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“Beware...Sneaky Trick by Wait Staff!”

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Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins
Ranked #18 of 34 Hotels in Stone Town
Certificate of Excellence
Boulder, Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Beware...Sneaky Trick by Wait Staff!”
Reviewed April 27, 2014 via mobile

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!

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Salama_Tu24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DinishAntony, General Manager at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, April 27, 2014
Dear GUEST

Good day, thank you for your comment. I sincerely apologise for the negative experience you had. We will discuss the issue with Management and the F&B TEAM to ensure that this is ironed out. We look forward to see you again soon.

Thanks and regards,

Dinish Antony
Group General Manager
Protea Hotels - Dar es Salaam/Znz
gm@proteadar.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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226 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
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English first
Dar Es Salaam Region, Tanzania
1 review
Reviewed April 21, 2014

We stayed at Mbweni ruins for Easter holidays with three kids
The stay was very relaxing and comfortable... The kids had an excellent time on the beach and
the pool while we had the most needed relaxation ! It's a complete bliss... Not forgetting the warm and loving staff ... Thank You!

  • Stayed April 2014
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dental_supplies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DinishAntony, General Manager at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, April 24, 2014
Dear GUEST

Jambo from Protea Hotel Mbweni Ruins, thank you for staying with us and taking time to write this review. I am glad that you enjoyed your stay, will compliment the TEAM on job well done. We look forward to host you again soon.

Thanks and regards,

Dinish Antony
Group General Manager
Protea Hotels - Dar es Salaam/Znz
gm@proteadar.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed April 21, 2014

Very good hotel! Everything was perfect. Staff was very kind! There where 2 free kajaks available, frisbees and volleyballs. The manager of the hotel was also very nice and friendly. He arranged a bottle of champagne for the suprise engagment that i had planned for my girlfriend and also a birthdaycake. It was the perfect place to be engaged ! The restaurant was very good. Loved the lobster! Very good spices and the price of the food was very cheap compared with the prices in stone town restaurants. The hotel room was beautiful and clean. The garden was an adventure with a lot of trees and different kinds of plants. The ruins where also nice to discover and it was like a museum in the backyard! Also 3 times a day a free shuttle available from the hotel to stone town and back. Beautiful view on the sea from the terrace of our room. Romantic sunset at the beach.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Vjee2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DinishAntony, General Manager at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, April 24, 2014
Dear GUEST

Jambo from Protea Hotel Mbweni Ruins, thank you for staying with us and taking time to write this detailed review. I am glad that you enjoyed your stay. I am also delighted to hear that you chose our hotel for such important occasions and that Dolf & his TEAM ensured that they were made even more memorable. I will compliment the TEAM on job well done. We look forward to host you again soon.

Thanks and regards,

Dinish Antony
Group General Manager
Protea Hotels - Dar es Salaam/Znz
gm@proteadar.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2014

We stayed here for three nights and overall had a great experience. The location was good, close to Stone Town with shuttle services, beach area was excellent, rooms were clean with ocean facing balcony which was great for watching sunsets. Great staff members.
The only complaint I would have is the bed was not very comfortable, at times it felt like it would snap in half.

Room Tip: We had room #12, which was close to the beach, so it was an easy walk. The balcony was great too.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KM1960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DinishAntony, General Manager at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, March 21, 2014
Dear GUEST

Jambo from Protea Hotel Mbweni Ruins. Thank you for staying with us and taking time to share your experience here on Trip Advisor. Thanks a lot for all the positives and the constructive criticism about the bed & mattress. It is THE most important facility that we provide and it is our duty to enure that you enjoy a good sleep. We will look into this asap and rest assured, this will be sorted out.

We look forward to host you again soon.

Ahsante sana, karibu tena!

Thanks and regards,

Dinish Antony
Group General Manager
Protea Hotels - Dar es Salaam/Zanzibar
gm@proteadar.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bergen, Norway
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed February 6, 2014

I was here with my 5 year old daughter and it is a perfect place if you want to chill out on the beach/hotel and relax. Rooms are all facing the beach and pool/garden. They are spacious with a slightly hard and bumpy bed. Very uneven mattress.

The beach is beautiful and I love how it is all set in a garden where the trees are almost covering the buildings.

Food takes for ages to get. We waited half an hour to an hour for things we ordered even small lunch items. But it tastes good. Their coffee though is excellent!

Wifi works well in the restaurant. I had problems connecting to their log in page in my room no 2 but after I had connected in the restaurant it worked well. Managed to talk on skype but video is too slow.

When we were checking out at their check out time at 10 there were nobody at the desk, the visa was not connected and in total it took an hour for them to write a receipt and have me pay and that is not included the half an hour I waited in my room for them to get the VISA-connection going. Quite annoying when you have a little girl eager to go to the beach and you have to go back and forth to the reception waiting for them.

I recommend the place though. Staff is friendly and the grounds are great.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Loekis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DinishAntony, General Manager at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, February 8, 2014
Dear Loekis

Good day, thank you for staying with us and taking time to share this detailed review. I sincerely appreciate you pointing out both the positives and negatives. Dolf and his TEAM are working hard to rectify the mistakes and tweak the operations to ensure that such inconveniences are eliminated. We look forward to host you again soon.

Ahsante sana!

Dinish Antony
Group general Manager
Protea Hotels - Dar/Znz
gm@proteadar.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2014

My husband and I had the honor of having our Wedding Ceremony at Mbweni Ruins.
My mom, bridesmaids and I left early the morning of our wedding to head to the Mbweni Ruins Hotel and start our getting ready preparations. We rented out the Baobab Suite for the day and it was just lovely! There was plenty of space for all of us to get ready and AC in the room to keep out of the heat. There was also a large patio attached to the room overlooking the gardens and ocean. We all took turns getting our hair and make-up done at the Daja Salon and Spa located on-site. Daja did all of our hair and Cindy did our make-up and we couldn't have been happier with both ladies. The salon is just beautiful and also has AC. We also were able to order up lunch to the room while we were getting ready and champagne!

The groom and guests boarded a decorated bus from the Spice Island Resort at 2:00pm and made their way to Mbweni Ruins through the streets of historic Stone Town. Arriving at Mbweni Ruins, the guests walked through the tropical gardens to the stunningly decorated ruins of St. Mary's Chapel and were served water and juice as refreshments. The Mbweni Ruins are part of a complex built in 1880 under the support of David Livingstone, to house and school some of the first freed slaves. In 1960 is when restoration began to restore this historical site. The guests were escorted into the chapel and the processional began, accompanied by a local solo violinist who played Nakupenda Malaika (which means "I love you, angel" in Swahili) and the ceremony took place. Our officiant was a very dear friend of ours from Uganda and who is also one of Groundwork Opportunities project partners and runs a sustainable farm and training center in Masaka, Uganda.

During the ceremony, a 20 strong Swahili choir sang, rejoicing the union in KiSwahili. After the ceremony, champagne was served to toast and congratulate us after we hurried off to do a private photo shoot. Guests slowly made their way to the botanical gardens to enjoy local vendors serving Sugarcane juice and Zanzibar Pizza, Forodhani night market style.

After the cocktail hour and photos we made our way down the long jetty off the beach, past the mangroves, where we boarded two traditional arabic dhows and sailed towards Stone Town. The dhows were accompanied by the sound of a live African Jazz Duo. The sails were hoisted and the winds filled the canvas as we pushed North past Stone Town bay and past the old Dhow harbor. We embraced the magnificent African sunset overlooking Bawe and Prison Island as we celebrated with local beer and wine and music.

We absolutely loved the Mbweni Ruins and would recommend it to anyone as a beautiful and unique wedding venue. All of the wedding planning was done by Zanzibar Weddings and they were the best!

Room Tip: The Baobab Suite is the perfect place to get ready the day of your wedding. Beautiful room with pat...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank monkspeas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DinishAntony, General Manager at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, January 30, 2014
Dear GUEST

Jambo from Protea Hotel Mbweni Ruins. Thank you for choosing our hotel for your wedding, THE most important event in your life and for the detailed review. I am absolutely delighted that we lived up to the expectations. We hope that it wont be too long before you come and stay with us again. I will definitely pass your comments to both the hotel TEAM and Zanzibar weddings.

Ahsante sana, Karibu tena

Dinish Antony
Group General Manager
Protea Hotels - Dar es Salaam/Zanzibar
gm@proteahotels.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bognor Regis, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2014

We were pleased to have chosen this hotel for our stay, as a family, over the Christmas period. The room was very pleasant, and nicely air-conditioned, with a double bed and bunk beds for our daughters. Housekeeping was very good, with a service twice a day. Plenty of towels provided without having to ask. Staff in the restaurant were friendly, especially Tumaini and Dry. We asked for an early breakfast one day and rolls etc were delivered to the room the night before.The daily breakfast menu did however lack variety-but I can recommend the pancakes. Bar was lovely for the sunset-do try the Zanzibar punch! It was interesting to observe the tidal beach, and we enjoyed several swims. The girls went off in their kayaks. The gardens are a botanist's delight, and very well-maintained. The ruins themselves are interesting to explore. My wife and daughter used the spa, which they said was excellent and very good value for money. The beach BBQ on the 24/12 and the Christmas lunch on 25/12 were commendable, given that it is sometimes tricky to source ingredients in Zanzibar-again good value for money. Dolf is a hands on manager, who is often seen about, and is very friendly. Any minor problems raised with him were always swiftly dealt with. We were sorry to leave!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Al A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DinishAntony, General Manager at Protea Hotel by Marriott Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, responded to this review, January 11, 2014
Dear GUEST

Good day, jambo from Protea Hotel Mbweni Ruins, Zanzibar. It was an absolute pleasure to host you and your family over the Christmas period. We are really grateful for choosing us for this family vacation. Thank you for the great review, I will ensure that the STAFF gets a copy of this and will personally thank Tumaini, Dry and of course Dolf for the fantastic work. We look forward to host you again.

Ahsante sana, karibu tena!

Thanks and regards,

Dinish Antony
Group General Manager
Protea Hotels - Dar es Salaam/Zanzibar
gm@proteadar.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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