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“Hard to judge under the circumstances”
Review of Mtoni Marine Hotel

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Mtoni Marine Hotel
Ranked #28 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Reviewed March 19, 2010

I stayed here with a colleague on a business trip. It's hard to be fair because the electric power that was cut off in December had not been restored, though I believe it has now. The most obvious result was that the restaurant was not open and we ate at the Sports Bar, where the menu is limited. Limited does not mean bad, and I had a passable pizza and some good chicken.

The rooms were fine -- I slept in Room 1 which, unfortunately, was next to the generator but which otherwise was fine. It isn't a luxury resort, but it doesn't charge like one, either -- overall, it was good value.

Drawbacks: They don't change money and there's no ATM for miles (and when you do find one, it takes Visa but not Mastercard -- beware). And if you go to Zanzibar, take a bucket of insect repellent. But that's the place, not the hotel.

I look forward to trying it again whyen the power is restored.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled on business
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Thank Bagster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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126 - 132 of 196 reviews

Reviewed February 22, 2010

We stayed at the Mtoni for four nights after a ten day safari. We were somewhat disappointed because when we checked in we were advised that because of the 3 month power outage they would be running the generators part of the day and therefore would surcharge us $15.00 per day. We said no and advised our travel agent who intervened and instructed them not to charge us.

Since the power has been off since December, 2009 we were not advised in advance, the beer at the pool lounge was warm, the generator provided power early morning, around lunch and from 6:00 pm till 1:00 am. It was noisy and when the generator was stopped at 1:00 am it was stifling hot in the room. We had to leave the windows open and the noise from the nearby street was annoying. The main restaurant was closed and the only food was the Sports Lounge which was primarily pizza and snacks. The chef did make Vegan meals for us one day but then ran out of ideas. (He did try). I think overall we were left with a poor impression of Zanzibar. We found it slummy and poor on the island. The ocean and the pool were very warm and great. The staff were generally very friendly.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank DrTedV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2010

Due to the power outage in Zanzibar, my friend and I were scrambling to find a hotel at the last minute. We had booked a small place, in a small village - but, with power only in the larger towns, we decided to stay near Stone Town and book a larger resort. Many were full, but Mtoni Marine had rooms. However, they never responded to my emails and we had to phone them to find this out - this was an indication of what we could expect.

The reviews on Trip Advisor were quite good, so we were looking forward to our stay. We had also lowered our expectations because they were only running their generator for about 10 hours per day....and we knew that meant limited AC, fan and lights - but even so, we were disappointed.

When we arrived, we had to wait about an hour for a room. When they took us to one, I thought they were knocking on the maintenance office - as the room had piles of trash and laundry on the patio. But, no, this was to be our room! We went back to the office and asked for another room. We waited another 2 hours and finally got a second floor room that was in much better shape. Another thing no reviews mentioned - the rooms have cement seating on the balcony, which is very uncomfortable after only a short time. You can also hear the traffic on the busy road outside the resort all day. This is fine if you don't plan to be in the room, but if you plan to relax or nap in the room, it is very loud.

The resort itself has 3 restaurants. They are all fine, but not spectacular. The pizzas are pretty good. Don't go to breakfast for the first 60 to 90 minutes, because that's how long it takes them to get all the items set up. If you order eggs, plan to wait quite a while. I tried to get salt and it never happened.

Although the resort has a beach, it is not a beach that you can swim at. However, it is pretty to look at and the pool is lovely. However, there is no where to sit and be shaded while at the pool. They have overhangs that have branches for shade, but not only does the sun shine on you, the birds are always looming up there.....and bird poop is a real possibility!

The real flaw of this hotel, however, is the staff. They sway between clueless and downright uncaring. We met one waiter and our room cleaner were terrific, but the desk staff was hopeless and not at all helpful, the girl working at the pool bar would not get off her chair for any reason at all, and there were mistakes in our bill that took quite a while to fix. They won't change money, so unless you have cash when you arrive, you can't tip your waiter - signed tips go to cleaners and laundry people - how weird is that???

The hotel is located a $6 cab ride into Stone Town - which would be fine if it was a quiet oasis - but, it's not. If this hotel were half the price, (we paid $110 for a room for 2) it may be worth it, but it is incredibly overpriced for what it is.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank Expat_Kim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2009

After having read some of the reviews about Mtoni, we were somewhat worried, but decided to go ahead with our booking, which included our wedding on the beach. We were pleasantly surprised! None of the criticism in some of the previous reviews are warranted in the least! From our arrival on 8 December 2009 to our departure on 15 December 2009 we experienced only hospitality, quality service, friendliness and great food! Allow us to elaborate on this: We were picked up at the airport by Mtoni staff and transferred quickly to Mtoni, where the friendly front desk staff awaited us. Check-in was a breeze, and we were promptly shown to our Palm Court room, which we found extremely clean and comfortable. The daily decorations on the bed were fantastic! The staff at Mtoni could not have been friendlier and more helpful - our every need was catered for, from booking trips to advice and information we required. And the smiles! The pool area is absolutely fantastic, and so too the staff at the Splash Bar. The same can be said about the Mtoni Restaurant and Mcheza Sports Bar - quality food, beautifully presented and of high standard! We loved every meal we had! We also made some wonderful new friends - Obama, Amina, Mtika, Rhamadhani, Jack, Rodrique, Omar and Thomas, to name but a few. Wonderful people who gave us only their best!

Bear in mind that two days after our arrival the whole island was suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with a huge challenge: NO ELECTRICITY! Shock, horror, fright!
Despite this, we still stand by our comments above. The staff made a concerted effort to cater for our every comfort and need, despite the many challenges that resulted from the lack of electricity. Generators were used, and although these could (understandably)not run 24/7, we made the best of the prevailing circumstances by improvising - a bath full of cold water to dip into throughout the night when the heat became too much, bottles of water to fill up the toilet cistern etc. Candles, matches, mosquito repellant etc were provided by the staff. Our motto is: If you can't handle Africa, stay away (instead of criticising). We feel that the staff at Mtoni did their best despite the adversities they had to face (none of which were the fault of the resort or staff) and came out TOPS!

Last, but not least, we would like to commend Sjani and her team for the arrangements for our wedding on 9 December 2009 (seperate review to follow on your website, Sjani!). Everything was excellently and perfectly organised and orchestrated, from the bride's hair and make-up to the bridal bouquet and the "chapel" on the beach, the table for our dinner on the beach, the attentive staff (thanks, Obama!) and an exquisite meal under the stars! Not to forget the videographer and photographer, who both excelled with regards to the quality and standard of the photos and DVD. Thank you, guys!

We will be back in the near future! Mtoni is a wonderful place! Asante sana, one and all, for making our stay so enjoyable! Baadae!

Deon & Amanda Minnie
Middelburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank dminnie2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2009

Mtoni Marine is spread over a large area comprising of club rooms, apartments, two restaurants, an infinity pool, the reception area and a private beach. I stayed in a club room and my room was nicely decorated, clean and the air-conditioning worked well. It was my first time sleeping under a mosquito net and it felt quite exotic. There is a safe, a free bottle of water, lovely clove soap and some free toiletries.

I had dinner and lunch at the sports cafe, where the food was ok and the service was good. My pizza (called Michael Schumacher) was undercooked and my spaghetti bolognaise was a bit uninspired, but it tasted ok and it was nice listening to the band on the Saturday night. The waiters in the sports cafe were very friendly and efficient.

The two computers in reception are ancient, but I managed to check my emails and read the news, as long as I only opened one tab at a time.

I had a spa treatment at the Mrembo Spa, which looked and smelled lovely. The service could definitely have been better - there was a lot of confusion over my treatment, where to get changed and what to do, and I felt quite poorly treated. I almost walked away from the whole thing. The lady who runs it should be more clear and direct, explain the treatment and what will happen, and be a bit more helpful!

My biggest gripe were the reception staff. They didn't appear to be taking their job seriously, were way too 'relaxed', didn't want to help me with anything, and even answered their mobile phones in the middle of talking with me. I struggled to find out how to book my spa treatment, how to visit the Mtoni Palace ruins (didn't get to see them in the end!), when my transfer to the airport was going to leave etc. I was also asked to pay for drinks that someone else had had at the sports cafe and charged to my room. The signature was nothing like mine and I of course declined to pay. By now I have been in Tanzania long enough to realise that customer service is usually appalling here, which is surprising since they really encourage tourism, but Mtoni Marine was so lovely in other respects that it's a shame that their front of house staff lets them down!

I would like to return for a longer stay with my partner and dine at the restaurant with my feet in the sand and explore Zanzibar more. Let's hope the reception staff have been replaced or trained by then!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled solo
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Thank Marte P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2009

Nice hotel but front of house staff need a bit of customer service training. Restaurant is excellent. Food is superb and dining on the beach is a treat. The waiters are good fun and efficient.

Rooms are OK and clean.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Johnsterbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2009

We have just returned from this hotel. We were extremely disappointed, given the price we paid. We were put in the "Club Rooms" , Rooms 1-5 (there were 8 of us). The rooms were dirty, very shabby (plaster fell off the ceiling onto our mosquito net every morning). These rooms backed up to the kitchen and the trash bins. The smells were horrendous and the noise unbearable. We hate rat droppings in our room, the door didn't fit the jamb and we had big gaps - and big mosquitos - every night. The closet window and the bath window didn't seal or close properly, so we had to keep the doors to the closet and bath closed when we ran the room a/c. The air conditioning is the only thing we can say was a plus in these shabby rooms. Our safe wouldn't work and no one seemed to care for the first two days, and finally something was done. The computer was constantly down so going to the front desk and buying water took several minutes every time because they had to hand write tickets. They have free internet in the lobby, but the computers they use are dinosaurs and no one had the patience to wait 30 minutes to just get into their email, much less answer or read one.

The dining, on the other hand, was fantastic. Whoever runs the restaurant does a fantastic job. The service is outstanding, and the food is gourmet. The prices are reasonable.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank amorebello
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mtoni Marine Hotel

Address: Malawi Road, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Stone Town
#6 Spa Hotel in Stone Town
Hotel Class:3 star — Mtoni Marine Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mtoni Marine is located on the west coast of Zanzibar, 10 minutes north of Stone Town and neighboring the legendary Mtoni Palace. This laid back and family friendly hotel is the ideal location from which to explore Stone Town and the rest of the island, while providing a peaceful retreat from it all. The hotel offers great facilities including a newly built infinity pool, a variety of restaurants and entertainment,Spa,The neighboring Mtoni Palace where Princess Salme was born and the perfect setting for Zanzibar weddings! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mtoni Marine Stone Town
Mtoni Marine Hotel Stone Town
Mtoni Marine Hotel Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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