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“Relaxed and secluded. Perfect getaway!”

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Ngalawa Beach Village
Ranked #33 of 208 Zanzibar Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Dar es Salaam
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Relaxed and secluded. Perfect getaway!”
Reviewed May 2, 2011

We stayed at Ngalawa beach village over the holiday weekend. The place is very quaint and secluded. The beach stretch is really quiet and one feels that they are on their own. The resort is managed by a Canadian couple, who take keen personal interest in ensuring that the guests are taken care of. The service and warmth with which hospitality is extended, is remarkable. The building is a cluster of rooms with nice views of the lush tropical garden and poolside, with a backdrop of the bay. Its a single storey structure and gives a very intimate feel. Whilst the place is lovely, the real deal is the fantastic food and beverage. Every meal is an epicurean delight. The flavours are subtle and the presentation is delightful. In depth thought has been given to the customer demographics, prior to a menu being finalized. Be it lunch or dinner, the food and the experience was fabulous. The chef has been trained well and the owners take special interest. Joann who is the owners wife, is a highly trained chef. Her knowledge of global cuisine is reflected in the food. The bar is also lovely. Its on a jetty and has sweeping views of the Chwaka bay. The local fishing village is not very far either. They also have a treatment room with a lovely view of the bay. Massages are available and are very nice and extremely reasonably priced. All in all, its a perfect getaway from city life. Lovely pool, great food, personalized service, comfortable rooms and quite cut off from everything. Its a change from the all inclusive established resorts and has a very boutique home stay feel to it. A very premium one at that. I would highely recommend Ngalawa beach. Its one of a kind!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Siddharth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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189 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Paris, France
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2011

Stayed here for 3 days off on a working trip to Dar es Salaam. A friend recommended it.
It is quiet, with a beautiful view. The owners Joanne and Sadru gave us an excellent welcome. We ate well. Staff are friendly and helpful.
The food is REALLY good.
Rooms perfectly clean, very comfortable, nice big bed with a pretty, designer mosquito net. Excellent shower. Hot water. Electricity always worked. Good WIFI signal in the bar/restaurant.
You can get a massage in a hut looking out on the sea.
We mostly wanted quiet time and we hung out at the pool. It was perfect.
Not too quiet though. On our last night, a Friday night they arranged a cool party and there was a local band playing. It was a lot of fun, dancing in the bar, again with a splendid sea view.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank paddybone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2011

The proprietors were amazing, very friendly. The resort itself is not very big (which I thought was a plus) but does have access to a great beach that is very quite. The food was fantastic and the staff were all very friendly. There is lots of opportunity to check out all the sites on Zanzibar or just hang out on the beach and enjoy the sun. The proprietors accomodate the needs of all the guests and tried to tailor the experience they offered to everyone. Next time I'm in Zanzibar I will be back.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank RTBO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2011

I had to go to Dar es Salaam on business and decided to extend the trip for a couple of days to go and relax a little bit on Zanzibar. I was looking for something that was close enought the (only) airport, but also far enough away not to interfere with any of my relaxing time. A friend recommended Ngalawa and I booked for my 3 days, 2 nights. It was more than I expected!

The resort is small and feels very exclusive - I was personally welcomed by the husband/wife owner of Ngalawa. The rooms satisfied your every need and was extremely comfortable. I especially loved the fresh hibiscus on the bed every morning and the fact that when you returned after dinner your bed and mosquito net was prepared - you didn't even have to waste time thinking about it yourself!

Each meal was an experience - STUNNING presentation and amazing fusion of flavours! Absolutely yummy desserts and freshly squeezed juices available throughout each meal. The serving staff were always available without being annoying and it almost felt sometimes like they knew what you wanted before you did. All the staff were extremely helpful and friendly.

The spa is built to overlook the ocean with a big window facing the beach. When you lie on the massage table it is the most spectacular view and experience! Definitely to be recommended. The deck with the beach bar is also built to overlook the beach and during high tide the water is actually underneath the deck so you are "sitting" on top of the ocean with the relaxing sound of the waves underneath you.

I went for early morning walks along the beach and watched the local fisherman brining in their catches. The beach is very serene and not commercial at all - which I absolutely loved. I also had a good laugh at the monkeys that provided entertainment in the coconut trees. After my walks I would go dive into the pool at Ngalawa for a refreshing swim before I went to go get ready for breakfast.

All in all it was the most relaxed I have ever been on holiday and that I think was due to the overall relaxed feel of Ngalawa. Everyone was efficient at doing what needed to be done, friendly and helpful with any queries. The owners were very friendly and they made you feel at home which cannot be said of a lot of hotels/resorts etc. Can't wait to go again!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Madeleine2110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2011

My wife and I picked this for our honeymoon and before going I read the other reviews, some are clearly inaccurate, this was our experience:

Cleanliness - The resort is small and very clean. The pool seemed to collect a lot of debris and there were the few inevitable bugs and things that are in most pools however it was manually cleaned by the staff daily and our pool experience was very pleasant.

The pool area was a calm nice surrounding area but the lounge mattresses are, in my opinion, in need of replacement due to weathering.

Service - The service was top notch. While we were there Joann (Husband and wife owners) tended to our every need and she was omnipresent. She was informative and bent over backwards to help with any request, minor difficulties etc. Additionally, her demeanor was extremely pleasant and courteous.

The staff for the most part was very nice however you could see they were struggling with English, which was our experience with other parts of the island as well.

Location - The resort itself provides a very romantic atmosphere and we enjoyed it overall very much but there were some disappointments that we were not prepared for or really informed by the web page of the resort that would have been helpful.

The resort is about an hour from Stone Town (main attraction city) and to leave the resort cost us $140 USD for any excursion. For an hours drive perhaps this is reasonable but mentally I was unprepared for this and initially it put me in a difficult mood.

Particularly, you will have to pay $140 to go anywhere because there is nothing close by so you have to go to Stone Town and start out.

Having said that, if you don't want to go to town, which exhausts itself after a day anyway, then you are okay. The meals we had were way above my expectations. I would say 4 of 5 stars most of the time, perhaps I should say 5 stars given that the food is all local and not imported. The presentation of the meals was artful and visually pleasant. The fish, in particular was beyond compare, first rate. All the juices were prepared as we asked for them and very delicious.

I wish to note, about meals, that on our Stone Town excursion we choose to eat at the Serena Hotel because I had heard so many things about this hotel chain which was very expensive........we had lunch that was ridiculously priced, the wait staff was neutral, not friendly, not unfriendly, but for the price they could have smiled a little more......my wife ordered passion juice and we had to send it back because it was rotten, not freshly done, we were glad to get back to Ngalawa for our next meal.

Also, we took a boat excursion one day and we would miss our lunch at Ngalawa, Joann (owner) made lunch and packed it for us, now that is beyond any service I would have expected anywhere.

Beach - This was a major disappointment for us. My wife and I were looking forward to the beach based on a few reviews I read on Trip Advisor and the hotel website gives almost no information except to say that the Jetty Bar overlooks the beach.

The beach is totally unusable period. The difference between high and low tides is so vast that it rushes in and rushes out; in the evening it is nice because it is high tide and you have a beautiful view, but you are also not swimming. When the tide is returning in late afternoon it is bringing with it tons of sea grass and it is sandy because it is rushing in, you would not want to swim in it. In the morning it is low tide and you would have to walk more than a hundred yards through sinking mudd-like sand and crabs to get to the water while stepping on coral and cutting your feet as my wife did when we tried.

Rooms - Our room was beautiful with a beautiful view on the balcony. Each morning our room had been made up with flowers on the bed and was a postcard picture. The bedding was very nice. The balcony chairs do not have mattresses and although they look beautiful, they are not comfortable to sit on for more than 10 minutes; they really should invest in new mattresses for the pool and something for the balcony chairs.

One complaint with the room, that might not affect everyone, was the air conditioning. My wife is African and she would never complain of feeling hot; me on the other hand I am from the USA and I like real air conditioning. The air conditioner worked but was inadequate for the size of the room and for the temperature in Zanzibar.

I was a little offended when I was asked by Joann (owner) that I should shut the air conditioning off when not in the room to "save the planet story." I left the air conditioning run 24-7 and I was baking at night; I did not look forward to sleeping at all because I cannot sleep in the heat. Again, if heat does not bother you, then you will be ok, and I admit that I am a person who likes it cooler than most perhaps. Having said that, it took me hours to fall asleep and more than a few sleeping pills because if you can't sleep there is nowhere to go without getting eaten alive by mosquitos if you are outside of the net.

Internet access - I was told it is throughout the complex but I could not get a signal anywhere, Joann did let you use the computer outside at reception but this meant you had to walk up 44 steps (yes I counted them) to get there, it was free to use her computer but I would have preferred to use my iPhone from my room.

Overall I think this was a good value for the money, rooms very clean, meals great, great service, but if you want night life most nights or if you are a beach-goer then this is not the place for you. If you want time alone with your sweetheart and quit time then this is perfect.

- SteveS

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank JetSetterSteve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fremantle, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 6, 2011

Staff were extremely friendly and helpful, our room was clean and the grounds beautifully kept. Sadly we didn't realise that whilst the hotel is by the beach, the tide goes out for miles and the sand can be rather boggy because of the mangroves - this made swimming in the sea a disappointing experience. This aside, the food was probably the best we had in our two week trip to Tanzania - all meals were beautiful and we much appreciated the delicious birthday cake made for my partner's birthday.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Hubble21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 6 Contributor
357 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 461 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2011

So far, I trusted Tripadvisor members’ reviews and I have checked reviews and comments prior almost all my trips, and I travel a lot. But this time I was very disappointed, not only by reviews but the overall exaggerating of "amazing Shangri-la Ngalawa (there's no) Beach Village" by reviewers. As I do not want other Tripadvisor users to make the same mistake like I did, here is my review and few photos to support it.

I was already skeptic when I saw all excellent reviews and comments, but anyway, I booked and pay in advance for stay in Ngalawa, so there was no way back. Next time I will listen to my gut feeling.

Let me just quickly list some of the things we found completely opposite to amenities advertised and recommended by reviewers:

- there is no usable beach or ocean there - the best you can get is half a meter deep muddy water at sunset, there is no white sand beach, just muddy beach for over hundred meters into the ocean, with carts and cows and birds running around

- honeymoon suite with private beach - there is no private beach, just a deck covered with sand with two sun beds, no access to the sea, no sun shades. Also, suite is located close to the bar, so no sleep when there is loud music playing. A/C is only in the bedroom, so you cannot use the other room during the day or night

- room – very simple, you definitely expect better set up and better maintained rooms for that money.

- bathroom - really simple and small bathroom, shower only. at least in honeymoon suite you should expect bathtub, not here

- wardrobe - you will have to keep your clothes in suitcases, there are no wardrobes except few hangers

- swimming pool – clean water, but no sun shades around the pool, and if you come to Zanzibar you want to enjoy beach, not swimming pool

- excursions and trips - extremely expensive, all trips start with 140$ taxi fare due to isolated location of hotel + price per person for each excursion

- reading lamps – nope, you will not be able to read in bed, no reading lamps

- food - full board is sometimes a good solution, but not in this case, as you have to pay full board even if you stay out of hotel for a full day. Also, I have expected more local dishes (sea food) than curry and rice. Desserts were really good!

- drinks - more expensive than in bars on other beaches, but as you have no choice, you have to pay for it

- staff – no complains, very helpful, but during our stay few crucial staff members resigned overnight and left, reasons unknown, but we were all guessing the same

- value for money - there is no value for money, and that leaves the bitter taste in my mouth - for over 450$ a day for two persons, you really expect more! all of the guests who were there at the same time, concluded the same.

If you want to experience real white sand beaches of Zanzibar, don't even a think to go to Ngalawa, as you will be extremely disappointed. I simply cannot recommend this place.

Honestly, I really feel duped and disappointed at the same time.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
46 Thank Dinko P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ngalawa Beach Village

Property: Ngalawa Beach Village
Address: | Chwaka Bay East Coast, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #33 of 208 B&Bs / Inns in Zanzibar Island
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ngalawa Beach Village Resort is a very nice Resort of 20 suites all with sea view and beach. The resort is located on the east coast of Zanzibar and overlooks the picturesque Chwaka Bay. All suites have a stunning view of the Indian Ocean from private porch and are very tastefully decorated with an eye for local and cultural theme in mind. The landscaping is professionally designed and the Resort is well lit in the evenings. All suites have attached bathrooms,bathroom towels and pool towels, air condition unit, fan, a desk, a safety deposit box, a kettle for tea or coffee, a full size 6ft by 6ft bed, mosquito net, a mini bar fridge, a day bed, hair driers and two Zanzibari style chairs in the balcony with ocean view. The Resort has a strategically located Swimming Pool with a wrap around pool deck, made from the finest Tanga Stones. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, there is a private sunbathing area and there is a path that leads to "Lily's Beach Bar" located on the Jetty. Bars & Restaurants The Dining room offers a friendly, casual atmosphere, good service and a fully equipped Bar. A very good selection of music to add to the ambiance. Occasional live performers. The main Dining Room also offers Special Menu for intimate private tables in a reserved area. Pool Side dining on special occasions. The Resort has a full service kitchen offering a la carte menu or buffets as planned by the Chef. The menu is prepared with fusion of spices, the cultural cuisines, and abundance of Sea Food in mind, also vegetarian or special requests. Fresh fruits in season and a variety of desserts. A visit to our Coconut Spa is a special time put aside for you to rejuvenate your senses. Choose from variety of massage products for your indulgence. Retreat to the cool shade of swaying palm trees or gently swing on the hammock with a good book. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ngalawa Beach Village Hotel Zanzibar

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