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“Visit To Your Italian Uncle In East Coast Zanzibar”
Review of Zanzibar House

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Zanzibar House
Ranked #1 of 10 Matemwe B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
262 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“Visit To Your Italian Uncle In East Coast Zanzibar”
Reviewed March 3, 2014

This hotel is a 40 to 45US$, 50 minute taxi ride from the Stone Town airport. It is situated in the middle of the East coast of Zanzibar island. The road is paved until the last 5 minutes of driving where it turns into a little bit of nasty dirt road through a poor village, a common trait for a lot of hotels. We were there for three days.
This 7 room hotel was supposed to be home for the extended family of Massimiliano (Max) when visiting this wonderful climate. He is from home and appreciates the good things in life and his motto over the kitchen is "Life is too short to eat bad food". He greets you with a cigar in his mouth but immediately tries to start the process by which he will pamper you in every way he can. We had a room mix-up and he did every thing he could to please us and succeeded in doing so. We got to the hotel around mid-day and he insisted on serving us a small meal to tide us to supper.
Our room was average size, with a comfortable bed, albeit a little firm. Since the mattress cover was the only layer between us and the mattress, my wife wanted to double up the mattress cover. When I asked Max, he not only agreed but added two mores sheets to please us.
Max walks around the small hotel and chats with everyone, trying to see how he can please them. The decor is typically Zanzibari with beautiful carved wooden doors.
Max shows off the wonderful Italian olive oil which he imports himself in the frequent return trips to his native Rome.
A day at the Zanzibar House starts whenever you want. The breakfast is served whenever you wake up, regardless of the time. Fruits are served mid-morning. Coffee, little muffins and cookies are served mid-afternoon. 7:30 pm brings on appetizers before Max presides over the serving of supper, usually fresh fish which you usually see delivered by fishermen around mid-day. One day, the fish was still kicking when received. He truly serves the catch of the day.
There is usually a fish appetizer, often a tuna or fish carpaccio topped by reduced balsamic vinegar of high quality, followed by pasta and a fish main course. The process starts at 20:30 and usually ends around 22:00 where Max offers his home made gelato or local concoction. The meals are not heavy but you do not leave the table hungry. The food is tasty and prepared cleanly. The wine list had a half dozen red and whites apiece and offers one high end wine. The prices are reasonable. Max even agreed to cook my favorite pasta on the day or our departure. He goes the extra mile to please all his customers.
The beach front is spectacular; you are right on the ocean where an incredible beach extends on each side for miles. Very few people or touters come by and none approach the property. You can be at peace under the palapas shading you from the equatorial sun, lying on your long chair. This is a very relaxing place, very peaceful and quiet.
If you want to live it up, Max can hook you up with many excursions, some of whom are run by one of his employees, Ali, a good-natured fellow who makes everything enjoyable.
If you expect everything to be prompt and north-American, you have come to the wrong place. If you realize you are in Africa and can accept 95% of everything you ask for in due time, you can be very happy and relaxed at the Zanzibar House. There are even a few satellite channels on TV that you can catch the news or a film. Wi-Fi works ok, not great, like all over Africa.
Drawbacks: the shower water is not desalinized and the hot water is not always available. This is common on the island from what I hear. The service is done by locals ( a good thing) whose command of English is good, not great. So if you want something very specific, be explicit or see Max.
This is a resort where kids can have a good time on the beach and the pool. It does not have any other playground items. It is not wheelchair friendly as the second floor has only steps.
Do not be surprised by the island tax which is charged locally:18 euros per day per room.
Since most bookings are made on a half-board basis, the charge for full board is 20 euros per room, a very reasonable fee. We did not venture out from the hotel to eat as we were pleased with the offering.
We really liked our time at the Zanzibar House, a reasonably priced, upper mid-range hotel with a great kitchen and charming host.

Room Tip: The ocean view room have a tremendous view. The garden view is one of beautiful palm trees. The oc...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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1 Thank 432JamesD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Morogoro, Tanzania
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014

My husband, my self and our 2 years old just spent a week at Zanzibar House, and we can not stop thinking about it. It was a truly magical holiday, the house is the most beautiful we have seen in Zanzibar, everything is decorated in typical Zanzibar style, we had one of the back rooms, overlooking the palms plantation, and we loved it. The back rooms have huge balconies, which was an ideal play area for our son, and are somewhat more private and secluded (again, ideal if your baby wakes up at 6am and wants to play, while the rest of the guests are fast asleep).
The beach is simply stunning and unspoilt, with no other resorts nearby.
But the highlight for us was the FOOD. Absolutely amazing meals, home made pasta, fresh italian cheese, fresh fish and sea food cooked by experts. We were really looking forward to dinner every day!
We feel we found the ultimate retreat in Zanzibar and we'll definitely come back.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Alessandra B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangalore
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2014

My husband and I really enjoyed our stay at Zanzibar House. Massi and his family are wonderful hosts. We loved the fact that the place was an example of integration between expat and local cultures rather than a 'foreign oasis' that we were warned about in several parts of Zanzibar - the decor incorporates some very lovely aspects local to Zanzibar, a majority of the staff were from Matamwe, and there is a very informal and friendly atmosphere between the staff and guests. We were truly delighted by the outstanding dinners that Max hosts himself each evening - leisurely, four-course affairs with fresh, local ingredients. Even if you are staying elsewhere in Matamwe, do make it a point to plan a meal or two at Zanzibar House, you will not regret it.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank sweta_jag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013 via mobile

Great spot for total relaxation! We had a wonderful two week stay here end Nov 2013. Totally empty huge beach, most welcome pool to dip in and really friendly people. Linda is a top waitress and Mohammed always there to help.

Food had Italian format (starter, pasta then main course and desert). It would have been five stars but the food was a bit "hit and miss" (maybe because the owner Massimo ws home in Italy whilst we were there?). Loved the curried ginger fish though and the lemon sorbet was wonderful!

Massimo's daughter Georgia was an excellent host and sorted out our trips and taxis with ease.

Great to relax here as you are quite a walk down the beach in both directions to other hotels and restaurants so if you are after more action this isn't the place for you.

Walk down to Seles Beach bar for nice lunch, get taxi to Shooting Star for lunch or dinner and def stay at Emerson & Green in Stonetown if you are going to explore the exotic arabian alleyways - and yes, I felt totally safe!!!

Oh and if the walk back from Seles is just too much then get a ride on a dhow! Beats a London cab any day!!

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank R3gan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2013

The hotel is placed right on the beach of Matemwe and it's a beautiful hotel. When we arrived we were welcomed by Georgia. The doughter of the owner and it was a warm welcome. Because it wasn't full we were upgraded to an ocean view room and this is a real ocean view. Wow. What a view! Fantastic.

The room itself is nice, big, but it's pretty dark. A little more lights would be welcome. The other thing that can be better is the bathroom, dark and it could be cleaner.

But if you forget that you will have a wonderfull stay with delicious food. Every night a fresh 4 course diner, snacks at 7PM, tea and cakes at 5 PM, frui and a great breakfast.

We can reccomend it to everyone who is looking for a cozy, small boutique hotel right on the beach!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank elsterno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jerusalem, Israel
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2013

We are a couple with two kids, ages 11 & 15. We stayed at Zanzibar House for 3 nights in July after spending 6 days on a safari.
Our stay was everything we expected and much much more.
Massi, the owner, went out of his way to make us feel completely at home. Like a prototypical Italian Papa he made sure we finished everything on the plate - which was quite a challenge for our two picky eaters, who were never faced with 4-course dinners before. The food was delicious, though.
We had a wonderful time alternating between watching the beautiful view from our terraces, reading books in a hammock, hanging out and playing cards in the lounge, playing pool, dipping in the pool and enjoying the beach. And eating...
It's a perfect place for a relaxing vacation.
Just be advised that apart from Zanzibar House, there is nothing else going on in the "neighborhood".

Room Tip: The view from the sea-view rooms is incredible!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank NURIT2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2013

We stayed at Zanzibar House for 4 nights after coming off safari. We were more than pleased with the accomodations and the details in the design of the house - it was beautiful. The hotel/resort is family-run and Georgia, the owner's daughter, made us feel at home right away and very soon we settled in to the relaxed atmosphere. We had half board, which is definitely a must, and enjoyed scrambled eggs and pancakes for breakfast, and a 4 course meal every evening, as well as 5pm coffee/tea and 7pm appetizers.

The house only has 7 rooms, but the pool area, the private beach and all the lounging space allows you the choice to be separate from other guests or to interact if you choose. There are also massage services offered and we all took advantage of the deep-tissue massage, which was offered at reasonable rates, and felt amazing after 8 days of bumpy roads on safari.

There are excursions you can plan through the hotel, one in our party went on the half-day snorkeling excursion and loved it, but other than that, just plan on going to Zanzibar House to relax. There is nothing around to walk to, except to walk along the beach, and Stonetown is about an hour away by car. The only thing I would do differently is stay at Zanzibar House the whole time in Zanzibar versus staying in Stonetown for a night. There is really nothing to see in Stonetown, so just ask Georgia to arrange a car for the day to shop, but don't stay in town. One thing is for sure, you'll definitely feel welcome and you will not want to leave Zanzibar House.

Room Tip: A sea view room is a must!
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank stix21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zanzibar House

Property: Zanzibar House
Address: Matemwe, Matemwe PO BOX 3085, 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 Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 B&Bs / Inns in Matemwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Zanzibar House 3.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Zanzibar House is a 7 room privately owned and ran boutique hotel situated in the beautiful location of Matemwe on the North East coast of the island, about 40km from Stone Town.The hotel opened its doors in December 2012. The materials used in the construction are found in Zanzibar, with a traditional Makuti roof, decorated with Maritaki patterns, in harmony with the nature and not to disrupt the beautiful landscape. Zanzibar House offers its guests 7 rooms. 5 Rooms with sea view and 2 have views over the rich vegetation that surrounds the area. Four posters Queen size beds in every room. Extra beds and baby cots are available upon request. Satellite TV, complimentary WIFI, minibar, air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities are few of the amenities found in the rooms. Each and every room has a large terrace from where to enjoy the breathtaking views.The restaurant offers delicacies of international and local cuisine with extra care put into the selection of the produce, respecting the seasons and what is available in the market. The full licensed bar offers a selection of local beers, world reknown spirits brands, cocktails and much more all to be enjoyed in the porch overlooking the Indian Ocean. During the day guests are pampered by the carefully picked staff and presented with nibbles to accompany the passing hours; seasonal fruit skewers, spiced tea or coffee in the afternoon, home made savory or sweet treats according to the inspiration of the chef. Special efforts were made in choosing and making of the decorative details found across the house. All the doors were made with coconut wood, found in plentiful supply on the island; the wood was carved by a skilled carpenter in Stone Town with traditional Zanzibar motives, the floors are made of Galana, a local stone, the material used for the walls and structure is called Choka, the island's version of cement. A full menu of massages and treatments available all day along and tailor made solutions, such as custom made excursions, insiders tips to fully and responsably experience the magic of the island make of Zanzibar House an oasis of peace and tranquility, the perfect destination where to get rid of the stress of everyday's life and regenerate the senses with attentive to detail service never losing the essence and the warmth of African hospitality to make you feel truly welcomed at home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zanzibar House Matemwe, Zanzibar Island

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