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“Charming home away from home”

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Zanzibar Retreat Hotel
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Matemwe
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Charming home away from home”
Reviewed February 25, 2014 via mobile

There are hotels where you are a customer, treated with all due respect but all after all you are a customer. And there are places like the ZR where you instantly feel at home among friends. That is the big plus you can not buy with money but requires a special attitude and special personality of the people. We made the booking by email a few days in advance and got quick and easy answer by Jan, the finnish owner. When we arrived, everything was smooth and easy, no hustle at all. Also the assistant manager Karin was extremely sweet. Both try to be helpful with whatever you need, be it a tour, diving trips or getting an international driving license. You name it, they try really hard to help. More than you usually expect. Karin even helped to find another suitable hotel after we decided to extend our stay and found out ZR was unfortunatly fulöy booked. They offer a BBQ aprx. once a week you should not miss when you have the chance! Staff is friendly throughout. Food is delicious. There's a massage lady if you like. Withing very few days we felt like part of the big family among the people working at ZR, Scubafish Dive Centre and others.

Zanzibar Retreat is not a low budget location, okay. But it is very good value for what you pay! Would stay there again every time!

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Beni77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Roskilde, Denmark
Level Contributor
56 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2014

A stay at the Zanzibar Retreat Hotel will be an experience you will never forget and I simply cannot recommend it strongly enough.

First let me start by saying that the contribution from the Stockholm-visitors that you will find under my recommendation – I do not understand it in any way. Please do not pay attention to this – It´s so unfair to this hotel. I have read it through several times and I don´t get it. What can I say??? Some people just complain about everything and can never be satisfied. How, for example, can you complain about the tides of the ocean? I don´t get it!
Well – my experience with The Zanzibar Retreat Hotel is much different.

The hotel, the food, the level of service, room facilities and the location is the best ever!!!!
We were at the hotel for a week in February 2014 from arrival to departure we were excited beyond measure.
Zanzibar Retreat Hotel is a gem. We travel a lot (4-5 times a year) and this hotel is one of the best we have experienced.

We felt from day one incredibly welcome, the staff is professional, smiling and extremely friendly. I would like to enhance ste staffe: Karin, Mathias, Lillian and Lusecelo, all of which definitely helped to make our stay memorable. These people made us feel like part of the " family " and we will miss each and every one of them for a very long time.

The food is a chapter in itself. OMG - it was delicious. Pure gourmet food for all meals. Fresh fruit, fresh squeezed juices and great selection at breakfast. The lunch menu is varied and extremely tasty. Dinner was worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant. High praises from us to the chef and management.

The rooms are so nice and big. Good closet space, comfortable beds, large bathroom and there is always neat and clean everywhere.

One of the very special things about this hotel is that there is no music. There is quiet so you can hear the waves of the ocean and the good atmosphere is created by the guests’ cozy sum in the restaurant where all the tables are lit by small lanterns every night – very very romantic. It makes you come down to gear and relax. It makes you fall quickly into "The Zanzibar way of living" where life is enjoyed slowly.

We 'll be back - very soon. We cannot do without this place, now that we've found it .

Dear readers, contact me for further details on this recommendation if you want more information, recommendations or otherwise. Try Zanzibar Retreat Hotel - you will not regret it.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DanishTraveller2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gothenburg, Sweden
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2014

Location: you can't see much of the beach from the hotel. It was difficult to have a bath. There are fewer sun beds on the beach than there are guests. We never used the pool. There are hardly any beach boys though, which is good.

Food: food was the biggest problem and really a disappointment given what we had read on their website. Big problems with our stomachs. In the end I just wanted to go away from the place and did not want to have to eat one more time. However, we hade a nice prawn one day.

Room: small room with windows in both directions, but nothing to see outside. The curtains were drawn at all times, but not big enough for the windows. Aircondition, but no duvet, so if you go here don't set the air condition too low… The "safe" is a wooden box with a small padlock.

Staff: very nice Swedish hostess. People didn't seem to really enjoy their jobs. No individual tipping, but tipping in a letter box. No one that really said goodbye when we left.

Other: one day one of the waiters kicked a rat dead right in front of us. Another waiter spilled beer over my towel, but didn't offer me a new towel (yes, I could have asked for a new one).

This is a place to which we will not come back.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank FF_from_Sweden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GoZanzibar, Manager at Zanzibar Retreat Hotel, responded to this review, February 17, 2014
Dear Guests. Thank you for your time sharing your oppinions about our hotel. Im sorry you had a rough stay with us, but to be perfectly honest... I do not understand some of the complaints. It seems you have been checking on tripadvisor beforehand, and got the impression this would be the most high standard place on island. Too high expectations and unability to read "between the lines" can give you a wrong picture of the place. We are modest in our approach, mid-level beach hotel, nothing less, nothing more. I will however go through your negative experinces and try to explain
1) BEACH. Just before the public beach there is a 1m high hedge as a fence for sand and hard winds, mostly appriciated by other guests. (Sunbeds) We dont have 24 sunbeds, as many prefer the poolside as well, but we wil add more from next season. Point taken. (Swimming) The tides are changing differently for each day, and differs from month to month... sorry for that.
2). FOOD. Here Im a bit puzzled. Our guests always say we are good on this. Having halfboard gives you a 4 course dinner with big variations each day, and as i remember you ordered always our sandwishes with avocado, bacon and lettuce. Perhaps the stomach problem you had did not increase your apetite, very sorry for that. Visitors to Africa usually get a slight stomack disorder due to different set of bacteria everywhere. (very rarely connected with food).
3) ROOM. All our rooms are displayed and described on our webpage as small and cosy, and as allways, the curtains can be moved to both sides, so no problems there. The safe is a wooden big zanzibar chest with a lock and a key. All locks can be broken into, its not more safe with a metalbox and a combination, and there is a safe in the office also if needed. - "aircon, but no duvet"-. well the aircon can be ajusted to the preffered temperatue, and we do have duvets for all the rooms, single and double beds. Usually people complain when its too hot...
4)STAFF. Im happy you liked Karin. At least something good... and when it comes to the locals we have as I understand a very dedicated staff, who are always friendly and attentive, but can also if guests dont ask questions or seems un-interested in chatting, keep the distance but still do the job. The tipping is done so everybody get a fair share of the total tip money, we think this is much better. Saying farewell was done from our staff who dealt with the payment, and I happened to have a phone call when you suddenly left (saw you in the bar through my window), and I hung up, and rushed to say good bye to you but I was too late. Very sorry for this.

The elimination of the mouse was unfortunate, and should not be done in front of guests, I agree and appologize, and same for the beer on the towel.

So yet again, very sorry for the inconvenience, but ALL of the issues we could have done something about if you would have asked.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lucerne, Switzerland
Level Contributor
58 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2014

Overall a really good experience; we spent 8 days there after some days in the Old City of Sansibar and safari on the mainland. The location is superb, right on the beach. It is essentially in the middle of nowhere (if you are looking for a cute spot to hang out, voila this is it). This place is not a luxury boutique resort, so don't be misled (which does not mean that this a bad place at all).
Rooms are fairly basic, rather dark, local style, beds were large and OK. Bathroom is very basic (bring your own shampoo) and tired. Would not worry too much about the room, they are 50m from the beach or pool (small), so you will not use them much. It is quiet and cosy, sort of family style. The crowed was mixed European and American, all ages, some families with kids. They have only 7 (maybe 9) rooms, so loads of privacy. Food was really good (the lady chef does a great great job!) and service was kind; we really loved the great people at this place who really created this special atmosphere.
The beach is lovely, white sand, endless and quiet- with only some 'business' on the beach (but nothing to worry about); plenty of seaweed and there is no water during half of the day (if you don t like this idea, don't come, this is what nature is all about). Value for money is reasonable.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Norm268
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Turku, Finland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2014 via mobile

Stayed at the Zanzibar Retreat for three nights in December, and it was just right type of a retreat for me: very quiet and peaceful, with lovely food, and above all, awesome staff: The Scandinavian management team, Jan & Karin, as well as their local colleagues - Everyone was just so helpful and nice. As it's a small hotel, you also have a chance to actually get to know the other guests which was nice for me, as I was travelling solo. The room I stayed in was on the poolside. It was very comfortable, furnished with traditional Zanzibar woodwork, dark wooden floors and equipped with both an a/c and a fan. And the scenery: beautiful sunrise views from the restaurant, pristine white sand on the beach, crystal blue ocean just at your doorstep... I enjoyed my dive trip to the Mnemba atoll with dive center Scubafish, as well as my relaxing massage and some beautiful henna painting at the hotel's massage hut. I would definitely recommend this place for anyone interested to see the less busy side of Zanzibar. It's divine! I hope I can come back for some more relaxation soon.

Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank vaeltaja_80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
36 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2014

We stayed here on our honeymoon , and it was definetly a great choice we made , we stayed 5 days , and were made feel like at home , the manager Jan from Finland , is really sweet and helpful. The food is delicious. 5 star menu and chef.

the rooms are clean , the location on the beach a dreal , quiet little paradise .

We loved it !!!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ganesh2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
84 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2014

Stayed 3 nights at the Zanzibar Retreat at the tail end of our visit to Tanzania. Hotel is a bit out of the way (1 hour from airport or stone town), which is good if you want peace and quiet, not so good if you want to visit different parts of the island. Hotel itself is nice, if basic. Comfortable bed, spacious washroom.

Positives:
Great food - grilled meats, seafood, breakfast, soups, bread, all great.
Nice pool - plenty of lounge chairs
Secluded beach - wonderfully soft sand. Beautiful beach that stretches for miles. (but full of sea urchin, so don't just run in and don't let your kids run in)
Free bicycles to use - we biked up and down the beach a couple hours. Nice way to exercise and see a little bit of the island.

Negatives:
Electricity is sporadic - our A/C didn't work well the first night and the day we checked out, the power was out all morning. They had to turn on the generator to run the credit card machine to check us out.
No shampoo included? - our room (2 adjoining rooms with shared bath) didn't come with shampoo. We had to buy it from the front desk. $15 for a regular bottle of shampoo seemed steep given what we'd already paid for the room.

We also booked the excursion to visit the spice farm and Stone Town through the hotel. Both are highly recommended (allocate about 6 hours).

Overall, great hotel if you want a relaxing stay with great food.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jeffng1029
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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Zanzibar Retreat Hotel 4*
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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