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“Idyllic Beach Hotel” 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
Lancaster, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Idyllic Beach Hotel”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2013

Pongwe Beach Hotel offers one of the most idyllic beach experiences one is ever likely to find. The view from the door of one's beachside cottage offers layers of blue and aquamarine sea, framed by almost artificially placed palm trees, with a sandy beach which seems to be made from white talcum powder. When we were there in February the cottages were surrounded by hibiscus attracting clouds of butterflies. Sometimes the sea was not warm but hot, though when the sea had come in over the sand, it offered ribbons of water of different temperature as one swam out to sea. And one can take extended strolls along the beach.

With these advantages, Pongwe Beach does not have to work hard to make itself an excellent location for the perfect Zanzibari holiday. The food offered is of a good standard and sometimes considerably better than that, though breakfast was not a high point. The staff are extremely friendly and have every intention of providing first class service, though orders at the table and the bar are garbled more often than one might reasonably expect. On the down side, the cottage we stayed in - one of the oldest on the campus - was beginning to look a little tired and gloomy inside - and the bar and dining room were all in one large space that could on occasion become rather institutional and noisy, especially when Pongwe Beach is a larger hotel than some of a similar type and quite naturally attracts guests with very different tastes and preferences. And the continual canned music struck a disappointing note. But the overall experience was very enjoyable and we would certainly return.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Halzephron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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838 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 (159)
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Gloucestershire
Level Contributor
142 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2013

This was our second visit to Pongwe and it's still just as beautiful. They have added 4 new rooms since we were last there in 2008 and we enjoyed staying in one of them, having its own plunge pool, outside deck and modern finish inside. If you want a quality modern room then they are fantastic but we felt we lost something of the "African experience" by not staying in the more traditional rooms right on the beach even if they are more basic.

As everyone else says, the beach is stunning! For us, the service was great and nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff who were always smiling and keen to get to know you. The food was good too, using fresh produce every day and if you didn't like what was on the menu for dinner it was no trouble for them to cook you something different.

The sand is so white and soft and at low tide you can walk straight out for at least 20 minutes on the sand or in only a few inches of water and spend time exploring.

We hope they don't add any more rooms as if they do we fear they may lose some of the intimacy of the hotel which is one of its endearing features. The downside since our last stay is the way taxi prices have rocketed on the island which makes you less inclined to get out and about on a regular basis - not that this is the fault of the hotel!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank DicknDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
140 reviews
124 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2013 via mobile

Compared to some other places on this side of the island, this place is less expensive, and the rooms, at least ours, are on a matching scale, still being a good value.
The beach is very nice and constantly maintained. The breakfast is average, but we got once an excellent seafood dinner (quite expensive, but finally worth it).

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank OneAdvisedTravaller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I stayed at the Pongwe beach hotel for four nights at the end of our honeymoon. I have to say that overall we were disappointed with our overall stay. We stayed in room number one which we found to be dark, cramped and hot (the fan was nowhere near the bed). The bed in our room smelt of sweat. On speaking to management we were told that room one was being demolished in one months time, unlucky for us. I'm sure if you requested one of the new rooms the hotel would have been great.

Please note that hotel is located approximately 1 hour from stone town and a return taxi is US$120 return. This made day trips out the the hotel very expensive and time consuming.

There were plenty of positives to our stay... The staff were nice, the food was good and the drinks at the bar were reasonably priced. The beach was clean, well maintained and secure.

Overall I would stay at the Pongwe beach again but for probably only two days rather than four and I wouldn't stay in one of the older rooms in the hotel

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank tdav0726
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2013

We spent 5 nights at Pongwe Beach Hotel for our honeymoon after climbing Kilimanjaro. It is paradise. The location is absolutely beautiful-turquoise sea, soft white sand and palm trees. The hotel has been very well designed to compliment the location. We booked too late to get a sea view room but our garden view room 20 metres from the beach was lovely. The garden view rooms are actually more secluded and private which we liked. The food was fabulous. We were not disappointed by any of our meals and the restaurant is a lovely open building overlooking the beach. We would definitely recommend a beach dinner (no extra cost) and if you like seafood try the chefs special-wow! We made the most of happy hour cocktails everyday and they were honestly the best cocktails I've ever had. The complementary fruit on the beach at 4pm was lovely. The staff were all extremely friendly and the service was excellent.

My main concern before we arrived was that I would get bored because it is so secluded. It is such a lovely place I wasn't bored at all. There are day trips that can be arranged if desired but, perhaps because we were tired from our climb, we wanted to do nothing more than lie on the beach, read, drink and eat! We felt we'd miss out if we left Pongwe even for a few hours (although a trip to Stone Town is worthwhile. We'd spent a night there before going to Pongwe). At the end of our stay we didn't want to leave. We would have happily stayed there for weeks!

Room Tip: Although I'm sure the sea view rooms are lovely we loved our secluded garden view room
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 329Shef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario Canada
Level Contributor
608 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 758 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 19, 2013

My hubby and I stayed at the Pongwe Beach Hotel for 4 days out of our 20 days in Tanzania. This was a wonderful respite following our Kilimanjaro trek and safaris! This place is really paradise on earth! When you arrive at the hotel you are welcomed with a drink and cold towel and taken in hand by an employee of the hotel. You receive a list of all the hotel amenities, meal hours, internet information etc. You are then escorted to your beautiful huge room overlooking the Indian ocean. OMG! What a view! In your room, you will find a beach bag, a flag (will explain later), a toga, beach towels and two bathrobes. When we arrived it was very humid and since there is no A/C, beware of the slippery floors in the room and bathroom! We put down a towel on the floor of the bathroom during our stay to prevent us from falling.

The flag in the beach bag is for your convenience, you can order drinks at the beach by putting the flag in the sand. The Masai guarding the beach will spot the flag and call a server to take your order!!!! Pure bliss!!!

From 5pm to 6 pm, it is happy hour and drinks are half off. This is a great opportunity to try different drinks without the price adding up. We stayed in half board, so no drinks were including during our stay. The pineapple margarita and banana colada is a must to try. All meals are chosen in advance; you choose your lunch at breakfast and your dinner at lunch. All the meals we had were delicious, if you are a vegetarian, they will make something special for you. The service here is top notch all the time. During our stay it was very windy and they still put up our table on the beach for our dinner. This dinner is included with your stay and not many used it while we were there. It is a must! You are the only ones on the beach, very close to the high tide, flowers and candles in the sand and one waiter to spoil you.

No tipping is allowed during your stay at Pongwe. At checkout, you ask for a tip envelop and only then you give the tip for your stay. I honestly hope that people generously tip before departing, since the service at this hotel is completely amazing and all the staff are wonderful and accommodating.

Would go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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?
3 Thank SylvieFrancois444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silkeborg
Level Contributor
52 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 17, 2013

We spent our last 2 days of a 17 days vacation in Tanzania at the Pongwe Hotel. And what a way of ending a lovely holiday. The Pongwe Hotel is really paradise on earth. Our room was very large, splendid bed and well functioning bath room. From our verandah we had a lovely view over the beautiful sea which changes colours after the tide, so beautiful. The pool is also lovely overlooking the sea. The sand is white and soft, and every morning 10 men of the staff are cleaning the beach. It is a very well kept place. The restaurant and the food exquisite and the staff is so helpful. And the place is so quiet, you only hear the roar from the sea.
So we would love to come back again and can really recommend this hotel.
Sonja and Steen Stensgaard

  • Stayed February 2013, 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 SOSSilkeborg
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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