice a day. One morning when we had arrived back at our suite before the cleaning team had finished, they were good sports enough to dance and sing along to “Malika”, a well known Swahili pop song, which my partner insisted on playing on our portable iPod speakers. After a few days Liz and the other restaurant staff started greeting me by the nickname “Malika”.

The whole place unobtrusively blends into the surroundings and tries hard to be a positive force for the local community. We walked through 3 of the local villages one day and saw the school built by Fundu Lagoon, and I understand that a community health centre and a communal bath/sanitary facility are also on the cards. Pemba is a poor island, and the local communities have very little in a material sense; they live in simple, thatched mud huts (some with corrugated tin roofs) without running water, but the people seem happier and more lively than most I see on a daily basis in England. We caused pandemonium by trying to hand out to the local children a 15-pack of rainbow coloured pencils that I’d picked up in Tesco for £1 a few days before we left. You’d think we were handing out gold bullion. We had to pass the pencil pack over to a village elder to continue the hand-out. You get the feeling you can make such a difference even by doing a little. The Pembans must have the healthiest diets in the world, eating what they catch from the sea and the wonderful mangos, bananas, breadfruit, coconuts, watermelon and pineapples – not to mention the ubiquitous spices and cloves -- that grow in great abundance in the fertile land. I never knew mangos could become such enormous trees. They weren’t half as big on the main island of Zanzibar (Ungujua).

Even parked lazily on our sun loungers by our private plunge pool most days, we were entertained by wildlife such as visiting packs of monkeys -- mommy-monkeys with their sweet babies clinging to their abdomens – brightly coloured exotic birds swooping into our pool for a bath or a drink, giant black millipedes (which were rather alarming when we first saw them), huge coconut crabs and hermit crabs and wild chickens scratching around in the sand.

It was soooooo relaxing and spoiling, and now after just three weeks back in the UK and working 15 hour days again (and my eyes re-calibrated to constant greyness and office lighting again), I am already counting the days until we can go back again next Christmas. YAY, we’re going back! I’m on my hands and knees crawling toward that paradise again already.

Simon & Loraine ("Malika")

  • Liked — Spectacular setting and wonderful people
  • Disliked — Nothing - it was all great
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank honiwoni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
224 reviews
93 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2009

We stayed at Fundu at the end of a 16 day trip that included Rwanda and Tanzania safaris - so we were looking for a relaxing resort to see-in the new year and celebrate my birthday. Fundu was just that. We were allocated room 18 - one of the new suites that was great - it was the last one so very private, with a great seaview and trees to provide dappled shade from the sun. It was however the further from the restaurant and bar - 5 mins along a sand path seems a long way several times a day! As well as the large bedroom, we had a downstairs and upstairs sitting area, as well as plunge pool and deck area and private beach area - 6 loungers, 3 sofas and 5 chairs for the 2 of us!! The cleaning staff were very discreet - we never saw them yet every time we returned they had been in to clean and tidy and restock. For nature lovers this place is great - monkeys and bush babies come to visit, as do kingfishers and other spectaular birds. The place also has giant millipedes and land crabs on the path - so take a torch for nightime! I did find that I was bitten rather severaly by sand flies (big bites) and mossies (small bites) - others didnt seem to be affected. At night there did seem to be quite a few insects buzzing around that did annoy me a bit - one night i selpt with a net on my head as some insects had got into the ent area and we couldn't get them out! probably eccentric! At this tme of year it was hot and humid, so you needed the fans on at night as there was no through breeze coming off the sea. We were on the fully inclusive package - so lots of food and drink included. The inclusive wine is Ok as are the cocktails, but you can pay for others if you want. We did find that whilst the food was good it often sounded better than the actual delivery - for example for new years day there were oysters which had been flown in from norway but then overcooked and drowned in parmesan. The quality of the cooking was the only area that we felt fell below the very high standards set by the managers matt and anie - dont get me wrong, it was very good but sometimes just not executed to 5 star "western" standards. The onsite dive school was great - Philburt and Marlene were very friendly and helpful. Whilst we were there the wind was up and so there were some waves and visibility was not great so we just snorkelled rather than dived. The reef and fish were good but we have been to better reefs (in southern egypt for example). The local dolpnins are small (spinners) and very sweet. The resort has employed its own balinese masseurs who were great - very firm. Like others, we found the staff to be very friendly and overall the resort is very laid back - although sometimes the atmosphere in the dining area was a bit flat. Liz the head waitress was great - happy to dance at any occasion. For my birthday the resort made me a cake and Liz led the dancing and singing. Overall a high quality and relaxing small resort in a great location.

  • Liked — Chill out location and stunning views
  • Disliked — Cooking did not always match the expectation from the menu
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank gerbilsontour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fundu Lagoon

Property: Fundu Lagoon
Address: Wambaa Peninsula, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Pemba Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Pemba Island
Hotel Class:5 star — Fundu Lagoon 5*
Number of rooms: 18
Also Known As:
Fundu Lagoon Pemba Island
Fundu Lagoon Hotel Pemba Island

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