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“Seen Better Days, But Great Location”
Review of Sazani Beach Lodge

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Sazani Beach Lodge
Ranked #4 of 47 Specialty Lodging in Nungwi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 12, 2009

Sazani Beach hotel was clearly a great place back in the day (if you look at the older reviews, it sounds like the management made this place very special). Sadly, it has become a shadow of its former self: it is very run down, the beach is dirty, it has an abandoned and disheveled feel, and it desperately needs major renovation.

Why didn't we just run a mile when we checked in (we were the only people staying there)? Because we were tired from a big trip, the location is amazing (the stretch of beach south and north of the hotel is fantastic), and because we kind of liked having the entire place to ourselves. We also vaguely enjoyed the challenge of making sure we still enjoyed ourselves despite the lodgings!

OK, so here is what we did not find appealing: the mosquito nets were old, musty, and full of holes (solution: we put tape over the holes), the room was really damp smelling (solution: burn incense), and there was trash littered around the hotel and the beach (solution: we tried to clean it up ourselves).

The whole place reminded us a little of a dirtier and unkempt version of Derek Jarman's famous garden (http://www.flickr.com/photos/angusf/sets/656542/).

There were, however, a few nice touches: flowers on our bed when we arrived and more flowers when the room was made up in the morning; good breakfasts.

All in all, however, we recommend that you stay elsewhere.

In fact, you should spend just $40 more per night and stay next door at the lovely Ras Nungwe, a gorgeously designed luxury boutique hotel that is impeccable (you feel as if you're in a Travel and Leisure magazine as you wander round the grounds). One of the reasons we enjoyed our stay at Sazani is that we basically hung out at Ras Nungwe: we had lunch there one day, and dinner another, which gave us permission to hang out by the pool and take advantage of all the freebies (cookies in the afternoon, cocktails and appetizers by the pool in the evening).

We also had a terrific day of snorkeling, arranged by Sazani (they have some really lovely and helpful staff; it really is a terrible shame that the hotel has gone to ruin).

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank GMY68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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127 - 133 of 169 reviews

Reviewed August 14, 2009

The previous review warned that this place was changing management, it seems it has. It was dreadful. We placed our bags in our room and immediately realised we did not want to stay. Damp smelling bedroom, electricity not working, curtains falling off, stains in toilet, bathrom which smelt like boys nightclub toilets, provided bath towels were damp. We walked down to the 'restaurant' to be told there was no menu because they weren't busy (he did offer a salad or for us to wait until the local fisherman brought in his catch). We walked along the beach to find another resort. We went back to Sazani to collect our bags. They wanted us to pay for a full night but we managed to get them down to £25 , thank goodness we did not pay up front! We noticed that there were only two other guests staying according to the guest book and that they had had no guests in at all last week - the height of summer...
What a pity because the place has a superb spot on the beach in a quieter part of Nungwi. It is now run down and uncared for. It could be fantastic but it isn't...

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Fergie-Vic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2009

We stayed at Michael's place for 8 nights at all, having a great time. Excellent food, lovely scenery, great rooms an friendly atmosphere. Recommend this place for travellers looking for a relaxed stay - you get your own drinks in the bar and ask the staff for anything - and they help you!

Unfortunetely we've heard that the management changed since we were there and can just hope for the new managment to keep up to the standards of hospitality and service we got form Michael.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank raffen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2008

Sazani Beach is a little piece of magic on an already magical island. Michael who runs the place with his fabulous team are just cool frankly...and great fun....and easy.....and our whole trip was an experience from start to finish....so helpful and no bull####. Wonderful. Michael likes to keep it real which sets the tone of the place......a unique hotel. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with friends
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2  Thank VirginiaBombay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2008

Sanzani resort is an under-stated beach getaway on a lucious stretch of white sand and blue water. If you're looking for a high-end resort with all the frills, this isn't for you, but if you like comfortable "beachy bungalows" in a stunning setting and all the amenities you would need in a seaside paradise, then it's a great place. The owner, Mike, is a gem. Eccentric is under-stated, but he's extremely attentive, enormously helpful, provides far better "5-star service" service than the pretentious "palace" next door, and really makes you feel you're incredibly welcomed.

It's a family type of environment--a honour system bar, friendly guests having beers together on the beach, great food, friendly staff and again, I stress, the most stunning beach I've ever seen (and I'm from the Caribbean!).

So, no, it doesn't have air conditioning (most places in Zanzibar don't and mind you, you're not coming to the beach to be in the cool!), it doesn't put useless bath gel in your bathroom and it doesn't have a bar-tender with a bowtie serving silly cocktails with umbrella's. But it does offer a homey, clean, beach paradise with great (very fresh!) food, lazy hammock swings, and an excellent "get your own drinks" bar making it a lazy and lovely place. Oh, and throw in Mike who is literally the best hotel owner I've ever met and really went out of his way to help us out of more than a few pickles that had nothing to do with our accommodation!

Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: January 2008
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3  Thank jennyraep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2007

The Sazani was one of the highlights of our trip to Tanzania. It seems like a long way from civilization; it's quite a drive from the airport. But upon arrival, I was sure we had arrived in an unrivaled paradise. Yes, it's a bit rough around the edges and a very poor choice for those of you looking for the elegance of a a 5 star resort. The rooms are beautifully basic and there's not nightly turn down service. But it's a GORGEOUS location on a fantastic beach and everything about it is pure magic for me.

Manager Michael is one of those great characters that you find when you travel to interesting places. He's perfectly English and full of Blarney. Hang out at his bar for a bit and your sure to hear some wonderful stories. Be sure to ask him about the last Tsunami warning! You'll be ready to go down with him and the bar!

We did some diving with Helen at the dive centre. She was a fine dive master and the water was very, very fine. We snorkeled with dolfins and saw a million fish!

All told, the Sazani is the kind of travel secret that you hope the world never finds out about so the prices remain low and the place stays wonderfully basic. If it sounds good, enjoy. If no - please stay away!

hugs and kisses,
E

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
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2  Thank puzon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2007

Sazani Beach is a wonderful, casual, laid-back place.
Simple but nice rooms and bathrooms - we esp. loved the large Swahili beds - best hotel bed I have ever slept in.
Beautiful garden leading down to the most wonderful beach - a very relaxed place.
We ended up having all our meals at Sazani - they serve great fish and seafood at excellent prices - and they make super cocktails :-)
If you want to be social this is a great place to meet other travellers - there's a very pleasant atmosphere - esp. because of Mike, the manager, who's a very nice person, who makes everybody feel welcome.
It's a place I'd feel save to travel to on my own.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled with friends
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2  Thank DotDK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sazani Beach Lodge

Address: Sazani Rd., Nungwi, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 47 Specialty Lodging in Nungwi
Price Range: $82 - $139 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Sazani Beach Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Feel like a castaway at our 10 room beach lodge, a perfect paradise for beach lovers, kite surfers and divers. An oasis of calm just five minute taxi ride from Nungwi's busy strip of music bars and hotels. Our bungalows are designed in a traditional Swahili style with coconut thatch roofs in a tropical garden setting, each with a sea view and sandy path down to our secluded pristine beach and the turquoise ocean. Stay with us and help us to develop our sustainability ethos to be an environmentally and socially responsible lodge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sazani Beach Lodge Zanzibar Island/Nungwi

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