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“Superb hotel, you must try the restaurant on the pier! Stunning!”

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Essque Zalu Zanzibar
Ranked #3 of 19 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 22, 2014

My fiancé and I have visited this hotel a few times now, and we adore the restaurant on the jetty! One of our favourite lunch spots in Zanzibar! Exquisite food, outstanding service, glorious setting, and the most amazing views!
We are planning to stay for a few nights during the new season!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Urban L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 22, 2014

We were lucky enough to stay in Essque Zalu for 7 nights in early January for our honeymoon. From the moment we entered the reception area we were amazed at how the hotel lived up to the pictures on the website. It is very sad to hear that some of the main building was damaged recently as the 'wow' feeling we got when we first walked in and looked out at the pool and the sea will stay with us for ever. We had a garden view room and whilst a sea view would have been nice the villa itself was amazing with a huge bed, lovely big bathroom and plenty of storage space. It did not bother us not having a beach and it is fairly obvious from the website and other reviews on here that there is no beach therefore I don't understand when people give out about that. The salt water pool is lovely although I would have loved to swim off the jetty but the sea was quite rough when we went there. The food was very good in all of the restaurants and in particular the lunch down on the jetty was spectacular. The drinks served in the bar were also very good. It was quiet when were visited and therefore there was not much of an atmosphere in the bar after dinner however with the hotel so quiet it meant we completely relaxed for the whole week. We stayed in the hotel for all our meals as that was what we wanted however you could walk to Nungwi depending on the tides to try some other restaurants. We walked along the beach one of the days and another day visited the turtle conservatory which is well worth a visit. We were very sad to leave Essque Zalu as we know we may never make the trip again as it is so far away. We would definitely recommend it to anyone who is visiting Zanzibar. Pure Bliss

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SeoigheN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essque_Zalu, Director of Sales at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded August 26, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to your experience with us, we are pleased to read that you enjoyed your stay with us and your recommendations are greatly appreciated. We hope that we could again host you as our guest, perhaps for your anniversary... Warm regards from Sunny Zanzibar

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Reviewed April 20, 2014

Well, quite a long list to write about, so will just start from the very beginning,
this review considered for a 5 star resort with price range of $500 per night who claims to have various distinguish awards (one of which is Trip Advisor's resort of the year 2013) which I'm still puzzled how could that be possible unless the reviewers were completely blind or do not have slightest clue what 5 star resort should be like.

The main hotel entrance is nothing impressive and since the main reception 'cathedral-like' structure is under construction (April 2014) from damages occur in February , we had to use alternative entrance to temporary reception area, something that was not communicated on reservation process.
The check in was clumsy, disorganized and seemed more suitable to 2-3 stars hotel in down town.

The property is not very big, the staff are very poorly trained in the various hotel details, the villa is spacious however very weird design with no flow or cozy feel.
Mini-bar is EMPTY, to get a drink you need to call the in-room dining to get it for you, something that took about 20-40 minutes.
They hardly pick up the phone, and if they do- will take them at least 10-15 minutes to reach to you.
Very few suits are facing the sea, the rest are within the garden.

The resort facilities are very poorly maintained, the garden is not groomed , the pool surface paint is pealing off and you can see advanced black algae on the side walls (especially during the night with the pool lights), the wood decks are not painted or polished as well.

Some of the restaurants/bars are not available due to the ongoing construction on the main reception building, as well something that was not communicated on reservation process (aren't they have to?)

The operational restaurants do not have proper manager in place so the staff are quite disorganized and not very attentive to guests needs, we had lunch at the jetty , was hard to get waiter attention, as they were busy FISHING from the back door, and during breakfast, we had to speak to 4 different waiters to understand create dish from the menu, and still none of them properly described the dish correctly (we wanted to know what's inside the Caponata)

The property DONT HAVE A BEACH (you would like to have a white sandy beach coming to a resort in a tropical island, would you ?
And every excursion you may want to take is operated by external company that require picking you, taking you to their launch point and return you after , from any water sport, diving or simply dipping in the water....or you could enter the hotel water through the jetty staircases and risk getting sting by sea urchin.

There are numerous resorts within less than 5km proximity that offer much more for lesser rates, except the fact that you could see both sunset and sunrise from same location on the jetty, we found no reason whatsoever why would such place charge over $400-$600 Per night (full board packages)

The management need to open their eyes and start pulling their act together if they want this place to succeed, potential is there, but not for long.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Shay M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essque_Zalu, Director of Sales at Essque Zalu Zanzibar, responded to this reviewResponded April 25, 2014

Thank you for your comments which we value enormously. We agree that we need to improve on the service in our outlets and, rest assured, this is a priority. The entire management is taking this issue seriously. Surely you cannot blame Essque Zalu Zanzibar for the hurricane that destroyed the roof. We clearly indicated in your welcome letter that we did apologize for the inconvenience. As well, Essque Zalu Zanzibar is not advertised as a beach resort, but as a lifestyle boutique resort. Tastes of colours and foods differ and what you find “weird”, many other guests (please read TripAdvisor) find exquisite and of utmost taste. Who are we to dispute this? The resort is closing in May for one month of refurbishment and this includes the refinishing of the pool. The Paint is peeling off, but there is no algae, rest assured. Please note as well that in the high season, our villas are rented at a much higher rate (and people are happy, again read TripAdvisor); and maybe on your next trip, you should select a 2 or 3 star resort on Nungwi where you would feel more at home. Please do not hesitate to connect with us further on this subject if you wish, by addressing the author of your welcome letter (which you obviously read). Kind Regards

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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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Additional Information about 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:
#2 Spa Hotel in Nungwi
#2 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#3 Luxury Hotel in Nungwi
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#5 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range: $403 - $796 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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