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“Favorite hotel of our whole trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zanzibar Retreat Hotel

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Zanzibar Retreat Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Matemwe
Certificate of Excellence
San Jose, CA
Level Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Favorite hotel of our whole trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

We found this place on TripAdvisor and couldn't have been happier with our choice. We stayed there 3 nights prior to starting our safari. It was easily the best place we stayed in for our entire vacation. The hotel is beautiful and the staff are just wonderful. The meals were delicious and the wait staff attentive. Jan recommended Scuba Fish Zanzibar for a snorkeling trip to Mnemba Atoll. We had a fantastic time. Our only regret is that we couldn't stay longer.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Razzmatazz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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365 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
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  • English first
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English first
Alberton, Australia
Level Contributor
24 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

We stayed here with friends as a wind-down after a dusty Intrepid trip through Kenya and Tanzania. Jan was very apologetic at forgetting our transfer but, other than that, our stay was outstanding. The room was very comfortable, three steps from the pool, and the resort has a wide range of comfortable and relaxing corners to chill out - love the hammocks. The staff were very attentive, always smiling and taking time to chat.
Though swimming on the beach was a little difficult, there was no problem 'wallowing' and the morning sunrises were stunning. We also met 'Mr.Match' there who organised a trip to Mnemba Island snorkelling and a spice tour combined with our transfer back to Stonetown. Both were very enjoyable and grand value.
However the absolute highlight of the stay was the meals. We took the half-board option and enjoyed two magnificent evening dinners - four courses of the most delightful, locally inspired food. It was undoubtedly the best food I have enjoyed anywhere - many, many thanks to the kitchen staff and Karen.
The Retreat is in a quiet corner of the island but if you want to wind down after the dust and early starts of a safari, then you should very seriously consider this place.

Room Tip: Two rooms upstairs have the view but downstairs on the north side have the pool.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank old55Victoria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kampala, Uganda
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

Enjoyed the quiet location, good food and friendly staff. "Retreat" is a perfect name for this place. Comfortable and close to great scuba diving and snorkeling. Would recommend this place for families, couples, friends or a solo trip. Management went out of their way to make us feel comfortable.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jared W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
37 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

We went to Zanzibar for 3 days before going on safari, and Zanzibar Retreat Hotel was a great place to unwind after our long travel. Hotel staff is very friendly and helpful (Mathias especially was a great conversationalist and very resourceful), food was good (a little salty at times). We opted for the bed & breakfast option, which was so filling that we didn't usually eat again until dinner (onsite). I opted not to have half or full board so we could have the option to eat elsewhere (ha!) but this turned out to be more economical anyway, probably because we only drank during happy hour.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank FlyerX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

This place is amazing. We only stayed 3 nights but wish we could have stayed longer. Cold drink on arrival, free home made crisps with your drinks and free water in the room all made it feel more luxurious.
The staff are wonderful and won't let you do anything for yourself. The buildings are beautiful, the room gorgeous. The pool is a good enough size for swimming even though the sea has a lot of sea weed. The beach is still beautiful though.
All the food we had was incredible if slightly on the pricey side.. it was worth it though.
We would definitely come back here if returning to Zanzibar.. can't recommend it enough.

Room Tip: Don't bother going for any more than the garden rooms. They are beautiful and really quiet. Not...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank beckst1989
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

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.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Marie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013 via mobile

We did our honeymoon in a bit of preseason an it was all good. The site is well located on a pretty beach. Food was great and staff was friendly and helpful too. We did a stonetown and a spice tour during our days and all was fine. We can totally recommend a stay over there. Manager Jan is a caring warm hearted person. Thanks a lot!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank PeterAchterbahn
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

Property: Zanzibar Retreat Hotel
Address: Matemwe Beach | Zanzibar, 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
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small beach Retreat. Good food and drinks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zanzibar Retreat Matemwe
Zanzibar Retreat Hotel Matemwe, Zanzibar Island

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