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All reviewsmarket kitchenour honeymoonbeautiful jettymain buildinginfinity pool overlooking the oceanpier restaurantkids clubmassage roomlow tidestone townthe general managerindian oceanprivate dinnerbeautiful hotelsea waterlarge poolsalt water
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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
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 reviewResponded 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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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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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 reviewResponded 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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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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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 reviewResponded 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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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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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 reviewResponded 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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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
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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 reviewResponded 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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