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“This is hell, not a hotel!!!”

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Mnarani Beach Cottages
Ranked #13 of 17 Hotels in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
St. Petersburg, Russia
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“This is hell, not a hotel!!!”
Reviewed October 28, 2012

It was our first visit to Zanzibar after the long safari in Kenya and Tanzania, we were tired and all the way down to the island we were excited to spend our fabulous 7 days in the sun enjoying clean white beaches and clear water. Well what we saw when we arrived was the opposite. Dirty, smelly beaches, no way you could swim in that water and even if you could, first you would have to go 2 kms straight by feet because the water stayed far away till 3-4 pm and remember, it's getting dark pretty early in that country. Imagine now, this was just the half of the problem we had with this hotel. The other part is more of a domestic criminal case. Africa is all about money, it's really expensive and the prices are literally taken from the sky, they are made up the same very minute you show your interest in something so negotiation is important. With this hotel we agreed on details and prices by mail, we did not sign any contract and we asked for a free transfer to be arranged from the hotel to the airport because we decided to check other hotels on our arrival and then choose where to stay as we were short of money. First the situation got suspicious when we arrived from Kilimajaro and I saw a guy standing with the piece of paper and my name on it. I passed by this guy as my friend was getting a good deal on taxi but as there were no more white people arriving that evening, the guy figured it was us, 4 girls and began to push us to go to his car. I explained him our deal with the hotel, he made a call and i talked to some other guy who said it was okay to take a free transfer now and on our arrival to nungwi we can do whatever we want. We arrived very late, we got in the room, i filled the form saying we are staying for one night and moving out tomorrow. On the next day when we were totally disappointed with the hotel, we found a taxi and did a check out, we payed, we took our luggage and got in the car. The next thing we know they don't open the gates. So we are stuck. They demand to pay 50% of all the nights we promised to stay in our e-mail and to pay for a transfer. Obviously we refused because there was no any cancelation policy whatsoever and we didn't sign any contract!!!!!!! We call the police. The police arrives. They do nothing, just some blablabla, they walk away on us. In panic we are trying to run, but the security grabs our bags, they don't let go, we are trying to climb over the gates and scream for help but they unleashed their dog. They blackmailed us, threaten us all the way through, we were prisoners. Nobody could help. Eventually with lots of time wasted over there, our way out costed us additional money plus money for the transfer. We wasted the whole day on zanzibar fighting and crying for help. We were tired and broken. IT WAS HELL NOT A PARADISE. These people don't care about their reputation and their clients, all they see is money. And now i understand why they picked us from the airport, they could not lose money. We are back home now but we still can not forget what we got into on Zanzibar. THESE PEOPLE ARE DANGEROUS. PLEASE IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR LIFE, NEVER NEVER NEVER CHOOSE THIS HOTEL.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
7 Thank Yulia_Pow_Wow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kilimandege, Inhaber at Mnarani Beach Cottages, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
Trip Advisor is a valuable source of information and advise for travelers. It is unfortunate if it is being instrumentalized for a personal vendetta - which you told us clearly you are going to wage against us in your attempt to "destroy" Mnarani (your words).

For the sake of clarification and balance, we did publish our version of the events in our reply to the previous comment from Lenor_12.

We are wholeheartedly doing our very best for our guests, and in all the years never had a scene like this; we also still think it's normal to pay for services received.

Nassor Maharouky
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Basel, Switzerland
Level 5 Contributor
33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2012

This is our 4th visit to Mnarani, and it seems to get better every time. Nassor, the owner, is constantly improving his place, upgrading the rooms and facilities and thinking of new ways to offer his guests an ever better holiday experience.
The bungalows are surrounded by a beautiful, well tended garden atop a cliff, but with easy access to the beach. There are swings, beach beds and hammocks everywhere, and friendly, smiling staff is doing their best to make us feel welcome and comfortable.
Being set in its own small bay, the place has a private, cozy feel to it, but a 10 minute walk along the beach at low tide takes you right to where the action is (and the loud music, and the beach boys and peddlers, too).
The crowd at Mnarani is very mixed, families, couples and small groups from all parts of the world, so we meet interesting people every time.
All in all, clearly recommended!
We will come back again!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Yahya1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
339 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2012

What a wonderful place to stay! I couldn't believe the setting when we arrived - it looked like a film set with hammocks & loungers on a wooden deck above the bluest sea I had ever seen; dhows sailing to the reef; palm trees & golden sand! We had a 'superior' room overlooking the sea which was split level with a double 4 poster bed upstairs & a single bed below in a large living area with fridge & kettle & 2 outside sitting areas. The food was good with a large buffet being offered most nights. Mnarani is in the quiet bit of Nungwi but it was only 10 mins walk along the beach (at low tide - inacessable at high tide) to the main drag of hotels & restaurants on the western side of the point. We loved the aquarium, which is just opposite Mnarani, where one could swim with the turtles & tropical fish. We also enjoyed a day trip to Mnemba island with snorkelling & a fish lunch on the beach & were lucky to see dolphins close by!

Room Tip: The standard rooms were very small. It is worth the bit extra to get a sea view superior room
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank bella c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2012

My husband and I just returned from our 2 week "Bush and Beach" honeymoon, starting with a budget safari in the Maasai Mara and ending with a wonderful stay in Zanzibar at Mnarani Beach Cottages.

Let me tell you that I obsessively researched different resorts/hotels in Zanzibar, using Trip Advisor most of the time. We settled on Nungwi (the northern tip of the island where Mnarani is located) because it is not as quiet as the east coast (which I have been to before and loved, but my husband and I were looking for a little more adventure and goings-on). We settled on Mnarani because, while located in Nungwi, near Kendwa (the more populated. "party" areas), it is about a 20 minute walk from the most populated areas. For us, this was PERFECT. Close enough that we could be in on the action if we wanted to, far enough away for us to feel that we were the only resort on the island. For a honeymoon, we definitely wanted a little bit of that secluded feel, which we certainly got at Mnarani. We also liked that Mnarani was mostly couples and families, not a lot of young backpackers. We ourselves are usually the young backpackers (if you want to be with that crowd, hit up Kendwa for sure), but again, for our honeymoon we wanted a little something different!

The beach front at Mnarani is exotic, stunningly gorgeous and definitely swimmable! We swam every day! If you are looking for a place to lay out on the sand for hours with plenty of tourists and zero rocks and seaweed, maybe head to Kendwa for the "golden mile" of beaches. But again, this is more populated, and full of "beach boys" and fake Maasai trying to sell you things. We went by this area on a friend's boat and the beach was littered with young people laying out and loud music thumping from the beach bar. VERY cool, if that what you are looking for (aside from the aforementioned beach boys and fake Maasai). We loved feeling like the only people in Zanzibar while at Mnarani. :)

We loved Mnarani and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, romantic, adventurous get-away. The staff was SO friendly, warm and welcoming. We met Nassor, the owner, and he was walking around and getting to know the guests. The manager, Sula, was also getting to know people and was just lovely. Coco, another staff member there, was warm and funny and enjoyable to be around. Even the housekeeping staff always had a smile on their face as they greeted you daily with a warm, "Jambo!" The food was delicious and wonderfully presented, with pride and wonderful ambiance. They even decorated our bed for us with flowers, and gave us a private table right over the beach for our honeymoon dinner.

Final thought - I noticed someone complain that Mnarani was next door to a "local slum" - this could NOT be more far from the truth! Mnarani is located in the Nungwi village, where local people live and thrive. To hear someone call their village a "slum" is disheartening. Almost every man in this village is a fisherman, and without them Mnarani would not have the delicious seafood selection they do. They also get many of their staff from the village. It is obvious that the village locals help to support the hotels and resorts in Nungwi, and without them the Zanzibari charm would just not be there.

Room Tip: They honeymoon suite in the Zanzibar House was more private than the cottages - highly recommend it!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Jaime B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kilimandege, Owner at Mnarani Beach Cottages, responded to this review, August 31, 2012
Dear Jaime & Donovan,

thank you so much for your detailed and positive feedback both during your stay with us and here on Trip Advisor.
We are doing our very best for all our guests, and to see them enjoying their stay the way you did is both gratification and incentive for us.
It was a pleasure having you here!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2012

I was here in July and stayed in Mnarani for two nights in a family room with sea view. The room was very spacious with two levels and due to that a veranda and a balcony! We slept on the first floor with the door open and could enjoy the sounds of the Indian Ocean.

The personnel in the hotel was very friendly and helpful and the food was great. Breakfast is a buffet and you can order eggs (omelette/fried/scrambled etc) and in the evenings also a buffet with enough choices. Try to book on Tuesdays because then it is Swahili night with great local food and after dinner a acrobatic show that is very entertaining.

The hotel has a nice pool and enough pool beds and even a few hammocks with view on the ocean where you can comfortably read a book or chill out. Due to the tide you either have a nice beach where you can walk towards the Lighthouse or the natural aquarium or you can dive into the Ocean with high tide for a nice swim. It is possible to rent a kayak.

The atmosphere in the hotel was very relaxed and I had a great time!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Elvira B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Espergaerde, Denmark
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 30, 2012

Really nice place to stay. The rooms have great views and is very clean. It is not the best beach in front of the hotel but you can walk 15 minutes to a great beach. The food is pretty basic and after a few days you want something else. There are other options for eating around.

Remember to visit the aquarium next to Mnarani. There are lot's of turtles.

Coco at the reception is very nice, happy and always ready to help.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Peter L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pretoria
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

Mnarani was the ideal place for lying in the sun, overlooking the ocean and walking on the beach. It is very well kept and we loved the food. Breakfasts are more or less the same each day, but dinners are really nice. We loved the evening they treated us with local food and local acrobatic entertainment. The staff is a wonderful group of people, always ready to help whether it was to arrange trips or teach bao. Mnarani is a little way from the 'party strip' but it is easy enough to walk to and the upside is that here we were not inundated with locals peddling trips, tours and trinkets. Our cottage was on the small side but very clean, mosquito netted, airconditioned and fanned. The only thing we would have liked would have been coffee and tea more readily available, although the staff always brought it when we asked. I can recommend Mnarani without any reservations. Thank you for a wonderful holiday.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank kwarenina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mnarani Beach Cottages

Property: Mnarani Beach Cottages
Address: North Coast, Nungwi, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Nungwi
#10 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#11 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Mnarani Beach Cottages 3.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mnarani Beach Cottages is a beach resort hotel, located on the northernmost tip of Zanzibar Island in the village of Nungwi, next to the old lighthouse.Mnarani has been independently recommended by The Lonely Planet Guide, The Bradt Guide to Zanzibar and many other East African travel guidebooks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mnarani Beach Cottages Hotel Nungwi
Mnarani Beach Hotel
Mnarani Beach Resort
Mnarani Beach Cottages Zanzibar Island/Nungwi

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