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“Indian Ocean paradise - stunning location, great food, service and rooms”

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Sunshine Marine Lodge
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Matemwe
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 27, 2013

We spent three nights at Sunshine Marine Lodge in July 2013. The location is truly spectacular, private and separated from other lodges, overlooking the ivory-sand beaches of Mnemba Island and the surrounding turquoise and aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. As you walk through the reception, the vista alone is immediately calming and intoxicating, set to a soundscape of waves gently lapping on the shore and reef beyond. The resort comprises a series of two-storey (four-room) cream-coloured, grass-roof lodges set in intricately landscaped gardens with stone walls, benches and hammocks. Our room (#15) was extremely comfortable, attractively designed and well finished, with a fabulous sea view from the spacious balcony. The management and wait staff are very competent, attentive and friendly. The team of chefs produced consistently high quality fare, with a strong local accent (we dined almost exclusively on the local caught seafood, served in many guises, from simple char-grilled to complex fusions characteristic of Zanzibar’s diverse culinary influences). The restaurant and bar are really pleasant, relaxing places to be, overlooking two swimming pools and the quintessential tropical island-ocean view beyond. Low tide exposes unbelievably powdery white sand below the lodge, and allows you to walk the 700m north to a kilometre long stretch of white-sand, palm-backed beach. At high tide, the lodge provides free transport (5 minutes) in one of its vehicles to the beach, which offers superb swimming, and the chance to witness the local fishing dhows going about their daily business (you can see your meal come ashore). We took a four hour trip out to the Mnemba Atoll (an extensive coral reef system) with the Dive Point Zanzibar facility, co-located with Sunshine Marine Lodge, the closest of the Zanzibar mainland lodges to the atoll. It is a short (20 minute) boat ride to the atoll, which supports a mesmerising diversity of tropical fish, and, during our stay, boasted daily encounters with Bottlenose Dolphins that come into the boats and engage with snorkelers and divers, to the rich delight of everyone involved. The Dive Point leaders and boat skipper did a solid and thorough job of supporting, informing, feeding and watering snorkelers/divers, and behaving respectfully toward the dolphins.

Room Tip: First floor rooms will give you better views, but really, they're all good!
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Pete D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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119 - 125 of 177 reviews

Reviewed July 8, 2013

Service was great, the food was delicious, the setting was spectacular, and the staff were gracious and wonderful. The rooms were luxurious and very comfortable. Diving was nice, the reefs are in pretty good shape and there were some big fish. It's pretty isolated though so if you are looking for lots of activities this is not your place. Make sure you arrange for transportation through the lodge. Our cab driver assured us they knew where it was, and we got really lost. Ittook forever to find it. But soooo worth it!!

Room Tip: Let the lodge arrange your transportation. Cabs take you to the wrong Sunshine hotel.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Jellyfsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2013

After a week in Nungwi this was exactly what we needed. A calm, relaxed, private and romantic atmosphere. The rooms were big and had a lovely view to Mnemba. The garden surrounding the lodges was amazingly pretty. Good pressure and hot water in the shower. We used the mornings to dive around Mnemba, and relaxed for the rest of the day. The hotel is in a remote location, so you have to have all the meals in the hotel restaurant. For dinner they had a starter, 2 different main courses, one fish and one meat or chicken, and dessert. And we always got a free appetizer as well. All the food was very good.

The taxi driver first drove us to “Sunshine hotel”, even though we stated very clearly we wanted to go to the “Sunshine Marine Lodge”. When we finally got to the correct place, he wanted much more than agreed on. We wanted to negotiate the price, but the driver got very mad and unpleasant demanding a high price. The hotel staff/security guard was very helpful in this very uncomfortable situation and stepped in as a negotiator. We ended up paying a bit more then first agreed, the sum the staff suggested to be a normal rate from Nungwi.

The power was out from time to time, but it didn't bother us at all. Also be aware that there is a 5% fee for paying with card.

A really really magnificent hotel, we were sorry that we had to leave after only 3 nights.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank St1g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Spent one night at this lodge, but should have had two nights but we ended up not making it there after the cab driver could not find the place after 3 hours in route from the airport. So lets touch on the downside right away and get to the positives.

Nobody at the airport seemed to know where this lodge is. We stopped and talked to 3 other people along the way, even the stopped at the Sunshine Hotel to get directions. After then going off onto a dirt road for over an hour in the dark and nearly getting stuck in huge puddles we told the driver just to take us back to the Sunshine hotel and we will sort it out from there. It turns out the lodge was indeed down that long dirt road, but since there were zero signs to help, it was a lost cause. With that said, having been around the world to many sketchy places, the wife and I had never felt so uncomfortable as we did on a dark dirt road for over an hour. Had we known what to expect or saw just one sign indicating we were on the right path, we would have been fine. So with that said, I addressed it with the owner and he said signs were in the works. So just a heads up until that time, it is not an easy place for a standard cab driver to find. Perhaps pre-arranged taxi would be HIGHLY advised.

Now with that said, everything else was very pleasant with this lodge and after a night at the Sunshine Hotel, this place is exactly what we wanted! The level of noise from the village around the other hotel, (call to prayer, kids playing outside the walls, etc was not heard from the Marine lodge. It was so incredibly peaceful here in comparison.

The lodge grounds are spacious, immaculate and stunning! Again, just walking around the grounds was enjoyable. The pool area was also highly enjoyable. The internet here works very poorly but who cares, we are out in the middle of no where after all. There is usually a staff member around the bar to take drink or food orders, but as it was very slow this time of year we sometimes had to wait a few minutes to get service. No big deal at all.

The staff was very pleasant as well. Always smiling and they seemed very excited to serve you. Their English was rather good as well. Not great but good enough to allow no issues with food or drink orders.

Food options were also good. Nothing out of this world but was obviously prepared with care and the quality seemed to be very high. I think the only suggestion we would have is to maybe get some options of local flair. Nothing on the menu really screamed exotic or spicy like we would have hoped to see. Besides that, the french pressed coffee options was awesome! Bravo to them for doing something unique like that.

And finally the rooms. I believe they really are identical to the Sunshine Hotel. We had an ocean front suite on the first floor. The bed was not too firm and not too soft, and the pillows were of a high standard. The room got a bit hot at night when the power would go out. Nothing that we could handle with kicking the sheet off. The room really does allow for the natural breeze and sounds to come in which is great, but could also be a problem when you have neighbors that dont realize how loud they really are. Nothing a good pair of ear plugs cant handle.

Do not go here hoping for any beach time. The only time we set foot down there was in the late afternoon when the tide went out. This however was a fun walk down the way to a wide open beach where the fisherman anchor their boats.

All in all this is a great property that is VERY remote. There is no shops or other food options that is within a 30 minute cab ride at best. Go here if you want peace and quiet and are looking to hunker down by a gorgeous pool with great views and great staff. I truly wish this lodge the best of luck in the future and would recommend this place to those that understand all of its attributes.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank United40Heavy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2013

I really loved my recent stay here! This new hotel is fantastic- the facilities, the service, the food and cocktails were all amazing. It was such a calm relaxing place which I will definitely return to.
Also fantastic was the attached Dive centre, our group went diving and snorkelling and it was very professional with all new gear and super safe practices. The PADI course they run was fantastic, my friends did their certificate here which was great.
Being residents of Tanzania, we really appreciated the resident price for the rooms which made them exceptional value for money.
The maintenance was great as was the cleanliness, of the rooms and the pools and restaurant alike, and when the power was out the staff even went to the trouble to put many many lanterns along the path ways.
There are no shops near by, and the food there is great, so I would recommend choosing a room deal which includes breakfast and dinner.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Lou P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2013

I have previously stayed at Sunshine Hotel, sister hotel to Sunshine Marine lodge. Sunshine Hotel set the par very high & I was curious if the new Marine Lodge will be able to maintain, if not exceed my expectations.

I was not disappointed. The new Hotel is fantastic. Service is excellent, the rooms & facilities great & their cocktails unsurpassed!

The theme at the Marine Lodge is similar to that of the original Sunshine Hotel with the addition of a dive center. The Hotel is located on a remote part of the northeast coast of Zanzibar.

On offer is a variety of marine related activities. Although I did not partake on this particular occasion, some of the other guests commented on the excellent diving & snorkelling. This is due to the easy access to some of Zanzibar’s best dive sites and coral reefs around Mnemba island. The Dive Centre also has its own pool where one can learn how to scuba dive.

We were in a Blue Wave suite, on the ground floor. Sunshine Marine Lodge is eco-friendly and they generate their own power. There is no A/C but the rooms are designed to use the cool ocean air breeze to moderate the temperature. There are also roof fans installed.

The Lodge offers Wi-Fi, but bandwidth and availability is not reliable. The restaurant offers a variety of dishes with seafood being the main theme.

I will definitely return to Sunshine Marine Lodge but a word of caution to those seeking a “beach” vacation. Other than a small strip of sand during low tide, there is no beach. If this is not a bother and it’s relaxation and pampering whilst looking out at the beautiful turquoise waters you are after, then this is your place.

Room Tip: I did not have the opportunity to experience or view any of the other rooms at Sunshine Marine, but...
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank RoubaixTravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2013

This was one night and a full day only. Only! The place is just magnificent. There is some resemblance in design to the sister hotel - Sunshine Matemwe which already looks cool. This one, however, is simply better.
The rooms are spacious and beautifully designed in a typical Zanzibar style. Each of them has a view on the ocean, including those on the ground floor.
The restaurant - sitting area offers enough comfort in privacy if you need to hide a bit.
The best bit is their swimming pool. I have seen a number of places on Unguja (proper name of the island, Zanzibar is the entire achipelago and the capital city) and this is one of the few that allow you to really swim while looking down the cliff on the Indian Ocean.
When you do, you don't just see the blue waters - you also see the famous Mnemba Island which is only 10 minutes away by a regular boat. Perfect for divers and snorkelers.
And the staff - a bit shy, they just started, but very friendly and showing good proficiency in English.
I hope to be back some time soon.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank otffin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunshine Marine Lodge

Address: Muyuni - Matemwe, Matemwe 4749, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Matemwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Matemwe
Price Range: $123 - $263 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sunshine Marine Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Lodge is situated 20min. far away from Matemwe, just in front of the beautiful Mnemba Atoll and near the unspoiled Muyuni Beach. Surrounded by a wild bush (local flora), Sunshine Marine Lodge is the ideal location to relax, enjoy the pure nature and the Dive Point diving center's activities (diving, snorkeling, dive courses), far away from the mass tourism and huge properties "all inclusive". The Lodge disposes of 3 outdoor pools overlooking the Ocean and Mnemba Atoll as well the Restaurant and Bar. Guests can choose from "a' la carte menu" tasty dishes from local and international cuisine, different all the days and cooked only with fresh ingredients and lovely care. Half or Full board are provided on request. As located on a rocky cliff, the wooden jetty gives the chance to reach the sea and swim or, on the low tide, do a nice promenade in the sea bottom and discover creeks, wild fauna or reach Muyuni Beach (700mt on foot or 15 minutes by bike). Our diving center provide for special reef shoes and mountain bikes are available at the reception, for free. All the bungalows are within a lush and colored garden. Bedrooms have an African modern design, with sea view, from the private garden with veranda or the terrace, all equipped with outdoor furniture to chilling out in privacy. King size bed with mosquito net, desk, stone bench, bathroom with shower, safe, 3 fans (no a/c and TV), are the main features in all the categories. Family, friends or little groups are welcome thanks to the huge Panorama Suites, suitable up to 4 people or extra/twin beds available in most of the other rooms. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sunshine Marine Lodge Matemwe, Zanzibar Island

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