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All reviewsmarket kitchenour honeymoonbeautiful jettymain buildinginfinity pool overlooking the oceanpier restaurantkids clubmassage roomlow tidethe general managerprivate dinnerstone townindian oceanbeautiful hotelsea waterlarge poolsalt water
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Reviewed July 30, 2014

We came to Essque Zalu as the final stop on our honeymoon having spent 3 nights on Safari in the Masai Mara and 4 nights in Pongwe (Zanzibar). It was time for some luxury and relaxation to end the most special time of our lives.
Overall our stay was very enjoyable, the restaurant and bar staff were superb and we really enjoyed our lunches on the peer. My wife especially enjoyed the spa and the girls were fantastic.
The accommodation and facilities were excellent.
Unfortunately our trip was soured when booking a trip through the hotel reception staff. We sat down at the excursions desk and picked a couple of activities through the recommended booking agent. One of them was the well known safari blue day trip, which includes dolphin spotting, sailing and lunch on a secluded island. The staff member told us that because the hotel prices were very expensive, he was prepared to offer us a discount, providing we kept this to ourselves. The money wasn't a particular concern as we were on honeymoon, however we weren't going to argue this point. The staff member then said that we would need to pay the driver on the day. At this point I should have known something was up, but I didn't think that a 5* hotel would have employed staff that would be prepared to scam their customers. The trip was an absolute disaster. The driver didn't have any food or water and because it was Ramadan, we were unable to get anything on route. Instead of being on the safari blue trip we were dropped off at a beach, handed very old snorkels and fins and ushered onto a very unstable, small speed boat. The driver of the boat asked us whether he needed to bother with life jackets. We got on the boat which was a very scary experience. The waves were very choppy and we proceeded to chase dolphins instead of waiting to see whether dolphins would come to us. This didn't feel right and when my wife got in the water to attempt to swim with them, the boat driver almost took her head off on two occasions. This was too much for me. I demanded to be taken back to shore.
At this point I was very angry and tried to contact the hotel to find out what was going on. I was largely ignored with the staff member telling me that this is what I booked. I explained that I wouldn't pay the driver, however we were held to ransom and the driver refused to take us back without payment.
When we finally got back to the hotel and tracked down the staff member who booked our trip, he finally admitted that although he often us a discount, instead of getting a discounted price he decided to give us a cheaper alternative that he arranged himself and didn't use an insured company. It later transpired that the discounted price he quoted was also more that the original price. He essentially stole from us. What compounded the issue is that one of his colleagues tried to help him cover this up and tried to do a deal with us to keep quiet and non mention this to the manager. We were so angry that our honeymoon had ended like this that we had to contact the manager. She looked into the issue and agreed that the staff member had scammed us and stolen from us. However, her response to this was not adequate. Only once we explained the seriousness of the situation did she offer us anything as compensation and she tried to make excuses for the staff member. We explained that in the UK this would be an instant dismissal and possibly police involvement. I don't even think she was considering dismissing this member of staff.

Up until this point we'd had an amazing honeymoon and great stay at Zalu but the end of our trip left a really bad taste and was an unhappy ending to the trip. We were really disappointed with the way it was handled.

The rest of the hotel is fantastic but please be careful about booking any trips through the staff at the hotel. Make sure you get a signed voucher and run everything past the management team. I don't think this was the first time it happened and I think a number of the front end staff members were in on it.

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
12  Thank linney13
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 28, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to review our property and please be advised that your constructive feedback has been shared with our top management.

It is with deep regret that you experienced a mishap with booking the excursion. We agree that this is totally unacceptable please be advised that serious action has been taken on the hotelier who was involved in organizing the transfer for you. Here at Essque we strive to provide guest with personalized, secure and exceptional services. We always encourage guest to book their excursions through our chosen ground handler (who have a desk at the lobby area) that organize ALL activities through qualified and licensed operators. Please rest assured that we have taken serious measurements to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.
We are grateful that we got to address the problem and compensate you for the same while you were still our guest. We were also glad to hear that you enjoyed the Safari Blue trip that we organized for you on complimentary basis as well as having the opportunity to give you a refund on the initial excursion in person.

We trust that our answer will satisfy you. We are pleased to read that you enjoyed most of your stay at Essque Zalu.

Warm regards from Sunny Zanzibar.

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Reviewed July 29, 2014

This was the second stop of our honeymoon following a 4 day safari and it was certainly a welcome sight. When you walk through from reception the building is just breathtaking and the hotel and grounds are beautifully kept. Essque is a special place and perfect for just relaxing and chilling around the stunning infinity pool. The Jetty is a great touch and the food in the Jetty restaurant was our favourite - it's a shame it's only open for lunch. Breakfast and dinner were always varied and I think that the chefs did an excellent job considering the availability of ingredients. Our room was spacious and well kept (we had an ocean view which I would definiltey recommend). Unfortunately the weather was quite stormy for a few days whilst we were there but it gave me an opportunity to check out the spa which was excellent and I highly recommend. All in all we had a fabulous time at Essque and would highly recommend if visiting Zanzibar (booked through The Luxury Safari Company).

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank BreezeLea
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 27, 2014

Thank you for the lovely compliments and sharing your beautiful experience with us. We are delighted to learn that you had a pleasant stay with us. We normally open the jetty at peak season and when it's weather permitting as it tends to get windy at times.

We Will convey your compliments to Chef Jussi and the rest of our hoteliers who all work hard to ensure that the guest are kept happy.

We look forward to hosting you again, maybe on an anniversary this time.

Sunny regards from Unguja (Zanzibar)

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Reviewed July 13, 2014

Nungwi has become a busy part of Zanzibar with hotels cheek to cheek - so Zalu gives you a wonderful sense of privacy and exclusivity away from beach boys, touts and other tourists! We loved the giant roof, and dedicated kid's club organiser Guni is a gem! He took the kids snorkelling with Green Turtles at the rehab centre nearby and even came fishing with us. the best food by far out of our 6 hotels in Zanzibar - excellent chef! Lovely pool ( but salt water) and jetty is a great spot for sundowners. Highly recommend but us and we are tour operators who have seen many hotels in Zanzibar

Room Tip: Beach front rooms best
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Jenni_S_12_12
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 27, 2014

Dear Jenni,

Many thanks for your lovely comments - it was great to host you and your family. Many thanks for sharing the awesome pictures, I have shared some of them on facebook. Guni loved spending time with the boys.

Our infinity and plunge pools are salt chlorinated, (not from seawater) which is far more economically friendly than using traditional Chlorine products

We look forward to your next visit.

Kind Regards,

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Reviewed July 10, 2014

Just beautiful, an incredibly grand hotel which seems somehow a little out of place for the quaint island it's sitting on but nonetheless it doesn't disappoint. The pool is in one of the most idyllic positions I've ever had the pleasure of relaxing around, infinity stretching out to the crystal clear waters ahead - it's stunning and incredibly calming. The food was good but could have been better - that said, the lunch offering on the beautiful jetty is great and really tasty! Rooms are very spacious, well decorated and very clean. Would recommend a stay!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Kaylie W
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 27, 2014

Dear Kaylie,

Thank you for your flattering comments. We are delighted to read that you had an amazing time and could not thank you enough for choosing Essque for your vacation. I have passed on the great comments to the team.

Warm greetings from Sunny Zanzibar.

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Reviewed July 6, 2014 via mobile

We visited Zalu with my husband and two close friends. It is a magical location. The jetty is very cool. We had a sea front villa, which was spacious. The bathroom is quite big, no tub. Very romantic and calm. The food was not very good, very few choices and the same menu for every meal. No mini bar. The Spa was high quality with Africology products. Very warm staff. A very calm place for romance if you are looking for activity atraction is not the best location in Nungwi.

Stayed: July 2014
3  Thank chuzzlehead
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 27, 2014

Thank you for your comments which is greatly appreciated. Our villas do have bath tubs, in two out of the three rooms at most times. The villas also have a plunge pool situated on the terrace where you can enjoy the sound of the lapping Indian ocean with breathtaking vistas of the turquoise Indian ocean.

We are sorry to hear that you found a minimum choice of food options - we have three restaurants on the property where you could explore the various menus and if you are still not satisfied chef is happy cook something up for you to your preference. Our policy is 'never say no'

The mini bars at Essque Zalu are personalized therefore, we stock up upon guests arrival according to their preferences and requests. The villas also have a personal butler at your service at all times to cater to your needs.

We look forward to hosting you again. Warm greetings from the Essque Team

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