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“Simply fantastic” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pongwe Beach Hotel

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Pongwe Beach Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Pongwe
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
51 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Simply fantastic”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 19, 2012

We chose this resort as part of our honeymoon on Zanzibar. We stayed in Chumbe Island (amazing), Stonetown (worth a night stopover) and Nungwe (Langi Langi hotel). Of these, Pongwe had the best beach and just a wonderful air of relaxation about it. From the moment you arrive you realise that you are somewhere special. The staff are lovely, the food really good and the beach - stunning. We were worried about the sea and the tide going out for long periods of the day. It does indeed go right back to the reef (probably over half a mile out) but we needn't have worried. Taking a stroll out in the pools that the sea leaves behind in the amazing sand, decorated with the occasional coral was simply wonderful. You will need soled footwear of some kind - beach shoes or diving shoes are perfect, as the sea floor is full of razor clams which could hurt you if you walked unprotected. I have never seen such amazing starfish and sea urchins as those that lie in wait for strollers on Pongwe Beach.
We asked for a remote room and we got the one right on the edge of the resort. This was our only mistake as the room didn't have any glass in the windows and when the tide comes in you are only a few feet from the rocks. This sounds very romantic but if there is any wind at all, you will get waves breaking on the rocks and this kept us awake for long periods. Unfortunately it was quite windy during our stay which meant a very noisy night, every night. I would appeal to the owners to glaze the two rooms by the sea front. The views are amazing and you simply stroll out of your room, down some steps and onto a wonderful beach. If we had had a good nights sleep there then our stay would have been perfect.
The staff are lovely, we had some fun with them and if you chat to them and take an interest your stay will be all the more interesting.
We were invited to feed the bushbaby that comes into the bar most nights - a great experience. We took some banana and waited up outside our room to see another bush baby jump down in front of us and take the food. I should point out that whilst they are lovely to watch, they make a loud noise like a child being strangled so be prepared to be woken up if you do as we did and put food down for them at night time.
One of the reasons Pongwe is so nice is that at times you can feel that you are the only person there. The beach is sparsely populated with sun beds but there are more than enough to go round for the guests staying there. You never need to go near anyone else on the beach as it stretches a long way and there is no-one there to hassle you. For honeymoon relaxation this is perfect.
Pongwe is mid priced and I would say that is about right. The hotel is laid back and pleasant rather than luxurious and amazing but the beach pulls it up a notch or two. The water supply is salty but this isn't a problem and only really affects showering.
I would point out that for the price you pay for these African resorts it is disappointing to discover that the staff aren't particularly well paid and that they appear to rely on tips to top up their income. Given how much you pay for a room in a hotel like this, it feels wrong (although I obviously don't know the full picture of the hotels overheads).
This is a good hotel with nice staff, good food and a fantastic beach, we certainly preferred to see several parts of the Island rather than just stay in one place and we were certainly glad we went to Pongwe, despite our noisy nights.

Room Tip: Ask for one of the regular rooms - set back from the sea
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Bleexxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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790 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (148)
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English first
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 14, 2012

We loved our stay here, very peaceful and relaxing. The rooms were lovely, the staff friendly and the views stunning. Cocktail hour was great for the half price cocktails before dinner! The food was a set menu every evening and was always well cooked and beautifully presented. The option to dine on the beach was a nice touch too. We highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Kate T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2012

When my boyfriend and I booked this hotel, we were so excited by the beautiful pictures and description on the website/all the amazing reviews. When we arrived it was clear the pictures of the rooms/beach/resort in no way do Pongwe justice. It is the archetypal secluded island paradise and so romantic.

I was especially impressed with three things: the amazing service - everyone went out of their way to be friendly and attentive and we were even able to stay in our room until 4pm when we left for Stone town because no one was booked in the next day. Secondly, the food and cocktails were the best we had in Tanzania. Amazing seafood and we loved a lazy drink or three at happy hour watching the tide come in. Lastly we had a fantastic room - they are so much bigger and more impressive in real life than in pictures. We also had our own plunge pool which was an amazing surprise! Overall great value for money and more than we'd ever expected. I suggest getting half board because the food is great and there aren't many places to eat nearby.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Georgia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

My wife and I just stayed for 1 day, and I have to say that we really wish we could have stayed longer. The facilities are clean, and well thought out. The beach is gorgeous, and there is a lovely pool that overlooks the ocean.

We didn't really know what to expect, since we'd stayed in other resorts in Africa for the 2 weeks prior, but we found that the staff and facility was top-notch. Unfortunately the wireless is limited to the reception area, but we've consistently found this wherever we stayed (if they had internet access at all).

We had dinner on the beach (which is an option that you can choose for free), and I have to say it was the highlight of our experience. The weather was gorgeous, the sky was clear (countless stars) and it felt very intimate. My wife and I were lucky, I guess, that we were the only couple on the beach that night.

Anyhow, to make a long story short--FANTASTIC place. Private, quiet, great service, great value, and very clean.

The one down side, even though we didn't care, was that the hotel uses salt-water for the showers. They were up-front about it, and I believe they said they are working on a fresh-water option.

Thanks Pongwe Beach Hotel!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank wajidhoda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2012

this is the place to be if you just want to chill and reflect and enjoy a natural beach environment. Staff are extremely friendly and looked after our every need and seemed to enjoy their work! Simple accommodation under the palm trees. Go to sleep listening to the waves, there is nothing more soothing. Food and drinks were great. We took full advantage of happy hour cocktails! Gorgeous poolside area for when the ocean is too far away to swim but dont miss the rockpools then! Boat trips available out to the reef, island tours can be booked too if you stay longer than a couple of days. Great place we want to return to one day.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank partygirl83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 2012 via mobile

Amazing place to stay. We spent 1 week there and everything was just perfect, from the food to the beautiful beach.

Don't expect too many things to do as the place is rather secluded (which is a great thing by the way)

A special mention for the staff, super friendly and helpful. Highly recommended, and if you can afford the beautiful honeymoney suite do not hesitate, very nice private swimmingpool...

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank SvenFromGeneva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
140 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2012

We (my husband and I in our mid-sixties) were lucky enough to spend 4 nights in a beachfront room at Pongwe. It was wonderfully relaxing and very beautiful. We were lucky that the high tides corresponded with the middle of the day when we were there, so if that's important to you and you have some flexibility, it's worth checking the tide tables. The high tide made a real difference compared to other resorts on the East coast and also the fact that the Pongwe tide doesn't seem to fluctuate so much as other places (even during low tide) made it a real draw. We only had to use the pool once even though it was quite a nicely designed 'infinity' pool. The seawater was really lovely. It was quite windy on a few days though. I 'd say that Pongwe was my second favourite beach after Kendwa.

The other factor that absolutely made our stay here was the fantastic food - especially seafood; very creative menus, well-cooked with a lot of variety - both lunch and dinner.

It was also great that they had good wifi for $10 per stay, a comfortable room but not opulent, good bed, lots of fresh towels for beach and personal use, and locally-made gowns, plus it was very clean.

I was extremely impressed with all of the happy, smiling starving- whether kitchen, rooms, garden or security; they were all very warm, friendly and welcoming.

We thought the price was good value for low season but sad that there is going to be a significant price hike next year - above our budget although I understand that returning guests get a 20% discount.

Asante sana to all the staff at Pongwe!

Room Tip: It's worth paying extra for beachfront if you only have a few days
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sue C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pongwe Beach Hotel

Property: Pongwe Beach Hotel
Address: PO Box 297, Pongwe, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Pongwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Pongwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Pongwe Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on what could perhaps be described as the best beach in Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach Hotel is a tranquil place where one can escape the hustle and bustle of modern day life. It is modestly sized, with 4 Sea View Suites, 13 traditional Beach Villas as well as 3 Garden Rooms and has an intimate, personal atmosphere. Set within a secluded bay on the east coast of Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach is a true paradise retreat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pongwe Beach Hotel Zanzibar Island

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