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“Perfect setting but service below par - tale of 2 tails!”

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Essque Zalu Zanzibar
Ranked #2 of 17 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Perfect setting but service below par - tale of 2 tails!”
Reviewed March 18, 2014 via mobile

We hosted 10 people on an incentive trip for 4 nights. Unfortunately a storm a few weeks prior to our arrival had damaged reception area and one of the restaurants.
Check in was painfully slow and very disorganised. We were told we had to walk each and every person (ie 8 people) to their rooms to look at their rooms before we got to our room. Bearing in mind the journey to hotel in sweltering heat... this did not go down well. We were all given different room types... despite our booking being Ocean suites. Some placed in villas.. some in ocean view and some in garden view rooms. After much debate and delay.. an hour and a half later..our group settled in.
Ocean suite rooms are spectacular and lavishly furnished. Extra ordinary setting of jetty restaurant and rooms.
Restaurant, pool, garden and bar staff alll very friendly..but all in no hurry what so ever.. ie 15 min wait for drinks...and incorrect bills on more than one occasion.
The spa front office service was abysmal...yet world class treatments were received.
Work needed on check in and general service and this hotel could easily be no 1 in Zanzibar

Stayed March 2014, traveled on business
Helpful?
5 Thank Nicole P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this review, March 29, 2014
dear Nicole; thank you for your comments. I did look up your c/i and indeed there was delay. We need to mention though that it was the group members who had asked to see all the room types as we were asked to upgrade a few. Hence the insisting on seeing all the rooms and dealy. The service in the outlets can be slow, yet (and this is no excuse), when one is on a holiday, we should try to leave the stress and rush behind... i would appreciate it if you could send me an e-mail indicating why the spa front office was abysmal. This is the first comment of its kind and we would like to avoid any repeat. (my e-dress is on the website). As a senior reviewer I am sure that you can help. Kind regards, Luc Verschelden
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Santa Monica, California
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2014

I was lucky(very, very lucky!) enough to stay at Essque Zalu for a week during the summer, fresh off climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, running a 1/2 marathon and a 5 night safari. Needless to say, just about any hotel would have felt like luxury but Essque Zalu truely epitomizes heaven. From the moment I arrived and was intorduced to my personal butler (ok, everyones butler, but still...) who showed me around the property before taking me to my amazing room. I really enjoyed everything about my stay here including the staff, the food, the drinks- especially "happy time" by the pool where they bring around a complimentary non-alcoholic special drink of the day. I spent most of my time lounging by the pool, over looking the ocean and soaking up the sun. There are many activities outside of Essque Zalu as well that are fantastic. I went diving and on a Stone Town/Spice tour.
There is a great gift shop as well filled with great African souviners but if youre looking for cheap trinkets you wont find them here. I scooped up an amazing Massai Original bag, wood carvings, beaded bracelets, an old map, a wood carving and a couple of other fun things.
Another one of my favorite things was the massage at the spa, it was exactly what I needed!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank msheatherelaine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this review, March 12, 2014
Dear Heather. Thank you for your compliments on this review. With pleasure i will pass it on to all that contributed to make your stay so memorable that 8 months later you are still remembering the details so vividly. When are you coming back? Your Butler is waiting! Kind regards, Luc Verschelden
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Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
137 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2014

Stayed for 4 nights in February. Sadly the days before had witnessed unprecedented storms which had brought down the roof in the main reception, and taking the a la carte restaurant, bar and reception out of service. Our room, 32, was very nice - bedroom, sitting area, dressing room area and bathroom with massive shower. There were 2 largish infinity pools which looked inviting, didn't realise it was saltwater til taking a plunge, great places to cool down. Great pier with a bar and restaurant at the end. The food in both the main restaurant and pier restaurant were great, with local Tanzanian menus, Vegetarian and "western" Today menus. Service was fine except for 2 dishes served which were wrong choices. The staff wearing green uniforms, "navigators", were friendly but on requesting that the room directory be placed in the room as it should be 3 times over 36 hours, failed and resulted in a walk to reception. On looking in the directory we located the gym. We visited, only to find it unequipped and closed. The hotel GM was always visible and made a flying visit each mealtime. Overall a great hotel if the gym was sorted and the staff more attentive.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank MTBSteve11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
dear Steve. Thank you for your comments. Your reflection on the Room Directory is well observed and we will ensure that this is rectified. Indeed the Hurricane was a disaster for the entire northern part of the island of Zanzibar. Several hotels suffered damages, many houses had major damage. Fortunately, no casualties! Till we meet again here on Unguja, a.k.a. Zanzibar. Kind Regards, Luc Verschelden
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Sydney Australia
Level 6 Contributor
593 reviews
181 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 325 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2014

We stayed five nights in mid February in this chic, stylish property. We arrived the day after a severe storm damaged many properties, including Essque Zalu - about a quarter of the impressive entrance had collapsed so there was an alternative entrance and the al la carte restaurant, one bar and the art gallery (all on the first floor) had to be closed.

We were warmly greeted with refreshing towels and hibiscus tea on arrival and upgraded to Villa 1. This is a three bedroom villa - decadent in the amount of space and the finishes. It included a patio with plunge pool, four day beds, a dining table with seating for 6 and and a seating area. Upstairs was a huge terrace, which was partly covered. The villa had a living room with couches and a TV, a large dining / living area, kitchen, a nook with the desk, two master bedrooms with large dressing room (cupboards, safe) and huge bathroom (shower and separate bath), the third bedroom is a twin room, same size dressing room and the large bathroom (no bath). There is also a large storage room with shelving and a spa room! This would be perfect for a larger family, but the two of us it was decadent! We had just spent five days in the bush as the only guests of the fantastic The Retreat, so the space was appreciated even for just two of us! The only sound at night was the crashing of waves at high tide!

When we stopped at the bar before dinner (some 20 minutes after we arrived), the general manager came to greet us. He was in evidence from morning until night, speaking with all the guests, having a meeting with staff before the dinner service, etc. which was reflected in the overall quality of the service.

Meals were included in our rate, and were either on the Jetty or in the Market Kitchen. The food was very good and our waiters friendly. We loved our lunches on the Jetty - delicious food, fabulous service and then there was the exceptional setting. Evening meals were in the Market Kitchen, and were of high quality. The bar staff were lovely at both bars, but we preferred the Jetty because of the gorgeous setting.

There is a lovely boutique with some interesting, quality items. Unfortunately the unique Zanzibar mask I was interested in was one of the things damaged by the storm, but there were other things we liked.

The pool and surrounding area is fabulous, with plenty of day beds during our stay and three hammocks. We would have liked to spend more time there, but had organised some activities through the hotel. Completing our open water certification with East Africa Dive Centre and an introductory kite boarding lesson (Kite Boarding Zanzibar, we think was the name of the company) took up time that could otherwise have been spent poolside! At low tide it was possible to take stairs down to the water and look at the fish, crabs, etc. in the pools (be aware that there is no beach right in front of the hotel, but at low tide there is a lovely one just a stroll away). The hotel's tropical gardens are a delight to wander in.

Highly recommend this luxurious property for a relaxing holiday with excellent facilities and service.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank yns_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
Dear Aussies. Thank you so much for your elaborate compliments about your stay at Essque Zalu Zanzibar. I might use your comments to re-right our website... The Hurricane caused a lot of damage, but luckily, nobody got hurt. You mentioned your combination between "The Retreat" and "Essque Zalu" and that is, as you indicated a perfect way to enjoy the best of both worlds. Now, since you did not spent enough time at the resort: when will we see you again? kind regards, Luc Verschelden
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London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014

This hotel is extraordinarily beautiful if slightly OTT and mad. The staff were, mostly, very good but there was a new management team who were licking it back into top shape. Our “villa” had two sumptuous suites and one rather mingy twin. The infinity pool cascading into another infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean was really spectacular, even if the pool side service was not as swift as it could have been. The food was interesting, if trying a bit too hard but the Jetty restaurant was really picture postcard. The food was very good but again the service was still being worked on.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Sophienottinghill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
dear Sophie, thank you for your encouraging comments. Indeed, in our industry we need continuously "work on" the issues at hand. Service being one of them and we are very much aware. That is why we try our best to improve. When will we see you again? kind regards, Luc Verschelden
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Brussels, Belgium
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014

We decided to start and end our Safari week here. What a good idea. A totally relaxing place with views on a thousand shades of Turquoise.. What we liked? The quality of the buildings, rooms. The views. The food (quite amazing actually, hardly ever ate so well in a hotel).The Belgian GM who realy cares about his guests and is available and present at all times. What can be improved? Sometimes service at breakfast is a bit slow, but then, they open until 11:00, so time to sit down and relax. The matress is a bit hard for me. The absence of a beach is not important to us, beautiful beaches are 5 minutes (walking) away either side of the hotel. Don't forget to visit the turtle conservation project next to the hotel and the lighthouse.
The hotel can organize excursion, the spice tour is lovely to do, even for globetrotters like us.
Thank you all at Esque Zalu for the relaxing time.

Room Tip: Beachfront suites could be noisy (ocean, waves). I also liked the garden suites and ocean view suite...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Tigrevoyageur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this review, February 24, 2014
waarde reizende tiiger. As you will remember, we do not advertise Essque Zalu being a beach hotel; we appreciate the rest and tranquility our guests are looking for. But you're right, no need to rush when you're on holidays. I do recall your visit and the time you took to relax. You were mentally preparing yourselves for the Safari and from what i gathered, you enjoyed it; Thank you for your comments and till we meet again. Kind Regards, Luc Verschelden
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Devizes, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 14, 2014

We have just returned from a wonderful week at Essque Zalu.
From the moment we were warmly greeted with refreshing wet towels and a unique hibiscus drink
we relaxed and enjoyed this lovely place.
The architecture is stunning and the hotel building is surrounded by glorious tropical gardens.
Our room was spacious and comfortable.

The meals were outstanding with a varied choice of menu and also a choice of restaurant.
We had breakfast and dinner in the main restaurant and lunch on the Jetty with its panoramic view of the Indian Ocean.
Without exception all the staff were efficient, polite and helpful.
The manager was continually involved in making sure everything was to our satisfaction and was very friendly and approachable.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there.

Room Tip: We did not have a sea view room but were delighted with our garden room and found it quiet and relax...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Rosemary S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GM-Essque_Zalu, General Manager at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this review, February 15, 2014
dear Rosemary. thank you for your review. Without a doubt, you wish you would have stayed a bit longer at our resort, considering the weather in the UK these days. We hope you are not affected by the floods. Well, in any case, we, here at Essque Zalu are looking forward to welcoming you back to the island of Unguja, a.k.a. Zanzibar. Kind Regards, Luc Verschelden.
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Additional Information about Essque Zalu Zanzibar

Property: Essque Zalu Zanzibar
Address: Nungwi 3151, Tanzania
Phone Number:
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) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Nungwi
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#2 Luxury Hotel in Nungwi
#2 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#5 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Essque Zalu Zanzibar 5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Take a deep breath of fresh Indian ocean air, relax and unwind. Essque Zalu Zanzibar is an intimate boutique destination nestled in a natural cove in the north east coast of Unguja (alias Zanzibar). Essque Zalu Zanzibar combines contemporary luxury with a real sense of place. This boutique hotel has the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean to one side and lush green forest to the other, and there is just a hint of spice in the warm and fragrant tropical air. At Essque Zalu Zanzibar, create your own personal paradise, your own kind of luxury, an experience of a lifetime. Choose from 40 individual suites and 8 villas all with picturesque views over the lush tropical garden or the ocean turquoise blue. Our suites offer a luxurious-styled space crafted from local materials, adorned with native artwork and housed under a traditional pitched makuti roof. From farm to table, we take great pride in our sumptuous cooking. Satisfy your taste buds with a choice of two unique restaurants, three well stocked bars and a variety of destination dining experiences. Unashamedly indulgent, the Spa comprises of two couples treatment rooms, four single rooms, vichy shower, a sauna and steam room - a haven of restorative and rejuvenating perfection. Using only 100% truly organic and natural ingredients, our focus is on capturing the intelligence of nature in the restorative process. We know that the essence of nature can synergistically interact with the energy system, and this knowledge forms the basis of our Africology creations, all orchestrated to help you lead a more holistic lifestyle. Essque Zalu is your outpost into the first steps of the wildness and tranquility of Zanzibar. Reconnect with nature and experience a land rich in life and uninhabited space. We offer guests the opportunity to partake in activities to experience some of the islands most Spectacular and scenic excursions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Essque Zalu Zanzibar Hotel Nungwi
Essque Zalu Zanzibar Zanzibar Island/Nungwi

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