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“Tranquil hotel- away from noisy Stonetown” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins

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Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins
Ranked #16 of 33 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
143 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Tranquil hotel- away from noisy Stonetown”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2012

As I had to spend 2 days alone i didn't really want to be in Stonetown. This hotel offered just the relaxing break I needed. The staff were excellent- restaurant and reception. The location was perfect- beautiful views. The beach was lovely and the water was clear. The pier was a great option for sunbathing. I heard there were sand flies on the beach but I didn't see any. The gardens are beautiful and the restaurant, rancho style looks out over the sea. At night I saw monkeys in the tree- that was the only noise and it didn't last long.
I enjoyed all my meals- the grilled fish and salsa was excellent.
My room had 2 single beds and a small balcony that looked out over the sea- perfect. I wouldn't call it luxurious but the furnishings were of a high quality. At night they draw the mosquito curtains over the beds. The safe was tiny. The air0-conditioning was quiet.
I'd definitely go back.

Room Tip: I had room 11, downstairs but the closest to the beach.Upstairs would have been nice too.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SwissW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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211 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    99
    73
    21
    13
    5
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
London, England, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 30, 2012

Couldn't recommend this place enough - paradise location, super friendly staff, gorgeous room and great food. If i get the chance to go back to Zanzibar this is where I will stay. The view from our room couldn't be beaten by anything else!

  • Stayed June 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?
1 Thank Keli H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
66 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2012

I was very happy to have been booked to this hotel by a Dar Es Salaam tourist guide. Beautiful spot, 10 minute drive to Stonetown. You feel as if you are in another world. Lovely beach and pool. And wonderful massage, an oasis in the old ruins of an Arab Palace on the grounds.

Room Tip: We were in a room with twin beds close to the beach (room 11). Mother and son travelling and it was...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jclarkebell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
39 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 12, 2011

Things started well- I emailed the hotel direct, as I had a last minute opportunity to spend a long weekend on Zanzibar and thought it would be good to have a change from the hotel I usually stay at (and which offers and EA residents rate, as opposed to Mbewi which does not). I enquired about the availability of the 'spa' offer than was detailed on the website. A subsequent phone confirmation confirmed that the offer was still valid so I booked. Met at hotel, transfer fine. On registering the manager (?) told me that, as it was a public holiday, the spa was not open that day and advised I return the following afternoon. No drama- pool, restaurant, room...all very nice. The next day I took the shuttle into Stone Town in the morning, much appreciated to offer this complimentary service, though a mid-afternoon option back from town would go down even better. Returning from town around 3.30 I went back to reception, only to be told that the therapist was busy with other people. Okay, this time I was advised to return at 8.30am on Sunday...which I dutifully did. No therapist, so I went to breakfast and the therapist showed up around 9. I went with her to check out the spa- the first time that anyone mentioned that it was a room actually in the ruins, that was undergoing renovations. Strangely enough, the room was finished, with retail products (soap etc) priced and displayed. The room looks lovely, and I agreed to return at 11am (the therapists suggestion) so she could make sure everything was ready. Just before 11am, when I was dropping things off in my room, there was a knock at the door. The 'boss' had told the therapist to do the treatment (a facial) on my balcony. Stupidly, I agreed- any opportunity to arrange something elsewhere was now long gone though. So, onto the balcony we went. I was sat in a deckchair...another deckchair was put 'back-to-back' with a towel to add support. Bizarre. On checkout I felt it was reasonable to ask for a discount, as the service was not as advertised, not as agreed upon and certainly not a 'spa' treatment. The woman at reception told me all she could do was waive the charge on using my credit card.... As I left to go to the airport she told me 'I am sorry we did not meet your expectations'- I thought this was inappropriate as it totally lacked sincerity.
Had the hotel told me from the outset that the spa was not operating there would have been no disappointment, I would still have stayed and simply booked a treatment somewhere in Stone Town.
Food was fine. As mentioned by others, the mattresses are ordinary. Day one there were not enough 'lounges' by the pool/beach. The mangroves are interesting but beware of sandflies- far worse than mosquitoes. Cleaning the room twice daily and spraying for bugs in the evening meant that the room always felt clean.
If not for the spa business I would rate it 4+, make sure you inquire if you plan to avail yourself of the services at Bustani Spa.

Room Tip: go for upstairs- lovely beach views.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MRinNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mbweni, Marketing Director at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, January 25, 2012
Dear MRinNY,
Firstly, sorry for the rather late reply to your review – Trip Advisor have asked all manager owners to re-register – which has to be a good thing – but it took a little while to get that sorted with the right documents.
I think you’ve been very fair in your review, and clearly you are a frequent and well-experienced traveller. We are so sorry that some things went wrong with your trip to Mbweni in December and apologise profusely.
I asked the Managers to let me know what happened here – and this is their report:
“The Spa is open from Saturday to Thursday from 9.00am till 5.00pm “ (Friday the therapist is off, as in Zanzibar it is a holiday, equivalent to Sunday in UK and the USA.)
The day of the treatment, the guest was been taken to show the new SPA location (Caroline Thackeray room, in the old Arab House) which, due to some details missed and workers going up and down, we felt was not a proper suitable relaxing environment to enjoy a massage.
Meaning to offer a better solution, I asked the therapist to suggest the client to have the treatment in her balcony room overlooking the ocean. I do apologise if this was not a suitable alternative, and we offered a refund in compensation.”
Clearly, you were not informed of the hours for the Spa and should never have been told to return at 8.30am on the Sunday – I’m so very sorry, and I’m glad that the hotel offered a refund for the spa treatment, as it all went so wrong.
We had only just moved the spa into the newly restored ruins, and it’s now working well so we hope you may return one day and receive a complimentary treatment of your choice there!
Obviously we realise that you would preferred to have got the spa therapy you had booked and paid for, and which you were looking forward to receiving, and we are really sorry about it.
Kind regards,
Flo
Mbweni Ruins Hotel Marketing Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London UK
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2011

First of all I would like to say how friendly and helpful the staff were. However the prices the hotel were charging were high in relation to what was offered.My travel agent ,Zanzibar Travel ,who recommended this hotel said he had himself stayed in every room and we were looking forward to our stay, (our mattress was so uncomfortable that it had to be changed!) I don't believe our standards are unrealistic as we have travelled extensively and stayed in hotels 1-6 star rated ! It was like going back to the 70's and certainly does not rate 4 * We were booked in for 7 nights and left after 3!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Elizabeth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mbweni, Marketing Director at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, January 25, 2012
Dear Elizabeth W,

Firstly, sorry for the rather late reply to your review – Trip Advisor have asked all manager owners to re-register – which has to be a good thing – but it took a little while to get that sorted with the right documents.
I understand you came with an excellent Travel Agent, and had had some misunderstandings at our sister property Selous Impala Camp, where the managers did their best to meet your disappointed expectations.

I checked with our managers about the mattresses, and they told me they were replaced as soon as you mentioned there was a problem. We do not generally get complaints about the mattresses, but did our best to replace them with different ones.
The firmness of mattresses is very much a personal matter, and hotels cannot cater for all preferences, for those who prefer firm mattresses, and those who prefer softer ones. I
As the price for accommodation at Mbweni formed part of the overall cost of your holiday booked by Zanzibar Travel, we are unsure how you came to the conclusion that the hotel was expensive as you would not have known the charge for the hotel within the overall holiday price.

At Mbweni you had been given special rates, an upgrade to our best suite at no extra cost, and due to some misunderstanding over your vouchers from the TA, we also gave you complimentary dinner every night, to avoid disappointment. In addition to this you had free use of the internet, I understand, so you could arrange to return home early as you informed the managers that you had some problems there.
At check-in you presented your Voucher which indicated accommodation was on a Half Board basis. The Hotel checked this with the agent as the booking was made and charged on a bed & breakfast basis. The agent immediately contacted the Hotel, and the guests, to advise that this was a mistake on behalf of the agent. You were advised that your Invoice clearly stated that accommodation was booked, and paid for, on a bed & breakfast basis at Mbweni Ruins Hotel.
Despite being aware of this fact, you chose to pursue that accommodation should be on half board, which the Hotel duly honoured at its own expense.

I’m sorry if we did not come up to your expectations but we do feel we did everything we possibly could to allay any concerns, and we hope you will return again one day for a happier visit.

Kind regards,

Flo Montgomery
Mbweni Ruins Hotel Marketing Director
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwick, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2011

I had the pleasure of staying at Mbweni Ruins for a week in June after a period of overland travel through East Africa with a group of friends. We were collected from the ferry port without any fuss and upon arrival at the hotel we were personally greeted by the manager and staff.

After enjoying a welcome drink at the bar overlooking the mangrove trees and beach I was shown to my room which was beautifully furnished and decorated. Staff turned down the bed every evening, closed the mosquito nets and would deal with any insects that may have got in during the day.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus had plenty of variety and were cooked to an excellent standard. Staff were even able to recommend food and wine if I wasn't quite sure what I felt like.

The hotel organised some fantastic trips for us. We went on the Spice Tour and a boat trip from the hotel's own pier which took us to Prison Island and back into Stone Town where the courtesy bus meet us.

I would recommend a stay at Mbweni Ruins for anyone needing peace and quiet but still wanting the convenience of what Stone Town has to offer. I can't thank the hotel management and staff enough for paying close attention to our requirements and giving me so many wonderful memories of Zanzibar.

  • Stayed June 2011, 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?
1 Thank Robert W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winterthur, Schweiz
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2011

This place was exactly what we were looking for! After a very stressy time, me and my daughter just wanted to relax and have some fun. We found both at Mbweni. The manager with his wife and also the whole crew were formidable. Our very nice Room was just above the beach. If we wanted to go to the sandbank for snorkeling or to some of the islands,the Boat was always ready for us. And excitement, lots of people and Stores were reachable in 10 Minutes by the Hotel own Shuttle or a Taxi. We will go back as soon as possible!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Elisabetha7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins

Property: Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins
Address: Plot number 143/93, Mbweni Street | Kiembe Samakie, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Zanzibar City > Stone Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Stone Town
#4 Spa Hotel in Stone Town
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Stone Town
#9 Romantic Hotel in Stone Town
#11 Luxury Hotel in Stone Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins 4*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The only Protea in the beautiful Zanzibar, Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins provides the perfect choice for both beach and Stone Town holidays in Zanzibar. We are located amidst Mbweni Ruins dating back to 1870s and a beautiful botanical garden. The hotel is ten minutes away from Stone Town, airport, ferry terminal and the CBD of Zanzibar. Protea Hotel Mbweni Ruins is a cozy boutique hotel offering serene accommodations amidst a rare blend of history, greenery and ocean with a beautiful beach. Traditional Zanzibar hospitality at its best is offered at an affordable price. It's a hotel that complements your travel style. The site where the hotel is built was once an old Arab house, which was then bought by UMCA missionaries in 1871 to build a school for girls. The hotel makes a perfect base for exploring Stone Town. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Mbweni Ruins
Protea Hotel By Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins Zanzibar Island/Stone Town

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