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“Haven of Relaxation”

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Zanzibar Retreat Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Matemwe
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 24, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Zanzibar Retreat Hotel in Matemwe (North East Coast of Zanzibar- 1 hour from Stone Town) for three nights in July 2012. In all honesty, two nights is more than enough.

It is truly a retreat, in the sense that there is nothing to do on the property but relax. There is a pool restaurtant, and bar. There is no vollebally net, communal television, or even music playing on the property. The hotel does have Wi-Fi. If you are looking for something to do during the day other than reading and sitting by the pool, you can go to one of the beach stands to book excursions- Stone Town tour (NOTE: stay in Stone Town, don't do an excursion), Jozani Forest (NOTE: Skip it- $130 for ride out to forest and tour- if you are going on safari, you will be disappointed), snorkeling, or Vespa rental.

My husband and I are runners- so, you can take great runs on the beach. The sand is firm closer to the water. It's nice to run or walk down the long beach.

On to the room...we stayed in Room 7 (I think?- no one could get our room # right). It was recently completed. It has a view of the "garden". Not really- more like the garage where they keep things for the hotel. The room felt cramped. There is one window that has very heavy curtains on them (poorly suited to a beach resort). The bathroom was very adobe like- red clay with one very small window. The room was clean, but even for two people- it was small. RECOMMENDATION: Make sure you have a room on the first floor (preferably facing the pool), they have more light and a little table on the patio outside your room to sit. Don't get one of the upstairs room like we had.

The staff was nice, but not overly attentive or prompt. If you ordered a drink at the pool, there is no rush to get it to you. We went to breakfast one morning and it took 10 minutes for someone to walk over and even take our coffee request- the staff saw us sitting there (true story). Now, I am an East Coaster and am used to a fast pace, but this was the only place in Tanzania that we experienced this.

Being that the room was new, the outlets both failed in the room. One stopped working one day and then the next day the other side of the room stopped working. We did tell one of the owners and he had it immediately fixed.

We had half board there- breakfast and dinner. The food was good and plentiful. No complaints there.

If you are a big water drinker (you'll need it to brush your teeth), save money and don't buy it from the hotel. There is a little store in the village of Matemwe that sells it to you for cheap.

Room Tip: First floor a must- pool view
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JerseyGirlSeesWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 18, 2012

We have had the privilege to stay four weeks at Zanzibar Retreat Hotel in June and July. We are a family of six, children at ages of 16,14 and 11. We have all enjoyed the stay at the hotel; the top-hole standard of the rooms, the friendly staff, always having time for a chat, the excellent food and the flexible management always ready to assist with arrangements of a trip around the exciting island or having time for an evenings chat in the new resting area, "the blue corner". Every evening you just want to finish up the dinner with a relaxing time in the comfortable sofa enjoying a soft drink, the sound of the sea, the palms and the warm winds.
Especially we will remember the paradise like snorkelling at nearby Mnemba Island. Hard to top that!
Our kids could never have enough of the pasta, the homemade burgers or the perfectly fried fries. We could night after night enjoy well prepared, delicious seafood.
The stay at the hotel is, for us, a great starting point for a one year long period in Tanzania. We look forward to return to Matemwe beach and Zanzibar Retreat Hotel during the year, again and again, and again...

Room Tip: The upstairs seaview rooms are excellent.
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank MatsLevander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2012

Our group (5 people) thoroughly enjoyed the Zanzibar Retreat Hotel. The service was good and the food was fantastic. The beach is nice for swimming during high tide and nice for looking at sea life when it's low tide. If I ever get back to Zanzibar, I will definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: The best rooms are on the main floor by the pool.
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Georgia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2012

Zanzibar Retreat is not a luxury 5 star hotel but it is exactly the type of hotel you want to be to relax and completely unwind after a Safari. It is a small quiet place, right on one of the best beaches in Zanzibar and its attention to detail lets you experience the true African culture. A few key points which might help you:

Food: Very nice breakfast with fresh fruits and choice of hot plate. The dinner was always amazing! traditional three course meal of high quality

Beach: we haven't been to other beaches in Zanzibar to compare, but Matemwe beach was definitely one of the best beaches we have ever been at! There is a lot of sewage but that is the case for most Zanzibar as I understand. Also we loved the tidal current as we could walk all the way to the reef and also get nice pictures

Activities: the hotel can arrange a variety of activities with low cost. One of our most memorable experiences in Africa was the visit organised by the hotel manager to Matemwe's hospital and school. There are many more activities from which you can choose from and they can be flexibly arranged to fit your schedule.

People: the manager patiently helped us with any questions we had and also very generously offered to help us with our return trip back to Dar Es Salaam (he even called a driver to pick us up from the Dar Es Salaam airport!). Also the hotel driver from Zanzibar airport was very flexible to his way back to the hotel - he even dropped us for a 1hr tour in Stone Town with no extra cost!

All in all we highly recommend this hotel to anyone who wants a quiet place on the beach with great food and nothing to worry about! just the fact that you wished to have booked extra days there :)

Room Tip: Pool Side rooms are right outside of the pool
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Alex1307
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2012

My husband and I have just returned from 6 glorious days at Janne and Bjorn's hotel in paradise. We had a completely relaxing time. It was very difficult to leave! The small retreat offers a real get-away and a place in which to completely unwind. The staff are all very professional, warm and friendly. The food is excellent. The spaces created for relaxation could not be more perfect. We both felt so completely rested - we would return tomorrow! The beach is a stone throw's away, and we enjoyed our early morning walks along the edge of the warm sea each morning and evening, watching the locals carrying out their business of collecting sea-weed, passing by us with a 'jambo' and a smile. Nothing is 'pushed' or forced here. Beautiful. Go check it out :-)

Room Tip: You can request a pool side room, or a room around the back. All are quiet.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lisa G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2012

Gorgeous wide beaches, with constant breezes. Small hotel with outstanding food cooked to order with fresh ingredients. Lovely veranda, swimming pool, and plenty of comfy hammocks and chaises to while away the day. Would return in a heartbeat. Owner Jan and his staff team are the best.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Mama71Vermont
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2012

My family (2A + 3C (16/15/13)) and I booked this hotel sight unseen on the recommendation of TripAdvisor.
We were certainly impressed. The owner and staff went out of their way to assist in every way possible, without "pushing" anything.
Whilst price may be on the high side for Tanzania, the 4 nights we spent at the Zanzibar were priceless.
Idiosyncrasies of unreliable power supply were soon forgotten with a relaxing (warm) pool, long stretches of sandy beach and a restaurant with a view.
My wife and daughter enjoyed lobster on the last night for a small additional fee on our dinner bed and breakfast rate. Also the staff struggled for the first night to find a really cold beer, but after that decided to put some in the freezer for a few hours for me the next night to make sure they were cold. (that's service).
Jan (the owner) arranged a magical day trip with a driver at the northern end of the island. My son's swimming with the turtles (an unexpected highlight) made his trip. This was arranged with a short discussion over dinner on the previous evening.
After we left, we realised we had left a medical kit behind in the room. I contacted Jan by email and he posted the kit to our next location (Nairobi) without fuss.

In short, the ZRH has a few dags around the edges, but makes up for all of these with a great location and good staff.
Thanks Jan, and we hope to be back sometime.
PS
Be careful walking over the reef....sea urchins have large spikes.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Australian-on-Bus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zanzibar Retreat Hotel

Address: Matemwe Beach, Matemwe, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Matemwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Matemwe
Price Range: $92 - $946 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The hotel is situated directly on the beach. Its a peaceful and tranquil setting with plenty of shady places for you to relax. There is a 16x8 meter pool perfect for a refreshing swim when the tide is out. The hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and there is a well-stocked bar to accompany. We are proud to have a good reputation regarding food. We work consequently with proper waist management, and support education in the village. Most of our suppliers are from the village, and we try our best to have a good relation with the whole village. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zanzibar Retreat Matemwe
Zanzibar Retreat Hotel Matemwe, Zanzibar Island

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