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“Less is more”

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Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
“Less is more”
Reviewed November 14, 2013

We spent a long weekend at Matemwe bandas and I wish it had been a week. Beautifully simple rooms, private verandas onto the beach, unobtrusive yet efficient and friendly staff, a small but well stocked bar... very hard to find fault, but am prepared to go back and give it a go. Tom is a perfect host - he makes the place seem like a family home, but only seems to appear, as if by magic, when you need him. Go with a book and maybe a friend - nothing else needed.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Sputnik67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tom h, Owner at Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar, responded to this review, March 10, 2014
Thank you so much for taking the time to post your very positive feedback about your stay with us at Matemwe Bandas. We really appreciate it.

All the very best,

Tom & the team
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85 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2013

My wife and I did our delayed honeymoon in August that started with a safari in Tanzania, went to Stone Town for a couple days, then we had 5 days to find a nice remote beach. The reviews on here for Matemwe Bandas were glowing and the surrounding story sounded unique and special and everything...to the point where it all sounded TOO good.

We put our skepticism aside and gave it a shot, and while for the sake of the Bandas I'd like to give them a 3 or 4 star review so they aren't absolutely perfect on here (sometimes too good can be a deterrent in itself) - I can't in good faith do that. I've given 5 stars for much less and they deserve to be at the top of any scale.

The layout and the aesthetics of the property are truly outstanding. It feels incredibly comfortable from the beginning and Tom is a superb host. It's like staying at a friend of a friend's guest cottage who welcomes you as family. Always popping by to say hi or help but never interfering with our time, the staff is everything you'd hope for.

We didn't find the food to be particularly good on our safari or in Stone Town, so the quality at the Bandas was a welcome surprise. The beach is not as swimmable as you'd hope but we felt we'd gladly take the remoteness and rough beauty over the touristy beaches you can find around the rest of the island. As long as you know what you're in for you'll be happy.

We took a chance and were rewarded with an unbelievably memorable stay for our honeymoon. We only get one of those so we're glad we didn't mess it up.

Room Tip: We stayed in one of the beach facing bandas and wouldn't have traded it for anything.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tom D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tom h, Owner at Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar, responded to this review, November 7, 2013
Thank you so much Tom for taking the time to post your much appreciated impressions of Matemwe Bandas. We were delighted you chose to stay with us during your honeymoon and really hope to see you both again in the future.

Warmest regards,
Tom, Chichi & the team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
Reviewed October 19, 2013

My friend and I recently returned from a three day trip to zanzibar and we stayed in matemwe bandas, the experience was simply amazing and in many ways humbling infact,starting with the kindness of the owner(Tom) and his lovely georgous wife, the efficiency and availabity of staff,the beauty and comfort of the rooms with a fusion of both tradition and mordern blend, the location of the rooms right at the front of the sea with a crazy breath taking morning view and sea breeze to wake up to for a life time, the internet super fast actually better than my friends back home, it worked for me just perfect and my relationship with my phone was much catered for.
I honestly couldn't find anything to complain about, definitely five stars all way and it was the best Zanzibar experience ever.

Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Irene541
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tom h, Owner at Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar, responded to this review, November 7, 2013
Thank you so much Irene for your glowing impressions of your stay at Matemwe Bandas. We are delighted that you chose us and we really hope to see you again in the near future.

All the very best,
Tom, Chichi & the team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Garden of England
Level Contributor
106 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed September 21, 2013

We have travelled all around Zanzibar and had a lovely warm welcome from Tom and his staff - all really friendly.

The first morning we were woken very earlier with village men shouting and could not get back to sleep, we mentioned this to Tom and it was swiftly addressed - rest of the stay was peaceful.

Beautiful beach and swimming pool with more than enough beds to laze about. Plenty of bars along the stretch of the beach. Our friend visited us from another hotel and loved all the natural touches around the room.

Would recommend this hotel for peaceful relaxing time. Thank you

Room Tip: All three rooms on the beach are truly amazing.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank EyeSpyaFly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tom h, Owner at Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar, responded to this review, September 27, 2013
It is very kind of you to take the time to write up your positive feedback about your stay with us at Matemwe Bandas. Thank you so much. As regular visitors to Zanzibar, we very much hope to see you both again soon!

With warm regards,

Tom, Chichi & the team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 17, 2013

This was a last minute trip .. (from London) .. to a most idyllic spot on the north east coast of Zanzibar. The hotel was the perfect distillation of understated luxury .. completely in synch with its natural surroundings but with all the creature comforts one could ask for.

The bandas are directly on one of the most beautiful stretches of beach that I have visited .. and the service was attentive but discrete at the same time.

I loved the fact that the environment was intimate and cosy but with enough space to enjoy the freedom to do as one pleased. Where other hotels might have tried to squeeze as many rooms as possible into the space, Matemwe Bandas really placed the guest experience first.

It was well worth the trip. I couldn't recommend it enough!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Deok R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tom h, Owner at Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar, responded to this review, September 27, 2013
Thank you so much for posting your very encouraging impressions of your time with us at Matemwe Bandas. We are delighted that you had such a good stay and we really hope to see you again soon when you are next in Zanzibar.

All the very best,

Tom, Chichi & the team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
29 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2013

Remember those bungalow resorts from your 20s where some good-natured hippies offered a cluster of secluded beach huts right on the sand, and everyone was friendly and you didn't have to put on shoes for five days and it was so full of shiny, happy people and good vibes that you didn't even care that there wasn't hot water or the icky toilets were compost and the food was bland and there were no beach chairs to speak of?

Fast forward into your mid-30s...

Wouldn't it be stellar if a resort like that existed for actual grown-ups? Where the lovely cabanas were decked out in boutique design, and there were modern toilets, rain forest showers with plentiful hot water, designer bath products, cushy beach chairs, a sleek swimming pool, quality food, top-shelf service -- but you could still go barefoot for five days, and not have a care in the world and wake up every morning and walk out on your private veranda about 10 feet from the tide, staring into the sunrise?

Matemwe Bandas is that place -- the spot I've been trying to find for the better part of a decade in the developing world: A hideaway that's uber-casual but with a staff that caters to your every need (yet is never invasive or overcome by that weird, overly-servile manner that makes you feel more uncomfortable than accommodated ... the gang at the Bandas is just cool), and where everything works.

Chichi and his team are incredible. Want a kayak for the morning? He'll hook you up. Want to jump the wall for a change of scenery and have dinner somewhere else on the island? He'll personally drive you there. Want a glimpse of marine life? He'll take you on a guided reef walk.

There's a good reason for this level of hospitality beyond the fact that Chichi is a total professional. Matemwe Bandas is a joint venture between a fellow in the UK and Chichi, who was born and raised in Matemwe village. In other words, you're not only getting the best vacation of your life, but you're supporting an enterprise that's doing it the right way.

Not sure how much longer this place can remain a secret because it's only a matter of time before enough of us find out about the Bandas.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank kfastuff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tom h, Owner at Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar, responded to this review, November 7, 2013
We were delighted to read your very positive impressions of your stay at Matemwe Bandas. Thank you so much for taking the time to write them up. We really feel that you have summed up particularly aptly our ethos and the way our property lives in harmony with the stunning natural environment of Matemwe.

We all hope that you make it back to Zanzibar soon!

All the very best,
Chichi, Tom & the team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
Reviewed August 29, 2013

I cannot begin to explain how amazing our trip to Zanzibar was - and how much Matemwe Bandas helped make that happen. First of all, the staff is amazing. The meals taste so good. Tom, the owner, is a true gentleman.

The bandas themselves are very comfortable and clean. The beach is gorgeous. I highly recommend staying here. It cannot be beat for the price either.

Room Tip: The rooms are all the same.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Joseph C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tom H, Owner at Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar, responded to this review, September 12, 2013
Thank you so much Joe for your very kind words about your honeymoon at Matemwe Bandas. It was a real pleasure to have you guys staying with us and we're so happy to learn that you both had such a good time. We hope you that Jen and you will make it back to our neck of the woods again in the not too distant future!

With warmest regards & best wishes to you both,

Tom, Chichi & the team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar

Property: Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar
Address: Matemwe Mnazi Mrefu | Closed until further notice, Matemwe Mnazi Mrefu, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Matemwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
THE HOTEL IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE Matemwe Bandas is as faithful to its natural surroundings and to the highest levels of luxury as we are to millennia old traditions of local master craftsmanship. We are also a fair trade business that is substantially locally owned, while every member of our team (including our four young apprentices) hails from the village of Matemwe around our property.With private direct access from your verandah, Matemwe’s breathtaking beach is only a step away. You can walk along its majestic palmed-lined breadth on dazzlingly white, super fine sand basking in the brilliant tropical sunshine for miles in both directions, only occasionally coming across other people. Nestling on the beach's edge in rustic exclusivity, our luxury coco wood and palm thatch bungalows share an elegant 11m x 5m swimming fresh water pool and sandy, decked and canopy-covered communal areas. We offer butler service and a la carte local & international fusion cuisine. We also provide high speed Wi-Fi Internet access, laundry service and mineral water in the bandas for free to all residents. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Matemwe Bandas Boutique Hotel, Zanzibar Zanzibar Island

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