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All reviews underwater room service fundi manta family seafront villa fish beach bar our honeymoon garden room once in a lifetime daily spa treatment top deck sea front spice farm iced tea local community scuba dive superior garden
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Reviewed September 3, 2014

The remote location separates this resort from the daily chaos of the typical tourist attractions. Once we arrived, the sense of a relaxation set in as we were greeted by the nice staff with an extremely tasty drink that utilized the fresh spices of the island. I highly recommend at least a one night stay in the underwater room. It so close, you'd regret not doing it. Ease of access to the snorkeling, sleeping under the stars,and the seafood platter alone make up for the extra expense. A good beach, the food, and the big rooms with open showers make this stay an excellent one.

Date of stay: August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Whit1013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2014

I wish there were some way to clarify this 5-star rating...the fact is that I'd give it 10 stars if I could, it's literally the vacation I've been looking for my entire life, and I'll tell you why below. This first paragraph, though, is to warn anyone looking to go out dancing, use a fancy gym, eat insanely opulent (and non-local) food, or cut loose by getting wasted that you will hate this place. In fact, you'll hate it almost as much as I love the fact that it keeps people like you out...

So, if you're still reading, let me tell you why this is the greatest traveling experience I've ever had (and am likely ever to have). A lot of resorts reference a "family" ethos, with all of the wholesome marketing opportunities that go with it, and yet honor very little of that concept. The Manta Resort felt like I was visiting someone's house immediately (kinda because I was - everyone lives on site!), it just happened to be a house on the most stunning piece of property I've ever seen. It's deeper than that, though - the staff is made up almost entirely of people from the local villages, and management holds a profound respect for the values that their employees hold dear. Having had a bit of experience in the hospitality business, I've never seen anything like it, and it's absolutely crucial to framing your expectations for this trip.

You know how you travel to different places, but you always seem to be on the outside of the culture looking in? Maybe I'm crazy, but that bothers the hell out of me, I'm always encouraging people to be honest with me about their homes and their lives (even, ESPECIALLY, the ugly parts), and there are places where you can't break through to the real people on the other side of the service they're providing. Pemba Island in general, but the Manta Resort in specific, brings you into the culture by bringing the culture into the resort. I can't count the number of impromptu language lessons, extremely useful cultural tips, and random cool things I learned by speaking to the always friendly and always professional staff. They really love their jobs, because their jobs really love them. This reciprocity alone makes the place worth a visit.

But there is so much more - the food is wonderful, always a fish option, and they often take a stab at more western-style cuisine that is more often than not successful. The tours are an absolute must, particularly the Ngalawa Cruise with Captain Ali, and the School trip with Sele. Again, if you're looking for grandeur, go someplace else, but this place has genuine people and real cultural experiences by the truckload. The locals are so cool, literally everyone I spoke to was at the very least friendly, and usually were very curious about my life and what brought me to Pemba.

AND THE DIVING!!! Amazing. For those with a beginner certification, I'd say go for your advanced while you're there and DO THE NIGHT DIVING!!! It's a little daunting, but those are very safe waters and the staff will take good care of you. Otherwise, bring a go-pro (with a red filter) and make everyone you know extremely jealous.

Oh, and there's the whole underwater room thing - As a diver, I knew what to expect, but my non-diving wife was over the moon to be among the fish all night. It's the most unique room I've ever been in, and I'm looking forward to going back.

Here's the proof that this place is special: off the top of my head, I can immediately remember Matthew, Carina, Stacey, Lauren, Hamisi (service fundi), Moussa, Rashid, David, Saidi, Wiburt, Hamisi (dive shop), Simba, Adi, and Adam. 14 People? That's, like, the number of people you remember after a summer together at camp. For that many people to make that strong of an impression on me in only a little over a week, it really is something different.

I could go on and on and on, but just take my word and book your trip now. Asante, Manta Family!

Room tip: They're all good rooms, but the seafront villas are worth the extra cost
Date of stay: August 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
8  Thank Adam m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2014

My wife and I spent a unbelievable 10 days on Pemba island. The resort is well situated with helpful and attentive staff and a excellent kitchen service with very good meals,especially considering their difficult and sometimes erratic supply chain.The scuba diving was top end and the Dive master very professional and friendly.
On the down side,the accommodation insofar as the bath rooms are concerned was more what you would expect from a 1 star establishment; the shower looked as if it was a pre 2nd world war design ,the drain was blocked on numerous occasions,the water pressure was not always up to standard,at times there was no hot water and the basins did not have proper sealing wastes.
We were moved from our original chalet because the air conditioning did not work.
The peace was disturbed by building renovations in the chalet next door(the 1 we had just vacated) chopping up the floor screed with jack hammers.
The couple running the Resort are very nice and friendly,but with all due respect they have no experience in running a resort, as admitted by themselves. I think it's unfair of the owners to put them in this position without at least the proper guidance and training.One of the owners was there for the first 3 days of our visit and he showed no interest in our well being or the feedback of the guests.
The potential of the resort is fantastic but without the proper training of staff and much needed professional interior design they are not going to get anywhere

Room tip: Front sea view chalets as long as their not building
Date of stay: June 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank 510629jan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2014

My family and I stayed at the Manta resort in mid-July for a week. Manta is fantastically well located at the northern tip of Pemba. The reef off of the beach is excellent for snorkeling, diving and tide-pooling during low tide. The beach itself is quite large for most of the day, and wonderfully deep during high tide. It is cleaned every morning. Only 8 of the 18 rooms were occupied when we were there, and it felt as if we had the beach to ourselves. I imagine even when the hotel is full, the beach will feel like a secluded getaway. Manta is worth it just for the beach and reef.

In addition, I found the other guests to be of the more adventurous, off-the-beaten path type. These guests, even the honeymooners, and the staff were very welcoming of our kids. Thus, although secluded, the ambiance in the common spaces was very casual and familial. An unusual and wonderful combination that I would say is a great destination for the adventurous honeymooners as well as families. Not a usual mix, but one that works very well at Manta.

The beach bar, pool area and dining/common areas are very nice, and what I would expect for a very nice resort, while still being true to an authentic African experience. The food was excellent in spite of the difficulty of getting supplies from Zanzibar and the mainland. The rooms are comfortable, clean and perfect for a beach environment, but are missing a level of charm or up-to-date design. I certainly do not advocate for boutique-efying them, but it seems a missed opportunity given all the other great aspects of the resort.

Speaking of which, one of the greatest assets of the resort is Stacey and Mike, and the staff. As mentioned, we felt completely at home and our needs very much accommodated. Mike is an extraordinarily attentive and patient dive master. He taught our kids (11, 11 and 12 years old) to dive, adjusting his manner with each kid’s personality to make them comfortable. The diving on the reef in front of the hotel as well as within minutes by boat is worth the stay at Manta alone. Stacey and the staff have a very symbiotic relationship with the local village. They go out of their way to hire and source items from the village, extending the atmosphere of welcome when you step out of the resort. Manta has genuinely contributed to the village’s prosperity and has avoided what could have been (and is in some other resort environments) a more resentful and hostile surrounding.

Tips. The sunset sail is absolutely worth it. Extremely authentic ride in a small sailboat whose design is centuries old. The sailing takes you from the local village to a very nice sandy beach for a change of scenery.
The spice farm tour is interesting, but not worth a half-day’s excursion in and of itself. We combined it with our airport drop off, and even then felt it was not entirely worth the detour.

All in all, Manta is off-the-beaten path, a wonderful experience and well worth the effort.

Date of stay: July 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank PierreTrapanese
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2014

Me and my boyfriend had the chance to visit Manta Resort in the end of April. After a lot of work we needed to relax.
We were tired and needed a rest- and we got SO SO well taken care off from the arrival until the departure! We stayed in a beautiful room in the back, very nice materials in the rooms, great shower and bathroom. I loved the simplicity- with beautiful details!

The first day we just chilled in the pool, by the beach in the bar with a beautiful view over the sea. I went snorkeling just off the beach and I was astounded over how much fish you saw, just in the shallow water. In the evening we had a nice candle light dinner up on the terrace- great food and great service. Very polite staff who gave you space but being very attentive.

The next day we had the opportunity for diving- this was amazing. We had the chance to go diving with David, an instructor from the in house dive center. He took us to a site who was suitable for us. That was truly special! Pemba is the place to dive, I can't wait to get back for more!

All in all we were so pampered and Manta Resort is so far away from anything else- you really feel like you have your private paradise! If you have the chance go, go ,go!!

Date of stay: April 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank karinkarinkarin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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