The hotel and restaurant have recently changed ownership and sad to say, the change on the restaurant side is not for the positive. I have been coming to Mbweni for years. The restaurant used to be a low key place to meet for a drink or relaxing lunch or dinner and to enjoy a spectacular setting. But things have changed...
First, we were greeted by a imposing staff person as soon as we entered (even before you get to the main building) who curtly informed us that there is now an 'entrance fee' of 5,000 Tsh. that will be credited to your bill if you order food. While I suppose this is a fairly reasonable system, the way in which you are now hit over the head with it the instant you walk in the gate kind of ruins the experience. The wait staff then proceeded to completely mix up the order, without even attempting to fix it. Then, when the bill was presented, they wrote in VERY large numbers the total for the bill WITHOUT the credit for 5,000 Tsh., then a second amount written in VERY small numbers below where they had deducted the amount as they should have. Everyone in our party almost paid the wrong amount! Essentially, they are hoping that you don't see the smaller number and will then pay the 5,000 Tsh. twice. MAKE SURE THEY DON'T DOUBLE CHARGE YOU. When I pointed this out to the waiter, they just shrugged and didn't even attempt to apologize. It's not that it's that much money, but just the principal of the matter and the dishonest and unfriendly atmosphere that really bothered me.
I will still give the place another shot in the future, because it really was a great place not so long ago, but I was sorely disappointed by the uninviting atmosphere that's accompanied the change in management. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for an improvement soon!
- 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