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Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort
Ranked #7 of 17 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
reigate surrey
Level Contributor
19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“What do people expect for their money”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2009

We have just returned from this hotel and I have to say I was a little worried having read some of the reviews so let me get it into perspective. No, its not a 5* as we europeans know it but having said that it is a perfectly good hotel and you are not paying a 5* price. The whole complex is extremely spacious and spotlessley clean. The rooms are very big with a couple of chairs a little sofa a TV and DVD and a fridge to keep your bottled water in which is replenished daily. The bed is massive bigger than a king size and has mosquito netting which the maid dloses at night when she comes to do "turn down". The bathroom is also huge with a walk in wet room and a double bath. Plenty of toiletries which are also replenished regulary.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped with rolling lawns leading down to the beach, there are 4 pools which wind in and out of the lawn and interlink, finishing with an infinity pool on the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean. There are plenty of sunbeds dotted around the pools and on the private beach, and hammocks and swinging chairs, and fresh pool towels are supplied every day. The public beach is a couple of steps down and the sea is crystal clear. There are sellers on the beach which can be a bit annoying but they aren't too pushy.
There are only 100 rooms so 200 people max, but because everywhere is so open and spacious it never feels crowded.
The main restaurant is buffet style and has a good selection of dishes hot and cold and has 3 stations where they cook freshly for you usually meat fish pasta or pizza. During our stay we had lots of fish, lamb cutlets, pork, roast beef, beef wellington, chicken, veal, so a really good varied selection. There is a snack bar at the pool which is waiter service and has a limited menu mostly slads or pizzas but still very good. This turns into the A la Carte restaurant in the evening which is very romantic with tables on the decking overlooking the indian ocean which is lit up by lights in the cliff. Price is around £40 per head but worth it for the fresh fish and lobster. There is also a barbeque on the beach on Sunday nights with live music which is also good.Someone wrote that they were unable to get food out of hours. People we met had come back late from Stonetown and asked for food and plates were immediately dispatched to their room piled with a selection of food. When we left we were being picked up at 5am and the reception manager asked us if we wanted him to get some breakfast for us.
There is a dive centre on site which is run by an american called Ryan, he is very knowledgable about all marine life and will take you out on a boat to snorkel or dive or just sit on the boat if you prefer. He supplies a packed lunch and is cheaper than the tour promoted by the hotel. You will definitely see dolphins up close on his trip and get to jump in and try and swim with them.
If you go outside the gates of the resort and turn left you will find the village of Nungwi. Its very safe and the little shops are obviously much cheaper than the hotel. If you need to use the internet the internet cafe in the village charges 1$ for half an hour whereas the hotel charges 5$. You can also hire taxis from there.
There are a couple of downsides tho. 90% of the clientele are Italian and all the entertainment staff are Italian so if you want to join in any activities it does make it a little difficult also the evening shows are also all in Italian.
Secondly it is a good hours drive to Stonetown where all the historic interest is and where all the tours leave from.
If you just want to lie on a beach and chill then this place is perfect but if you want to find out more about the island, I would suggest you stay a couple of days in Stonetown to soak up the atmosphere.There are several good hotels there and I would say it is worth doing.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank reigatebev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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oxford
Level Contributor
54 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2009

This hotel is located just over an hour from the International Airport on a white sand beach with clear, warm blue sea. The hotel itself is new, with all the buildings, pool etc being clean and well maintained.
The rooms were of a good size and well maintained, apart from one in our group having bed blankets with biting insects in, so ended up being bitten all up their legs one night before we realised what the problem was. However, the hotel did deal with the problem straight away, no arguing, they just came down and changed the linen completely.

The food is buffet breakfast, lunch and supper in the main restaurant and there is a beach snack bar with a menu including salads, pasta, burgers, pizza etc. The drinks menu is varied, although the all-inclusive part ends at 11pm. The buffet is aimed at the majority of guests who are Italian- which means there is a pizza oven by the beach, and fresh pizza and pasta served every day in the buffet restaurant. There was also soup, salads, and then a range of pulses, potatoes, meat, fish and a wok-fried rice dish which was delicious. Breakfast was the full continental range, so you could have pancakes, full fried breakfast, then pastries, bread, cereal, yoghurt and always plenty of fresh fruit. The only criticism here would be that we were hoping for some local dishes, and there was only one over the whole week that we stayed here, but we assumed this was because they were catering for the Italians. It did get a bit boring after a week, and we also discovered that the later you were at a particular sitting, the less food there was! They did let you take food away from the restaurants, so if you wanted to eat sitting on the beach, then that wasn't an issue.

There is the normal range of facilities; Spa, Boutique shop, business centre with Internet (5$ for half an hour), Gym, and an Italian company which ran entertainment, kids club, aqua aerobics etc.

The staff were fantastic, everyone really friendly and genuinely happy to help. Would definately recommend having a few small notes to give as tips.

One issue which we had was that there was music blaring on the beach most of the time, some of which was the kind of music which wouldn't be played on British radio because it would be deemed inappropriate. The teenage members of the group weren't bothered, but the adults felt that it was intrusive, and they had come away to relax rather than be forced to listen to music that they didn't want to.

Some evenings the entertainment was so loud that you could hear it in the rooms over the other side of the resort which was annoying, but it normally finished by around 10.30-11pm.

At full capacity, the hotel only has 100 rooms, so it is quite small and was probably not even half full while we were there (last week of July) and so we never had a problem getting a table, drinks etc. There are some other boutique-type hotels further up the coast, although most of these don't have such a nice beach. The hotel is near to a village with a turtle conservation project which was really interesting (the hotel do trips there), but be aware that if you visit the village, you need to dress modestly.

Overall, we had a great holiday, the hotel was good, although there were a few issues, we still had a relaxing and enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank xoxfordx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Africa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2009

We flew into Zanzibar on 23/3/09 and were due to spend one week in the Royal Zanzibar Beach resort, as the second half of our honeymoon. We had a hotel voucher issued by our travel agent, stating we were on honeymoon, and stipulating the room be on a high floor, with a sea view. We were looking forward to spending a week being pampered!

However, we were placed in a standard room where we could only see the sea through the leaves of a tree when the wind was blowing in the right direction. We had no customary ‘honeymoon’ welcomes, i.e. a bottle of champagne or even a fruit basket. Upon inspecting the room, we found the toilet seat had broken off, no hot water, and the shower head had fallen off. We were then told that we had to vacate the room for an afternoon while this was being repaired; which it was, except for the hot water. In addition, as Zanzibar is situated in a malaria zone, it had mosquito nets as standard. In all the other places we had stayed during our honeymoon, well before dusk, our nets would be drawn and insect repellent would be sprayed. In the Royal Zanzibar, this did not happen, and upon arriving back in our room after dark, we had to perform this procedure ourselves using our own insect repellent. Throughout our holiday we had not been bitten by mosquitoes, until we arrived at the Royal Zanzibar. This was the standard of service received from most staff throughout our stay.

As mentioned, this hotel was advertised as a 5* and we were staying there on an all inclusive basis. It stated that ‘designer’ toiletries would be placed in our room, and we received one shower gel and one shampoo. I have been in many hotels that are of a lower standard that provide lotions, shower caps, sewing kits, and shoe shining kits, so I was disappointed at this poor show. Also, the 24 hour bar refused to serve all inclusive guests after 11pm. I have never been anywhere where the all inclusive status was restricted like this.

On the first day of arrival, we had missed breakfast, and were hungry about 11am. It advertised a snack bar open from 10am-6pm in the hotel room, so we enquired whether we could get some food. We were met with blank faces, and told that we could place an order at 12, to be served at 12:30. When we complained to reception, we were told that it was the beginning of the low season. We also found out through another couple that the snack bar decided to close at 4:30pm. We then had to wait until 12:30, and by this time, the main restaurant was open for lunch. We decided to go to that instead, and we immediately regretted it. The quality of the food was poor, and there were flies everywhere. Little of the food was covered over and the insects were crawling all over it.

This poor quality of food continued throughout the week. The hotel would make one set of everything, and if you happen to arrive late for dinner or lunch, you would be met with empty dishes, and a refusal to make more food. We had the same selection of buffet food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for most of the week. However, on the final day a party of 80 Italian people arrived, and miraculously, the quality of the food increased, they even had a whole suckling pig roasted on the spit, and the staff held a themed evening with entertainment. I have to say we felt like second rate guests, who did not matter compared with a large party of Italians.

Finally, I have to mention the excursions laid on by the representatives. The prices were ridiculous. My husband and I paid $85.00 each for a tour of Stone Town and Prison Island. This consisted of being picked up by a people carrier (which had a myriad of large dents in), and taken to Stone Town to meet the rep. He then walked us around Stone Town for 2 hours, pointing out various landmarks, but not really going into much detail. He took us to a very expensive restaurant in Stone Town and we had to buy our own lunch. Then we got on a small boat (which looked like it was a local fishing boat), and taken to Prison Island for less that two hours. We were shown the outside of a building, told it was built as a prison but never used, fed a large tortoise and then taken back to the hotel. The trip cost us approximately £120.00. I fail to see what possibly could have justified that much money, considering you pay around half that amount for a full day tour in Europe, touring many historic landmarks, with lunch included.

Unfortunately you are told when you arrive that you should not book anything or go anywhere without a rep. I can understand this when we stepped briefly onto the beach, and was descended on by very pushy beach sellers (why do they still come up to you when you are only wearing a bikini? Where could I put my money?) The security guards did nothing to deter this, and were more concerned you were wearing your 'Butlins' style wristband to identify you as hotel guests.

All in all, we were bitterly disappointed with the holiday we booked. It was advertised as 5*, and it was a 3* at best, possibly 4* when the Italians turned up. We were consistently treated like our business was not welcome, and we were certainly not treated like a honeymoon couple.

I was so disappointed with the hotel that I have placed a complaint with the tour operator. It might help future travellers to know that it is not a 5* hotel.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Geg092
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2009

We chose this hotel as we did a 4 day safari in tanzania and wanted a beautiful resort to complete our honeymoon. Since the Royal had only opened a couple of weeks before our arrival there were a lot of things that still needed sorting so hopefully they worked on it! For one they were still finishing a lot of the small construction work (workers everywhere finishing the paths, putting external lamps..etc..etc = noisy morning) the vegetation will take a few mths/years to grow into a nice garden as opposed to mainly sand, but these were things we expected from a brand new hotel. We were also only (We counted it was easy!) 20 tourists in the entire hotel! so needless to say it felt a bit empty in the evenings or at the pools (we almost had our own private pool!) so we all knew each other (you need to speak italian though!). So thats normal for a new place - but they could have sorted out the service beforehand- the staff didnt know a lot of things, and the poor italian chef was still training his kitchen staff (we had to teach them how to make simple cocktails) or what was in the all inclusive package- the sealife staff was nice...but all 3 of them really had a hard time putting any 'ambiance'. And seeing as, indeed all 18 other tourists were italians only - it was hard to make other freinds - even sealife staff only spoke italian...no english... dissapointing. 1detail but still really surprising - the resort's director is Swiss and the most unfreindly man we;ve seen, he'd see us and not even smile! there was only like 20 of us anyway! one of our freinds actually told him :)
Lots of GOOD sides: great massages huts right in front of the sea! gorgeous + beaufitul turquoise sea + beautiful pools + really good -italian- food and soups + huge rooms - really big with big bathrooms, huge bathtub, nice terrace, nice big open bars
So all in all, huge potential, pretty resort, infrastructure, rooms, pools - but still lots to do on animation, service and you have to like a 99% italian clientelle. I'd go back there in 3 years time once it's really up and running (maybe not before).

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank accrovoyage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2009

Somewhat souless concrete constructions with what must be the largest swimming pool complex on the island, dominated by Italian trade.

Stayed 6 nights with family. The hotel has got its service issues straightened out - staff were excellent.

Downside of the dominant Italian population is the ever-present cheesey disco hits of the 80's being played, group acqua-aerobics and the like (sort of modern day euro butlins). Upside is that the food was of exceptional quality for a buffet-style operation.

Beach is good, but plagued by purveyors of tat. The beach doesnt suffer from tidal issues seen elsewhere on Zanzibar, but as there is no reef, there is not much to see if going snorkelling. Swimming pools were well maintained. Given the vast size of the complex, even with 200 people it seems pretty empty.

Work has stopped on the private villas on the beach front, suggesting cash flow may be an issue for the backers. It will close in April this year for major renovations despite being quite a new hotel.

We holed up by the pool and went scuba diving, didn't really get to see much else of the island, but enjoyed ourselves regardless.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MrZippo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2009

Before arriving at the hotel I was a little worried due to the comments I had read on this site. But on arrival all my worries disappeared.

From the reception you get a view of the ocean which is breathtaking. We were greeted with happy smiles,cold towels and fresh juice.

After check in, we were led to our room through pretty gardens and huge welcoming pools. When we arrived to our room I was astonished as to the size of our rooms. They were HUGE! The bathrooms were equally big. We had a shower as well as a double bath where my kids got to have bubble-baths every night. From our balcony we had the most prettiest sight- getting a view of the ponds, gardens, pools and then the sea.

I was very impressed with the meals, we had a vast range of different foods. My kids were satisfied with different pizzas of their own toppings every day while I was able to have different foods of my own preference.

It was a truly wonderful holiday and very relaxing. Would love to go back!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lalita-Jain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worthing, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2009

After a weeks safari on the mainland we were really looking forward to a weeks relaxing and upon entering the hotel I thought WOW!
Greeted with scented hot towels, and a lovley refreshing drink. Then we were taken through well tended gardens and past four inviting pools to our room. We were lucky and through our agent had been upgraded to a suite located right on the beach front. Huge room, double bath, bed on the balcony, and stunning views of the white sands, and out across the sea onto the Indian Ocean.
First night in the resturant was great, friendly staff, food was good, witha huge choice.
I went to bed that night drifting off to sleep thinking "yes at last a 5 star hotel"

The next morning i woke up hungry and looking forward to a hearty breakfast and we made our way back to the restuarant.

However with only a handful of guests dining I was suprised to find not one clean,and made up table. Even more suprised to have to go and ask a waitress to get a table ready....

Okay I thought a one off lets not get to negative as it is our first day.

So after breakfast we went to the pool and found a nice spot near to the one of the bars. I have been to other hotels were the staff come up to you and take your order and duly return... No not here not one during the whole stay where drinks served where you where. Alright I thought so I need to get up and walk the short distance to get a drink, not the end of the world if a little annoying. However when I get to the bar and I am told we have run out of the drink I have asked for and that the staff were not prepared to go and get some, I find that annoying and not what I would exect from a 5 start hotel.

As I mentioned earlier we had a choice of four swimming pools and only two were ever really used. In fact for most of the week it was just us and the four only other Brits who used this one particular pool, with the one next to us not being used at all.
So I was somewhat annoyed that the only entertainment team Sea Club (i'll come onto them later) decided to take over our pool for pools games, setting up speakers, and even using our table to house them on. Why couldn't they have used the empty pool???

This resulted in a swifty retreat to a bar to get some peace.

We then went for lunch only to find that the flies had beaten us to it!! None of the food was covered, nor were any of the refrigiation counters switched on... Maybe this had something to do with the 8 people bed ridden with upset stomachs I found out later.

The food was on the warm side of cold as none of the serving dishes were heated.

I was now somewhat miffed at the lack of service, and cleanliness in the resturant.

I am then informed by the other Brits that it doesn't get any better with bar staff refusing to serve you unless you give them something. Words such as "you do me a favour, and i'll do you one" were mentioned.

From my balcony I witnessed security staff who were their to keep the beach boys in check leaving their posts, and the unsuspecting guests to the fate of their tacky goods!

Ok after a couple of days of this we thought we would try the grill resturant at lunch. One waitress and maybe 6 guests but yet we waited an age to be served,and then the wrong food was served. No apologies just "it's the chefs fault"
Next day waiting 1/2 hour to have our food order taken, and a further 1 hour to have it served mine was missing. The waitress even turned round and said "you not eating" After explaining politley that yes I would like to eat she agains blame the chef and potters off only to bring me the wrong food again!!!

That was the final straw and off to reception I go. "Is this a 5star hotel?" I ask. A puzzled look is returned and the reply is "Yes" With this I ask to speak with a Manager and one is sent out to greet me. He to confirms that it is a five star hotel. I list off my complaints and his only reply is "thank you for tellin me please write in to complain as we are aware but can't do anything!"

Back to Sea club... Now I did look at reviews prior to leaving but could only find Sea Club Royal Zanzibar??
I now know why the Royal Zanzibar has the prefix Sea Club...
It's because they run the show. It's an Italian based company who have virtually monopolised the hotel with them taking almost half the rooms, having shows for Italians only, ie no English translation, and for taken other such as the pool games mentioned earlier.

To sum up... If the hotel was advertised as a good 3 star I would agree, and proably be singing it's praises. However it's still stating a 5 star rating.

Pros - Hotel looks amazing (could be as still virtually brand new)

Cons - Have you not just read the above.

I am assured though that once the staffing issue has been sorted that the resort will be a 5 star... Well when hell freezes over I'll be back!!

Believe me you will be dissapointed!!!!

  • Liked — Space
  • Disliked — Service
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ExcaliUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort

Property: Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort
Address: North Coast, Nungwi, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Nungwi
#4 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#4 Spa Hotel in Nungwi
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#6 Luxury Hotel in Nungwi
#6 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 124
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A spectacular view of the Indian Ocean from almost anywhere on the resort makes this all-inclusive property a wonderful choice for those guests looking for a peaceful and relaxing vacation. Fantastic swimming pools, a beautiful beach with clear, turquoise waters and amazing sunsets all add to the ambiance! The rooms are large, approximately 80 square metres for Superior Rooms and 100 square metres for Suites. A spacious bathroom with a large bathtub, separate shower and double sinks provide luxurious comfort. All rooms include a quiet split-unit air conditioner, TV, fridge, coffee and tea making facilities, a safe and a terrace from which to enjoy the view. The warm, friendly staff invite you to enjoy meals in the buffet restaurant with a varied selection of local and international dishes or a traditional pizza oven near the beach offers a quick snack while you relax by the pool. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Zanzibar Beach Hotel Nungwi
Seaclub Royal Zanzibar Beach Hotel
Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort Zanzibar Island/Nungwi

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