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Reviewed August 25, 2014

The location is excellent, the service great, the staff very friendly, the activities (snorkelling, swimming, diving, sailing, walks, spa) amazing, and the value good. It is just let down by the very basic rooms (applies to garden room, not sure about the others). They are badly needing an update. They don't have mosquito netting or glass windows you can close (some big bugs came in) and the toilet is a bit grim. Luckily we did not expend that much time in the room as there is plenty to do around. A lovely place all together.

Room tip: Garden rooms are poor.
Date of stay: July 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank igpz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2014

I was part of a film crew that did some filming at The Manta Resort this year. From early on, speaking with Mike and Stacey, we felt very comfortable about using the Underwater room as one of the locations. They were easy to communicate with, very reliable and they helped us a lot with ground logistics on the day of filming. Without Mikes knowledge and connections, we might not have been able to film some of the scenes we wanted to!

Even though it was peak season, and we had a lot to accomplish on the day, the team at Manta were very accommodating. We had lunch and dinner at the resort and the food was fantastic (The best fish i have had in Tanzania). They even prepared a breakfast early in the morning, even though we gave them late notice. They really did go above and beyond to make sure we were looked after. My guests that stayed in the Underwater room said it was the best room they have ever stayed in, and fell asleep watching the stars.

Thank you all for a great experience, i will be back,

Eric

Room tip: The underwater room was fantastic! Everyone loved being able to jump off the roof into the ocean, and being able to look out of the bedroom below to see people snorkelling. A great experience.
Date of stay: August 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Eric J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2014

Reading through some of the reviews below, I simply cannot believe that I visited the same place that some previous travellers felt the need to slander online.

We arrived in July for a getaway with my new husband and were greeted like a long lost friends. After a quick run down of how things work at the resort, every sentence seemed to end with "were are here for you" and "please feel free". Man did they mean it! Our personal service fundi Hadji (what a treat) was the perfect guide to this beautiful island, accompanying us to the forest and Vumawimbi beach - we even had the pleasure of being introduced to his new wife in the village.
For travellers looking for 5* luxury in a formal and sterile environment - THIS IS NOT THE PLACE FOR YOU! What you will find at Manta is a staff who truly care. The rooms are basic, comfortable, clean and cool with a GREAT view even from the Standard garden rooms. Even though we were travelling on a tight budget, we were made to feel like absolute VIP's with every request granted (even having that early morning cup of coffee being brought to the room.) and an included Spa treatment each and every single day of our trip.

The food is a complicated one, I have a new appreciation for grocery shopping. After realizing the forward planning and effort it takes for such a remote location to offer the food it does, was amazing. Never mind that but the kitchen staff & head chef are actually native to the island - which is something to be so proud of, i'm sure hiring another expat would have been a lot easier and quicker, but that would take away from what this place seems to stand for. Having a guy from Pemba actually making you a traditional Swahili meal, there's something special in that. Otherwise, the fish is fresh and the beers are cold.

Now we have to be honest. Having lived in Africa our whole lives, we generally avoid places / resorts that market themselves as 'African'. With their kitch orange pillows, creepy looking masks, jumbo-jumbo music being played on repeat, and Masai outfits on men who aren't even Masai - the typically marketed 'Africa for tourists' BUT if every holiday destination was as authentic as this, we would travel Africa a lot more! The most unusual aspect of this resort is its relationship with the island, it is true to Pemba, its people, and its inhabitants, down to the bushbaby at the coffee station or the friendly gecko's enjoying those mosquitos for dinner.

Would definitely go back!

Just a tip, the time of year makes a difference, people don't often realize Africa has a version of winter as well. Apparently November & March are awesome times for diving!

Date of stay: July 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank cindy448
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2014 via mobile

To be honest, having thought extensively about our stay at the Manta Resort, we still can't quite decide whether we enjoyed it or not. We couldn't quite work out what niche the resort is trying to fill - it seens to fall midway between a posh resort and an ecolodge, but doesn't do either. Apologies to the Manta team if we've got the place wrong, but we can only go by what we felt, and given the rates I feel entitled to give my opinion. I reckon the place could go further towards the 5* end and still maintain the boutique feel that us evident. I expected more for my money. There were some great plus points but also some perplexing aspects. Maybe a review in that format is best:
PLUS
- Great location, about as far from anywhere as you can get
- A great drive through lovely Pemba to reach the place
- The underwater room is a great concept and we enjoyed our night on board. We've never come across anything quite like it. Make sure you bring your seasickness tablets!
- Very friendly and helpful staff
- A trip to the nearby forest reserve was pleasant and educational
- It was a pleasant surprise to receive a discount on the underwater room
MINUS
- I was frankly pretty bored after 1 day. Sea activities were not really on the cards and there isn't really much else to do
- The rooms were disappointing. Poor finish, things nit working etc. Not good enough.
- Rooms were inadequately defended against mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies, as evidenced by the whacking big spider I found on my towel. Too many gaps between the walls and roof.
- The menu was simply poor. A choice of two dishes is just not good enough. A bigger selection is surely feasible with a bit of planning. The dishes available were ok but pretty bland and uninspiring
- The service was attentive but overbearing and we eventually had to ask our server to back off. The concept of the assigned server for tge duration of on's stay did not work well for us and actually left us more wound up.

Overall we were a bit disappointed, but maybe we didn't read the promo material well enough. A lot of people will love the place but it just didn't do enough for the very high rates. A bit more investment, make it just a bit more posh, change the menu, but keep the same staff vibe and it would be a hell of a good place.

Date of stay: July 2014
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
5  Thank Shedheadabroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2014

We were lucky enough to spend a day aboard the 'floating hotel room' at the Manta Ray Resort in Pemba, it really was an incredible experience. The platform itself is great with all the amenities that you would expect from a normal villa (toilet, sink, electricity, aircon, fridge etc.). It has a great dining area at 'ocean level' and a cracking sun bathing area on the top deck that provides great views in the day and a wonderful star scape at night.

The pièce de résistance is obviously the subsea room. The room is about 4 m under the water and on the day we were there the 360° ocean panoramic windows provided us with about 20 m visibility over coral outcrops festooned with shoaling fish. I am told that in the right season the visibility can be significantly clearer than this. At night the four spotlights provide an ideal hunting ground for all manner of fish. Lying on the bed you we watched an innumerable amount of smaller fish shoaling at high speed, occasionally dispersed by attacking larger fish including the odd barracuda and graceful trumpet fish. We also had a lazy lion fish hovering window side for the entire evening and cuttle fish occasionally shimmering passed.
The food brought out to us would also be some of the best that we experienced in East Africa, Lobster, Tuna, Prawns, I have never eaten so much.
Albeit pricey I would highly recommend a day spent snorkeling from this floating wonder and the chance to sleep in underwater!

Date of stay: July 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank Adam C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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