My boyfriend and I did an 8 day safari and wanted to stay somewhere beautiful, peaceful and not touristy to recover from the bumpy roads and tent camping. We were not disappointed and very happy with our stay at Zanzibar Retreat! Jan, the owner was a very nice, laid back owner who took pride in his hotel. Minus a few small things here and there (i will get into this later) the hotel was perfect and for a Tanzania Island, that is saying a lot!
This as the other reviewers said, is a place to go to get away, relax and not be surrounded by people or noise. If you dont want that, then dont go there!! The hotel places no music, which we loved. It is right on the water, so you hear the ocean and the breeze, that is it. It is simple and so refreshing. My boyfriend took an accidental nap every day there because it was so relaxing. The hotel has many areas to sit and relax. There are nice chairs to lay on with a hut type umbrella for shade, hammocks, lots of areas around the pool (some you can sit under a covering with passion fruit vines dangling down) another outdoor section with custom seating and tables which is my favorite spot to sit at night, an area for playing games, the bar, etc...The place may be small but it is open and options available.
Our bedroom was not huge, but i could care less, I didnt come to stay inside! It had a big bed, hardwood floors, nice mosquito netting (not that you really need it) air conditioner, a huge closet, desk and a safe. The bathroom was a good size, and the shower was huge! IT HAS HOT WATER!!
The food was good. I wouldn't say spectacular, but for the most part very good. Some dishes were fabulous though. It lacks a bit of versatility, but I know I am just spoiled by living where you can get food all the time and whatever you want.
The staff is very friendly, and very attentive. They helped us learn a good amount of Swahili too! The hotel was kept very clean, and kept up to the highest degree. (which i can not say for many places in Zanzibar)
Here is my response to what other reviewers wrote about the cons of this hotel:
swimming: the hotel does not control the ocean. Yes, the tide comes in and out, and if you want to swim you have to wait for the tide to be fully in. But we did still snorkel even at low tide (the water was very shallow and you need to watch out for sea urchins, but you still can swim if you just have to!)
bathrooms: this is AFRICA! If the toilet seat doesn't fit the toilet does it really matter? (this was not the case in our room) You have a nice bathroom, get over it.
Billing: Zanzibar Retreat did accept credit cards when we went. And no we did not sign for everything we ate/drank, but at the end they had everything written down and put into sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. It was all accurate and correct.
Staff: I adored the staff. They were so very friendly and spoke English pretty well. They did take a bit to make the drinks, but it is not due to laziness or forgetfulness. They use fresh fruit to make the drinks that require them. This means cutting up and juicing the fruit by hand. If you are in a rush, I suggest you go somewhere else!
Like i said, this place was awesome. We had planned to only stay for 3 nights and then go to a different hotel further south, but we loved the atmosphere so much that we asked Jan if it would be okay to stay longer, and of course he said yes.
- 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