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“Too international & so bad food!” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sunshine Hotel

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Sunshine Hotel
Ranked #2 of 10 Matemwe B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Glasgow, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Too international & so bad food!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2012

We (a couple) stayed 5 nights in the Sunshine Hotel between the June the 13th and June the 19th. We arrived from Stone Town where we spent 2 nights in a wonderful hotel, quite traditional. A huge contrast with the Sunshine hotel which is (voluntarily) really international, too much for us.

Let's begin with the good points of the hotel:
- situation in Matemwe: easy access and possibility to visit the village of Matemwe where the locals are leaving, a huge contrast with the really clean hotels along the beach.
- beach in front the hotel: perfect to swim and discover the coral reef (by walking or swimming according to the tight). Plus, there are some locals in the beach offering differents types of services/ attractions: massages, snorkling tours, transfer to the airport or Stone Town, all at really good prices in comparison with the prices of the same services/attractions delivered by the hotel.
- Facilities of the hotel: 2 nice swimming pools (when the tight is low!), bikes available to visit the surroundings, palms and tuba for snorkling
- Room: we had a room in a bungalow in the first floor, with a nice balcony. The room was big and nice, including the bathroom. Only problem in the room, there is not enough light, so difficult to read or do anaything after the sunset (between 6:00 and 6:30 PM).
- Employees at the bar and restaurant really professional : nice and efficient.

Now the bad points:
- Restaurant of the hotel: we took the half board, huge mistake! The food has no taste, from the breakfast (at least there are some fresh fruit at breakfast to save us) to the dinner. The menu is really international, with 80% of the meals served with chips. We only had fresh fish one night (in 5 dinners!), even thought the hotel is located next to the local fish market of Matemwe. For lunch, it is worth than all: international food only at prohibitive costs: US$ 15 for a sub, where you can eat for 16000 Shillings some amazing fresh seafood in the small restaurants around (fortunately we discovered those small places around to enjoy a meal per day). The choices of wine for dinner is poor too (in comparison with the other places we have been in Tanzania, including in Safari in the Serengeti).
- The ambiance in the restaurant is ‘boring’: no local music, just some ambient music so relaxing than everybody is half asleep in the table at 8:30 PM. Consequence, everybody leaves the restaurant to go back to their room at 9:00 PM (I stayed one night a little bit later, the bar was closed and a armed guard with a huge gun welcomed me when I was on my way back to my room (quiet scary actually in the dark!).
- I can’t say that the owners (European people, not locals) are really friendly: they never talked to us (we stayed 5 nights, quiet a long stay), and were difficult to find, even at the end of our stay when we intended to pay our bill. To leave the place and go to the airport (we had to leave at 7:00 AM), we missed the last night the locals in the beach, to book a taxi. Result: the locals offered us the day before a price at US$ 35, the hotel charged us US$ 50, a huge difference according to the cost of living in Zanzibar.

So our advice will be this one: the Sunshine hotel is a really nice place to stay if you don’t mind to be in a really international environment (don’t come here to find the ‘true’ spirit of Zanzibar). And avoid the restaurant, really too expensive and poor in quality (prefer the local places along the beach).

Room Tip: Rooms at the first floor of the bungalows offer a nice view of the beach and sea (at the ground floo...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bertrand F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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287 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (46)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
43 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2012

We stayed two nights at Sunshine hotel, and had a fairly positive experience. The rooms are great. The set-up of the pools, restaurants, palm trees and whole lounging area is amazing! The set-up is very idyllic and relaxing, although a little busier than places a 5 minute walk south. However if you want a higher end (although not super high end as you will find elsewhere in Matemwe), this is the perfect place! The hotel managers were also very helpful.

The one negative is that we were very underwhelmed by the restaurant. At breakfast we found it hard to get attention to order our coffee and eggs, and were surprised to get fruit that wasn't ripe given the location. We also found dinner over-priced with out delivering the expected quality. However as the hotel doesn't do half-board, I would not have this stop you from staying here, but would suggest unlike us walking over to one of the many other hotels a 5-10 minute walk away for dinner.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mary L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franklin, Tennessee
Level Contributor
279 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2012

We stayed here 3 nights after a safari and absolutely loved it. The staff is great, the rooms and views are spectacular. We had this same view shown in the photo here and could listen to the ocean as we drifted to sleep. It was the perfect place to unwind and relax. The area is frequented by the locals since it is also a kelp plantation in the shallow waters. We rented a boat/guide to take us to the island to snorkel--a bit unsettling during the early morning as the waters were rough but the bright blue starfish and other creatures were wonderful to see. Massages on the beach for $40. And, they have a wonderful spice soap that was amazing.........I brought some back to remind myself of a wonderful stay.

Room Tip: 2nd floor best view of water.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Max-TN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
434 reviews
102 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 214 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2012

With fantastic hotels, you can always find a downside - which should of course not be neglected, as it in general leaves a foul taste of the experience. While we stayed several days at the Sunshine Hotel, the room was spectaculous - also the restaurant had a great setting and the multiple pools are in low season comfortable to scatter around and not get in each others ways. When we arrived, the pools were dirty - only a few days later did the hotel organize the pool to be cleaned which made a great difference. The staff is highly attentive to the guests and they are very friendly. The owners are from eastern Europe and sometimes you get the impression you are an obstacle on their premisses. Asking for the tip box, we were told, that it's not necessary - something that lets the staff down. Overall a nice place to staff

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Path F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Harbor, Florida
Level Contributor
66 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2012

Spent three days @ Sunshine Hotel on the eastern shore of Zanzibar. Small, secluded, quite. The staff was helpful, extremely well spoken and caring. The operators, both European, were a delight. At one point, a family member suffered a common alergic reaction ( happens often in Africa ) the operators called a local European doctor and he came right over to help. Way above and beyond anything I expected from the tiny island. The swimming, water temp, beaches with fine white sand, snorkeling.. all top notch. Most impressive at this hotel? The food! Prices really were'nt bad either. Had a very hard time leaving.

Room Tip: Only 16 units. There is no bad room.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ryan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 24, 2012

This hotel was the best place to relax and unwind after traveling for 2 weeks on the mainland. We opted for what we consider the best room in the hotel- the Blue Room (also one of the more expensive rooms). Set upstairs from the honeymoon suite, you have an amazing view and wonderful breeze- the room was super clean, the deck was amazing. The pools are wonderful- and since the water at times is very low and you are not able to swim (along with lots of sea urchins)- the pools were just lovely- 1 over looks the water. The staff was great too! There are bikes to ride, and water shoes for you to go wander out when the tide is low. They also have snorkel gear- we didn't snorkel, but it was there if you wanted it.

Probably the only downside of this place was the cost of food- after traveling on the mainland in rural areas- it was eye-opening to see the price of food. However, it was really good and overall the prices at some of the other hotels were not much cheaper. And bottled water was only $1US - so that was a good price. Breakfast is included in the price of the hotel and it was wonderful.

Again, overall an amazing spot to unwind... Just note, Matemwe is not a tourist mecca- it is just a place to relax while watching the locals go about their business- Women harvest seaweed- which was very interesting to watch and the children walk on the beach on their way to school.

Lovely spot- so happy to have ended up at Sunshine!

Room Tip: The Blue room was the best. There is no air conditioning at this hotel- but there are fans and wond...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JGMCM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
brooklyn
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2012

After a long activitiy packed safari, Sunshine Hotel was a perfect retreat. Once we arrived and saw the landscape of the hotel, my party of 5 knew we had picked a good location. The ambiance was breathtaking, with beautiful plants well situated around the hotel. the rooms were clean, a nice size and cleverly decorated. We absolutely loved the hotel.

The staff were very accomodating and went above and beyond the call of duty. They got wind i was celebrating my birthday. I had picked a nearby restaurant (Seles) to have my celebration. After dinner i was greeted with a birthday cake from Sunshine hotel at my dinner table (unbeknownst to me). What a pleasant and thoughtful surprise. They get a gold star in my book.

Some things to consider when staying at Sunshine. Matemwe is a village so you have to go through a very local village to get to the entrance of the hotels. This was suprising to me. The locals also walk and work (collecting sea weeds) on the beach which is also an interesting dynamic. If you walk about 3 miles down you are likely to see a goat wandering out from the village. Its quiet interesting. One can clearly see the need for community development project with and for the locals.

There is not much to do on Matemwe its just perfect for relaxing. One night we did try to find a night life but we had to drive about 40 mins away, and that was a bust. One of the hotels about a mile or so down from Sunshine does have a live band on Thursday and it seems the hotel managements on the strip go there for entertainment as well.

One last thing to consider is the low and high tide issue. Mother nature has control over this so not much you can do.

Overall my stay at Sunshine was very pleasant. I would highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank worldtraveler193
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunshine Hotel

Property: Sunshine Hotel
Address: Matemwe, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Matemwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 B&Bs / Inns in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sunshine Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Sunshine Hotel is a 15 rooms beach hotel, located in Matemwe on the north-east coast of Zanzibar. Eco friendly, stylish and cozy, carefully designed by professional designers, creates a unique chill-out ambiance to make you feel happy and relaxed. Set right on the unspoiled white sandy beach, lined with palm trees and washed by warm, turquoise waters of Indian Ocean, it's a perfect gateway from everyday life. All the rooms feature with king size bed with mosquito net, desk, safe box, bathroom with shower and closed toilet, stone bench, 3 fans, private outdoor space to relax. All rooms have garden view, some of them partial sea view. 2 rooms in a private bungalow are located directly on the beach, perfect retreat for couples, honeymooners or just a romantic surprise. The 2 pools are suitable for everybody, also kids that can swim in the shallow water area. The own Diving Centre Dive Point Zanzibar, organizes daily trips for divers and snorkelers to Mnemba. The Restaurant and Bar are available from 7,30am to 9,30pm to everybody (outsiders are welcome too) for the main meals on a' la carte basis. Half Board and Full Board are also offered. The Reception is at guest disposal 12h each day to assist them also for excursions around the island. USD is the main hotel currency, credit/debit cards are welcome (+5% bank fee on each transaction) as well as Euro/Tshilling (hotel exchange rate only). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunshine Hotel Matemwe, Zanzibar Island

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